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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Tubing On The Martha Brae River in Falmouth, Jamaica

It was our second time in Falmouth, Jamaica.  We wanted to do something different than we had last time, so we booked the Chukka Jungle River Tubing Safari through the Disney Cruise Line Port Adventures. 

The gathering time on the ship was early, 7:45 am.  The excursion is advertised as 3 to 3 ½ hours.  There were about 40 guests on our port adventure.

After everyone had checked in on the ship, we made our way off the ship and through the port area in Falmouth to the bus.  Our bus was a reconditioned mass transit bus from an Asian country based on the signs throughout the bus.  Our driver provided some Jamaican history on our way to Good Hope Estates.

Upon exiting the bus, we were directed into a small gift shops and explained that no personal belongings could go with us so lockers were mandatory.  While there were no signs directing us to where/how to purchase lockers, I hoped that I was in the right line and the people in front of me knew where they were going.  The fee for the locker was $5.  I had brought small bills, including a $5 which seemed to make the lady handling the locker rental happy.  Those that had brought credit/debit cards were met with a scoff. 

Bathrooms were just to the right of the locker rental counter and could be used for changing into swimsuits.  We were already in our swimsuits and had water shoes on, too.

After placing our bag, including towels, in the locker and securing the key to the lock on a wrist, we then loaded into an open air vehicle.  In fact, the entire group loaded into two open air vehicles. 

We then took a bumpy ride across beautiful country side and eventually down a hill to where we would begin our tubing journey on the Martha Brae River.

Guests needed to select a life vest that was hung on a wooden railing of a small bridge over the path that led to the river.  We tried to select ones with the least amount of mold and mildew. 

After donning our life jackets, the lead tour guide grouped us into groups of 10 as the tubes were in groups of 10. 

We then stepped down 2-3 steps and sat into our tubes one at a time.  Once everyone in the group of 10 was in a tube, a leader was assigned to our group and off we went.  The husband, boy, and I were in the last three tubes of the 10.

Everyone shouted to introduce themselves and introductions started in the back, so the husband went first.  It was difficult to hear some of the names from the tubes in front of us.

We were on the river about 30 minutes.  We went through three shallow rapids areas.  The river varied in depth from 30 feet to inches.  We didn’t see any fish, but we did see lots of beautiful foliage.  The guide shared more history of how the Martha Brae was used to transport sugar cane for the Good Hope Estates plantation.  We learned about how the river rises during the rainy season and how there would be about 500 people on the river that day.

When our tubing journey ended, we exited our tubes and climbed into the open air vehicles again for a quick jaunt up a hill and across a road to the Good Hope Estates where our journey began.  As we exited the river, a photographer took a photo of the three of us.  We did not view or purchase the photo.  And, as we got out of the open air vehicle, the guides took our life jackets.  They repeated that they would be right there if we wanted to “comment” which was code for tip.

We retrieved items from our locker and returned the key and lock to the lady at the counter who, the husband said, seemed genuinely surprised that we returned them.  We then used some of our small bills to tip our guide as we walked past him on the way to the bus.

Showers and changing areas were available, along with snacks and souvenirs for purchase.  Had we wanted to view or purchase the photo taken of us, this would have been the time.

We climbed back into a bus that would return us to the port area.  We were back on the ship by 11:30 am.

In the description of the port adventure, it said that water shoes were required.  We noticed that was not the case, although, we were sure glad we had ours on.  We also had waterproof watches and a waterproof camera. 

It was funny that it took the bus 25 minutes to get us to the port adventure, but only 15 to get us back to the port and that included a several minute security stop at the port area entrance.

Will we do this port adventure again?  No.  But we are glad we did it once and appreciated the experience.


  1. Hi! We are doing this excursion next month. What did you need to take for ID when you got off the boat for this other than your key to the world card? Passport? Drivers license?

    1. Kate Griswold,
      How exciting! As for ID when we leave the ship, the husband and I take our Driver's Licenses along with our Key to The World cards. We leave our Passports on the ship and only use them on disembarkation day going through Customs at the port. Have a great cruise!

  2. Your son looks a bit older than mine. My boys are 10 and 8. Do you think this is age appropriate? Other than Dunn's River Falls there are not too many choices. Thanks!