We all know Jamaica as the laid back island with swaying palms and swinging hips.
Reggae beats fill the warm, sweetly scented air while gentle waves shush softly along the coast.
White sands, turquoise waters, smiling faces and strong rum are all associated with Jamaica but there’s much more to explore on this Caribbean island. Take a glimpse beyond the beach bars and experience Jamaica like a local, you won’t be disappointed…
When I visited Jamaica I was determined to explore the authentic side to the island. I was to see some tourist hotspots and check out some of the more affordable but genuine tourist experiences. Waking up at the beach and engage with the local people. Trying to experience the real Jamaica as the locals do.
Negril lies on the western coast of Jamaica, a mere 90 minutes drive away from Montego Bay and just three hours west of popular Caribbean cruise port Ocho Rios. This laid-back resort town is known as the “capital of casual” for its informal island atmosphere.
Everyone who visits Negril do so to relax on the miles and miles of uninterrupted white-sand beaches, partake in exhilarating and eco-friendly adventures amidst a stunning combination of landscapes, and learn about the intriguing culture of Jamaica. This once sleepy fishing village now offers a number of resorts that suit any budget and accommodates all sorts of tourists.
Here are some Negril Jamaica travel tips to help you plan your itinerary.
Discover Negril, The Beach of Jamaica.
Beaches are the primary draw for visiting Negril. The popular Seven Mile Beach tops the list of most tourists for its fine sand, clear blue waters, and idyllic island atmosphere.
Along the beach, you’ll find many resorts, restaurants, and businesses offering rentals for all sorts of water sports like paddle boarding, jet skiing, and diving. For a quieter beach spot, head east about 15 minutes towards Half Moon Beach. This unique location features a private white sandy beach perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
What to do in Negril?
The Negril Lighthouse has been guarding the seashores of Negril for over 100 years. The French built this concrete structure to serve as a beacon for passing ships. It’s Negril’s most famous landmark and one of the region’s tallest. Climb the 103 steps and get unobstructed views of Negril and the Caribbean. The park surrounding the lighthouse is also a great place to catch the sunset.
Reggae is synonymous to Jamaican culture as jazz is to the South so fans of the musical genre will probably want to pay their respects and visit the tomb of the late musician Winston Hubert McIntosh, aka Peter Tosh, who was tragically murdered in his home in 1987. He was considered a pioneer reggae musician and in 2012 was awarded the Order of Merit for his contributions to musical arts.
Negril is also popular for its soaring seaside cliffs that thrill seekers climb and use as a base for cliff diving. Perhaps the most popular location to watch and join these brave (or perhaps crazy) souls is Rick’s Café, located at the edge of West End Road. The café is also a popular spot to watch the sunset.
For those who prefer to keep their adventures in-land, consider exploring the Royal Palm Reserve. Located within the 300-acre Negril Great Morass, it features over a hundred indigenous plant and animal species that includes the towering Royal Palm and the Jamaican crocodile. There’s also a museum that chronicles the history of the property as well as the information on preservation efforts. Taxis do not venture up the hills of the reserve so look to hire a car for the day.