Welcome to my second home. I will be at CSA again in April with my wife. I can't remember which night the Silverbirds (steel drums) are performing but ask at the desk and don't miss it. You will never see a more energetic and amazing performance.
As for excursions I would recommend the YS Falls with its zip line (extra charge of $42) and the Appleton Estates Tour. If you don't plan on tasting any rum at Appleton (not sure why not though) you could add the Black River boat tour along with the YS Falls and take a look at Jamaica's crocodiles. Plan on driving some though as these things are about an hour and a half away from the resort. Rick's is over rated and over priced but not far from the resort. You do get to see the cliff jumpers and maybe take a leap yourself??? You can always get a cab to go there. Maybe split the cost with another couple but not expensive.
You can sign up for the catamaran cruise the day before but if not too crowded you can get on that day. Just get to the water sports shed early. Wear your bathing suit (what else?) as you do go for a swim into the caves.
The snorkeling is not the same as the glass bottom boat. Two different trips. They will provide the mask, snorkel, swim fins, and float belt if you want one. Try to get them to take you to the "Mexico" site as there are more fish. They charge extra for the night trip.
Jan, welcome to the Couples family! We've been to CSA twice and are most likely going back for our third trip this December. You are in for a wonderful experience and once you go you'll know why we say "we're going back home" to Jamaica. As far as excursions go you can book them at the desk in the lobby. On our last trip we finally took an offsite trip to Mayfield Falls and Rick's Cafe with a local tour guide named Joe Cool. Mayfield Falls was very nice and the tour guides are great. The drives on the interior roads are very interesting with potholes from hell so be prepared for a long bumpy ride. Maybe next trip we'll try YS Falls and the Pelican bar but CSA is so nice we may just let sand gravity capture us again instead. My advice is to skip Rick's Cafe because the drinks are expensive and on the catamaran cruise you can see some of the cliff diving while drink free beer and punch. I'm a big planner so I booked the Mayfield Falls trip way in advance for a day when CSA wasn't having a catamaran cruise. If you don't want to wait till you get to Jamaica you can google Joe Cool taxi and tours. If you do, tell him Steve and Barbara from New York hope to see him again soon. At the lobby desk you also make reservations for the restaurants Lemongrass and Feathers. Although they are worth trying we enjoyed Patois Patio for dinner much more. Seagrapes Cafe on the beach is awesome for a light lunch or snacks. Another piece of advice is to spend a few nights with Ultimate "Ulti" Chocolate at the piano in the Aura Lounge. If you like to sing along and play name that tune you're in for a real treat. If you have any other questions just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to help.
Enjoy your time in Paradise, aka CSA!
Thank you, we are SO excited! I think as far as excursions go we are going to opt for the YS falls (and maybe zip line, if i'm brave enough) and Pelican Bar through a private tour co., as i'm not sold on doing the Black river and the Appleton tour. We also are signed up to go on the "One Love bus crawl" 4/11 ~ I hear it's a must do!
Do you know how the the snorkeling and glass bottom boat tours are through CSA?, I know they are am and pm, just wondering how long your gone for, so we are not trying to cram to much into one day, and have plenty of time for the beach
Also, I guess from what i'm reading on the threads, it sounds like we will be able to see plenty from the Cat. cruise of Ricks, so we should't need to make it a point to go blow more $ there But interested in finding out more on the"Jimmy" you can rent a jet ski from for $40 and ride down to Ricks; sounds kinda fun!
The snorkeling trips are at 11:00 ad 3:00. It takes about 10 minutes to get to the site (Ask to go to "Mexico") and you are in the water about a half hour to 40 minutes or so. If you look up the beach to the north and see a small island off shore you have an idea of where you are going. The Glass Bottom Boat goes out at 9:30 and 1:30 and is also a bit over a half hour once in the same basic areas. I think each will get you back on shore and to your next drink in about an hour or so. We never over book a day at Couples. My float, drink, sun, and the warm Caribbean waters almost always wins out.
Jan the CSA watersports guys and occasional woman at the shack are an awesome group. We have a lot of fun with them. They'll give you a quick lesson on how to captain a small hobiecat or any of the other equipment. If you want they'll even take you on the larger hobiecat for a more spirited ride because the smaller ones are pretty slow. I've never done the glass bottom boat trips but we always go snorkeling. The trip is about an hour and a quarter if I'm not mistaken because when on island time who really cares except for when you have to meet at the boat. They take to you out to about four different spots on the reef and one of the spots has an old cannon and anchor there. I'll try to include a few photos of them.
As far as renting a jet ski and taking it down to Rick's Cafe, I don't know if that's such a good idea. It has to be at least a few miles of open water to get there and if anything happens to you or the jet ski it could get ugly. Remember that you're in a foreign country and it's not like you're running past beaches with life guards stationed all over. When you get closer to Rick's there's only cliffs at the waterline. I'll include a picture of the cliffs too. Plus a $40 rental is probably only for a half hour and you'd be hard pressed to make it there and back in a half hour with the throttle wide open.
I hope this helps and enjoy planning your trip because to me the planning is one of the best parts of our trips back home to CSA.
Just back from CSA. Only did one snorkel trip, sign up the day before at Watersports. The cat cruise goes past Ricks Cafe and stops for about 10 mins so you can watch the cliff divers. Simpler option than jet skis, plus there's rum punch! ;-) (Ricks looked to be jammed beyond full - not sure I'd have wanted to be in there.) Would have done other snorkel trips, but got caught up in other things - plus for a couple of days the water was a little stirred up due to an offshore storm, so didn't want to go then. Snorkel trips take an hour. Cat trip is two hours. Totally recommend YS Falls and Appleton Rum tour along the South Coast. Haven't gotten pics onto computer yet... Steel drum at the Palm is Wed night, followed by the beach bonfire (go!). Didn't attend the talent night, but the Friday night Children of the Drums African drum/dance show was great, followed by a seriously bendy limbo guy. Good fun. Enjoy!!