Hello! I've searched the forums for a few days now and couldn't come up with an answer to my question... We are heading down to CTI in May to knock the vacation part off of our pre-baby bucket list... We were wondering if anyone had any first hand knowledge of the shopping trip into Ocho Rios. How long does it last? Is there any access to good street food? Is there a chance to soak up any 'off the resort' Jamaican atmosphere or do they just drop you at a tourist trap? We did CSA for our honeymoon and only walked down to Margaritaville, but we were hoping to venture a little bit further this time and experience a little bit more local flavor. Any insight would be appreciated! Thanks so much!
We went on the shopping trip at CTI two years ago. I don't recommend it. It seems more like a tourist trap with only a few shops (mostly together under one roof), and unless you count something from a c-store as "good street food," you won't find that there.
Sadly (and just my personal opinion), Ochi isn't a great place to find the true Jamaican flavor. Thanks to the cruise ships and (to a lesser extent) the resorts, it's kind of like Mobay East. If you do want some of the Ja Jive, I'm sure some folks on the staff at CTI can find you a driver to get you to something less touristy and more Real Jamaican.
Downtown Ocho Rios is a thriving shopping area. You can go with the scheduled trip from the resort, that lasst about four hours. Or you can make arrangements to hire a private taxi driver who can take you to shops or restaurents. There are some excellent stores for clothes, jewelry and other items. If you hire a private driver, he can also take you to some secluded beaches as well as other interesting sights.
We went on the shopping trip to downtown CTI about two years ago -- it is run by an independent bus service hired by Couples. Long story short, they left us behind. Apparently the bus driver didn't want to wait (we were NOT late...), and told the people on the bus that the second bus picked us up, which obviously was not true. The taxi drivers in the area of where we were supposed to catch our bus did not look reputable (they were private cars, and not taxis), but we had no choice to use one to get back to the resort. And, to make matters worse, they quoted us some ridiculous amount of money to get back to the resort, but again, what are we going to do?? Not a pleasant experience.
Last edited by Bobby and Lisa; January 20th, 2012 at 05:25 PM.