Last year we didn't venture off the resort much because we were having such a blast! We are coming back for our second time to CSS April 21-29 and want to do everything! Can anybody give us a few of their personal
favorite excursions? And any suggestions, thanks!
We'll be leaving on the day you arrive. Sorry we're going to miss you guys. We've done the horseback riding through the plantation and in the ocean with a company called "Hooves". That was a real blast!! If you've never taken a horse on a ride through the ocean this excursion is not one to miss. The guides are good and make the whole event fun and educational.
Our first trip we did no excursions. On the second trip, we did the catamaran from CTI, same boat and crew as CSS, they just alternate between the two resorts. We had such a great time we did it again the third year. I had just torn a ligament in my knee the previous day and the crew mocked me because I didn't want to go in the water even though I told them I had hurt my knee and just didn't want to climb back up the ladder. Then getting off the catamaran one of the crew jerked me really hard and forced me to throw all my weight on that knee, so it tore the ligament even more. I spent the rest of the vacation on a lounger with my knee on ice taking pain meds and it still hasn't healed so I'll probably have to have surgery eventually. Skip the catamaran cruise. If that had happened in the US, I would own it by now.
When we went to CSA in 2005 we were gone 6 out of 7 days From CSS last year we went on 1 so we did the opposite of you because we didn't know if we would make it back so we wanted to see the island. I highly recommend the Dune Buggies from CSS. Sooooooo much fun. From CSA we did the Appleton rum/black river/falls tour and had a blast. I assume they have this tour from CSS too. Horseback riding was ok, but I own my own horses so doing the follow the leader stuff is never much fun for me. The shopping tour we didn't have a really good time on. I am the kind of person that will come to you if I want it, otherwise please don't approach me. You get approached by everyone on the shopping tour and I understand that and I know why, I just wouldn't do it again.
If you like reggae and Bob Marley take the tour to Nine Miles--he was born there and he is buried there as well. From CSS it took a bit of time to get there, but the country side is beautiful along the way. We used a private driver for this tour who was awesome. If you would like his name, let me know. We've used him for our four previous visits--great guy and tells you about Jamaican history as you drive along.
I have to vote for the Mystic Mountain excursion! I did very much enjoy the horseback riding with Hooves too.
The bobsled/zipline/canopy "tranopy" excursion was a lot of fun, although it was a little pricey-er than I had hoped. At the top of Mystic Mountain there is a water slide and pool that looks over the bay where the cruise ships come in and it's quite the view. We wish we had brought a towel, camera and maybe some water or snacks with us. Tranopy up through the rainforest wasn't all that exciting (think skiing chair lift over trees). The visitor center at the top has a nice display about Jamaican history (Olympians, rum,etc) and a cute gift shop. There is a bar/grill as well. Bobsled is fun, but you'll probably wish the ride was longer. You can buy more passes at the top, but you'll need cash or credit. The zipline was a trip. They suit you up and will take your bag/backpack down to the base for you. The guides are crazy fun. If you are afraid of heights, it is NOT the excursion for you. Of the excursions we have done (Dunn's River, snorkel-jet ski combo, horseback riding), this was my favorite, with Dunn's coming in 2nd.
I keep meaning to do a trading places day and check out CTI, but the scheduling was tough with excursions and our watersports activities. Even though I haven't done it, I would still recommend it as a good option to consider.
Highly recommend the zipline tour outside of Montego Bay. We also very much enjoyed the AppletonRum/Black River/Falls tour from CN -- it might be too far from CSS though. The shopping tour was "okay" from CN, but did not enjoy the one from CTI at all.
In November last year we stayed at CSS for 14 nights (aaah bliss!) and took one tour other than the shopping trip (I totally agree with dnbmccann - the shopping trip was for my wife really! And she bought nothing because the traders were simply ridiculous!). We hired a local cab owner and he drove us up to Bob Marley's House in the mountains. We love Bobs music and the draw was stronger as my wife's mum died on the same day as Bob. The driver was full of interesting (and some disturbing!) facts about the history of Jamaica and made the trip there and back fun and full of laughs. We expected a lot of tourists 'jammed' into a touristy sort of enclosure full of tat and a haze of jazz cigarette smoke. Well, we couldn't have been more wrong! There is a small shop and a counter selling T shirts but the visitor is greeted by the most wonderful rasta 'hosts' who are passionate about Bob Marley and who take small parties of guests around the site. One sees many places and items that are referred to in his songs and there is a wonderful reggae band who sing his songs in a courtyard. You can buy drinks and relax (not that type of 'relax'!) in the bar overlooking the compound and the mountains. Apart from the chaps outside the car park who sell subculture there is no evidence of Bob Marley's favourite pastime, apart from a faint smell in the mausoleum. So, my suggestion is that you seek out a cab driver and hire him for the day (should be around $100US).
We were at CSS in December and we did the Dunn's, Dolphin Cove, and the White River Tubing. Of the three I would recommend the White River tour. It was amazing! Such a relaxing day! You get driven up about 45 minutes into the mountains, til you get to a beautiful rainforesty area. Then you are taken on a guided Tubing ride down the White River. Most of the tour is like a lazy river ride that you would find in a water park, but there are a few areas with small rapids - nothing too crazy, but lots of fun! We are a young couple, but there were people of all ages on the tour with us - from families with young kids to older couples. And everyone was having a blast! Compared to Dunn's and the Dolphin Cove (which were both great, too) the tubing tour was a lot less touristy - never hassled to purchase little trinkets or buy photos of yourself. It also felt more authentic to what local people would do for fun - If I lived there, I'd be floating down that river right now!
Early in our travels to Jamaica, we got hooked up with a wonderful driver who is no longer in Jamaica. He took us all over the island. The two most memorable and beautiful places he took us were Shaw Park Gardens, which is located up in the hills overlooking Ocho Rios. This is a gorgeous place to see all of the flora that Jamaica has to offer. He also took us to the White River, again near Ochi, where we tubed down the White River. This excursion can be booked online (just google White River Valley Tubing) or possibly at the resort. Another memorable trip was an all day excursion called the Blue Mountain Bike Tour. This is an all downhill bike trip down Blue Mountain. You see coffee plantations, and other awesome views on this trip. This trip may also be available through the resort. Hope you get out of the resort to see what Jamaica has to offer. You'll love the scenery and the friendly people you'll meet all over the island.
Thank you for all the feedback. We actually did go to Dunn's and Margaritaville. The rafting and ziplining sounds like so much fun. The Bob tour would be incredible. I have loved his music since I was little. I would love to see more personal things that Jamaica has to offer. Last year, me and my husbands life was changed by just the people of Jamaica. We are so ready to be back "home". 57 days!!! Thanks again!
I agree with the trip to Nine Miles... what a beautiful area of Jamaica - so rich in culture! Right behind Margaritaville in Ochi on the beach, is a shack (Dave's Lobster Shack) that serves the very BEST caribbean lobster and bami (spelling?) bread we have ever eaten... talk about true local flare! We go there every time we are in Jamaica and have meet some of the coolest locals in the area!