As we reached the eye of the storm I experienced something for the first time: Sensory overload. As over 2 million litres of water beat down on us every second all I could see was white. All I could hear was constant unrelenting thunder. All I could feel was drench. I’m not sure if that’s word, but it’s certainly a very physical feeling when you’re standing at the bottom of Niagara Falls.
Yet it was all so exhilarating, exciting and very unique. Travel often takes us to places of immense natural beauty. However, it’s not often you experience both the beauty and the frightening power of one of the natural worlds’ most iconic beauties.
Soaring above the mighty Niagara Falls is something that imprints on your soul. A truly once in a lifetime experience. I tried to remember every moment, every little detail that I could see from my birds eye vantage point, but something of that magnitude is hard to express.
As part of our Ultimate Layover experience in Toronto, we had booked a day trip to Niagara Falls with King Tours and had the opportunity to visit Niagara Helicopters to take their signature ‘Scenic Flightseeing Tour.’
Air Canada is an airline on the up, meaning that travellers flying transatlantic or transpacific are increasing going via Toronto. Regular readers of the World in a Weekend will know that our philosophy is, whenever possible, you should get out of the airport and turn your long, boring flight into an exciting, ultimate layover.
When we booked our flights for our Jewels of Jamaica trip we had the choice of a 2 hour layover in Toronto or a 25 hour layover at no extra cost and couldn’t resist an action packed day in Canada’s biggest city. Continue Reading
AirBnB was still new to me, I had heard others raving about it, so decided to see what all the hype was about. I created an account and enjoyed looking at all the options laid out neatly on an interactive map. So far, so good. I found a charming little apartment overlooking the beach in our destination; Ocho Rios.
After landing in Kingston in the late afternoon, we had a bit of a problem finding a rental car company at the airport with any cars available. Eventually we were on our way, driving through unfamiliar roads with the ambitious highway over the mountains to the other side of the island looming ahead of us.
Whilst on my #JewelsOfJamaica trip, I wanted to experience as many facets of the gorgeous island as possible. Not just in terms of places to go and things to see, but I also looked for diversity in where we slept. We had stayed at a local AirBnB in Ocho Rios, an all-inclusive in Falmouth and a boutique eco-hotel in Port Antonio. I wanted to find something a little different, somewhere with a story to tell, somewhere with a family atmosphere. That’s when I stumbled upon the Draper San Guest House. Two small, white cottages perched above the sea. Surrounded by a garden engineered for relaxation and getting in touch with nature. Perfect. Continue Reading
When you think of Jamaica, you think of the warm Caribbean Sea, soft white sand and sweet sounds of Reggae. When we first planned this trip, we never thought for a second that we’d be biking down through the Blue Mountain range. Not content with just a visit, we decided that a bike tour would be just the right amount of adventure – even though neither of us had been on a bike for over a decade – Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours: challenge accepted.
You inevitably look down. You might look down because you think something is happening down there, or that because you think others are lying to you. Maybe you look down because one day you might look back and regret not looking down. Then, like everyone else who ever looked down when they were specifically told not to, came to the same conclusion: looking down was probably the worst thing I could have done.
I usually like to set the scene surrounding me. However, it is difficult to fully capture the sun sparkling off the perfectly clear and intensely turquoise water cascading down over the rocks. It was difficult to process the idyllic setting and the dense, lush tropical forest surrounding me. Especially when all I could feel was a cocktail of adrenalin and fear rising through my chest as I tried to calculate how high I was standing. It was difficult to appreciate nature when I was stood on the edge of a cliff, about to jump into the water below.
The gentle breeze swept in from the ocean as the sun started to rise above the horizon. We sat on our wooden balcony overhanging the sand; nibbling on fresh melon and enjoying the beautiful scene unfold in front of us. There were no other souls around at this time. It seemed as though we were the only people on the planet.
Life in Jamaica had moved very fast for us, whizzing around the north and the east of the island trying to absorb as much of the beauty and culture that we could. So when we made it to Mangos Jamaica, the change of pace was very welcome indeed.
I’ve travelled to 43 countries so far. Have swam in between two continents, seen the Northern Lights light up the arctic circle, hugged Koalas in Australia, and hovered over Niagara falls (more on that later). I’ve been very lucky to have had some incredible experiences and couldn’t pick one travel experience as “the best day ever”… but our day at Dolphin Cove certainly made its case.
Dolphin Cove has been running for 15 years, it won the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Award for the Attraction of the Year 2013. Then in 2015 joined the Dolphin Discovery Group, the #1 dolphin company in the world. We visited Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios, in the northern part of the Island. It is set in a natural cove by the sea and is enveloped by 5 acres of rain forest.
“No problem” Javia chucked from the driving seat as we finally made it back to the car. The soft, cool leather seats and the sudden blast of refreshingly cold air were a welcome comfort. We had returned to the car after one of the best mornings of our lives in Ocho Rios, albeit about an hour and a half later than expected. Nothing was a problem for Javia.
The goal of the day had been to see and experience as much of Ocho Rios as possible, not just the tourist traps and all-inclusives. We also wanted to get an insight into the “Real Jamaica”. However our first stop had taken much longer than anticipated; we just couldn’t tear ourselves away from Island Gully Falls. I wasn’t sure how we would still accomplish our goal today since we were already so far behind schedule.