Chukka Chukka Choo Choo...
It sounds a bit silly, but when your tour guide tells you, "When I say Chukka Chukka, you say Choo Choo!" well, you just sort of do it. When in Rome and all...
I arrived with my tour group to the Chukka Caribbean Adventures Horseback Ride n Swim a little nervous and a lot excited. I hadn't ridden a horse in 20 years.
Uh oh, I've just dated myself, haven't I? Oops!
Our horseback experience began with us in single file line, awaiting helmets and riding instruction. Though, honestly, we didn't really need to know how to ride those horses - they knew that trail so well that with the exception of stopping to snack on the foliage or rip out palm trees (true story) they could have walked that path with their eyes closed.
My horse was named Free Eye, but I secretly called her Lazy Ass, because she stumbled along at a snail's pace and did not respond to even my most earnest attempts to "giddyup!!" Even my guide asked me, "Is that horse hung over? She's moving so slow!"
Now, I knew from glancing at our itinerary that our tour would be 2.5 hours long, but I wasn't sure where it would take us. I was pleasantly surprised! We wound our way out of the horse farm, through a lush and vibrant countryside.
I didn't quite realize how beautiful Jamaica was - but as they say, once you go, you know. Our guides led us through a beautiful pasture while pointing out indigenous foliage, occasionally plucking a leaf or a fruit for us to try. My favorite was the fresh guava fruit - it was the first time I'd seen a guava that wasn't encased in pastry.
We rode through a small, quaint village at one point and I was struck by the friendliness of the children - they all came outdoors and waved at us! And the colors throughout the village? So tropical and lively!
We finally arrived at the shoreline and rode our horses along the coast until we arrived back at the horse farm. I have to say, there is nothing quite like riding a horse along the beach - I felt kind of like Fabio. Except that I'm a chick, so I guess you could say I felt like Fabiana?
And then...the grand finale...we rode our horses...into the ocean! It was wonderful, I have to tell you - I felt like a cow girl straight out of a John Wayne movie, except that I was wearing a life-vest type float around my waist! I was a little freaked out by the horses neighing and grunting while they were swimming - I've never heard a horse make that sort of noise! But it was so much fun and I can't wait to go back and do it again!
The Horseback Ride n Swim at Montego Bay was a fantastic way to spend a day! While my group was all adults, this would make for an excellent day out with the kids. Children as young as 6 can participate in this tour, and the guides stay so close and keep such a watchful eye on you that your children will be completely at ease, even if they've never ridden before.
I also went ziplining with Chukka Caribbean Adventures - we spent about three hours winding our way through the rainforest, working our way towards Y. S. Falls. Our pal from the Jamaican Tourist Board gave us a bit of history on the island and current-day Jamaican politics and such while we traveled and honestly, I couldn't believe how quickly the ride went!
Y.S. Falls is a nature-based attraction and offers the opportunity to experience beautiful waterfalls surrounded by indigenous flora and fauna. There are seven waterfalls - several which cascade into natural pools. There was a natural mineral spring that formed a warm pool where you can lounge and relax - either before your ziplining adventure to calm down and prepare yourself, or afterwards to relax after your adrenaline wears off!
The experience isn't just nature trails, waterfalls and springs...the highlight of Y.S. Falls is suiting up and preparing to zip across five traverses - with the longest being approximately 745ft long! The guides are just fantastic at guiding you along each of the five segments of the ziplining tour, making the experience so much fun and completely soothing any nerves you may have!
Ziplining over Y.S. Falls? It was the experience of a lifetime. I was literally buzzing with excitement - even after I returned home to Miami the next day. Children age 10 and up can participate in the ziplining tour, and they will thank you for years to come!
Chukka Adventure Tours also has other ziplining tours, along with many other amazing adventures like dune buggy rides, ATV tours, kayaking, and a zipline around the Rose Hall Great House and then a tour of the haunted mansion.
Whatever Chukka Caribbean Adventures you choose, you are sure to give your family the best vacation experience that Jamaica has to offer!
* My participation in these attraction experiences was provided in cooperation with the Jamaican Tourist Board, and sponsored by MomDot.com. The opinions are my own - Chukka Caribbean Adventures and Jamaica were totally awesome.