Published on January 22nd, 2015 | by Alicia Taggio1
A Beginner’s Guide to Negril, Jamaica
Home to 7 Mile Beach, Negril has so much more to offer than merely a beautiful stretch of land. Having been to this area a few times over the years, I’ve discovered some hidden gems, and some of the best places to eat, drink, and truly take in the island life. Whether you’re planning a trip to Jamaica with your partner, friends, or family, Negril has an incredible amount to offer visitors.
How to Get There
The best way to get to Negril is by flying into Montego Bay Airport and taking a transfer to your hotel/resort. Make sure that your vacation package includes a transfer bus to your accommodation because trying to find a taxi or bus upon arrival could get pricey (the drive takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Montego Bay to Negril). I highly recommend buying a Club MoBay Lounge pass on your departure out of Jamaica which allows you to escape the stress and chaos of the security lines and by-passes to a special VIP lineup where you are escorted through customs to a first class lounge with food, drinks, and comfortable seating. Ask any traveler who has experienced it, and most (if not all) will agree it was well worth the money.
Where to Stay
Couples Swept Away
I’ve stayed at this resort twice (once for a destination wedding, and the second time on a vacation) and both experiences were consistent. Situated amongst lush greenery, this resort offers the perfect escape from the ‘city life’ and is the epitome of what island life is all about. From the friendly staff, to their incredible health facilities (yoga classes, tennis courts, pools and spas) this resort won over my heart when I discovered their plant and flower nursery on-site. All of the flowers used throughout the resort for decorations and weddings are grown on site. Oh and if you like cats, you’ll find no shortage of these cuties roaming around the resort.
Rock House Hotel
If you’re looking for the ultimate escape in Negril, it doesn’t get much better than this. This boutique hotel stretches across the cliffs of Pristine Cove and nestled amongst tropical lush gardens. Guests can swim in the sixty foot horizon pool or take the stairs carved into the rock down to the cove for snorkelling on the reef. It also has a pretty epic spa which is also a ‘quiet zone’ and offers the perfect green escape.
Combining a laid-back atmosphere with refined elegance, this Five-Star Diamond Award winning resort offers the ultimate personalized and pampering experience. From unique swim-up river suites with Butler Service and 24-hour room service, to a full service Red Lane spa; to gourmet dining at a choice of 6 restaurants, this legendary hideaway is the ultimate beach resort for two people in love. I recommend having dinner with your partner at Barefoot by the Sea which offers beautiful views, mouth watering dishes, and a relaxing atmosphere.
What to Eat
Many of the spices used in Jamaican dishes were influenced by the Spanish, French and African cultures. If you’re a fan of spicy foods, no doubt you’ll find a wide selection of jerk dishes to whet your appetite. But if you’re not a fan of spice, fret not – there is still plenty of other mouth watering dishes to enjoy including anything made with Ackee (their national fruit) and their seafood.
If you’re looking for a good home cooked meal, Murphy’s West End Restaurant is a hidden gem in Negril. But be sure to make a reservation, or get there early because capacity is very limited and they often have to turn people away.
After chatting with the owners and getting to know a bit of history behind this family business, we were able to witness jerk cooking in a drum grill, and the staff members climb trees to pick Ackee (Jamaica’s national fruit) which would be used in some of their dishes. Their jerk recipe is simply amazing, but they’ll never divulge their secret recipe, so diners must savour it on property.
What to Experience
Whether you prefer to kick back and enjoy the island life, or get out there and experience the adventurous side of Jamaica, there is no shortage of things to do in Negril. Here’s some highlights worth adding to your itinerary:
On the western-most point of the island, you’ll find the infamous Rick’s Cafe which is a bar/restaurant located right on the cliff edge and is known for a good party (at any time of day). Grab a rum punch and watch the sunset over the glistening ocean. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the plunge off one of their many cliff jumps (or watch the locals do it). I got to see ‘Birdman’ jump off one of the highest points and it was absolutely insane!
In the heart of 7 mile beach sits an eco-resort by the name of Bourban Beach which also has some of the the best outdoor live-reggae parties. We had so much fun the first night that we had to return again a second time before leaving Negril. Not only is there a great crowd of people there, but also an outdoor bonfire, live music, and people dancing barefoot in the sand.
Island Routes Reggae Catamaran Cruise
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend 3 hours of your day, sign up for an Island Routes Catamaran cruise which will take you out snorkeling in Doctor’s Cave Beach as well as a visit to Margaritaville where you can enjoy a bevie or two, and play like a kid on their water slide and water trampolines. When you return to the boat, it’s like a club on water where everyone participates in lots of dancing, drinking, and more dancing. I remember pulling up to the dock at the end of the tour feeling so sad it was coming to an end. It’s amazing how jammed packed full of fun they were able to squeeze into three hours.
For more information on travelling to Negril, or anywhere else in Jamaica, contact a Flight Centre Travel Expert today by visiting your closest Flight Centre store, connecting with us online, or calling 1-877-967-5302.