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  1. #1

    Default Best place to buy souvenirs at CTI?

    I've read horror stories about shopping at Duns River Falls and on the shopping trips, so where would you recommend buying good quality authentic souvenirs while at CTI? We don't want to be bombarded by overly pushy sellers or end up buying something that says "made in china" on the bottom! Is there a more pleasant place/way to shop? 66 days and counting!

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    The resort invites some local vendors onto the property and they have beautiful items! I did my shopping with those vendors and didn't run into any made in China signs....

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    Yes after reaching to the top of the falls and walking back to your bus transfer, you will be directed to go through the gauntlet of vendors. Yes it's probably true you heard or read of horror stories from others about the vendor's at Dunn's and most likely the people who wrote or told these stories just did NOT know how to deal with the vendors. The Couples rep or bus driver is going to pre warn you before leaving the bus and give you tips and advise you...NOTHING IS FREE-remember that! When they put a bracelet on your wife's wrist and say it's free.. know it's NOT and they will expect you to buy. If they try to sell something that they can carve on- make sure you stop them when they ask your name and start carving your name on it-(this way so you don't feel bad if you don't buy it -which happens to a lot of people because they feel bad BUT if you told them NO & they still continued, do not feel obligated to buy. Be firm and confident and they will respect you but also if you are wishy washy or unsure when you are engaging them, you can turn into their prey-(LOL) If you do see something you want.......know The first price they tell you can be countered with at least 2-3 lower counteroffers -do NOT accept the first price they tell you. Even after the 2nd or 3rd price and they are not willing to budge, say "Ok let me look around so more" they will more than likely take what you want to pay then to lose the sale. I won't say for certain nothing is from China or imported but willing to bet most of the hand crafted items are local. I would say things like key chains, shot glasses things like that I would question or take a 2nd look to see if they are locally made or imported.

    Yes there is souvenir shop on site at Couples and of course you can buy stuff at the airport when you fly home but you will pay double/triple than buying from the local vendors. If it's coffee you want , I would stick with brick and mortar type store-( in this case do buy it at Couples gift shop or at the Airport) to ensure you are not getting fake or imitation blue mountain coffee. I do believe all the Couples resorts offer some sort of local shopping trip-check with guest services when you arrive if you want to do that. Those places may or may not also have high pressure sales environment but willing to gamble not as bad as Dunn's- just follow the same tips described going through the Dunn's River vendors.

    One other tip regarding the Dunn's excursion-the guides and their camera man will capture you and everyone in your group's trek up the falls and offer to sell you video at the end for I believe $40.00-(might be more). Your guide will also expect a tip at the end too-FYI. Of course no obligation to buy the video but if you are on a budget and are with friends or other couples on the same bus and talk with them, you can split cost of one DVD as what we did with another couple. They brought DVD home made a copy and shipped to us. Worked out great for half the cost. So again, if you are with more couples and all decide to do that, of course would be even cheaper if you all are splitting the cost.

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    Thank for all the info! It really helps! I kind of like the idea of buying from the local vendors.

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    There was also a trip you can take into a nearby town specifically for shopping from the resort. That's where we got ours.

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    We go ever year so we are over souvenir shopping but honestly there is a huge assortment of local stuff at the airport shops and you have hours to kill until your flight anyway. We always pick up stuff there.

    Amy

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    We generally buy from one of the vendors that CTI allow to set up on the walk that runs along the beach. Various venders are there each day and are very reasonable with their pricing and are not pushy at all when trying to sell and they will hold your item until you return to pay them.

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    We've bought handmade bracelets and wood carvings at the resort from the resort vendors.
    Vicky

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    One add-on to what VandA stated about the Dunn's River DVD...remember that you're in Jamaica. Don't just agree to the first price thrown out (this goes for shopping with vendors also). When we did Dunn's a few years ago they wanted to charge $40 for the DVD of our group. He rejected another couple's offer of $20 (they were disappointed and the wife wanted to offer $30) so I said we'd get one if he'd go $20 for anyone on the bus. 2-3 other couples chimed in on this and it worked (they'd rather make something than nothing). As VandA said...it's best to talk with those on the bus before to see how to drive the price down.

  10. #10

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    The gift shop at the resort, the vendors that are by the beach each day,or the vendors around the pool during the beach party. No need to go off site to shop.

    Nancy
    CTI - 2013
    CN - 2015

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    Thank you for all the replies! This helps a lot. 26 more days!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by slaitila View Post
    Thank you for all the replies! This helps a lot. 26 more days!
    Just another warning.. as I noted previously since we were just there last Wednesday-(Dunn's)... The vendors were relentless due to all the cruise ships travelers there the same day and TWO couples drove to the falls with got roped into buying small wood carvings they really did NOT want since the vendor asked for their name and carved it in a wood carving souvenir & again something they really didn't want BUT felt obligated to get it since they carved their names on it. So just be aware when they approach you- don't ignore them because again that is a sign of disrespect-if nothing you are interested in.. say "No Thank you" they will engage you.. talk about other things, life, where you are from and then start their pitch. Don't say you have money at your bus... that will not deter them and will leave an opening for them and will follow you to the bus-(for real!) if its something you don't want & NOT interested in -be confident and firm. Also as I noted previously about price bargaining... the 2 couples I noted that got stuck with buying the exact same wood carvings that vendor carved their names into.. one couple paid $20 for it and the other got it down to $10. So also again...know you can bargain with these vendors if you like something.

  13. #13

    Default Currency

    Quote Originally Posted by slaitila View Post
    Thank you for all the replies! This helps a lot. 26 more days!
    We will be there next week. Should we bring Jamaican money or do the vendors and resorts accept American money?

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    Do the shops accept American money or should I bring another type of currency?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Elhard View Post
    Do the shops accept American money or should I bring another type of currency?
    U.S currency is accepted-Outside Couples that is.... since Couples is cashless at all their stores and charge items to your room. There might be a few establishments outside couples that may require Jamaican currency but of all our trips, U.S currently was always accepted.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by VandA View Post
    U.S currency is accepted-Outside Couples that is.... since Couples is cashless at all their stores and charge items to your room. There might be a few establishments outside couples that may require Jamaican currency but of all our trips, U.S currently was always accepted.
    It's a good thing you mentioned this... So now I have another question. We plan to use the spa, should we plan to bring our credit/debit card for payment and tips there? I had originally planned to bring cash for that.

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    We bring cash for tips at spa and put spa on our room!

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    Quote Originally Posted by slaitila View Post
    It's a good thing you mentioned this... So now I have another question. We plan to use the spa, should we plan to bring our credit/debit card for payment and tips there? I had originally planned to bring cash for that.
    When we checked in, They put a $300 hold on my debit/credit card so every purchase we made whether at the spa or gift shop or anything else on the resort had been charged to our room # and we settled everything when we checked out. We had cash separately for tips that went to masseuse(s). What I learned this recent vacation, if you have resort credits from your romance rewards or booked a special that came with additional resort credits ... you can also apply those credits in lieu of providing a hold on your credit or debit card.-(At least that is what CSA allowed. Also, I had asked spa if we can use any of our rewarded or earned resort credits toward tips since we had a lot of resort credit remaining and there wasn't really any other items we needed from the gift shop or other extras we cared to use credit for BUT we could NOT apply any of the credits to exchange as a tip for the masseuse - cash separately for tips was needed-so that was about the only time we really had to get our wallet out of the safe during entire stay.

  19. #19

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    We bring cash for tips and our annual Scotche's trip. Everything else we use resort credits.

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