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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    63

    Default 60 days until CSA Paradise!

    After months of obsessively reading this message board (thanks to all for the great info posted here!!) I am SO excited that we're only 60 days away from paradise!! We had a hard time deciding between CSA and CN, but in the end we thought CSA, and the atrium suite, would be the best fit for us. We definitely want to try CN for trading places though!

    So on to my questions, what activities/food/experiences should we try while visiting CN for a day? Also, my boyfriend and I are both big foodies (he is a chef and I love to cook) so I'm wondering if anyone has some great recommendations for off resort dining options. We'd love to experience some delicious local fare, but not just the typical touristy type stuff. And any dishes we just can't miss at the resort?

    I'm also wondering about shopping options, and whether its better to do the shopping excursion or just venture out on our own. I'm going to be on the hunt for some unique souvenirs for my coworkers/family so are there any specific shops we must try? Should we have a driver take us into town on our own?

    I have read a few people on this board mention that they took a Hobie Cat out and brought their gear for their own private snorkeling trip. We thought this sounded like a really neat idea but we'd like to know where to go, any tips/pointers, and is this even a safe idea?? lol

    Any more tips/suggestions from you veterans would be greatly appreciated. WE CAN'T WAIT FOR SEPTEMBER!!!!!

    Alison & Zach

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    463

    Default

    If my husband hasn't already responded to this and it just hasn't posted yet, go to Ossie's right across the main road from the Great House for amazing jerk.

  3. #3

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    Scotchee's !! the best Jerk on the island..........By far

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    63

    Default

    Thanks for the suggestions!!

    Anyone else? I was also wondering what the bathrooms in the atrium suite are like (tub or shower only, etc). I can't seem to find that info.

  5. #5

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    67 sleeps. The countdown has begun - a little early.

  6. #6

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    The bathroom in the Atrium consists of a large shower, no tub. Have a wonderful trip!
    There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage ~Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    13

    Default

    There are the already mentioned jerk shops nearby, very tasty. A few trips ago we arranged for a car and a Rastafarian driver. While avoiding what they like to smoke, we had him take us around to local shops that made Rastafarian dishes. It's all vegetarian with a very distinct Jamaican twist. The best was a road side soup stand, which for us non-vegetarians also sold grass shrimp!

    Atrium suites are all shower only.

    We're 82 days away from our 11th CSA trip.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    712

    Default

    We took a hobie out and did our own snorkle trip. We went out 1/2 way toward the little island out to the right of the resort. We had 4 people so someone stayed with the boat at all times and we took turns. It should be pretty easy to meet another couple to go with you. Have fun.

  9. #9

    Default

    First.... great choice on resort, CSA is my favorite! And Atrium Suite are the best!
    If you want some some good authentic Jamaican food you might want to make a trip to Sweet Spice. Its down the road in the roundabout area between the beach and cliff roads. Sips and Bites on the cliffs is another that comes to mind,in my opinion the best food options are on the cliffs, lots of good places up there. If you want someplace close by on the beach you could take an easy walk to Cosmos. Turn right on the beach(facing water) its just past the B resort. Great conch soup and festival! There is also a place called Cool Spot across the street from the Greathouse. If you want more "upscale" Ivans on the cliffs or Kuyaba on the beach are 2 favorites. Some of our favorite foods at CSA... fish tacos at sea grapes, actually anything at sea grapes, breakfest buffet at the Palms(especially local dishes like ackee and salt fish, fried plantains.)Other favorites are curried anything, and ALL the soups!
    As far as shopping... skip the shopping trip and just walk down the beach(to the left) Look for Masons stall for absolutley amazing wood carvings(he's a real carving artist).Look for his stall in the Wavs lot on the beach. For other souvenir type things I like Lindseys Orginals. He has a vendor tent on the beach. Along with the usual items, he also does handmade silkscreened t shirts. Different than the rest of the t's you'll see everywhere. And if you keep walking you'll eventually end up at the craft market. LOTS of vendor stands there...just be prepared for the hard sell. Oh... if you see a really tall slim man carrying rolled up canvases it might be Karl Rickets. I LOVE his paintings, have 5 of them hanging in my house. Again...he's a real artist.You probably won't see him on CSA's beach tho..
    Hope I helped a little bit and have a great trip!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    63

    Default

    Sometimes even before you go, you already know! CSA is going to be great! Thanks for all the great replies!!

    Micanopy - We LOVE the idea of hiring a Rastafarian driver for a food tour! Did you book this through the tour desk or on your own?

    Bearso - Thanks for the info! How far out do they let you go on your own? Wondering how adventurous they'll let you get haha.

    Mshell - Thank you SO much for all the excellent shopping/dining suggestions! We can't wait to experience them on our own!

    I've got my list going and I can't wait... 50 days!!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    67

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    Aaly, This is our 5th Couples trip but first to CSA. I saw where you wanted to do CN for the day. That is were we stayed the last time we were in Jamaica. We should meet up and chat. One of the side trips we were thinking of taking is to Floyds Pelican Bar. If you google it, it looks pretty cool. A friend I work with was in Jamaica last month and had a driver take her and her group around to some local spots. I am getting his number and I can pass it on to you. Its always good to have a recommendation and she loved her tour guide. All I know is his name is Howard. Which made me laugh because it just didnt seem that "jamaican" of a name. We were also thinking of Zip Lining but figured we would wait until we arrived to book it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    63

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    I am definitely the planner in between the two of us, lol so I've been on here trying to figure out as much as possible about excursions, etc. however my boyfriend is much more of a "wing it" kind of guy. So in the end we'll probably set up the One Love Bus Tour in advance then decide how we're feeling when we get there about doing other outside excursions. I think Floyd's looks really authentic and one of a kind!! JulRic I hope you love CSA as much as you love CN! What room type are you staying in?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    50

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    We'll be going to CSA for a 5th consecutive year. We stayed at CN twice, but once we tried CSA, we were hooked! One of our favorite offsite excursions was a tubing trip, that we arraigned with CSA'S off site reservation desk. This year we are going to try the Pub Tour!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    987

    Default

    All the above excursion ideas look pretty cool. But I have to put in a vote for doing nothing as well. We just made our seventh (or eighth but who's counting) trip to CSA and spent the entire week doing almost nothing but hanging out on the beach, the pools, the bars and restaurants. No excursions, no trips, no cat' cruise, snorkeling or anything else. We did take long walks on the beach (both directions) almost everyday but we did not plan or schedule anything else. Best vacation yet, for us anyway.

    I guess my point is that you don't have to try to plan too much to have a good time.

    Have a great trip, you will love CSA!
    See you at the beach!
    dirtleg & sandyfoot

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    44

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    we are down to 58 days until our first trip to CSA. Not our first time to jamaica though. love all the tips people are passing along. i do have a quick question for mshell, you mentioned a man selling artwork that you have several of his pieces, can you tell me about what price i would expect to pay for something? that is one thing we have not bought in jamaica, so kind of looking at buying a picture or two for our house. i want to make sure we have enough cash when we find him to get something, also, is he which way on the beach to find him? does he have a hut, or just walk around? thanks for your help! Dena

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    67

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    Aaly, we are in a BFVR. Hoping for a first floor so we can just walk out onto the beach. I an dying with anticipation....I cant wait to get there! We live in Warwick by the way. You?

  17. #17

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    Hi Dena! Karl doesn't really have a set location. I believe he can often be found up on the cliffs at LTU pub but he also does walk the beach. If you google Karl Ricketts you should be able to see his picture and some of his work. And someone made him a webpage with a phone number where he can be contacted. I don't know if its still current tho. If I can figure out how I"ll post a picture of some of my paintings, I think they're even better than the ones I saw online! As far as price.. I "think" I paid around $30 for a 10 by 12ish size. Not sure since I normally buy more than one and not all the same size. All I remember is I always felt the price was fair.And remember, unless things have changed ,don't try to buy from him on CSA's beach. Had a bad experience with one of the guards over doing buisness with him, felt bad for Karl.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    13

    Default

    On booking a Rastafarian driver. We happened to meet Mrs. Issa one day and she had a recommendation. But I have no doubt that the tour desk, or even senior staff, could provide you with a recommendation and connection. About 4 years ago it was $200 for the day, which could include time for dinner if you were so inclined. You'll have a great time.

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