If you make the trip to Jamaica, you’ll likely fly into Montego Bay. This can make for a perfect vacation, but the best beach around lies an hour and change up the road in Negril.
The fabled 7 Mile Beach (actually 4 miles long) has long ranked in the top 10 beaches in the world. It’s a popular destination for couples, international tourists, and spring breakers. Many of the hotels and resorts are spread out, making for tranquil strolls along the beautiful beach. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and cliff jumps are all popular water activities in this Caribbean paradise.
Beaches.. Well, Beach
Unlike small islands with separate beaches, Negril essentially has one long beach, divvied up by resorts and hotels, more than geography. These resorts range from hostels to family friendly spots, to hedonistic couples’ getaways. That last one would be Hedonism II to be precise; swingers, nudity, costumes, kinks, you get the point.. all are welcome there. You can even go for one of their special event nights, even if you’re not committed to the whole shebang.
Take a gander at the in-inhibition:
There are numerous tiki bars in between stretches of open beach. If you decide to go on a long stroll, you may encounter the occasional fence. And if you rise early enough, you might be lucky enough to see the locals tearing through the morning wind on horses.
The Negril Cliffs are great for those looking to get an extra rush when dipping into the ocean. Sidle up to the bar at Rick’s Cafe with some spicy jerk chicken, a festival (that’s a fried fritter of sorts), or some ackee and saltfish, and wash it all down with a Red Stripe, as you watch people jump off the cliff. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon. And after a bucket of brews, you just might find yourself launching into the warm arms of the Caribbean yourself.
But you’d better work on your dance moves first!
Negril has numerous protected Coral Reef systems, all of which are spectacular for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can rent your own gear, charter boats, self-guide, or get guided tours. The large coral reef is 2 miles long, and you’ll need a boat to get there. We love to recommend DIY snorkeling when we can, but you’re best bet is to hop on a boat to check out the good stuff.
Snorkel on, ye Irie traveler:
Get Away Day, Mon
Some find the locals a little pushy on the main beaches of Negril, as they sling their necklaces, carvings, hats, trinkets, and so forth. Not to say you can’t find tranquility, but there are a few options for a less touristy atmosphere, and Booby Cay Island is right up there with the best Negril has to offer. It’s another great snorkeling spot, just a nearby day-trip, and they’ve got some great food on the island as well.
Half Moon Beach is just a short drive from Negril, and is a nice quiet getaway from Negril, if you happen to tire of that gorgeous expanse of white sand. But hey, Half Moon has it’s own secluded, unspoiled charm. You’ll find some great food at Captain Jack’s Pirate Shack, and there’s more quality snorkeling to boot.
If you want to get off the beach for a hot minute, consider touring some of the falls. Jamaica’s lush, green, hilly landscape is as breathtaking as the beaches. There are many renowned falls, with climbing tours, wading pools, craft markets, and photo ops. Check with your hotel or resort for details. Your best bet in Negril is Mayfield Falls. The crowds tend to be smaller than at Dunns, and that should have you relaxing mighty fine as you ascend the rushing waters.
Negril By Night
Reggae is synonymous with Jamaica. You’re likely to hear plenty of Bob Marley (and sons), if not a dash of Peter Tosh ‘legalizing it’ over the beach speakers. But make your way to the clubs of downtown Negril for some live music, as well as modern Jamaican club cuts.
As we mentioned earlier, hedonistic tendencies are certainly not off limits in Negril. It has become a popular spring break spot, and depending on when you book your trip, you’ll be getting a heavy dose of the wild. The relaxed atmosphere of the island really seems to let everyone’s guard down.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it:
It’s important to watch your wallet and your friends, when downtown late night. Don’t let one too many shots of dark rum put you at risk. It’s relatively safe, but pickpocketing does happen from time to time. Also, be careful of what you buy, and from whom, if you’re in search of a little local ‘inspiration,’ that is.