I was speaking to someone the other day that told me when you do the Dunn's river falls, you have to hold hands with everyone in a line and go up the falls that way. You cannot just hold your partners hand and go up the two of you, it must be everyone's in a line. This person had done this years ago, so I am wondering if its the same or have things changed. She said it really took away from the experience and she would never go again because of it. Is it true for now?
Yes, they want you to hold hands as a group in a long line that snakes up the falls. I flat out refused to do it. I need to feel my way and use my hands. They finally let me climb this way, but they weren't happy about it. I am sure from their point of view it is a safety issue since the rocks are extremely slippery and the climb can be relatively steep. All the more reason for me to be able to use my hands during the climb.
It was true when we went, and when I slipped on a rock and what saved me from falling was the fact that I was holding hands with my husband on one side and another man on the other, I was glad that both were there.
I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).
We also did it years ago but it's still how it's done...many posts here on the message board about it. Two ways to avoid it book a private transfer and go just the two of you so you aren't with a big group or get yourself at the very back of the group you are with and just don't hold hands. Be sure you keep track of your group so they don't get way ahead of you and leave without you though. One thing to keep in mind is that generally a short ways up people catch on that it's harder to climb when you are holding hands like that and they start to give it up. If the folks ahead of and behind you don't suggest it you could always say something, they'd probably be as grateful to stop holding your hand as you are theirs. I don't know that I'd skip the falls because of it but knowing it ahead of time you can find a way out of it or stop it more quickly than if you weren't prepared.
Yes, you create a human chain by holding hands with one stranger in front of or behind you, and the other person you hold hands with is your partner. The rocks can be slippery, so this system helps certain people keep their balance.
It might work for some people, but not for my husband and me. My husband was so intent on helping the woman behind him (who had poor balance) that he kept twisting my hand. Plus, she was causing him to lose his balance, too, and again with him yanking on or twisting my hand - unintentionally, of course, but it was pi**ing me off! So I was frustrated with him, and he was frustrated because I was frustrated and because this woman was holding him up. The line in front of me was moving well, but I was being pulled back by my husband, so I eventually just let go of his hand and his part of the line fell behind. Normally, my husband and I get along VERY well, and I don't think our experience is typical. LOL. Anyway, that added some stress to the excursion, and although our pictures and video show us with happy, smiling faces, things were a little tense.
I think some of the heavier and/or older people were surprised by the difficulty of climbing the falls, even though I didn't find it difficult at all. So, in my opinion, the holding hands only benefits the less fit members of the group.
Finally, I agree with your friend, and I definitely would have rather climbed the falls just the two of us. We probably won't do it again, but it's not necessarily because of the holding hands, it's just that for us once was enough. I think the great majority of people have a great time, and don't mind the holding hands at all. Keep in mind that the guides can't make you hold hands, and as long as you don't fall too far behind, it shouldn't be a problem to go up just the two of you. You should definitely do it because it is a cool experience.
I was there 2 years ago and yes, there is one long line of people holding handa and going up the falls. I didn't find that it took away from the experience. It actually makes it more fun. You get helped up the falls by the person ahead of you and you help the person behind you.
If you go with a tour group, you do hold hands going up which is to help keep everyone safe and help get people up the falls. If you do a private tour at your own expense, then you can do what you like.
We went last April... started out in a line going up the falls and kinda of broke off farther up. However I will say that I'm glad for the nice gentlemen from England, he gave me a hand more than once. It was all in good fun.
Unfortunately, this is true. They say it is for 'your safety' but I would have felt alot more secure if I were not tied into the line.
In any case, it was still fine and not a big deal. It's part of the experience.
You can take the walkway up if you prefer, in the water you'll be holding hands unless the place is deserted when you go. Your guide will expect a tip when you get to the top.
Still worth doing once IMO, but your milage may vary.
Yes, it is true. When you climb Dunn's River Falls you climb as a group. This allows those who are weaker to be assisted by those who are stronger. You do get to hold your partner's hand but will also, most likely, be holding someone else's too. Now there are some places where you don't have to hold hands and plenty of opportunities for a little pre-planned photo of a romanitic moment. We've done it twice now and would recommend it to anyone visiting CSS or CTI.
It is true. I did not think it detracted from the "experience." Rather, it was a safety issue. I do not think my DH and I could have found the proper footholds to make it all the way up the falls without a disastrous accident! Go, do it and ENJOY! It is FUN!! (P.S. Bring enough money for the picture they take of you. We didn't and regret it to this day. -- About $20-$30.)
I, too, did this about three years ago. We had to hold hands going up, but it was still a beautiful experience!! If anything, it gave me a bit of stability on some of the big steps. There were a few breaks in little pools or in waterfalls where you weren't holding hands. There are definitely photo ops if you have a waterproof camera. I loved it.
It is true they tell you that at the beginning, but if you really do not want to do this, get at the end of the line and tell the person in front, you are ok. But, some areas a bit of a boost and stability is helpful. It is all about being safe. No injuries. Just get your footing when advancing to the next rock, etc. If you want to do it alone, no one will force their hand for you to take. Relax and have fun!
I'm impressed with all the positive responses since our experience wasn't so much fun, more like that of the yamons. However we were both getting yanked on and it was torture! My husband was ahead of my thinking he would help me up but there was a larger and very unathletic type person ahead of him with no one ahead of her to help and she actually managed to figure out how to get him to help push her up...well, what are ya gonna do? I'm 5' tall and about 115 pounds and the guy behind me was a whole lot bigger than that and probably shouldn't have been doing the falls either so he was using my arm as his leverage up the rocks. Would have been great to trade places with my husband but he had his hands full as it was. All the way around it was a bad experience at the beginning. There must have been others in our same boat and we saw folks abandoning the hand holding and realized we could get away with it too about a third of the way up. I can see it as a help or a safety measure if there were a way to be sure that people were actually capable of helping themselves but if they are really relying on that person ahead of them then it really is more of a danger because what if that person isn't capable of being as much help as they need? I was athletic enough to make it myself just needed my husbands help on some of the longer steps but I sure didn't have the ability to help a 250lb person who was barely standing upright against the current. My advice is like someone above mentioned...the guides can't MAKE you hold hands and if you don't feel like it's safe or comfortable don't do it. Wish I'd known about this before we went, we'd have had more fun. I wouldn't tell anyone to skip it, it's great fun once you get it figured out. Just know that you can get out of the hand holding and you'll have a better time.
Dunns River Falls was a great experience for us. Lots of fun and definitely (in my opinion) something one should do when in Ocho Rios. We also formed a "human chain" and as a shorter person (im 5'2") I was glad to have the extra support as it is harder to climb than you realize. Tons of fun though! As others have said, you can book a private tour if you are really turned off by the "human chain" thing.
Well the truth is that you don't have to go with a group or a guide, but they really want you to.
Two things I'd like to point out:
1) We bought the video and regretted the cost as soon as we got it home. The sound didn't work and the quality was dismal. We did e-mail them, but never got a response. Customer service was not their forte.
2) My experience was that the pressure there was the most I've ever seen for tips and they don't just want a couple bucks. I did a quick bit of math and figured the guides there make more than I do. 30 people for the trip and less than an hour and at least $10 per person.