IN 2010, Dolphin Cove won the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association's Award for Attraction of the Year. But until you go and experience the attraction yourself, you won't know how deserving they are of this award.
Just about five minutes' drive from the centre of Ocho Rios, Dolphin Cove sits in a natural cove and is surrounded by five acres of lush tropical rainforest.
Last Friday, in the warm summer weather the TEENage team got the opportunity to experience the range of activities available on the premises.
Upon entering, we were greeted by kind and friendly staff, and we were assigned to our tour guide for the day —Kerisha McDonald— who was equally friendly.
Our first stop was the Stingray Lagoon.
After being reminded that it was a stingray that killed the famous crocodile hunter Steve Irwin in 2006, no one really wanted to even venture near them.
However, with the reassurance that its barb (the stingray's stinger that protrudes from its tail) was removed, we each timidly touched the creature.
Then with much urgency (and a hint of fear), we moved over to the other side of the beach.
Our next mini-adventure was a ride on the Glass Bottom Kayak, where, although this was surely less frightening, it was definitely much more technical than what is seen on television.
But that's probably because we aren't particularly fit.
As we tried to get the hang of it, we crashed into each other and into the rocks, but we enjoyed the challenge and experience. On wobbly feet and with tired muscles, we made our way to our one o'clock Dolphin Show.
Keeping away from deep waters (because no one in our team could swim), we enrolled in Touch Encounter, which sadly is the least interactive of the four dolphin programmes offered, but is still entertaining for a non-swimmer.
With this programme, we stood in knee-deep water and stroked a dolphin as she swam by, blew kisses and made her way to us to plant kisses on each of our cheeks. We were most delighted when she danced and sang one of Bob Marley's songs.
After watching the dolphin being rewarded with fish, our own appetites were piqued. We took a short break from the tour and indulged in meals that left our taste buds wanting more. But we decided to put the food on hold and go back to... surprisingly, the stingrays.
Have no fear, it wasn't to eat them — although we were told that their meat is delicious. Instead, we enjoyed the experience of snorkelling with them, which proved quite delightful.
Coming close to the end of our tour, our last, best and most memorable adventure was a ride on the Mini-boat.
Nothing could have prepared us for the exhilarating feeling of gliding on water. Note well that by this time, the weather was windy.
So you can just picture it: moving at breakneck speed, zooming through the water, cutting through the wind and screaming at the top of our lungs at the pure joy of getting this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It was awesome!
For the faint of heart, remember, don't to look down.
All in all, we enjoyed our Dolphin Cove experience; even though we didn't even do everything.
In addition to the attractions we enjoyed, they also offer a shark show with the professional guides and specially trained sharks; the Jungle Trail Walk where you can see and touch various tropical animals; and the other three dolphin programmes.
The other programmes are the Encounter Swim, where you can swim and be carried through the water by the dolphins, the Swim With programme, which includes the encounter swim as well as a dorsal pull and a foot push, and the Sea Keeper programme, where you care for the dolphins, stingrays and sharks, alongside the trainers.
And to top it off, you need not bring your camera and worry about capturing your moments, because at the end of the day you can visit the Video Shop for pictures and video footage.
TEENage honestly didn't expect that we would have so much to do, and after the day we had we are sure that you don't want this summer to pass without visiting Dolphin Cove.
The experience is unique, fun and TEENage approved!