Negril Jamaica is one of my favorite places to visit. The laid-back atmosphere, crystal clear water and powdery sand is paradise for anyone who loves the beach!
Negril is located on the western part of Jamaica. It is divided into two sections. Facing directly west, Negril’s Seven-Mile Beach has been voted many times over as one of the best in the world. Known for its silky white sands, clear turquoise waters, and laid-back vibe, this beach is phenomenal. Sheltered by one of the Caribbean’s great reefs, Negril Bay is always tranquil. And because Jamaica does not have high tides, the beach has gently lapping water and a seamless entry from sand to sea.
The cliffs, located on the west end of Negril, offer a stunning view of the Caribbean. A handful of small hotels are clustered along the cliff-edge. From the road, all you see is the walls behind which they hide, but their resorts are mostly set in tropical greenery peering out to sea.
The beach offers a variety of accommodations including luxurious all-inclusive resorts such as Sandals, Couples and Beaches. These are a great choice for someone looking for pampering and stress-free relaxation. I have stayed at these resorts in the past and they are fabulous.
But there is another way to enjoy Negril, and one that comes with a much cheaper price tag. The seven miles of beach are lined with small, less extravagant hotels. There are advantages to these hotels, the most obvious, cost. Add a few nights at one of these smaller resorts to the cheap airfare and quick flight out of Ft. Lauderdale and you have an affordable long weekend filled with reggae music, cold Red Stripe beer and tropical fruit served, ready to eat, to your beach chair.
We stayed at the Negril Palms Hotel, which is located directly on the beach, the first week of December. This is just before the busier “season” arrives and rates are low. We spent three nights at the Negril Palms for a total of $291.
Yes, the two restaurant servers were moving on island time and the tree frogs were noisy, but for the cost, it was a great deal. The rooms were clean, the beds were comfortable, and the shower was hot. The Palms is centrally located on the beach, with other resorts and restaurants all within walking distance.
Because these smaller resorts have fewer guests, it is a perfect opportunity to meet new people. Whether over a cup of coffee or while lounging under an umbrella, there is no shortage of interesting people with a story to tell or new friends to make.
There is also no shortage of vendors. The Jamaicans love to sell their trinkets (as well as their ganja) to the tourists and the beach is full of vendors selling jewelry, wood carvings, fresh fruit and juices as well as excursions including snorkeling, horseback riding and sunset catamaran trips.
I personally enjoy the vendors. It’s fun to negotiate a price and chat with them. Most of the time I’m not interested, and a simple “No Thanks” will suffice. Many of the Jamaicans in the area depend on tourism for survival and they appreciate and remember when you buy their “art.”
The cliffs of Negril are beautiful in their own way. I have never stayed on the cliffs but the people that I’ve spoken to that have, love it. The view is spectacular, and the resorts are quiet. Most guests who stay on the cliffs take a day trip to the beach where they enjoy the sand and water before returning for sunset.
Xtabi, a resort with quaint cottages and octagon shaped bungalows is perched atop rocky terraces overlooking the sea.
Visitors swim and snorkel around Xtabi Resort’s underwater caves. You don’t have to be a guest to enjoy these caves or the view from the restaurant. You can have lunch at the casual, outdoor restaurant and then make your way down the stairs to explore the cave. Grab some snorkel gear and jump into the deep blue water. When you get tired, there are ladders to climb out. It is a vastly different side of Negril than the calm waters of the beach.
The most famous place to watch the sunset in Negril is Rick’s Café. It was voted one of the “sexiest bars in the Caribbean” Tourists flock here for the overpriced food, amazing views and the opportunity to jump off the cliff into the water below.
Everyone who visits Negril should experience Rick’s Cafe. And if you are brave (or crazy) enough, take the plunge.
After watching the jumpers at Rick’s and enjoying a Red Stripe as the sun set, we walked next door to Ivan’s for dinner.
Our resort provided us with a driver during our stay. I highly recommend this. He was reliable and knew the area well. We received suggestions from a local about where to eat, drink and shop, which was most of our activities. He suggested Ivan’s, which was the perfect place to enjoy dinner overlooking the Caribbean. Ivan’s is located at Catch A Falling Star, a serene resort on the cliffs. We enjoyed a delicious meal with an oceanfront view. It was a perfect ending to the day and a highlight of the trip.
Negril is an ideal destination to unwind and relax. The atmosphere is laid back and moves slowly. Especially if you travel in the off-season. Each time that I visit, I am in awe of the crystal-clear water and powdery white sand. The Jamaicans are friendly and accommodating and make you feel right at home. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the water, from snorkeling and diving to water skiing and sailing, as well as delicious food. It is just the place for a girl’s weekend, a romantic getaway or a solo trip. Ya Mon!!
I’m a freelance writer and photographer living in SW Florida. I have a love of travel and photography. Living in Florida, my backyard is a travel destination with crystal clear water, beautiful beaches, quaint towns, and amazing wildlife. Wander with me…