Set along the western tip of Jamaica is the beach resort town of Negril. Known for its natural beauty, travelers will live out their day dreams with an insta-worthy landscape awash in crystal clear warm waters and miles of sandy white beaches. One of its most novel features are the sunsets that light up the sky in orange and purple hues.
Accommodation options in Negril range from large all-inclusive resorts, which are typically situated in the north end to smaller boutique properties to the south. The area is replete with activities as well. For a bit of romance, there’s trekking on horseback to the romantic ruins of Whitehall Great House, boat rides to the remote island just off Negril, Booby Cay, where the rare blue-footed booby bird breeds and scenes from Walt Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Seawere filmed or an evening stroll along Seven Mile Beach.
“The Negril resort area has welcomed an influx of new developments in the past few years which has made it more appealing to a wider cross-section of visitors,” said Jamaica’s Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook. “This diversity coupled with its unmatched landscape of grotto-lined cliffs and eco-friendly attractions provide an unrivaled experience for travelers seeking an authentic slice of Jamaica.”
For those visitors in search of adventure, there’s sea kayaking, parasailing and mountain biking along the coast. Following is a sampling of places to stay and dine, sites to see and notable events to help make the most of any vacation to Negril, the capital of casual.
WHERE TO STAY
Azul Sensatori Jamaica: Located on Negril’s world famous Seven Mile Beach, Azul Sensatori Jamaica offers 285 ocean view suites, seven pools, nine restaurants and bars and one spa. The property also has supervised programs for kids and teens and a variety of activities on land and in the crystal-clear waters.
The Cliff: A panoramic vista of private tropical gardens, azure waters, coral bluffs and limestone cliffs, nestled on five acres overlooking the Caribbean Sea, this exclusive hotel offers 22 suites and 4 private villas. Small enough to be intimate, yet large enough to provide all the five-star amenities you’d expect from a luxury resort, The Cliff is the perfect place to escape with friends, lovers or family.
Royalton Negril Resort & Spa: Opened in March 2017 after extensive renovations, the property offers 407 luxurious suites equipped with the modern All-In Luxury™ concept featuring an array of world-class amenities including the premium handcrafted DreamBed™, unlimited reservation-free luxury dining, 24/7 concierge service, 'All-In Connectivity™' with complimentary WiFi and in-room long distance calling.
The Caves: One of Island Outpost’s properties, The Caves is an oceanfront sanctuary with 12 exclusive cliff-side accommodations. The resort features a Private Dining Cave, The Blackwell Rum Bar, and a Seaview Aveda Amenity Spa. The Caves blends authentic island charm with laidback luxury and is the ultimate getaway for relaxation, revitalization and pure romance.
Sunset at the Palms Resort: Offering 85 “treehouse-style,” elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites, Sunset at the Palms Resort is an adult only retreat nestled amongst tropical gardens and flowering plants at the edge of Negril. This unique all-inclusive is best described as intimate, chic and serene
WHERE TO EAT
Murphy’s West End Restaurant: This family-run jerk hut is a brightly painted wooden shack located on West End Road. Visitors can enjoy a Red Stripe and swing in hammocks at this roadside restaurant, while the chef serves up authentic jerk chicken and fresh seafood marinated in a special spice blend. Murphy’s also provides tours of the property, showing diners the exotic fruit trees and the drum grill in the back yard.
Pushcart Restaurant & Rum Bar: Located on West End Road, Pushcart offers the full spectrum of the island’s traditional fare, evoking the Jamaican street food experience in a lively, colorful, and music-filled "outdoor kitchen" atmosphere.
Ciao Jamaica: Located on the famous Negril Cliffs' West End Road, Ciao Jamaica offers Caribbean Sea views with a unique fusion of Italian and Jamaican Cuisine. From Rasta Pasta, Jerk Chicken Alfredo and Reggae Lasagna to Shrimp Scampi, Grilled Lobster and Snapper Al Limone, every dish is carefully prepared, not only a feast for the mouth but also the eyes!
Zimbali Retreat (Restaurant): Located in Caanan Mountain in Westmoreland the restaurant at Zimbali Retreat is focused on eating locally grown items combined with cultural experiences. Using the freshest foods, the restaurant specializes in chicken, fish, conch, lobster, vegetarian and vegan options, served in many delightful ways; no red meat is ever served. Reservations are suggested and the restaurant offers round trip transport from anywhere in Negril.
WHAT TO DO
Rick’s Café: Voted by Travel Channel as one of the best bars in the Caribbean, the legendary Rick’s Café is a cliff-side hot spot where visitors can take a plunge into the clear Caribbean waters or partake in Jamaican libations while watching the sunset from the best vantage point on the island.
Blue Hole Mineral Spring: Sitting beneath a cavernous opening in Jamaica’s terrain and completely encased by Karst limestone, Blue Hole Mineral Spring offers visitors a refreshing mineral bath. The naturally occurring minerals in the limestone (known for their therapeutic value) act as an underground filter for the steady upwelling of water, leaving behind a luxuriously pure bath of minerals for guests to enjoy.
Mayfield Falls: Caves, 44 mineral pools and 21 natural Jacuzzis make up Mayfield Falls, located in the heart of Westmoreland. Visitors can walk along one of the longest river in Jamaica, and see a plethora of exotic plants, birds, butterflies and other native wildlife.
Rhodes Hall Plantation: Located just eight miles east of Negril on a private beach, Rhodes Hall Plantation is a magnificent, 500-acre historical Jamaican property. Visitors can tour the plantation on horseback, explore the Crocodile & Mangrove Reserve and end with a swim in the Caribbean Sea.
Dream Weekend (July 28-August 1): This annual music festival attracts thousands of local and overseas visitors to Negril for a series of ten (10) events that are packaged with hospitality, entertainment and transportation. The weekend features non-stop parties, where the spirit of Jamaica “rum” rules in paradise.
Reggae Marathon (December 1, 2018): Now in its 17th year, the Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10K together form Jamaica’s premier international marathon event. Over 1,500 marathon runners, sports enthusiasts and even novice runners gather in Negril, where live reggae bands provide pulsating motivation along the entire course. The IAAF certified race also carries great international appeal, offering visitors an unforgettable experience.
HOW TO GO
Visitors can fly into Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport serviced by most major airlines and can take an hour and half transfer to Negril with a transportation provider such as Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA), Paradise Travels, or Jamaica Co-operative Automobile Limousine Tours (JACAL). Some hotels offer airport transfers.