going into town
I have read some stories about leaving the resort and going into town. I was thinking of going into town to have the "total" experience while we were in Jamaica but worried about crime, vendor harrassment, etc. We are staying at CSS, so I assume it would be Ocho Rios. Any advice or suggestions?
Crime? Use the same common sense you use at home.
Harassment? A polite "no" goes a long way.
If going to typical tourist trap shops constitutes having the "total" Jamaican experience, then you'll find that quite easily in Ocho Rios. However, I'd suggest that a more "total" and authentic experience might include visiting a local school (with some supplies for the kids) or touring the back country with a local guide, perhaps a trip to Nine Mile or Fern Gully with a stop at a local market. The resort's concierge could help you to arrange some stuff along those lines. I think it would be more fun than seeing a bunch of souvenir shops, and give you a better insight to the total Jamaican experience.
Going into Ochi may not be the "total" experience you're looking for. Why not get a driver to take you around the area. Depending on your interests, there are some great sights and places to visit near Sans Souci. Check out the Tours offered or plan your own. Don't go into Ochi on the days the Cruise Ships are in...
Go on the included trip to Dunn's River Falls if you want to see the town nearby.
Don't worry about crime, use common sense and if vendors are a problem for you, a polite " no thank you" works very well