July 25th, 2013, 10:37 AM
Last minute questions...leaving for CSA in 5 days!!
So excited for our first trip to Jamaica!!
We're trying to finish up with packing and wanted to ask a few questions about clothes...
I have sundresses and a casual cocktail dress, dressy leather flip flops and sandals. My husband has a pair of dress pants/shirt and close toed sandals/shoes for Feathers, linen shorts and a nice shirt for Lemongrass, and a mix of dress shorts and dressy cargo shorts (linen-like material) with some island-y shirts and polo shirts for the other restaurants with open toed leather sandals. Does this sound ok? Other than that we have a few sets of gym clothes, pjs/loungewear for the room, several bathing suits and cover ups (sun shirts for my hubby). Am I missing anything?
I'd definitely like to check out Ray Bell and his artwork. Do I need to pack things for him to draw on or does he provide those...bags, picture frame, or t-shirts for the kids? If he doesn't have them, would I be able to buy these things if we walk along the shops on the beach or should I take them from home?
Tips are needed for the spa, driver to/from airport, Catamaran crew, beach musicians...am I missing anything? I want to make sure we have enough cash.
Just wondering if I should definitely pack a collapsible bag to bring things home? Do you usually bring lots of "souvenirs" home? We drink a little but I can't see us getting more than a bottle or two of rum cream...maybe coffee...anything else that is a must to bring home?
What night is the international night buffet at the Palms and do you recommend it? Do you prefer their ala carte menu or the buffet for dinner? Other than the Wed night beach bonfire and Friday night beach party, are there any other specific nights we shouldn't miss?
Thanks in advance!!
July 27th, 2013, 12:10 AM
I'm a newbie to Jamaica too and we arrive at CSA in just 41 days. Great questions! I'm looking forward to reading this thread. Stolly, make sure to do a review when you get back!
July 27th, 2013, 01:25 AM
Ray doesn't have children sizes. We brought our own years ago and he made us some wonderful shirts for the kids and grandkids.
That being said you want to get shirts that are cotton and prewash them as if you bring ones with synthetics that stretch the paint will crack and not look great for the long run.
Since Ray is only at the resort two days a week now catch him as early as possible to get your items finished before departure.
July 27th, 2013, 01:29 AM
Got your sunscreen, bug spray, and aloe?
Who is Ray Bell?
July 27th, 2013, 07:49 PM
Take some extra money. You may want to buy some rum cream at the airport on your trip home.
July 27th, 2013, 08:29 PM
Ray Bell is an artist that comes on the property two days a week. He hand paints t shirts and also makes small paintings.
Truly one of a kind items.
July 28th, 2013, 12:36 PM
When you walk down the Seven Mile Beach to the left (south) of CSA there are several small stores, bars, and souvenir tables set up to look through and maybe buy some things. Take extra small bills with you for these. I would suggest two pairs of sunglasses each as one of mine broke on our last trip and I was lucky enough to have brought another. You list of clothing sound fine. I am a "what if" packer and always figure I will spill something that stains so I take 2-4 pairs of slacks depending on the length of our stay. The island type and polo shirts you mention can actually be worn at all the restaurants including Feathers. They also now allow men to wear fancier dress sandals.
We do take a large beach bag for trips down to the water and to place extra items bought in as carry on back home for the flight. Liquor can not be taken back except in your checked bags unless you buy them at the duty free shops in the airport. They box them up and they are an extra carry on that is allowed. If you plan to put them in your checked bags look for special packaging items online to do this. Many a traveler has picked up their bags at the airport when arriving home or at a connecting flight to smell their bags reeking of rum.
Monday night has always been the International Night and Friday is the Shipwreck Beach Party. You should try to go to both. On Wednesday evening they have Caribbean Night with the Silverbirds Steel Drum Band playing in the Palms. They are NOT TO BE MISSED! You can find a taste of their dancing and music on youtube Steel Drums show at Couples Swept Away - YouTube.
July 28th, 2013, 07:02 PM
Bubble wrap for booze in your suitcase
July 29th, 2013, 06:05 PM
Stolly, Beach bag with an old watch so you can find out the time if need be. Bug spray and a good moisturizer... the days in the sun kill my skin. Dont forget your camera! You can also bring candy for the maids. We always leave them a note since they will not take anything unless you write a note and tell them that it is for them. We arrive on Sept 9th for our Anniversary and my birthday trip...cant wait to be home again!
August 1st, 2013, 11:40 AM
So we were just at CSA for a week. I fit all our clothes except for my bathing suits in a carry on suitcase.
Wore on the trip out:
Me - Maxi skirt, tank top, and flip flops
Hubby - Cargo shorts (nothing fancy), technical t-shirt, tennis shoes
3 tank tops (wore for dinner and then used for workout later)
1 additional maxi skirt
2 "cocktail" dresses
1 pair of blue jean shorts
1 pair of workout capri pants
1 sports bra (We only worked out twice, so I was glad I didn't pack more)
4 bathing suits
1 beach coverup
1 short night gown
Running shoes (Minimalist shoes so they pack well)
Flat dressy sandals
Black strappy heels
3 pairs of socks
3 dress shirts
3 light weight t-shirts
1 extra white undershirt
1 dress shirt
1 polo shirt
1 short sleeve beachy button-up shirt
1 pair khaki dress pants
1 pair technical hiking shorts (good extra bathing suit)
1 pair gym shorts
2 bathing suits
3 pairs of socks + 1 pair black dress socks
Leather Flip Flops
Closed toe dress shoes
We pretty much wore everything we took with us, and I filled a travel bottle with some laundry detergent just in case we needed it.
I mixed up a small bottle of my glass cleaner into one of the 3 oz travel spray bottles, which worked well for cleaning sunglasses, cuts, and our camera. The glass cleaner is 1 part rubbing alcohol, 1 part water, and a little white vinegar. I think that was the best idea I while packing for this trip.
We took $300 cash for our trip, and it was plenty. The only thing to consider is whether your credit card company will hit you with international charges for your incidentals in your room or anything else you buy abroad. Ours did not, but we wern't sure so we paid cash for everything but the room charges.
My husband did some research and definitely DO buy your rum and rum cream at the duty free shop in the airport. They pack it up for you and you can just carry it on the plane. We were so busy diving and didn't want to leave CSA that we also bough rum cakes, coffee, and jerk sauce at the airport. We did buy some of the wood carvings from the beach vendors that were at CSA.
We took gifts for the staff, so we had extra room in our checked back for the wood carvings we bought. We also moved some of the stuff from carry on to the checked luggage to make room for the stuff we bought at the airport.
We ordered from the al la cart menu when we ate dinner at the Palms. The menus change every day, so there is always something new to try. We're two little foodies at heart, so we ended up at Feathers twice during our trip. All of the food was amazing. Don't miss doing the catamaran. We did our last night and then had a late dinner at Feathers. It was a beautiful ending to our trip. However, we did miss the beach party. I think we'll make a point of being there for the beach party next time. :-)
Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip and all the running around and packing will be worth it as soon as you get to the Couples lounge at MoBay.
August 1st, 2013, 09:46 PM
You are going to both LOVE it!!! We return for our 3rd visit in Feb. and I can't wait!!
August 2nd, 2013, 01:26 AM
We're getting ready for our third trip to CSA (so excited). Things I would recommend are: bug spray, after-bite, extra sunscreen, nice lotion for after spending the day in the sun, Emergen-C (electrolyte replacer for after too many cocktails), moisture wicking shirts, and sunhats. There are some threads here that will tell you to bring things like towel clips, bendy straws, and other "essentials." We've brought them in years past but never once used them. You can pack pretty light actually. And remember, everything is irie!
August 2nd, 2013, 01:03 PM
ALL GREAT INFORMATION for a newbie headed to CSA in May 2014. Thank you, thank you, Veterans for answering the questions posted! I'm even more excited when I feel prepared!