We just returned from our first trip to CSA and Jamaica and I often find myself closing my eyes and fantasizing that I'm still lounging on the beach. It was absolutely amazing.
I read the message board frequently before we left and I was a little nervous after reading some of the reviews. Don't let them scare you. If you notice, all those negative reviews include the line "we are not hard to please" or something of the like. Well, I'm going to tell you that I AM hard to please and for the things that really mattered, this resort is fantastic. Sure, there are some little issues. No place is perfect. But if you have realistic expectations and a good attitude, you're going to have the time of your life.
I'll try to keep this as short as possible but want to touch upon some of the issues I see the most. Our room was an ocean view verandah suite on the third floor. I highly recommend these rooms. I can see why some don't like the Garden View rooms. They are definitely too close to the road and the beach front are nice but there is a lot of traffic there. The third floor gave privacy and a great view, but I'll admit, by the end of the day, climbing those stairs was exhausting!
I live in Florida and I'm going to tell you that the heat and humidity during our stay (May 27 - June 3) was insane. It seems like the locals are used to it. They work out in the sun but don't seem to break a sweat. I sat in the shade and was dripping. I suggest requesting a table under a fan at the Palms or Patois since they are open air.
I think some people who are not used to humidity don't understand how this can affect things. The rooms are kept quite cool by the a/c units and when you open the verandah doors, condensation will form on the walls and tile floor almost immediately. This is why the room can sometimes smell a little musty and you might find some mold. There is NO way to avoid this in such a climate. It's not bad at all but I can understand if you are not familiar with it, it might seem strange.
The food all around was great. My fave was Patois but they were all very good.
Forget about the palapas. I was on the beach early one morning (around 8 a.m.) and they were all "claimed." I found a nice spot under the shade of some trees which is fine. I was a little annoyed around 11 a.m. when the one nearest me still sat unused. I was tempted to move them and wait until the people arrived just so I could let them know how rude it was but I decided against it. I don't see why Couples doesn't have beach umbrellas that people can set up near their chairs. They did this at another AI I stayed at in Nassau and it worked out just fine.
If you're not a regular beach-goer, my advice is to do your best NOT to get any sun and you will still go home with a nice tan. Wear sunblock, hat, sit in the shade, etc. You'll still get plenty of sun just swimming in the ocean and walking around the resort or on the beach. If you deliberatley lay in the sun, you'll just get burned and it will make you miserable. I wore 70 SPF and have a great golden tan.
Our favorite drink: Ting and vodka. I also tried the hummingbird and it was pretty yummy but more of a dessert. You can also take a cab just down the road (or walk if you don't mind the road traffic and heat) to a place called Best in the West for some great jerk chicken (across from Coco La Palm). A little further down on the left is a place called Selena's where you can buy fresh roasted coffee beans for much less than the stores.
We did the excursion to Black River, YS Falls and Appleton. It was nice, but a little touristy and a long day. The lunch provided (for extra $10 USD) at Black River was terrible. We're glad we got to see more of Jamaica, though.
The staff was so friendly and nice. We said hello to everyone we saw and always got a smile and nice response. Every question was responded to with "yeah, mon" or "no problem, mon" and they meant it!
My husband really enjoyed the scuba diving, the catamaran cruise was also lots of fun. Skip the glass bottom boat and just go snorkeling (it's on the same boat and you get a chance to cool off in the water for while).
If you're reading this, then you're probably like me and do alot of research before planning a trip. All I have to say is that this place is a great choice. Jamaica is a beautiful country full of beautiful people. You won't regret going to CSA!
Glad you had a great time! We left the 31st so I'm sure we saw you as we walked the property! I agree Ting and Vodka was my new go-to! I just wasn't into all the blended drinks this year as I was last year and it probably helped me since I only gained 3 lbs while gone. I had them do the ting and a splash of Citron and it was yummy! Now, to try and re-create at home...
We did the same tour as you last year and yes, it was interesting and nice to see the countryside but the Black River tour seemed a bit too long. The pizza lunch we chose was OK but not great.
I'll have to remember your advice about sun because I burnt my shoulders something terrible the first couple days we were there. lol
Great review! I am glad that u both had a great time. I agree, if u read this MB sometimes u will loose your mind. Second guess your vacation to death. I just decided to go no matter what anyone else says. I have to experience Couples for myself. The things that other people dislike, I may not dislike. I appreciate your honest opinion. THANK YOU!!!!!
Great review. We sound eerily similar to each other, LOL. Anyway, we are going back at the end of June with some friends. Your review is almost our exact experience from November 2009. While we LOVED CSA and just Couples in general, I'm always nervous taking new people somewhere because you never know how other people will react to things. Anyway, very well said. Thanks!!
Another review about CSA and yet again another mention to the palapa being locked up. Does anyone who is on this board ever get to use one or is there some secret society that locks them up. Seriously every review is the same. Given CSA is noted for it beach i would expect couples management to offer some resolution including the umbrella suggestion by the OP
Can any of the long time vets offer some insight ?