First Timer Thoughts and Review - CSA
My husband and I took our first trip to CSA from May 19th-May 24th. As this was our first time to any out of the country beach spot, we were not sure what to expect so I did a ton of research..read reviews and pretty much stalked the boards ;)
With that said, I won't go into a lot of details about all the stuff you can find on the boards but more give you OUR thoughts on the trip.
About us: We are 29 & 30 from Chicago and have two very active kids. Our normal daily lives consist of running around with jobs, kids, sports, hobbies, etc. We are on the go ALL the time.
#1 -- 6 days is truly not long enough. When you break it down; two of those days are travel which really left us 4 full days at the resort. We like to relax and enjoy the beach but we also wanted to do the activities and a few excursions. It took us about a day and a half to just relax and get into “vacation mode”. We spent our first full day looking around, getting to know the area and hanging out on the beach to wind down. We spent our last full day soaking up all we could of the sand, sun and sea. This basically left us with 2 full days to do any excursions and activities. When we go again, we will definitely add a couple of days; for us 8 days would have been perfect!
#2 -- On your first day when you are getting ready to go to the beach...don’t get to excited and forget to put sunscreen on your legs. YEP! I did that...and for those of you there...I was the one walking about with Lobster legs the rest of the trip
#3 – We learned from the boards to walk to the left of the resort for some shopping. We had limited time but thought we could hit a few shops right next to it. The shops to the immediate left of the beach (in our opinion) were disappointing. There were a couple right next to the edge of the resort that had very limited unique and authentic items but they were mostly “gift shop” type items. There were even a couple of stores that looked like a gift shop you would see in Vegas just with Jamaica on the products. If you are into that stuff great..but when we travel we like to buy souvenirs that are truly authentic . If you want to go shopping, carve out some time to make the walk that is further down the beach (about 45-1hr down) for the more authentic hand crafted items. We got lucky and few of them came onto the resort so we snagged a few things there (hand painted pictures and hand carved animals, trees, etc)
#4 – Rick’s Café – We heard a lot of about Rick’s Café and if you want to just check it out and don’t really care to jump off the cliff or be hounded, go on the Catamaran Cruise. We did this and it was completely sufficient for us. The boat stops right in front and you can watch a few people dive and you don’t have the worry about tipping the locals for jumping or dealing with the high prices of the food/drinks.
#5 – We had the Beachfront Verandah Suite rm #4217. It was toward the left end of the resort (right end if you are on the beach looking at the resort) and we LOVED it. Our view was slightly blocked by some trees but we were on the second floor and able to leave out door open at night and listen to the waves crash in. This end of the beach was also not crowded! We never had any problems getting a chair or a little hut. If you have issues, move towards this end of the beach. We did notice during our walks that the middle part of the beach was really crowded.
#6 – Forget about using the beach drink service. Place yourself where I described in #5 and there is a bar right there. Much faster to jump up and get it yourself.
#7 – Enjoy the culture and the bartenders . Some of our favorite moments was sitting at the beachside bar chatting with the bartenders and joking around.
#8 – Enjoy being surprised! I don’t drink that often so although there was a plethora of mixed drinks I could choose from or drink I could have requested, I found the best drinks were the ones when I said “Surprise Me”. Sometimes they give you one of the items on the suggestion menu but most of the time I got awesome drinks that the bartenders have come up with. Those were the best ones.
#9 – If you need to use the Wi-Fi then you need to get a unique code for each device that you want to connect to Wi-Fi. We had an iPad and two iPhones and after we connected the iPad we weren’t able to get our iPhones to connect. We just thought that the signal wasn’t catching, but learned on our last day that you have to have a unique login for each.
Things I wish I would have Taken:
High Humidity Hair Product & Leave-In Conditioner -- I have long really thick hair and I come from a state where it only gets hot and humid for 3-4 months of the year (if we are lucky) and not used to the salt water. Although during the day it was not an issue because it was generally up, but in the evening for a nice dinner with the husband it was a disaster. The salt water sucked all the moisture out of my hair and the humidity made it “frizzy” even with expensive hair products, blow dryer and flat iron.
Laundry Detergent – I wish I would have brought a travel size small bottle of laundry detergent to hand wash and rinse out our swimsuits. After playing in the Sea for a few hours, sweating and then leaving them out to dry on our verandah, they started to develop a smell when they were dry.
Things I am Glad We Took:
Large Ziplock Bags – We used these on the last day to pack in all of our swimwear and cover-ups that were still moist so it didn’t make the whole suitcase full of clothes damp or smell.
Clorox Wipes – We did get a few ants on our bathroom vanity but I read on a review to take a small pack of Clorox Wipes to wipe down the counter. After I saw the ants, I did just that and did not have any issues the remainder of our trip. (Worth the $.97 at wal-mart in the travel section)
WaterProof Camera – No matter what you do, there is water and things get wet. We saw a lot of people nervous about their cameras. We highly enjoyed having our camera out to take lots of pictures while Snorkeling, Catamaran Cruise and just hanging out on the beach.
Excedrin/ Headache Meds – After being in the sun all day and drinking the delicious drinks...definitely needed it.
LOTS OF SUNSCREEN...people aren’t kidding...we took 6 bottles and came home with 1 (should note, they were the spray on sunscreen bottles).
AHHHH-MAZING! This was the best trip decision we ever made. Staff was courteous, funny and simply awesome. The food was great (favorite was the Grilled Snapper on Coco bread from Seagrapes). Although cloudy, the weather was still fun! Beach...there are no words to describe how perfect it was. Everything was carefree and relaxing...highly enjoyed the Dolphin’s Cove excursion.
The best advice for First Timers...RELAX, DON’T STRESS and ENJOY every single second of it! It goes way to fast!
(Sorry about the long post, but was excited to write this just to re-live last week...really wish we were already back “home”.)