I think we have finally decided to go to Jamaica for our honeymoon. After reading all of the great reviews for Couples, I really want to stay at one and let them pamper us!
Here is my dilemma:
We can't decide between Negril and Ocho Rios....CSA and CTI. Here are my pros and cons of each resort....maybe someone can help me decide.
PROS: looks the resort has been remodeled as I don't think it is necessarily a newer resort. It has more included excursions that we would like to take advantage of. Close to Dunn River Falls, a little cheaper in price, thats all I can think of at the moment
CONS: The beach is not quite as nice, supposedly smaller, further from the airport, can't walk to other beach bars, sun disappears behind mountains around 4 (This is a big deal to me as I love the hot summer sun)
PROS: nicer beach, sun is available longer, closer to other restaurants (although I doubt we eat at any place other than the resort) closer to airport
CONS: older looking rooms, not as many included excursions, more expensive,
They both have outstanding reviews....I don't know what to do. However, I do have a few questions:
1. I read that sometimes a shuttle on the way to CTI will stop and let you shop and grab a drink in Ochi? Is that true? How long do they allow you to stay?
2. What time does the boogy bus return from Margaritaville?
3. How is the horseback riding at CTI? Is it a good excursion...do they let you get in the water or run with the horses at all? My fiance and ride a lot, but never get to ride in the ocean, so we thought that would be pretty neat.
CSA cons "older looking rooms". I would not say this is a con. I LOVE the rooms at CSA. They have a beachy feel to them unlike other resorts that have more of a hotel feel. Unless you are really into marble and granite, I would pick CSA hands down. It is amazing!!! :O)
We have only stayed at CSA and we loved it. If you are a beach person then got to this place. The beach is gorgeous. Another pro for CSA, you can walk to Marguaritaville on the beach in about 5 minutes. The rooms do look a little older at CSA, but it's part of the charm. We stayed in an Atrium room and it was perfect for us...and super clean! Either way, you can't go wrong with a Couples resort.
Hey KJM21 - I think you should consider CSS too! We were there for our honeymoon and it was AMAZING!!! All rooms are suites with stocked mini fridges and prem. booze in the room, room service, very lush grounds, tons on nooks and crannies to hide away in for a smooch, amazing spa, and an awesome staff. Not to say the other resorts are not as good because I dont know but it is worth consideration! You could always do a CSS/CTI split. Whatever Couples you choose you will be sure to have a unforgetable honeymoon!
We were at CTI last August and absolutely LOVED it. I don't know when youa are planning to go, but the sun did not set behind the mountains at 4pm.....or behind the mountains at all for that matter. It was about 6-6:30 pm while we were there. Our shuttle did stop about halfway to the resort for about 15 minutes (long enough for a pit stop and for anyone who wanted to grab something to eat or drink to do so). We did not go to Margaritaville so I'm not sure what time the shuttle got back. The horseback riding was a nice ride and very informative, but it is on a plantation and not on the beach. There is no riding in the water. The beach party was fun. The food was wonderful (as always) and the entertainment was fantasic. I hope this helped. No matter which Couples you pick, it will be wonderful!! Have a great trip and congratulations!
Sounds like a real dilema. We've been to both CTI and CSA and the pro's and con's you listed are valid so I'll stear away from them and go right to your questions.
1. Yes, the shuttle will stop on the way to, not in, Ochi for a bathroom break and to grab a drink (about 15-20 minutes).
2. Can't answer this one...never tried it. A little help from anyone that has would be good.
3. The horseback riding is a good excursion. It is a ride in the hills, you ride single file and are not allowed to run them. There are other excursions where you can ride in the ocean but this isn't one of them.
4. Beach party is similar at each but not a thing to be missed.
I would not necessarily agree with many of those things but some are correct.
They are about equally as far from the airport, close enough that it really isn't an issue. I think CSA might be a tiny bit closer but we are talking about a matter of minutes.
The beach at CTI is much smaller and not nearly as nice but it is totally private. The beach at CSA is one of the nicest in the world but it is public. That is not a con for me at all though. When we think of "public beaches" we think of something totally differnt. Here it just means people from other resorts or locals can walk along the beach but they have to stay below the water line. There is hardly any traffic along the beach so it's no big deal. The nice thing is that since it is public it is ok for you to walk along the beach in front of other resorts or businesses too.
CSA is much newer and has been recently remodeled and none of the rooms seem old at all. In fact, depending on which room you choose, it might be significantly newer than any of them at CTI. Many of the rooms are quite new and all have been updated. None of them seem any older than the others though. We prefer the oldest section of the resort and it is definitely not old looking.
There are many inclusions at CSA that are not on the list for some reason but there are fewer excursions at CSA than at CTI. The only ones you that CSA does not have is horseback riding and Dunn's River Falls. You can do those things while at CSA but it is at an additional cost. I have never done the horseback riding but I have seen others do it. The people seem to be having fun but the horses seem pretty miserable when they are forced to run in the ocean. I used to ride all the time and it just isn't quite the same as at home.
Both shuttles with sometimes stop but most people want to hurry up and get to the resort. They stop at a bar along the way and the prices are fairly high. Usually they ask if anyone wants to stop and most people say no. They do let you bring a drink for the road when you leave the airport.
The sun does set over the ocean so it stays bright for a while but no matter the time of year the sun does set pretty early. They are much closer to the equator so they don't have the long summer and short winter days like we do. It's about the same year round. It stays light until 6ish at CSA.
They have a beach party at CSA too but it isn't listed on the inclusions page. I thought it was neat and the food was great. I have not been to the one at CTI. I think they are probably about the same.
The main difference between the two (aside from the beach and all nude island) is that CTI is a huge hotel and CSA is made up of many different buildings. The Great House is the newest and it is pretty much a small hotel but the rest of the buildings are much smaller. Some of them only have 4 rooms per building and do not have any adjoining walls so it is like your own little bungalow rather than a hotel room. That's a huge selling point for us but many like the feel of a big hotel.
We've been to both (CSA in 2008 and just back from a CTI/CSS split)
Don't let these things be a factor:
- the distance from the airport. Ochi and Negril are almost the same distance (in opposite directions) from Montego bay.
- close by beach bars and restaurants. Seriously, there is so much great food and drinks at the resort, why spend more money elsewhere?
to answer your questions...
1) The driver wlll allow the passengers decide if they want a stop on either the trip to Ocho Rios or to Negril. It's a short bathroom and/or grab a beer to go break.
2) Not sure of this one as we didn't go.
3) The horseback riding included at CTI is a nice excursion, but it's more of a nature tour than a "trail ride" You only walk the horse, and there's a stop to get off and have a fruit presentation. It's through a plantation and you have a view. if you want to ride in the water or faster you need to pay for another tour.
4) The beach party at CSA was great, as was the beach party at CSS. The beach party at CTI never happened, I suppose due to the cool cloudy weather (chance of rain?)
Since you mention your desire to sit in the sun on the beach I would hands down go with CSA. Both (all 3 we've been to so far) are fabulous resorts and do have pros and cons, but the beach at CSA is so much nicer than CTI (CSS beach in nicer than CTI) I think. It's longer, wider and has a better bottom in the water. Plus the sunsets are amazing. You will not get that in Ochi.
Go with your gut feeling. You'll have a great time either way.
1. I read that sometimes a shuttle on the way to CTI will stop and let you shop and grab a drink in Ochi? Is that true? How long do they allow you to stay? On the way to OR which is now about the same as Negril resorts in travel time from airport, you do make a stop, but it's not OR and it's a restroom, beer, jerk stop. However, the last time we went, our driver asked and no one wanted to stop so we drove through. There is a shopping trip that goes into OR from CTI and it runs a few
times a week. It's not far from the resort. One trip goes to the TajMahal shopping center and another goes to Island Village where Margaritaville is located in OR.[/COLOR]
2. What time does the boogy bus return from Margaritaville?I don't know. We have never done this trip. We went to Margarataville during the day and paid over $10 for a warm beer and a coke and couldn't get service for food. Went to Margarataville at the airport and paid almost $40 hamburgers, coke and beer.
3. How is the horseback riding at CTI? Is it a good excursion...do they let you get in the water or run with the horses at all? My fiance and ride a lot, but never get to ride in the ocean, so we thought that would be pretty neat.The ride that is included is very laid back. There is no running with the horses or ride in the ocean. You tour a plantation or go up a mountain. You can book an excursion for the ocean ride through the tour desk at the resort. Not sure of the price. You might be able to get information on tripadvisor.com
4. How is the beach party/dinner at night?It's fun. Great food and entertainment. That is the same night as the Margaritaville trip. There is also a poolside gala, but I can't remember if it's Friday or Saturday.
Not sure where you got the information about 4 o'clock sunsets, but in July the sun is usually setting about 6 and rise about 6. It's plenty hot and plenty time for sun. The beach is smaller, however it's private and there are not other people and their kids walking the beach from other resorts or jet skis, parasailers, etc. with boats out front. Only guests and boats from CTI. The resort was originally built in the 40's but recently underwent a $30million renovation. It's not marble and glitz, but the service and food is beyond superb. We can't wait to return for our 5th trip in July.
We have been to CN(3) times and CSS (1) time and have booked CSA for November 2011. We have been to a bunch of other restorts in Ocho, MoBay and Negril also.
The beaches in Negril cannot be beat, you can walk for miles. At CTI and CSS you cannot, the beaches are small but nice. They only have a/n at CSS,CTI and CN.
The rooms might be older at CSA or CN or CSS but they still are tropical and very nice. If you want marble and granite rooms then go to Cancun but it pales in comparison to Jamaica.
You can still book horseback riding from CN or CSA and they do ride in the ocean.
The Margaritaville trip is a classic tourist trap, the one in Ocho caters to cruise ships when the ships are there and locals when the ships are not there, not my favorite Margaritaville. There is another one at the airport (small) and one in Negril just minutes from CSA
Ricks Cafe in my opinion is MUCH better than Margaritaville. Voted the best sunset bar in the caribbean just recently and they run shuttle trips to Rick's from CN & CSA
Negril is a little closer to the airport than Ocho but only 20-30 minutes. Vans will stop for bathroom/refreshments if your are going to Negril or Ocho.