First timer - csa long review!
We are both so sad to not be sitting on the beach right now! We are def. going back for our anniversary next year, and hope to one day be that couple that gets to go twice a year! We stayed at CSA from 05/19-05/26.
We got married in our home state Saturday May 18th at 6pm and stayed up very late at our reception. We set our alarms for 5am to get up to leave by 6am. At 6am my mom, who was our driver to the airport, came knocking on our door and we were still SLEEPING! We got dressed and ready in about 2 minutes. We got in the car and I realized that all of our travel documents were at home. So my mother in law printed them and we stopped by her house and picked them up.
We arrived at ATL airport way early, around 3 ½ hours prior to take off. The president was scheduled to arrive in ATL that morning so we had to plan around him. We flew delta and FYI you do NOT get free luggage. That was a surprise. As we were on the taxi way getting ready to take off we had a two hour flight delay due to a storm. So, we slept. It was actually nice!
When we landed at MBJ at 4pm and we made it thru customs and into the couples lounge in about 25 minutes. It could have been a lot sooner, however; I messed up my customs card THREE different times! FYI in Jamaica they have a different format for their dates… DD/MM/YY, THREE times I messed it up. There are two different places you put the date on the card. Haha
Once in the couples lounge we spent 25 minutes in there. We had three red stripes a piece, we were thirsty. I tried the red stripe and ting, and I liked the straight red stripe better. I wish the lounge had more bathrooms. I ended up using the males bc the female line was so back up. The staff was very nice. They had each couples resort’s guest luggage in different stacks. There were a lot of us in the lounge so our bus ride was only CSA guest. We were very confused on what bag boys to tip; you tip the guys in the red hats.
Bus - ride. We had a blast on the bus ride to CSA. Our driver was very informative. He told us all sorts of things about the country and showed us places in the city. We stopped a little over half way for a break and another red stripe. We spent nine dollars per red stripe at the pit stop. We should have gotten another one for the ride, again we are always thirsty. We tipped the driver 15 dollars. The ride back to the airport was uneventful. The driver did NOT talk at all. We didn’t stop, which was perfectly fine with me!
Check – in. From reading this site I knew to get off the bus and go straight to check in and leave my husband for baggage claim. So I was the first one at check in followed by four other wives. The guy at the check in had EVERYONE’S paper work ready to be filled out. That was GREAT service! The cold towel guy and the champagne guy came to check in and gave everyone a towel and a glass of champagne. I never realized how awesome a cold towel was until now! Made me feel 100% better.
We stayed in a BFVS and I had originally requested a 3rd floor corner room. They gave us that room but my husband wanted a 1st floor corner room so they offered to change us on Tuesday. They advised us to just have or luggage packed by 1pm on Tuesday. However, once we got into our room we loved it and called the front desk and advised we wanted to stay. I completed the pre-check-in drink order online, and our fridge was stocked with everything except the liquor. The liquor was delivered within minutes of us entering our room. The room was clean, and stayed clean. The view was amazing. We had to figure out how to turn our AC from Celsius to Fahrenheit. That was a little tricky trying to figure out the temp in Celsius. Note to self… KEEP THE PORCH LITE OFF BC IT ATTRACTS BUGS. We messed up and left our patio door open one night with the light on the porch on and our room light on. When we came back from dinner to change into our suits we had bugs EVERYWHERE. It was really funny watching us swat them outside. No complaints on the room, wish our fridge was a little colder… but no worries mon! Oh and I have extremely thick curly hair and the shampoo in the room worked for me, I just had to purchase conditioner from the store, which was $5. I now know next time to not bring my blow dryer or flat iron… I tried to straighten my hair one day and after three minutes of leaving the bathroom and walking onto the patio my hair was a frizz ball. There is also a “plug in” on the patio so you can plug in your white “Christmas” lights. You may need an extension cord if you do not have a corner room.
We ate at every restaurant on the resort.
Patois (sp) – We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner here once. The food was great, just the service was a little slow. The banana stuffed French toast was very good, jerk chicken quesadilla’s were amazing, and their burger was very good.
Palms – By far my favorite restaurant! We ate breakfast and dinner here pretty much every night. We love buffets so this was right up our alley. Their international buffet night was so yummy! So many different choices. I was scared to eat the sushi bc it was kind of hot, but I did try it. We ate dinner here twice where they didn’t have a buffet it was a four course meal and the buffet food was much tastier than the meals. The breakfast food at patios did taste better, however we still chose to eat at Palms for breakfast because we could get in and out faster. Their lunch buffet was great too.
Sea-grapes- I loved Sea-grapes veggie bar. I tried the veggie burger, Jamaican sushi, sweet potato chips, fish tacos, and jelly coconuts. The Jamaican sushi was def. my favorite. The dip for the chips was also another favorite. I had a jelly coconut every day.
Cabana Grill – We ate here every day too. Whether it was for a snack, lunch, or mid-night meal. Great food and great service! I do wish they would have had the nachos out at night time!
Feathers – The food here was delish! I had the shrimp and scallops and Michael had the tenderloin. We both had the pumpkin soup, and it was to die for! Calamari as an appetizer was amazing. Wish I would had remembered our waiter’s name bc he was really good. He offered to take pictures of us and had us posing and laughing so hard.
Lemon Grass- This was very different for us. We have never eaten food like this before and have never eaten with chop sticks. Our waitress had to give us a chop stick lesson, and we still didn’t figure it out. She ended up bringing us forks. We ate the appetizer sampler then he got his own lamb appetizer and I got my own spring rolls. YUMMY! The main meal and soup was a little different, but was actually pretty good.
Cat Cruise – is something we will do every time. It was so awesome seeing the island from the water. Looking at all the resorts that didn’t have any sand, but instead had rocks to lay out on was pretty neat. Glad we had sand, makes you thankful for the small things. We didn’t actually stop at Ricks Café, we stopped in the water for a few minutes to watch the cliff divers’ jump then we were on our way. We went to the light house and we were able to swim and slide for thirty minutes. The punch was great, they also had (hot) red stripe on tap, and cokes. Our guide “Mama Virgin” was so much fun! Very entertaining.
Snorkel- We went on a snorkel trip and Julian and Marsha were our guides. Julian was GREAT!!!! He got in the water and had all the fish coming up to everyone. He showed us an old anchor that was from “centuries ago”. I def put him on my comment card. He took us to the “Mexico” location. Someone else told us that another location had underwater caves, we want to go there next time. We also want to try the night snorkel too.
Kayaking – was very hard in the ocean… we gave it our best shot for all of 10 minutes.
Hobie Cat- We LOVED this. We and another couple had one of the watersport guys take us out. We will def do this every year too. I forget the guide’s name, but he told us about the island and was very informative.
Activities – I was only able to attend one due to the sand gravity having me down. I went to the basket weaving class. This is pretty hard. The instructor just laughed at my basket. I thought it was pretty good, NOT! HAHA
Beach Bon Fire- That lasted all of 5 minutes. The wood was very wet from the rain so we didn’t stay.
Beach Movie – We planned on going but the Palms was a little slow this night so we came in at the tail end of the movie and left. Seemed fun and romantic though.
Aura – Kurt was a great bartender. We ended up going on the patio and he was bringing everyone drinks outside. They had a DJ this night and we danced until 2am. Ultimate Chocolate was wonderful!
Sunset- we only went here once and it was nice.
Bamboo Bar- this was our “home” as it was right in front of our room and the tiki umbrella that we sat at every day. Peter, Natasha, and Orville (“trainee”) was by far the BEST people we met while in Jamaica. They made our visit one to remember. We would sit at this bar while it rained every day and Peter would make a waterfall shot tower and pass them around the bar and have us repeat his toast after him. He was so much fun! Natasha was the mixed drink specialist! She knew what we wanted before we ordered! She would have us try things she made up. Orville (“trainee”) was a super cool guy! He was apparently in training and his name badge had the word trainee under his name. We picked up from the other bartenders to call him trainee. He took it so well and made sure we realized his last name was trainee and everyone else on the resort that had trainee under their name was his brother or sisters. He was very funny! He taught us a lot on the culture of the Jamaicans and their language. By our third day Peter, Natasha, and Orville all knew us by name and knew our friends that we met while there by name. They would personally come check on us at our umbrella (papule?). They were extremely nice and thoughtful and I would hate to not see them at the bamboo bar next year… but I vote PETER, NATASHA, AND ORVILLE AS MANAGERS!!!!!!
Pools- we never got in the pools, the beach was way to nice for us to be in the pool. We did try out three of the hot tubs at night, and they were a little too warm so we sat on the side and had drinks from Patios.
Sports complex was nice. We went there our first day looking for vitamin water but they no longer serve vitamin water as of two weeks ago. That was a letdown, but def not a deal breaker. We had a couples massage and relaxed in the indoor pool. Very nice setting. Staff over there was also nice.
The beach was like a dream, something you only see in the movies. Crystal Clear water! They even had a watersports guy out cleaning seaweed off the buoys. The chairs were so comfortable. I woke up every day at 5:45am to go reserve a tiki hut umbrella and four chairs for us and our friends. However, you can go out at any time and find a chair, the huts do go fast and we wanted a hut. It did rain daily but most of the time it only lasted for 20 minutes. Two of the days it did last for 3 hours, but we just sat at the Bamboo Bar and talked with Peter, Natasha, and Orville. That made the time fly and then back to the water we went. So nice to have the floats to float on. The sunsets were beautiful. We did get ate up by sand fleas, so make sure to bring your bug spray and hydrocortisone. Sunscreen was 16 dollars in the shop so make sure to bring plenty.
We forgot to bring an underwater camera, they do sale them in the shop for $13 dollars. They also do not sale smokeless tobacco (FYI).
Everyone was nice; the men were much nicer than the women. It was so HOT so I know it was hard to be “happy” at all times! The security was nice to have. They took our room numbers whenever we left and gave us advice when leaving the resort. We loved having the locals come sing to us and sale us jewelry. We talked to other people that were not from our resort and they said they didn’t have the locals. We LOVED THAT PART!
All in all we had an AMAZING TRIP (I think I have used the word amazing about 100 times)! Count down until next year begins now! Sorry for such the long review, I just know I read every review on CSA 100 times before we left!