Tuesday, 6 February 2018

JAMAICA: Negril, The Capital Of Casual Sun Bathers And Reggae Parties

Negril is in Jamaica.

Negril is a small but widely dispersed beach resort town located across parts of two Jamaican parishes, Westmoreland and Hanover.

Negril is about an hour and fifteen minute drive on the coastal highway from Sir Donald Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay.

Westmoreland is the westernmost parish in Jamaica, located on the south side of the island.

Downtown Negril, the West End cliff resorts to the south of downtown, and the southern portion of the so-called seven mile (11 km) beach are in Westmoreland.

The northernmost resorts on the beach are in Hanover Parish. The nearest large town is Savanna-la-Mar, the capital of Westmoreland Parish.

Negril, Jamaica is home to miles of pristine sand beaches, crystal clear waters and dramatic rugged cliffs, a stunning combination of landscapes that cannot be found anywhere else on the island.

The locals have dubbed this city the Capital of Casual for its informal island vibe.

If you are to stay in an all-inclusive resort, you will probably have access to a courtesy van from the airport.

Otherwise, it is easy making your own way from Montego Bay the lobby of the airport hosts two companies operating minibuses to Negril.

The minibus departures are frequent and correspond to flight arrivals. But if you absolutely can't wait to start your tan, taxis await just outside the airport to wisk you to Negril.

The weather is remarkably consistent year-round, highs in the mid-80s, lows in the low-70s F. During the summer, the beach is less-crowded and hotel rates are twenty to forty percent lower than in the winter.

The October hurricane season in the Caribbean typically has a minimal effect on Jamaica.

Negril has a huge assortment of accommodations, ranging from all-inclusive resorts costing several-hundred dollars a day, to guarded campgrounds where you can pitch a tent under the stars.

The pros and cons of the multitude of lodging options are a major topic of conversation among Negril tourists, many of whom continue the discussion virtually at the Internet Negril Message Board.

It is good to have the names of a few hotels in mind, but you don't need to make a decision before arriving in Jamaica.

Even during the busy winter season there are plenty of empty rooms to choose from. The tourist office in the arrivals lobby of the Montego Bay airport before you go through customs can suggest accommodations and can make a reservation for you.

For a typical Jamaican breakfast try fried ackee and saltfish. Ackee is a fruit transplanted from West Africa. Saltfish is, well, a salty fish. The combination tastes better than it sounds.

If you are staying at one of the expansive all inclusives at the northern end of Negril, you will find it very easy to stay within the pampered confines of your resort.

Jamaican culture is friendly and interesting, you will be rewarded if you venture out to meet local residents.

If you are staying at one of Negril's other beachfront hotels, be aware that you will be facing a constant stream of sun bathers during the day and reggae parties at night.

For more secluted quarters consider staying at West End, the inappropriately named area immediately south of Negril beach. The West End is famous for its excellent snorkeling and for its hotels which hug the cliff sides.

The Negril beach is only a 5 minute taxi ride from here.

Consider making a quick trip to Cuba. Several companies in Negril offer two day tours that include air transportation and one night hotel.

Beingee's Negril Jamaica Today lists current events happening in Negril, gives details on some of the accommodations options, and hosts a lively forum.

The Jamaica Tourist Board site is most useful for its accommodations search engine. You can also request brochures online.

The name Negril is a shortened version of Negrillo or Little black ones, as it was originally named by the Spanish in 1494. The name is thought by some to be a reference to the black cliffs south of the village.

Another theory holds that because there was a vast population of black eels along Negril's coast, the Spaniards called the area Anguila Negra which was shortened to Negrillo and then to Negril.

Although Negril has a long history, it did not become well known until the second half of the twentieth century.

Negril's development as a resort location began during the late 1950s, though access to the area proved difficult as ferries were required to drop off passengers in Negril Bay, forcing them to wade to shore.

Most vacationers would rent rooms inside the homes of Jamaican families, or would pitch tents in their yards.

Daniel Connell was the first person to create more traditional vacation lodging for these flower children when he set up the first guest house in Negril,Palm Grove.

The area's welcoming and hospitable reputation grew over time and the first of many resorts was constructed in the mid to late 1960s. The first hotel in Negril was the Yacht Club by Mary's Bay on the West End.

When the road between Montego Bay and Negril was improved in the early 1970s, it helped to increase Negril's status as a new resort location.

It was a two-lane paved road that ran approximately 100 yards (91 m) inland from two white coral sand beaches, at the southern end of which was a small village.

The long paved road from the village ran north to Green Island, home to many of the Jamaican workers in Negril, and was straight enough to double as a runway for small airplanes.

Tis was why there were lengths of railroad track standing on end along the side of the road to discourage drug smugglers from landing on the road to pick up cheap cargos of marijuana.

After Negril's infrastructure was expanded—anticipating the growth of resorts and an expanding population, a small airport, the Negril Aerodrome, was built in 1976 near Rutland Point, alongside several small hotels mostly catering to the North American winter tourists.

Europeans also came to Negril, and several hotels were built to cater directly to those guests.

The geography of Jamaica is diverse. The western coastline contains the island's finest beaches, stretching for more than 6 km (3.7 mi) along a sandbar at Negril.

It is sometimes known among tourists as the 7-Mile Beach although it is only slightly more than 4 mi (6.4 km) in length, from the Negril River on the south to Rutland Point on the north.

On the inland side of Negril's main road, to the east of the shore, lies a swamp called the Great Morass, through which runs the Negril River. Within the Great Morass is the Royal Palm Reserve, with protected wetlands and forest.

In 1990, the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society was formed as a non-profit, non-governmental organization to address ongoing degradation of the coral reef ecosystem.

The Negril Marine Park was officially declared on March 4, 1998 covering a total area of approximately 160 km2 (62 sq mi) and extending from the Davis Cove River in the Parish of Hanover to St. John’s Point in Westmoreland.

Scuba diving and snorkeling are especially good in the protected reef areas.

The West End Road is also known as Lighthouse Road as there is a Belgian engineered lighthouse protecting seafarers from the dramatic cliffs.

There is beautiful scenery on this western tip of Negril, near Negril Lighthouse. You can mingle with locals at beer shacks like Sexy Rexy's and others out West.

For years, Negril's beach has been rated as one of the top ten beaches in the world by many travel magazines.

The beach's length is the stuff of legends, the two bays Bloody Bay to the north, and Long Bay to the south comprise the Seven Mile Beach.

The beach is actually little less than 7 miles in length, with Bloody Bay being around 2 miles, and Long Bay being just under 5 miles.

Bloody Bay is home to the large, all-inclusive resorts, and Long Bay has all-inclusives and smaller, family-run hotels. This combination gives the Negril area a large variety of rooms, services and prices.

South of downtown Negril is West End Road, known as the West End, which is lined with resorts that offer more privacy.

These areas offer easy access to waters good for snorkelling and diving, with jumping points reaching more than 40 feet (12 m) high.

Many vendors and shops are located around the beach resorts; however, they are predominantly located on the south end of the beach, where there are fewer all inclusive resorts.

That Negril is still fairly underdeveloped remains a significant factor in its charm, but this may not last, as a new highway from Montego Bay and an improved infrastructure may bring more tourists.

As a result, more hotels and tour operators continue to develop new attractions and excursions in Negril.

Since the 1980s, it has also become a popular location for U.S. college students to visit during spring break or just a regular vacation in Jamaica.

The last few years have seen major development along the beach.

The resorts include Couples Swept Away, Couples Negril, Sandals, Beaches, Samsara Hotel, Legends Resort, the Grand Lido, Riu Palace Tropical Bay, Riu Club Hotel and Hedonism II.

The Hedonism II resort is one enduring hotel/resort that has been saved from bankruptcy and remains an adult destination.

A franchise of Jimmy Buffett's chain restaurant and bar, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, and a duty-free zone have also been added.

In recent years, a large development has been constructed consisting of ocean front villas, 2 or 3 bed townhouse developments and studio apartments.

This development is known as Little Bay Country Club and is home to some of the wealthiest Jamaican families.

Currently under construction is the huge new Royalton Negril Resort.

The early development of Negril as a resort is featured in Ian Fleming's 1965 novel The Man with the Golden Gun.

One of the schemes of the novel's antagonist Francisco Scaramanga was to open a hotel called the Thunderbird on the beach.

Negril is famous for its 7 miles of cool, white sand beaches and another 7 miles of 40' cliffs.

One of the most beautiful towns in Jamaica, it has a more laid back atmosphere than that of Montego Bay and is more touristy than Ocho Rios.

When you stay at a hotel on the beach you are literally on the beach when you walk out of the beachside of your hotel. You have probably never seen water this clear or warm.

You will be amazed at how far out you can walk in the water before it gets up to your neck. The water is gentler and the sand is whiter smaller grained aka softer the farther down away from town you are.

The end of the beach down by the all-inclusives is the whitest. The region is also known for its foreign janes or female sex tourists who visit.

Fly into the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Take a 60-90 minute shuttle van ride to Negril.

Amstardmc.com A highly recommended Airport transport company and Excursions with more than 20 years of service.

Travel Around Jamaica Tours specializes in providing safe and reliable 1st class private airport transfers from Montego Bay Airport and Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, which includes private transfers to any hotels or villas in Jamaica.

Travel Around Jamaica Tours also provides private transfers to many great Jamaican sightseeing and adventure tours.

Thriller Tours provides airport transfers and shuttles to all locations in Jamaica. If you are looking for a pickup, drop off, or round trip from Montego Bay to Negril or Kingston to Negril they can provide transportation.

PPJTours & Airport Transfers provides Private Airport Transfers including Helicopter transfers from the Montego Bay Airport.

Jamaica Airport Transfers provides private airport transfer for individual and group going to Negril from Montego Bay Airport.

Clive's Transport Service is a great way to get from the airport to Negril, for $20 per person in a nice, air-conditioned van with really positive staff to meet you off the plane, provide you with refreshments & very safe, friendly, accommodating drivers.

Cross Jamaica Tours provides island tours, pick up and transfers from and to Montego Bay and Kingston airports and guaranties a service which will take you from and to airport with minimum fuss and maximum contort.

The professionalism and wide experience of its drivers will make you experience in Jamaica a special one.

Kingsley James of Take Care Tours, is reliable and available for private or group transportation throughout the island, in a clean and comfortable van. Based in the West End, with 20 years experience.

Dudley Warren's Big Ship Tours will take excellent care of you; tours and airport transfer to and from Negril with a/c, cold drinks and great company.

The least expensive way to get around is to hire Route Taxis. There are two types, charter red plate, and red plates route taxis.

Red plate taxis are official and you can bargain with them. Route Taxis, for example, from the Rui Resort on Bloody Bay to downtown Negril will charge about $2 per person. From Rui to Ricks Cafe is about $4 per person.

Be sure to set your price with the driver before you enter their taxi. Current rates seem to be 130 Jamaica dollars along the beachfront road to the roundabout in Negril township.

130 more for any point past this i.e. around the cliffs, you will have to change taxis at the roundabout and catch a different route to the cliffs. Double this if you are catching a route taxi at night.

Non red plate taxis can be anyone owning a car. It is illegal and these drivers are not insured nor licensed to carry passengers.

Some will show their Jamaican tourism ID which is still not official unless their license plate on the car is red. Many drivers will attempt to get you to hire them for tours or just to one location.

Many of them are very expensive, even if you try to negotiate with them. They will double and triple the cost of a route/red plate taxi.

Drivers who are not Route Taxis often charge over $10 per person and will tell you that Route Taxis aren't safe which is not true, it's just a way to get more money from tourists.

In non larger or locally owned hotels, they might have official drivers which still does not mean you will get a good price, these again are non-red plate taxis. Stay away from drivers with white plates.

Rick's Cafe, is known for the cliffside it is built upon, where tourists can take a courageous leap into the Caribbean Sea below.

During Hurricane Ivan, the cafe slid off the cliffside into the sea below, but it has since been rebuilt and is now bigger than ever and has been rated one of the Top Ten Bars in the World, according to some publications.

Rick's Cafe has undergone extensive refurbishing since Hurricane Ivan, and is about the biggest tourist trap in which to view a gorgeous Negril sunset.

Cliff diving is available from a sturdy concrete slab perched high atop the sea cliffs, higher than before.

There, visitors can test their mettle or leave it to the professionals, people have been killed and seriously injured/maimed when cliff jumping including the so-called professionals.

If you do not have experience cliff jumping and want to jump, then jump from the lower jump first to practise and reduce chance of injury. Just remember that if you watch the show, you're expected to tip the professionals.

- Appleton Rum Estate

- Walk the Martha Bray River

- Negril Jamaica Vidia - a visual encyclopedia of Negril

Taking a snorkeling tour in one the glass bottom boats is highly recommended. Watch the famous Negril sunset, it is the sunset to remember .

You can spend American dollars almost anywhere on the island. Most of the roadside stand sellers have a calculator and know the exchange rate.

Although the roadside sellers are quite savy they can be honest to a fault when it comes to bargaining. If you want a better price you can get it. Just try to avoid upsetting the locals by killing their tourist tax.

In touristy areas items will double in price, if you feel that something is expensive, you're probably right.

There are several grocery stores in town with many items such as Jamaican coffee, rum, tea and other local products.

These are typically more reasonable in price. This can also save money in food or alcohol costs while vising Negril.

The tourist crafts market at the edge of town is a great place to pick up souvenirs and nick nacks. The sellers are willing to bargain especially if you want more than one thing. Do not be afraid to bargain.

Just like other touristy Jamaican cities, you can purchase cigars from Jamaica or specifically Cuba. Due to the US trade embargo, it's a popular item sold in gift shops in Negril.

Remembering that Cuban Cigars are illegal to import back to the United States. If you purchase cigars, unless you are an expert, there is a chance you are buying fake cigars with the label added.

These shop owners know that Americans can not have them, so they will offer exorbitant prices. Referencing prices in Europe where it is legal you can pay 3-15$ a cigar, depending on the brand.

You should do your research beforehand, and if possible bring someone who knows cigars. Just because an item is in a Cuban Cigar box, it doesn't mean they are authentic.

Try eating Sugar Cane, Coconut Jelly/Meat, and Jerk Chicken.

Quality's Sea Breeze Restaurant, Top of the cliffs, across and down a little from Canoe. Best seafood hands down. Great little place, Quality's seafood is the best, and prices are very reasonable.

Guinep Corner (West Land Mountain), West land Mountain Road, just by the famous Guinep Trees. early am till late.

Local food at a local Jamaican bar, cooked & served by Jamaican couple Janice & Rasta Martell. From pieces of fresh fried fish and chicken to full breakfasts of Ackee & Saltfish or dinners of goat curry and other Jamaican dishes.

Ambiance is truly Jamaica, with domino games, great music, Jamaica TV and wonderful street life. Very local, Jamaican street life at its best set in a really friendly community with strictly no harrassment & total enjoyment. 400JMD.

Eddie's De Bar and Grill Jerk chicken plus all the traditional Jamaican dishes, goat, fish and lobster. The bar has great vibes, excellent music, nightly bonfire; truly a Jamaican yard. Just past The Rockhouse Hotel on the left.

The Rockhouse Hotel. A beautifully set restaurant and hotel on the cliffs. They will collect you for free from your hotel and drive you there.

Three Dives Restaurant an eatery on the west end that is just past Xtabi Resort. Expect jerk chicken, pork, lobster and snapper - all locally sourced.

LTU Restaurant a locally-styled restaurant perched high on the edge of the cliff, just 200 yards from Ricks on the cliff road. The menu offers high quality and a wide range, including vegetarian, and there is a specials board for fresh 'catch of the day' offerings such as Marlin, Kingfish and Mahi mahi.

Royal Kitchen a vegetarian/Ital restaurant on the west end past the M&L Market. $250 J gets you a great combo that usually consists of soy chunks, rice and peas, veggies, plus often stew or ackee.

Sweet Spice Restaurant, most locals will recommend the place and with good reason, the oxtail is great and the lobster is cheaper than at the beach.

Coconut Water - best straight off the tree, just cut open the coconut with a machete and drink,if you're picky, you can use a straw. You can also buy bottled coconut water basically anywhere on the island, but not as good as getting it fresh from the green coconuts. Good for your heart.

Rum Fruit Punch or Red Stripe Beer are Jamaican concoctions. Guinness and Heineken can also be purchased pretty much anywhere that sells alcohol.

The SamSara Hotel also located in the west part of Negril past the rock house has a very nice buy one get one free happy hour from 4-7 every day!

Red Dragon. In Red Ground. World Class Jerk Pork. Locals also refer to it as Ragabones. Monday afternoons is a big time for tourists.

The Jungle Night Club. A night club set on the main road which runs parallel to the 7 mile strip. Plays RnB/Rap/Reggae music. Note that this club is known for its Thursday nights ladies night when all ladies enter free. Very fun spot to be. Admission costs $700J.

Judy House Cottages, West Land Mountain Road off One Love Drive West End Road. This is really living life in a Jamaican community just minutes away from Negril's beautiful beaches, local cook shops, fantastic restaurants.

Two cosy, fully equiped cottages or Sue's One 4 the Road Backpacker Hostel rooms, nestling in the back of Sue's amazing tropical garden. 15 to 75 USD.

Riu Tropical Bay, Norman Manley Boulevard. Victorian-style resort is in Bloody Bay. 416 rooms offer deluxe accommodation, including a mini-bar and liquor dispenser in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

Array of buffet dishes and a la carte options at the resort or take advantage of exchange programnme privileges at the Riu Negril. Live music and Riu's theme shows.

Riu Negril, Norman Manley Boulevard Bloody Bay Beach. 420 deluxe rooms, a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach just minutes away from shopping area and nightlife. The resort offers renowned mini-bar and liquor dispenser, along with a complete programme of daytime activities and nightly entertainment.

Dine at any of the tempting buffets and the a la carte specialty restaurants or enjoy a drink at one of our cosy bars.

The Cliff Hotel, West End Road. The Cliff Hotel, located along the coast in Negril, Jamaica, combines 33 suites and villas to include two one-bedroom villas, a four-bedroom, and a five-bedroom villa. All of our guest rooms offer unhindered views of the Caribbean Sea sunsets.

Rock House, Rockhouse combines natural beauty, strong architectural design, local materials and craftsmanship, excellent service, and a relaxed Jamaican experience. The hotel has an interesting history; when its first room was built in 1972, it was one of the first hotels on Negril's cliffs.

Early guests included Bob Marley, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. In 1994, the property was purchased by a group of Australians.

Beaches. All inclusive family resort.

Hedonism Resorts. All inclusive resort with adults only fare nude resort.

LTU Villas. Large, spacious rooms at reasonable prices. Free WiFi access and cable TV throughout.

Negril Yoga Center. $30-65 USD (double occupancy). Quiet & peaceful collection of small cozy villas. Has daily yoga lessons for $10 USD. Kitchen provides vegetarian fare.

Negril Tree House Resort, Phone: 876-957-4287, [18]. Not an all inclusive but close enough with room service, a bar/restaurant, pool, hot tub, towels for the beach at the front desk, and a free buffet breakfast.

The two bedroom suites at the top of the treehouse-style rooms have a master bedroom with a bide and double sinks in the master bath, a full size fridge, a washer, cooking utensils, dining room table, DVD player with cable in the living room, cable, tv in both bedrooms, remote controlled serious air conditioners and ceiling fans in all rooms.

The cleaning service washes all the dishes and will do your laundry if you are feeling too lazy to use the washing machine. There are also a hammock, and a little hammock-like swing on the private open air covered deck at the entrance to the room. They also have one bedroom suites at ground level.

Great Huts. Ecotourism beach bed and breakfast uniquely composed of treehouses and African Huts. Hostel rooms also available.

Blue Cave Castle, Lighthouse Road. A castle built 50ft above an old pirates cave, on the cliffs. The views are incredible and all of the rooms face the ocean. The rooms are large with a veranda.

The superior rooms have cable TV, CD players, remote control air conditioning, fans, and refrigerators. From $50US, to the huge $120 castle-top penthouse, with its 360 views of Negril.

Moon Dance Cliffs Resort and Spa (Moon Dance Cliffs), West End Road. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12pm. Moon Dance Cliffs is a 22 room boutique hotel with four royal Villas that overlook the Caribbean Sea. The on-site restaurant and bars feature Jamaican and American cuisines.

The spectacular 5,000+ sq ft pool includes waterfalls, islands and bridges. The Resort also features an on-site modern Spa. The Royal Villas range from one to five bedrooms.

Xtabi Hotel, Built on the historic Xtabi cliffs. The labyrinth of caves beneath the hotel have served as hiding places for pirate's treasure and film locations for major motion pictures.

The Xtabi hotel consists of 24 rooms located on the cliffs and in its beautiful gardens. The hotel also has an award-winning restaurant and large open-air bar.

Idle Awhile Beach, Norman Manley Blvd. checkin: 3 p.m.; checkout: 12 p.m.. A beach chic design blends rustic elements and local art with contemporary comforts, seamlessly combining indoor and outdoor living.

Sixteen Caribbean-style suites feature low slung wood beds, large louvered windows, and a private veranda — complete with lounge chairs or hammocks.

Use common sense, especially at night. Negril is generally considered safer than most large American cities.

Jamaicans are very friendly people. In touristy areas though, be aware there are many people who will welcome you, ask you where you're from and offer advice are looking for money.

Especially people who go out of their way to say hello. Many will be willing to walk you to a recommended restaurant or offer to show you around.

These people will always ask for money in return. Even after giving a few dollars, they will even ask for more. Don't be afraid to say no, and to avoid these people from the start.

When walking down the street, people looking for money will look for ways to grab your attention, such as a fist pound or handshake.

Do not be afraid to keep walking, and politely say no thank you. This can get very tedious at times but think similarly to how you will deal with panhandlers in any major city.

When choosing not to stop, you might get some accusations of being racist, "why you in a hurry", "why you being rude" and such. Remember when walking away they are still trying to get your attention, don't take it personally.

There is an official change office at the roundabout in Negril. Many locals around it offer a better rate than the office, but they will scam you.

After you agree with them for a better rate, they will bring you to the ATM booth next to the change office. At first, they will hand over you the money.

After you counted, you'd realize it is less than you expected. When you tell this to them, they will ask you to give the money back, they recount in front of you and add the missing amount, but at the same time, they may reme some banknotes,generally 1 or 2 banknotes. Don't change money at them, you'll end up scammed.

It is illegal to buy and/or use drugs in Jamaica. Commonly, you may be offered marijuana 'smoke... smoke?', "the bob Marley" or simply "weed" by the locals. A pleasant no thank you or yes please will usually suffice.

Do not be surprised if you are offered drugs several times throughout your stay. In addition, you might be offered a free amount. Typically if you smile and say no thank you you will have no problems.

A little known fact is that you can walk from the far end of the beach to town in under an hour on the beach if you walk along the beach line to where the trees block the way and then take to the grass along the water.

Just stay on the shore and you will stumble into the tourist market at the edge of town. There are coconuts and sugar cane for sale in the parking lot. It is a great way to avoid the taxi tax and stay off the road,

To see more of the area in and around Negril, with a local flare, requires a tour guide. Tour Guides can be hired relatively cheaply, and will add a lot of life to your exploration of Negril, and Jamaica at large.

To find one, it is easiest to ask for a referral from a tourist spot, like Rick's Cafe. One local favorite is Sexy Rexy, a Rastafarian tourguide, but others can be found as well.

Knutsford Express Buses are becoming more and more popular for means of travel throughout Jamaica.

Knutsford Express offers charter buses form all the major cities to any of the major tourist locations such as Ocho-Rios, Kingston, Negril and Montego Bay.

Fairs are payable on site or on their website ahead of time. Costs depends on the time you book, it's recommended to book ahead of time.

Many hotels offer their own shuttles to and from the airport in Montego Bay. In addition, they will offer tours to local attractions.

Find here:

- Beaches Resorts - Negril

- Sandals Negril

- Little Bay Country Club (LBCC)

- Couples Swept Away

- Couples Negril

- Royalton Negril

Tourism Observer

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