From looking at the pictures of the resort, it seems as though there are venders right next to the resort's property. Any tips on good/reasonable people or places to visit. I am looking forward to walking the beautiful beach and would love any tips on places to stop along the way. Also, has anyone taken the shopping trip, offered through the resort? If so, is it worth it? This is my first time at CSA, but 2nd time to Jamaica. I stayed in runaway bay last time and did a shopping trip/excursion, I was pretty disappointed when we arrived, everything was overpriced and it didn't even seem like locals owned the shop. Afterwards we asked to stop at a small roadside strip of open-aired "shops". The people were very nice and reasonable priced. I felt better buying from them, since most of the seller's had their families there with them. So for that reason, I do not want to be strung into the same situation.
I would also love to try some authentic Jamaican food while vacationing there this time. I have read that Margaretville and Rick's cafe are overpriced and the food is nothing to write home about. I would love to walk the beach and run into a place with amazing food!
Thanks for any help!
There are so many little shops, especially if you head south on the beach, as well as all of the local vendors who walk the beach each day. Personally, I skip the shopping trip because I prefer to buy from local vendors on or around the property. I've just found the shopping trips to be too 'touristy', similar to your Runaway Bay experience.
You'll get to know the vendors by the second or third day at CSA as the same ones walk the beach a few times a day and are all very friendly. And depending on what you are looking for, they can also custom make items if you ask in time for then to make it before you depart.
For local food joints, I actually have a walking Jerk tour that I'd be happy to share - amy.welch@Hotmail.com - it's all places within walking distance from CSA. And you've heard right, Margaritiaville and Rick's are definite tourist places with pricey food and drinks.
The Jerk Tour is a chance to sample some real Jamaican jerk, not the tourist version (very good, nonetheless) served at the resort. We Leave from the south end of the beach at noon. Walk around 2 miles to Bourbon Beach, back to Best In The West, and finish up at Ossie's; just 50 yards from CSA. Bring small mason jars for sauce, take a Pepcid early that morning, and taste the real Jamaican Jerk.
Bourbon Beach is around 2 miles from CSA. Everyone should bring a bottle of water or two, but there's Red Stripe and Pepsi available all the way up the beach.
Most folks can eat a quarter chicken - drummer and thigh - or share. Bourbon Beach makes very good chicken, but marginal pork (if they have any at all.) They have a great brown sauce and the chef will give anyone 3 or 4 ounces in a small Mason jar. From Bourbon Beach, you walk back north about a mile to CocoLaPalm. Cross through their resort (everyone does it, no problem, mon) and you'll come out to Manley Boulevard. Best In The West is diagonally across the road. Cross carefully. Again, great chicken, probably the best of the three, and standard jerk sauce - Grays and Ketchup - but it's important to get a taste of the sauce used by 90% of the jerk shacks in Jamaica. Continue north on Manly Boulevard about 1/2 a mile and you'll come to Ossie's on the same side(you can see the south lobby of CSA from there - last photo.) Skip the chicken, but load up on the pork and make sure you use plenty of her green sauce! She will also give you 3 or 4 ounces of sauce, if there's any left, but it will cost a few bucks.
Amy you are just a wealth of CSA knowledge! The map you emailed was great. Could you please send me the walking jerk tour? We always say we are going to try some local food but never seem to get off the beach! Thanks, firstname.lastname@example.org