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  1. #1

    Default Last-Minute Questions From A CN Newbie

    We're leaving this Saturday (hooray!) for our first time at CN. I've found the answers to most of my questions by checking out the message boards here - I'm only left with a couple things I'm still not sure about.

    1) How much cash should we consider taking? This would be for tips (i.e. shuttle driver, cat cruise, etc) and any odds and ends (shopping excursion, some rum and coffee to bring back). I prefer not to carry more cash than necessary - any recommendations?

    2) How far in advance do we need to book a couples massage? Are there same-day spots open, or should we head to the spa desk early on?

    Thanks in advance for all your help!
    CN 2011, CSA 2012, CSA 2013 (although not soon enough!)

  2. #2


    Take your credit card. The resorts are all cashless. The only cash you need is for tips and the shopping excursions. DO NOT use you credit card off the resort. Many of us have had ours used witho9ut authorization. Luckily our credit card's fraud department has caught the issues and refused the unauthorized charges. All gift shop purchaces and spa purchaces can be charged to your room or credit card. Off site excursions when booked through the resort must be done with a credit card. You settle your final bill with a credit card. Depending on how much you plan to spend oin the shopping excursions, I'd take about $200. Take small bills because you may get your change back in Jamaican...even at the airport. I bought a $2.50 Coke at the airport with 3US$ and got 50J$ back in change!

    Try to book everything early because you never know. You should be fine booking spa, dinner and water sports the day before, but why take the chance. If you want dinner reservations at a particular time you should book early. The couples massage could probably book the same day, but if you wait until your last day and it is full, you're out of luck. Also, get your coulpes massage out of the way before you get sunburned!
    <font size=2>
    CN 2006, CSS 2009, CN 2009, CN 2010, CTI 2010, CN 2011, CSS 2012, CN 2012, CN 2013, CSA 2014, CN 2014, CSA 2015, CN 2015, CN 2016, CN 2018, CN2019

  3. #3


    Hi! I hope you have a great trip! We went to CN for the first time earlier this month and fell in love with it.

    In regards to cash, it depends on what you want to buy. We brought maybe $100 in cash and didn't expect to want to buy much, but boy were we wrong! There were craft vendors and artists setup on the beach some days and also some nights on the pool deck. We ended up buying some great paintings and a wood carving and wished we had brought more cash to pick up some more things. Most of it is handmade by local artists and is really nice. There is no ATM at the resort so there was no opportunity to get more cash. Next time we go back, I think we'll bring around 150 or 200. Also, you can buy Rum and Coffee at the duty free at the airport, so no cash needed for those. Hope that helps!

  4. #4


    We've never brought more than $350 and always come home with cash.

    Must-haves for tipping: $20 to tip shuttle drivers (we do $10 each way, but some do more, some less), $10 for cat cruise guys, $10-20 each for massage tip, $10 total for baggage handlers, if you use them. Definitely no more than $100 for tipping, depending on what you do. Any excursions booked through the tour desk can go on your credit card. Everything else just depends on your shopping plans.

  5. #5


    I never bring much cash at all. You will be amazed at how much cash you don't need! You can use your credit card to buy rum and coffee and such. You do not need to book massages very far in advance unless you are looking for a particular time. Be excited, be VERY EXCITED!!!

  6. #6


    We brought $250 - $300 with us and didn't spend all of it. It's best to bring lots of small bills - ones, fives, and tens. That way, you won't get change back in Jamaican dollars.
    I don't think you'll have a problem booking the couples massage, but it doesn't hurt to book it soon after your arrival. I read a previous post where it was recommended to get the massage early during your trip before you're sunburned! Love this message board - great advice!

  7. #7


    We carry about $300 cash on us. We figure $100 of it right off the bat is for parasailing, then we break up another $100 for tips for the dirvers, luggage guys, spa staff, etc. Then we have another $100 for anything else. We figure that will be enough because we also have the $300 hold that the resort put on a credit card for gift shop purchases, spa services, etc along with any resort credits. So $300 works for us but depending on what you do you may need more or less. We have been a few times so its a little easier for us to gauge what we will need, so it is kind of hard your first time when your not completely sure what you will do or not do. They used to have an ATM but I dont think they have it anymore. Worse case scenario, there is a cash office upstairs from the main lobby where you can get cash (if its still there), but they are only open certain hours. One year my husband had to get a cab to go to an ATM to get You have a safe in your room too so your money will be secure.
    We have never had an issue making spa reservations. I am not sure if we ever tried to make same day reservations but I know we have made next day ones and we never had a problem. They will get you in.. no worries.

    Couples Ocho Rios 2005/2006
    CSA 2009/2010/2011/
    2012 x2/2013 x2

  8. #8


    Thanks to everyone for the advice! I definitely wouldn't have thought about using small bills to avoid getting Jamaican dollars in change - this is why I love the message boards here.
    Only a couple more days 'till we get to be "home" for the first time!
    CN 2011, CSA 2012, CSA 2013 (although not soon enough!)

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