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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default IS CSA good for a marathon running vegan?!

    I couldn't believe my luck when I found in the details a jogging track; lap pool; large gym; vegetarian restaurant; Juice bar and adults only.

    I have a few questions about the above which I want to clear up as the hotel is a bit more than we would normally pay but if it really is perfect I will work hard on hubby to persuade him!

    1. Is it possible to swim in the lap pool at all times without being jumped on or bumped into by people 'playing'? Ie is it just for laps? And is it safe to go out of the hotel to run elsewhere?

    2. Is the jogging track a proper athletics type track? Is is poss to just go round and round on it without getting disturbed by dogs/ pushchairs etc!

    3. Is the juice bar fresh juices or smoothies made in blender? Mmmmmm

    4. What are the opening times for the gym?

    5. Is it possible to have buffet for all meals ( I am quite picky and like to have loads of salad/ veg, normally at a la carte the meals are meat based with a few token greens which is no good for veggies)

    6. Is there loads of fruit available at all meals? And is papaya ( my fav but v expensive in the uk) there?

    Many thanks for taking the time to answer my questions

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    612

    Default

    Lap Pool is just for laps and exercise (or dipping in and out).

    Gym I think "officially" opens at about 7:00AM, but we're usually there by 5:30 or 6:00 and we just plug in the machines and go to it.

    The track is fine and there are no dogs and generally no people.

    I wouldn't necessarily recommend running on the road - I don't think there's a lot in the way of sidewalk, and the drivers can be a bit kooky.

    Maybe try the beach? Depending on what the last storm has done to the slope of the beach, this might be a nice alternative.

    And if you enjoy yoga, they generally have an early morning yoga on the beach (or you can do your own yoga or tai chi early morning - the beach is usually very quiet as the resort wakes up).

    There is TONS to select from for veggies. I'm not a vegan and I eat fish, so I'm not strict or anything, but there is a lot of selection at both the Palms (buffet) and the other restaurants. All of them have at least 1 totally vegetarian selection and Patois has a variety of pizzas, etc that are fantastic and can be made to suit a veggie.

    And the Palms most always has papaya (my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE) at breakfast - and there's PLENTY!!

    Also you MUST try the soups - they're to die for!!

    You can get smoothies as well as infused waters at the sports center and can also get smoothies at the bar at the Palms.

    I think for a fitness buff and a vegetarian this is a phenomenal place!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    20

    Default

    I can't answer all of your questions but I was training for a marathon when I was as CSA so the questions were important to me, too. The track...don't count on it for a long run unless you're ok doing multiple laps. It's not even a mile long. I ran a few miles on the treadmill, then the track, and kept repeating this. I did not leave the resort to run along the road because I didn't have anyone to run with.

    The pool at the fitness area is a lap pool and was always empty when I was at the gym in the morning, so you should have no problems. I'm taking my swim stuff and doing my laps in the ocean this year. Looking at it as OWS practice!

    I eat only chicken and very little of it, go days without it. You'll be fine w/ food choices at CSA.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,300

    Default

    Bob is a devoted runner and we both work out every day, even on vacation. We've been to CSA 5 times, so I'll attempt to answer your questions.

    1. The lap pool is in the sports complex. The are two other pools on the resort side for playing. The lap pool is, indeed, only for laps. The lanes are even roped off. I like to work out early and then shower in the locker room, and wind down with a few laps. As far as running off hotel, the problem is that the roads are narrow and there are no sidewalks and they drive VERY fast.

    2. Bob loves the jogging track. It is not a cinder track or even ground rubber, but it is private to the resort (it wraps around the tennis courts), so you are not jostling with dog and buggies. It's just other joggers and walkers.

    3. They are fresh smoothies.

    4. The gym is open air, so it is technically open 24/7. Many mornings, I have been the first person over there at 6:00 a.m. I simply turn on the lights and the ceiling fans.

    5. The Palms is the only "buffet" restaurant. It does have buffet for breakfast and lunch and an expanded salad and pasta bar for dinner.

    6. The Palms does have fruit available for breakfast and lunch. Papaya is available when in season. You can also get a wonderful fruit arrangement from the continental breakfast which is delivered to your room.

    You use both the terms vegan and veggie. If you are vegetarian, you will have no problems finding lots to eat at CSA at every meal. All of the restaurants have veggie choices even at dinner. Vegan is a bit tougher, since they tend to use butter A LOT.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    278

    Default

    I can only answer parts some of your questions, but here goes:

    1. The lap pool is only for laps - no one will be "playing" in it. It is safe to run along the beach - you will see many other people doing it every morning.

    2. The jogging track isnt really what you are imagining - it is about 1/4 mile long with exercise stations every so often. There is unlikely to be anyone else on it - certainly not pushchairs (Couples is for adults!) or dogs.

    3. Yes, the juice bar makes smoothies from fruit using a blender.

    4. Not sure of the hours, certainly from 7am (probably earlier) until dark.

    5. Breakfast and lunch are buffets at The Palms, and in the evening there is always a salad bar available.

    6. Always lots of fruit, but it depends on the season what you will get, they dont import it. so you will only get papaya in papaya season and mango in mango season.

    Hope this helps - Swept Away is worth every penny IMHO so get to work on your hubby!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    278

    Default

    Just one other thing - I'm sure that if you give the chefs notice (like at lunch time for an evening meal) they will be able to prepare something that you can eat, to give yourself a change from the salad bar. Talk to the restaurant managers and see what they suggest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default

    CSA is pretty ideal for serious recreational athletes who are vegy/vegan. Answers to your questions:
    1. The lap pool is generally very quiet all day and evening in late Nov and early Dec. No distractions while you do your laps.
    2. If you like to run in the early morning down the beach in either direction, no worries. If you keep running into Negril village, as a guy, its fine; as a woman you might get a comment; but it feels safe enough. If instead you run the other way, when you get past Hedonism, the security guards generally hassle you.
    Cars go fairly fast on the main road, and there's not much of a shoulder; doesn't seem very appealing to me.
    3. The track at csa is fine, its paved; don't expect oval; no dogs etc. somewhat shaded by palm trees, near the tennis courts, its quiet and feels a bit secluded.
    4. Gym, I think is always open, no walls. Everything there you might want. Said to be among the best fitness gyms in the caribbean.
    5. You like fresh fruit ( esp. papayas) and vegys, you're all set. We always go in late Nov/early Dec and you willalways find sliced papayas, citrus, pineapple, melons etc at breakfast at the palms and usually at lunch and dinner as well. Best of all, if you don't see what you want, ask them. Sometimes you will see a lot of fruit, but its not sliced up; just ask the counter person to slice some up for you. I never see mangos at breakfast, for instance, but I asked for it, and I got them. At the vegy bar, you can get folks to make up what ever you want. Many of their standard juices do have dairy in them, so do ask.
    Some of the mixed up salads and soups have ham, pork or chicken. The salads will be pretty obvious. The soup less so. If you ask, they will go back and ask the cook. You can also ask for some vegan soup and they will actually make up some for you, if you don't mind waiting.
    Since the Palms buffet has a pretty wide assortment ( of course I think they have too many meat dishes ) of foods at every meal, you will never go away hungry, and probably quite satiated. Cheers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    173

    Default

    1. Is it possible to swim in the lap pool at all times without being jumped on or bumped into by people 'playing'? Is it just for laps?

    It is specifically for laps and is often empty. I have never seen it crowded and have never seen anyone playing there (the pool across the street has the swim-up bar, plus the ocean here with its warm, clear water, makes pools unnecessary) and I have been there several times.

    2. Is the jogging track a proper athletics type track? Is is poss to just go round and round on it without getting disturbed by dogs/ pushchairs etc! And is it safe to go out of the hotel to run elsewhere?

    Not the proper athletic type, it is scenic but short (not crowded and there are no dogs or pushchairs). You could go round and round if you want, but you could get bored. You sound pretty serious, so you might prefer running on the 7-mile beach near the water line. If you go in the morning, I would say it is relatively safe on the beach, or you can buddy up with someone else at the resort. I would not recommend running on the road there, people get hit by cars often, very dangerous. They also have nice, well maintained, treadmills in an open air gym, if you want hills.

    3. Is the juice bar fresh juices or smoothies made in blender? Mmmmmm

    For sure smoothies in a blender with fresh tropical fruits and supplements (ginseng, soy etc.) Also blue mountain coffee, vitamin waters, energy drinks, beer etc. Also some nice light snacks. I think some fresh squeezed juices too (can't remember).

    4. What are the opening times for the gym?

    It was always open when I was awake. Classes are at 9, 10, 5, and 5:30.

    5. Is it possible to have buffet for all meals ( I am quite picky and like to have loads of salad/ veg, normally at a la carte the meals are meat based with a few token greens which is no good for veggies)

    No, but most. There is a buffet for breakfast and lunch daily. Also, Sea Grapes has great vegetarian lunches on the beach yumm! Also, I think CSA is pretty good with vegetarian choices at sit-down restaurants (though vegan is admittedly more challenging). Rastas are vegetarians (though not vegans) so vegie cuisine is part of the Jamaican culture.

    6. Is there loads of fruit available at all meals? And is papaya ( my fav but v expensive in the uk) there?

    Yes and yes! Papaya is plentiful :-)

    You will love CSA! I hope you get to go and enjoy. If you go when I am there, I would love to join you for a run.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Thanks so much for your replies.
    Yes pretty serious exerciser but on holiday I dont run quite as much. No probs going round and round a track for an hour or so if it means avoiding busy roads (I did a marathon on a track a couple of weeks ago!! - 105laps!)

    So is the palm restaurant buffet totally for breaky and lunch then a la carte evening but with salad and pasta buffet?

    Can you order fruit room service v early (to have before my workout) then go to breakfast after?

    And most importantly for the hubby, do they have pancakes/waffles at the buffet restaurant for breakfast?!

  10. #10

    Default

    IMO...the "track" is much nicer than a proper oval athletic track since it winds around the tennis courts and under the trees...it is short though (I think about 3 laps equal a mile). In the morning you might encounter other joggers/walkers but usually it's pretty empty.

    I spend quite a bit of time over at the athletic complex and there is rarely anyone in the lap pool and no-one is playing. The water is a bit brisk as compared to the ocean.

    The smoothies over there are fabulous...they will put in whatever you like or you can choose off the menu. Every afternoon we head over...me for tennis &him for workout/yoga class and then have a couple of smoothies and play pool and ping pong before dinner.

    I've seen people in the gym as early as 6 and as late as 8. I've never heard them kicking people out so I'm not sure when they turn off the lights.

    You can definitely order a fruit plate from room service before the workout (i think the earliest delivery is 5 am) and then go have breakfast after...first and second breakfast as it's referred to on this message board sometimes.

    There's always either pancakes or waffles...some mornings they have both. And the palms is buffet for breakfast always...can't attest to lunch but I think so...we usually skip lunch or just have a small snack at Seagrapes. You haven't mentioned seagrapes but I think that will be the nicest surprise for you...it's very vegetarian friendly...lots of actual vegetarian dishes served to you to give you a change from buffet only. If you are vegan as opposed to just vegetarian...it might be more of a challenge to find stuff without butter and milk products...but if you've been vegan for a while I'm sure that's not anything you're not used to already.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    54

    Default

    We are going on our first trip to CSA in 2 weeks (YEA!) and being a vegetarian (but eating limited animal products) I was concerned about the meal options. My travel agent sent an email to the resort and they quickly replied saying they cater to many vegetarians so food options would not be an issue. They also recommended asking at check in to meet with the chef's to discuss dietary preferences and that they would ensure they had special meals prepared. I plan to request no salt/no butter (0r limited) to maintain my food choice preferences.

    I am anxious to try out their gym and running track as I love to run (not marathons) but shorter distance and exercise classes such as boot camp.

    When do you plan to travel to CSA? I can always send you a note after we return from our vacation letting you know any additional insight.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    612

    Default

    Hi!

    Yes about the Palms being buffet for breakfast and lunch. At dinner they're ala carte, but also have a salad bar and a pasta bar (with phenomenal sauces, many made to order).

    I believe the continental room service starts at 6:30 or 7:00AM (and we're already at the gym by then). An alternative is to get some fruit on a plate the night before and have them cover it with plastic wrap. You can then put this in your fridge if you need something for energy before you work out.

    And yes, there are generally Belgian style waffles and (I'm pretty sure) pancakes at the Palms, and french toast, pancakes at Patois in the morning. The Palms also serves 2 Jamaican dishes (at least) for breakfast every morning as well as a few Jamaican dishes at lunch, so it's a nice way to taste the local cuisine.

    Encourage your hubby to try CSA - this will be our 8th time (tomorrow!!) and we really love it!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    408

    Default

    Yes you can have a continental breakfast delivered each morning ( homemade rolls and fresh fruits ) each morning before you work out ( I think they start delivery at 0600). If you are on a first floor room they deliver it directly to your verandah. Plenty of pancakes and waffles on the buffet ( they have someone behind the buffet making them up fresh).
    In regards to the lap pool, I am a swimmer and just this year decided to start swimming in the ocean each morning instead of the lap pool , and I LOVED it. Each morning I awakened around 0600, headed out to the beach for about a 5 mile walk, returned to the resort, headed into the water and did a swim of the entire length of the property and back ). It was my morning routine and I loved it !
    Also, be sure to try Patois for breakfast one morning ( the sit down restaurant ). On our previous 2 trips we always ate at the buffet for breakfast and loved it. This year, upon the recommendation of a guest we went to Patois for the first time for breakfast, and we LOVED it more ! They bring a dish of fresh fruit to every table at the start of your meal. They have fresh fruit smoothies, and MANY different wonderful meal options.
    Also, each restaurant has a separate vegetarian options menu , that I am sure can be adjusted for vegans, you just have to make a request.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    173

    Default

    So is the palm restaurant buffet totally for breaky and lunch then a la carte evening but with salad and pasta buffet?

    Exactly.

    Can you order fruit room service v early (to have before my workout) then go to breakfast after?

    Yes, this is what I do. Breakfast and elevenses :-) I can't remember what time room service starts though, I generally sleep in a bit on vacation so I never ordered anything before 7am.

    And most importantly for the hubby, do they have pancakes/waffles at the buffet restaurant for breakfast.

    For sure pancakes. I think waffles too. These will have eggs and dairy in them though. He may also enjoy the banana stuffed french toast at Patois Patio.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default

    T66, we won't be going til dec 2012, if you can report back on veggie/ vegan that would be brill.
    I am proper veggie ie not animal flesh and have a dairy problem, am ok with a little bit like a bit of chocolate but not cheese sause on a dish or a cream sause so sometimes easier to say I am vegan!
    Hubby not veggie, he hates bananas so wont like the banana bread thing! He does like a big plateful of pancakes though and nice deserts

    Sounds perfect, thanks for all the comments

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    580

    Default

    Running off of the resort is fine. We stay at CN. I run to CSA and back (5 miles total). The shoulder is extremely wide, no issues. Just remember - in Jamaica they drive on the opposite side of the road than US. So to face oncoming traffic, run on the right side of the road.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    278

    Default

    Bert - Hellen is from the UK so will have no problem with the direction of the traffic.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    681

    Default

    I have no doubt that Couples is an excellent vacation destination for runners and vegans. No problem!

    It just occurred to me that a "Marathon Running Vegan" might be my exact opposite (carnivorous guy who runs only when being chased by something).

    Have a great trip!

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