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  1. #1

    Default What percentage of you go off the resort?

    How many of you leave the resort to experience the real Jamaica? Don't get me wrong we love Couples, but I can't imagine not getting off the resort at some point during our vacation. There are so many great restaurants and people to meet. I hate it when people say it's not safe to leave the resort. Just use common sense, also treat people with respect and you'll be fine.

    So where do you go and what do you do when you get off the resort? Dinners, excursions, a day on the cliffs?

    We usually stay a few days at a non AL and do our excursions like YS and Floyd's Pelican Bar. We eat at different restaurants like Sips and Bites, 3 dives, Xtabi, Presley's (now his place is real Jamaica, sooo good). Then we head over to Couples to cap off our trip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    915

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    Totally agree with your post!

    We go off-resort every time we're there. Compared to all of the other islands we've been to, and especially Mexico or DR, the Negril area is super safe to explore off the resort. We've hit local joints like 3 Dives, Pushcart, Cosmo's; we always go to the real Office of Nature at least once; and we've done the Black River Safari/YS Falls/Appleton Estate tour, as well as the Jungle Canopy Zipline tour. All that in just three trips. We do that on every island. [rented a Jeep and drove around Coz; did a 45-mile ATV tour in DR; rented cars to explore Aruba, Antigua, St. Thomas, and Grand Cayman; went on an amazing rum and waterfall tour in Guadeloupe (by "tour", I mean a self-guided cab ride with a French-speaking driver that could barely understand us)]

    Wherever you go, especially Jamaica, you MUST get off the resort at least once. Without meeting the folks that aren't at your beck and call, you never really know what the local people and customs are all about. The bus ride from the airport to the resort isn't even scratching the surface.
    "Brutalize me with music..."

    CN: 11/2007, 11/2010, 11/2011, 11/2013

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    679

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    redblulu,
    Good question! We always do! I am so tired of people who don't go to A-I's saying it is because they can't interact with Jamaica and Jamaicans they way they want from an A-I. IMO the biggest misinformation out there about staying at an A-I is that, "You can't experience the real Jamaica!". We have been going to Jamaica since the late 80's and have stayed at many A-I's and many non-A-I's... both of which we enjoy a great deal. Here is the secret some people don't seem to realize. A-I's have a front entrance just like smaller non-A-I's. You just walk out that entrance, grab a cab, and off you go to experience the local eateries, shops, the fine people of Jamaica. In other words, the people who say they can't experience the 'real' Jamaica when staying at an A-I are just not trying. It works exactly the same way at an A-I as it does with a non-A-I. Just walk out the door and go!
    We were at CN a few weeks ago for 7 nights and ate or drank at Rockhouse, Cosmo's, 3 Dives, and Wild Parrot. Next time we plan on trying Ivan's for a dinner (at Catcha). In other words, no one should buy into the idea that you can't experience the 'real Jamaica' from an A-I.... you just have to want to!
    Respect and good travels!
    Roy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    1,284

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    Somehow we always have the best intentions to venture off property, but we rarely go far. This year we did the One Love Pub Crawl. We also usually try to walk south along the beach for a few miles. But that's usually the extent of it. We just get too relaxed at CSA and it always seems like we are "busy" while we are there, even if that means snorkeling, using the spa, or using the workout facilities.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    156

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    We stay on resort. It's not because we don't feel safe, it's because of our extreme laziness. Our idea of vacation, considering we both work and provide shuttles full-time to a teenage honor student and varsity athlete, is to be as sedentary as possible for as long as possible.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    707

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    We never leave the resort anymore .... Did excursions our first few times to Jamaica & definitely felt totally safe & enjoyed them but the week goes by SO FAST that we can't stand the thought of leaving that beautiful pool & beach at CN .... It takes a LOT of time doing nothing. LOL If we could stay 2 weeks at a time, maybe then we would feel like pulling ourselves away from the resort for awhile.
    Julie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    470

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    We go off resort almost everyday we are there. We hardly do any organized excursions. We do have a few drivers we have gotten to know and trust, so we just organize our own. We've also gotten pretty good at using taxis, both the route taxis as well as charter taxis. A little knowledge and experience goes a long way when using taxis in Negril, but once you learn the "runnings" they are pretty cheap and easy (and fun) to use. Reading about how to use the local taxi system on this and other forums is an excellent starting point.


    We also now find errands to run, just so we have an excuse to go out. For example, before Couples put the Redstripe back in the mini bars, we used to walk down the road all the way to the Hi-Lo Grocery store at the traffic circle every trip on our first full day at CSA. I would buy us some Redstripe at the grocery store and cab it back.

    Some folks may think its a shame that we went out and walked all that way to buy Redstripe for the room when we were staying at an AI. Rest assured, that for us, taking that walk was never really about getting the beer.

    In fact, if it were really about the beer I could have bought the exact same 12 pack at the little shop across the street from the Greathouse... or went to one of the bars... Or just went to the self serve tap at Seagrapes! LOL

    I do wonder what excuse I'm going to use this year, since Couples has started putting Redstripe in the minbars... I'm sure I'll think of something. Walking to the traffic circle is something I love doing.


    When we first came to CSA (six great trips ago), going off resort seemed like a daunting task, but fortunately we didn't let that stop us. I don't proclaim to be a Negril expert by any stretch of the imagination, but we now know enough to comfortably move about Negril, and enjoy what the place has to offer. We love both CSA, AND Jamaica. I couldn't imagine going to CSA and NOT going off resort now.

    If anyone wants to tag along in December send me a message. We are there from DEC 15 to the 22nd.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    1,036

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    We love to walk down the beach and find great souvenirs. We get the local flavor, take a nice walk, and have a different scenery to look at. Walking the beach is one of the reasons we pick CSA. It's very easy to walk off the resort and see another part of Jamaica.

  9. #9

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    I head off to Scotchee's! have a nice long lunch and mingle with the locals under the Seagrape trees!With a few Red stripes of course!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    50

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    It's really hard for me to sit still. While I am not adventurous to rent a vehicle (something in me just knows I would not do well with driving on the other side of the road), we have managed to see a goodly number of places throughout the island. In 14 years, you can see a lot of the touristy places, and start to want more off the beaten path trips. This year will be the first time we are doing over two weeks on the island, and we have split our stay with a week on the cliffs and a week at couples. The cliffs are a little different experience, and definitely not for everyone. There are a lot of amazing places to eat, visit and see. One poster mentioned Pressleys... I have pics from our last trip there. DEFINITELY interesting to eat fresh caught lobster in a roadside shack with cars whizzing by and decorations which include a calendar from two years previous... Featuring a woman with one of the most amazing posteriors I have ever seen. Across from places like that, you will find luxury restaurants with full waiter service, and some of the best jerk ever tasted along the same path.

    Head inland a bit, and you'll find little out of the way hangouts, falls/tours which are significantly more entertaining than Dunns, rafting, crocodile viewing tours, the list is endless. The beach road sidewalk is nearing completion as well, and it is my understanding it runs from somewhere close to CSA all the way to the roundabout in town center.

    The roundabout area is an adventure in and of itself...aside from the craft market close by (which couples will take you to visit), you have an abundance of shops, roadside bars and restaurants, and for those inclined, one of the best afternoons of people watching available.

    Every single Negril adventure I have had can have it's roots traced to Couples taking us somewhere. My wife and I are really get out and go people, so we may have a different attitude, but mixing some of the time off resort with the amazing and relaxing time we have in the resort has always made my trips that much more memorable.

  11. #11

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    We do the same as redblueku. Our usual trip is 3 nights at non ai on cliffs and then a week at CSA. We also walk the beach most days we're at CSA and have lunch out at least once, maybe twice. If its one of the few trips that didn't start on the cliffs we always make a point of making at least one trip up there, and also take a walk to the roundabout. And the last couple trips we also skipped beach party and had dinner off property. So far we haven't managed to go on any "excursions" too much planning involved in that lol But we have explored on our own by scooter and route taxi.
    rhalva~ totally agree with you!. I"ve stayed at a number of small non ais on the cliffs and beach and I didn't have anymore of a "real Jamaica" experience there than I do when we stay at CSA. We do the same type of things at both , just have more "perks" when we stay at CSA. And the best beach! And... fact is Negril is a tourist town... and I think it would be a stretch to call it "real Jamaica' ,whatever that is, no matter where you stay.Having said that... our time "off property" really adds to our experience.

  12. #12

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    We try and get out a bit - Church, Mt. Airy School, Golf (does that count)? We haven't dined off property since the food is great at the resort and it's "paid for" We are getting a little more adventurous in our older years (isn't it supposed to go the other way) so we'll see where we venture off to come Sept.

    We went off property quite a bit in our last trip (non-couples) to Barbados, so I think it's likely we will get out more this time.

  13. #13

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    Of course we always go off resort in places we've stayed that are non-AI (Hawaii, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Grand Cayman...), and we went off ship and explored each port on a cruise, but we also go off resort when we stay AI (Mexico, Cuba, Turks & Caicos, Costa Rica, Aruba...) either by way of walking, taking a cab, or a tour, or driving a rental car. Just because we stay AI we never feel "trapped". True, we do tend to check out less bars and restaurants, since we've already paid for food and drinks, but we still take in the local shopping, sights, beaches. The first time to Jamaica we stayed AI and walked off resort along the Hip Strip and to town. Then we discovered Couples Swept Away. Although we did all the off resort tours, cat cruise, and walked down the beach, and had our wedding dinner off site, I must admit we didn't leave as much. Same at CTI and CSS (minus the beach walking of course). It's not that we don't feel safe, or that we don't want to explore, as we enjoy that. It's just that Couples has so much to do with water sports (especially the diving and snorkeling), land sports, and activities... and great service and ambiance... and food and drinks at your finger tips. We just find we don't want to leave the resort.... ever! lol

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    306

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    Quote Originally Posted by improvgirl View Post
    We stay on resort. It's not because we don't feel safe, it's because of our extreme laziness. Our idea of vacation, considering we both work and provide shuttles full-time to a teenage honor student and varsity athlete, is to be as sedentary as possible for as long as possible.
    This! A full week to be a "veg" is wonderful.
    Janice and Keith in FL


    CTI 2009
    CN 2010 2011 2012 2013
    CSS 2014

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    8

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    My husband and went out to dinner at the Bamboo Blu in Ocho Rios, and let me tell you the lobster was soooooo good. We also did an all day tour to 9 mile, the birth and resting place of Bob Marley.

  16. #16

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    In our 78 trips to Couples we have always gone off the resort. We have rented a car many times and have driven to virtually every part Jamaica. In recent years we have focused on the charities helped by the Charity Golf Tournament that we helped start 12 1/2 years ago. The trip next week will focus on a visit to the Animal House Jamaica: another recipient of our Charity Golf Tournament.

  17. #17

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    we were at CSS 2 and took several excursions during our 2 week stay. Went to green grotto caves, Rose hall, and Appleton rum tour. Hired a great cab driver and enjoyed the countryside, eating fresh fruit we had bought roadside and hearing the history of the medival bridge we went over. We were going to go to an alligator farm, but a local truck got stuck on a very narrow one way bridge and had traffic backed up while several people were trying to push it ahead. Good times and wouldn't have been able to experience this while on resort. As well, we used our driver several times. Got to meet his wife while he took her to work, go to the school where his sister worked and his nephew even came with us to Appleton Estates with us. We really felt like we connected with the people and culture there and not just bought tickets there while we watched it pass us by.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    1,479

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    I cannot count the number of lunches we've paid for, when there's perfectly good food for free at CTI, over the years. We leave almost every day, for at least a short trip up the street.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    604

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    My sig other travels a LOT for his job, and we both have pretty stressful jobs....sooooo....when we get to CSA we have 4 places that we travel to: our beach chair, the beach bar, on-site restaurants and....the sports complex (we actually cross the street for that one - so maybe it counts as going off-site??)

    I'm not at all concerned about safety, etc. in exploring Jamaica, but quite honestly we use our CSA vacay as a way to just totally de-stress and let someone else do most of our thinking for us....Maybe some day we'll choose to visit the rest of the island together, but for now, staying put at CSA just totally hits the spot!!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    342

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    The first time we went in 2003 I went golfing one day and we took the trip to Times Square for shopping etc. After getting back to the airport and realizing we could get Rum and Coffee there for the same or better price we never left the resort on our four subsequent trips except for a trading places day to CN one time. We were OK with this as it was our only real vacation for the year and we didn't mind vegetating. Now if I could spend 10-14 days there I would definitely get out and see the country.

    So, to each their own. There is no wrong way to take a vacation.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    151

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    I'd recommend that everyone take some time to venture off the resort grounds and experience a little of the Negril "vibe". Whether that be a few walks down the beach and interact with the locals, or spend an afternoon/evening on the cliffs...maybe enjoy a dinner at LTU, X-tabi, Ivans or some other cliffside restaurant. You won't regret it.

  22. #22

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    there is a song about this....it's called... Inna Jamaica....the artist is YT.....you can get it on I-tunes...... I like going out there and looking around.......and i'm real happy just hanging at couples.............what ever happens ,happens we just go with vibe,and we always have a great trip no plans

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    190

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    At CSA we walk the beach every day. It's part of our ritual that we totally enjoy. So much to see and so many people. On our first walk a few years ago we met a local trying to sell us whatever...anyway in our conversation with him he told us he had lived in the states for a while to go to school. Amazingly it was the same small town where we bought our first house...in Merrimac MA. so...just take a walk. You never know who you may meet.

    It's a small world indeed.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    332

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    Our first few times we did go on excursions off the property and enjoyed them. But some of them were long and we missed all our meals. So its like paying for something we didn't use. I recommend taking a half or full day off the resort if you stay over 7 days or if you are going for the first time. If you stay for 7 days, your first and last day are shot, so you have 5 days on the resort. Just doesn't seem to be enough time to enjoy all Couples has to offer.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    40

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    Our first trip to Jamaica was October 2013. I did not want to go to an AI and nothing about it sounded fun to me. We arrived at San Souci 2 hours after landing. Although I had big plans about seeing the real Jamaica and experiencing more of the culture, sand gravity hit me right away! It is not like me to sit still and have a quiet mind, however that is exactly what happened. DH left to golf and we took a shopping trip one afternoon. I have absolutely NO fear of leaving the resort at all, however, that was the very first time that I understood relaxing. When we got home, we almost immediately booked another trip back to San Souci for this October. We are planning a trip to Nine Miles and looking forward to enjoying sand gravity!
    Gene and Jeanne
    CSS October 2012
    CSS October 2013
    CSS October 2014....Soon come!!

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