>> Negril <<

Introduction

Negril is on the West Coast of Jamaica and one of the islands' most popular tourist destinations. The Negril coastline is split into "The Beach" and "The Cliffs". The beach is 7 miles of powder white sands and turquoise Caribbean water while along West End Road are the Cliffs with their characteristic rocks jutting over the waters edge. The entire area is brimming with hotels, apartments and cottages characterised by the locals and the lush vegetation. Altogether easy on the eye .
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What to See


The Beach
Whether it is baking in the sun, lazing under a coconut tree or simply taking a stroll, the beach is obviously a must see. As each part of the beach usually "belongs" to the adjacent restaurant/hotel or bar, check if you can sit on one of their sun loungers. As long as the area is not reserved for hotel guests it is normally fine as long as you show your gratitude by buying a drink or having a bite to eat.

The Cliffs
The cliffs are wonderful if you fancy a day away from the beach and are recommended for anyone who wants to snorkel as the sea life around the rocks are a must see. Once again hotels have claimed the cliffs as the views are spectacular. The same principles apply as a visit to the beach. It is always best too if you check in at the front desk as a day visitor if you wish to visit one the hotels and use their amenities for a day.

The Sunset
Sunset in Negril
Some of the best that you are ever likely to see. The sun goes down at around 18:30 each evening and is a great way to wind down admiring the heavenly colors the setting sun displays among the clouds in the sky.

Rick's Café
This is the famous spot for sunsets. Located in the cliffs you can watch the cliff divers perform aerial acrobatics, listen to some live Reggae, have a meal and/or a couple of drinks while the sun gently disappears in the horizon. It was established in 1974 and is still one of the most popular places to visit in Negril.

The Market
The market is located in the centre of the town and is full of local crafts comprising of woodcarvings, jewellery and clothing. Although these crafts can be found everywhere in Negril you may want to visit the market so that you can bargain and weigh up the choices offered.

The Negril Point Lighthouse
This is on the far end of West End Road and is one of the six operating lighthouses on the island.

Montego Bay
This is about a two-hour drive North from Negril (although only about 80 km as the roads are being repaired). Montego bay offers beaches and shopping and is home to one of the International airports of Jamaica.

Ocho Rios
This is also one of Jamaica's hotspots for tourists and is a popular stop over for Cruise Liners. Located East of Montego bay and is about a four-hour drive from Negril and about a two hour drive from Kingston. Ocho Rios is also home to the famous Dunn's River Waterfalls that can be reached by a 600-foot climb where you can see the water cascading straight into the sea.

Black River
A Black River Resident
Approximately two hours away in the town of St Elizabeth (which was the first town in Jamaica to have electricity) you can go on a safari down the Black River. The safari lasts an hour and you are treated to a boat ride through the mangroves and of course crocodiles! No swimming of course.

YS Waterfalls
The YS Falls

Bamboo Alley
After your safari drive for another 30 minutes or so and visit the YS falls. You are taken on a tractor through a forest where the grounds are immaculate and is the perfect setting for a picnic. (Drinks can be bought near the falls but you may prefer to take a picnic basket along) The falls are comprised of eight tiers and are magnificent. Be sure to take your swimming costume so that you can take a dip in the water.

Kingston and the Blue Mountains
Kingston is the capital of Jamaica and home to the museum of the legendary Bob Marley. It is also not far from the Blue Mountains where the famous coffee beans are grown. It will take about five hours to reach Kingston and another hour or two more to reach the Blue Mountains from Negril. It is recommended that you join a tour group to ensure that you are safe and that you see what you have set out to see.


What to Do


Go on a guided tour
There are many tours run by acclaimed tour groups to ensure that you see all that Jamaica has to offer. These range from a Sunset Cruise, a South Coast tour (including all drinks, lunch, the YS falls and Black River Safari), a tour of the Appleton Rum factories, a tour to Ocho Rios and the Dunn's River falls, a trip to Kingston and the Blue Mountains and the list goes on . It is possible to arrange a "personal" tour with a taxi driver but remember that you need to pay your own entrance fees and it may end up costing you more than an organised tour.

Bargain and be tough
One of the first things that you will notice when you step out of the airport is that every local can offer you anything. From water sports which include jet skis, parasailing, glass bottom boat rides and catamaran trips to tours, crafts, aloe vera rubs and plants for sun burn, hair braiding, food and the list goes on. Be sure to set a price before you buy or agree to anything or just say "no thank you" and mean it. A tip: hitch up with a local that you feel you can trust - he/she will look after you and the rest will inevitably leave you alone.

Go on a horse ride
Jamaican Horse Riding
From beginner to advanced. We recommend Country & Western - they offer a pick up and drop off service, a two hour ride- the highlight being bareback riding into the sea - and fresh jelly coconut. A great way to see plantations and get in touch with nature.

Go snorkelling
Skipper on the way to the reef
Do this off the cliffs but be sure to take at least one trip by boat to the Reef off the beachfront. The fish are in abundance and it is suitable for anyone willing to try. If you want to have the fish follow you around, bring some bread with you.

Go diving
The warm Caribbean waters are ideal for scuba diving. You can go on one of the many cliff dives offered by dive operators located on the cliffs or go on a boat dive from the beach. The reefs are in good state and the sea life is abundant. We recommend Marine Life Divers with their offices at the Drumville Cove Resort. For more information on diving in Negril, see our page on Negril scuba diving.

Beach parties
There is one on each night in Negril - choose from Alfred's, De Buss, Risky Business. Check them out first as each one offers at least one special gig per week. There also one nightclub in Negril called The Jungle (Thursday nights is ladies night - free entrance for the girls...)

Rent-a-Dread
This one is for the ladies who enjoy the big Jamaican "bamboo". Many ladies, especially the older type return to Jamaica to Rent-a-Dread or get together with their favourite local gigolo. There are plenty of the local boys looking to give a lady a good time but do be careful and discreet about it. We do not endorse this activity just accept that it goes on. Be safe.


What to Eat


Ackee and Saltfish
Jamaica's national dish. Made with ackee, the Jamaican national fruit, saltfish and various vegetables, this dish is eaten for breakfast, is delicious and will keep you going for the day.

Jerk
This is a type of marinade or seasoning used - try jerk pork, beef, chicken and fish. It can be spicy or not. It is up to you - in Jamaica it is "No Problem".

Seafood
Lobster, shrimp, Conch and of course snapper made in a deliciously Jamaican way by adding vegetables which could be described as "stir fried" and onion and of course their secret sauces.

Fruit
Coconuts, Paw Paw (papaya), bananas, mangoes and pineapples are all in abundance.

Breadfruit
A type of fruit that is roasted and accompanies a meal - a rough texture and delicious.

Coconut bread and Patties
These are light meals - the bread is doughy and fried in coconut oil. The patties can be compared to pasties or pies and contain anything from vegetables to meat and seafood. You choose.

Curried goat
Spicy with lots of bone - can be compared to lamb, mutton or beef.

Rice 'n Peas
Rice with red kidney beans - an accompaniment to most main meals.

To drink (Non alcoholic)
Fruit and vegetable juice as thick as a milkshake, blue mountain coffee and hot chocolate, coconut water, ginger beer and Ting - (a grapefruit soft drink) The tap water is also safe to drink.

Alcoholic
Appleton's Rum with coke or rum punch, cocktails of any sort and of course Red Stripe beer!


Where to Sleep


Hotels
You can find excellent hotels in Negril and Jamaica. Many of the main hotel sites will have listings for you in Negril. Find Hotels.

Hostels and budget accommodation
There are some ostels around town. Prices vary from hostel to hostel but are generally affordable.

Rockhouse
The Rockhouse pool

The bay around the Rockhouse
This upmarket hotel located on the cliffs, with ideal thatched roof rooms set apart from one another by lush vegetation surrounded by the sea, a stunning swimming pool on the edge of the cliffs and a superb restaurant is ideal for travellers not worried about money looking for glamour . need we say more?

Xtabi
The water at Xtabi
This mid-priced hotel located near the Rockhouse, has a similar setting at a lower price. Amenities include a pool, restaurant and good cliff diving opportunities. In our opinion it is one of the nicest hotels in Negril. It's a nice place to spend the day enjoying the sun and if you like snorkeling, the Xtabi bay is nice. You can find out more on Xtabi at www.xtabi-negril.com

Summerset Village
Towards the lower end of the pricing spectrum, Summerset Village has a pool, restaurant, friendly staff and a bus running from the hotel to the beach on a daily basis. The 10-acre grounds have a variety of fruit trees to inspect and possibly have a taste from when ripe.

Drumville Cove
A quiet, affordably priced hotel on the cliffs with a small pool, friendly staff and Marine Life divers diving operator on the grounds. A wonderful setting to enjoy the sunset if you are tired of all the people at other venues.

Coral View
Built and managed by lifetime Negril resident Alvin Weise and his wife, it is right next to the Rockhouse and very affordable. The rooms are rustic and basic and situated on the water's edge. The owners also run a restaurant and are willing to negotiate on the price of a room. Their telephone number is (876) 957-4498.


How to Move


Airport
There are major airports in Kingston and Montego as well as smaller ones in Negril and other locations around the country.

Local Transport
The roads are bad and you may be taken advantage of as a tourist but if you want to rent a car or hire a moped, feel free to do so.

Beach Shuttle
Margaritaville - bar and restaurant on the beach - offers a free shuttle to and from the cliffs to beach each day. There are usually two daily pickups in the morning and an afternoon journey to return you to your hotel. Ask you hotel reception for more info on exact times.

Taxis
Walk on the road and there will be a taxi or ten in the nearby vicinity. Set a price before you climb in. A trip from the cliffs to the beach should not cost you a fortune, it only takes about 5 minutes depending on where you are in the cliffs.

Car
Not for the faint hearted. Jamaicans drive fast and aggressively so be careful if you decide to rent a car. The majority of main roads are in decent repair but most are also still under construction. Smaller roads are in poor condition and though distances are short, your journey is likely to take considerably longer than you may have estimated.


Locals


Diverse
The various Jamaican personalities you will encounter are diverse. Most Jamaicans have a laidback attitude towards life and certainly won't rush around. They are for the most part very friendly and will welcome you to their beautiful country. It is common practice to greet everyone you pass on the street even if you have never met them before.

Beware of the local mafia trying to sell you the overly present drugs. Don't be surprised to be offered Ganja, cocaine, crack and any other drug you can think of. A polite "no thank you" will usually do and the pusher will turn to find his next customer.

Language
English and Patois. Although English is the official language, almost all Jamaicans speak Patois amongst themselves. This is a mixture of old English, Spanish and old African languages. It is quite hard to understand at first but after a week or so, visitors may begin to catch the general meaning of conversations.

Time Zone
Eastern Standard Time (EST) or GMT -5 in the winter months and -6 in the summer months as Jamaica does not observe daylight savings practices.

Currency
Jamaican Dollar, commonly referred to as "J". US dollars are widely accepted but be sure to change into the local currency as the exchange offered varies greatly from place to place and you will often receive a poor rate.





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