I posted a few a while back but didn't get many answers, so I am gonna try again, and add a few. We plan to do trading places at Sans Souci, and were wondering what the must sees while we are there? We would like to make the most of our time.
We are thinking we will be doing a few non included excursions, the horseback ride, and the zipline, my questions are, what do we need to bring for these, I've heard you need pants and tennis shoes for the horseback ride, anything else? Also, do these excursions go everyday, or just specific days?
Also, I am little worried about trying to get into restaraunts and activities such as catamaran and glass bottom boat. I understand we cannot make any reservations before arriving, and I've also heard something like you can only make one restaraunt reservation at a time, is this true? My 30th birthday is only a few days after we arrive, and we are coming to celebrate our anniversary as well, so I would like to eat at 8 Rivers and Bayside a few evening each while we are there possibly, but at the very least on my birthday.
Another question is we are thinking of doing either scuba or snorkeling, but neither of us are strong swimmers, and honestly, I barely can swim at all, so would you suggest even trying one of these?
This question is for the ladies out there, I have curly hair, but not horribly curly. At home when it rains I do not bother to straighten it cause if it gets wet, it frizzes and curls. Most of the time though, I blowdry and flat iron my hair. I know the humidity is high there, so my question is, should I even bother bringing my hairdryer, flat irons, and curling irons? Also, are there any hair products I should consider purchasing and bringing along to help me out? I live in a dry climate, and haven't really been to many humid places, so I am unfamiliar with how my hair will react and what I should use.
Also, is there any other must see, off resort things that we should check out, I don't necessarily want to stay on resort the whole time. Its my first time to Jamaica and would like to see more of the island.
Okay, I think my last question, for now... is we are leaving 4 small children at home, the youngest is under the age of 2, so we need to be able to be in contact all the time, what is the best way to do this? Skype is a great option, however, I need a backup in case there is an emergency. We have Iphones and understand you must put your phone in airplane mode or off while we are there to stave off outrageous charges, is there another option? I don't want my parents to have to call the hotel. I assume that would be quite expensive as well. Any suggestions? I look forward to your responses, and help.
San Souci: Just go and walk around its a beautiful resort, see the grotto and the mineral pool, spend a little time on the main beach by the beach bar and definetly his Sun Set Beach (if you plan on trying the au naturel thing) its a great set up with a beach, pool, and swim up pool bar.
Excursions: the paid one's you can probably get any time you want. The dunn's river tour and shopping tour go several times a week.
Activities: the glass bottom boat goes (if i remember correctly) almost everyday, weather permitting. I can fill up but you shouldn't have any issue getting on it at some point during your stay. The catamaran is no longer offered (or it was going to be discontinued at some point).
Restaurants: You shouldn't have problem unless you are very specific on your time that you want. i would make reservations within the first or second day though. I thought you could make more than one reservation at a time (maybe just not for the "same" restaurant).
One note: do the orientation tour which is great and will give you an overview of how things work and when, etc.
I can only answer a few of your questions. When you do trading places make sure you do the resort tour so you know where everything is and then just relax and enjoy. We walked, spent some time at the pool, some on the beach, ate lunch and before we left had a snack. Make sure to get a smoothie by the mineral pool.
My husband cannot swim and we went snorkeling. they gave us inflatable life vests and we just floated. Don't know about scuba.
I straighten my hair at home but did not bother when in Jamaica. Why waste the time and it will just curl up again anyway. They have hairdryers in the room and I brought a curling iron to help tame the frizz.
Hope others will answer the rest. Have fun and enjoy.
The other posters seemed to answer your questions but I will add that I take a leave in conditioner--Panteem. It keeps my hair healthier with salt, chlorine & sun.
Also, I never heard of only being able to reserve one restaurant at a time at CTI. I know there are other resort chains that do this.
San Souci - its beautiful - just walk around, see the sights, enjoy the atmosphere. Make sure you go into the mineral grotto. Sunset Beach is a really nice setup if you want to try A/N.
While snorkeling, you can wear a life vest and you just float on the surface. But if you really don't know how to swim or are fearful about doing so, please don't go. Its not like you float in one spot. There are currents which if you cannot swim, could separate you from your guide.
If you want to see a lot of the non tourist side of Jamaica, I recommend the Blue Mt Bike tour. You go high into the coffee plantations and bike down a hill, through rain forest and villages, stop for lunch. We stopped at a school, but that was 15 years ago. It takes all day though.
If I recall properly, we made all our reservations at restaurants once we arrived. We always were able to find an opening, although sometimes it was early or late. We also were able to walk into Bayside on our arrival without a reservation - people cancel or no show, so it is possible to eat without a reservation. But I wouldn't count on it. When the menu's changed over, we even were able to switch reservations without a problem.
I thought I read they no longer have the catamaran, but perhaps that's been changed. You sign up in the morning for the glass bottom boat and snorkeling and other water activities.
Can't answer about the hair, but will say its always humid. Think about the most humid it gets in Idaho - its that way every day.
Staying in touch - we used skype and emails for the most part. If we had needed to call, our back up was probably purchasing a calling card from the gift shop and used the landline.
1. We arrived on Saturday and were able to make reservations for 8 Rivers on Tuesday and Bayside on Wednesday. We didn't try to do it any other night. The good news is that Verandah, which you don't need reservations for, is quite good and seems almost like a special restaurant.
2. If you're not a strong swimmer, they might not let you do scuba. You have to sign waivers.
3. I have frizzy, curly hair. I didn't bother bringing a hair dryer or straightener. It's really humid and the bathroom never seems to dry out. Plus, I'm on vacation...I didn't want to spend an hour straightening my hair when I knew I'd be going in the pool or ocean the next day. Just bring product that helps with curly hair like mousse and gel.
4. We were connected to Wifi all the time, so we told our family and friends to email us if there was an emergency. Otherwise, they have to call the hotel.
Only 12 days now! THANKS to everyone who responded to this post, and any other posts I had posted! It has helped so much with planning for this trip! And really this message board in general has also been so helpful! I am really getting super excited! I look forward to exploring, and enjoying everything CTI and Jamaica has to offer, at least as much as I can in the 7 days we are there! See ya soon!