While it’s true that some parts of Negril in Jamaica are shrouded in sweet-smelling ganga smoke in the best Rastafarian tradition, the reason for the utter relaxation this beach resort town induces is not the herbs but the blissful sunset, the warm water, the pristine sand and the inescapable belief that you have finally, truly woken up in paradise.
Of course, paradise means different things to different people, but Negril has pretty much every taste and attitude covered. Long Bayis the place to hang if you want a wilder nightlife and days spent watching kids hooning past on scooters and ‘Rastas’ blasting reggae from their laptops. For a more laid back vibe, Bloody Bay (don’t be put off by the name) and the West End are where you’ll see the sun swallowed by the sea and know that life is good.
Negril’s Top 10
10. Rhodes Hall Plantation If you’re up for an island hop, this place in nearby Hanover is perfect for superb views and horse-riding.
5. The Jungle With ‘Unleash the Animal’ as its slogan, you’re definitely in for a wild night at this iconic club.
9. Negril Crafts Market With plenty of dirt-cheap goodies, this is the place to pick up all your souvenirs.
4. Negril Cliffs If you’re in a ballsy mood, join the locals and jump off one of the cliffs into the crystal water below.
8. Negril Lighthouse Climb to the top of the town icon for the ultimate photo op.
3. Norman Manley Boulevard Stacks of shops, eateries, bars and markets. Pick up a bargain and down a cocktail.
7. Kool Runnings Experience the thrill of Kickpuppalick at this infamous water park.
2. Martha Brae Go rafting down this river surrounded by lush forest and lots of native critters.
6. Times Square Mall If you’re hanging out for a shopping fix, this dubiously named mall is the place to hit.
1. Seven Mile Beach If you thought this pristine beach was beautiful during the day, wait until the sun sets.
- Xtabi Cliffs – Historic labyrinth of caves in Negril, which served as a den where pirates hid their treasures.
- Negril Lighthouse – A 100-foot structure built over a century ago is used to guide ships to the shores of Negril.
- Roaring River and Cave – This former slave plantation is a great tourist destination for those who want to discover the culture and heritage of Jamaican ancestors.
- Rackham’s Cay –This spot in Port Royal is where the infamous pirates Calico Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny were tried and executed.
- Belvedere Estate – The first sugarcane plantation in Negril that has rivers and waterfalls.
Negril Art & Culture
- Reggae Marathon – Held in Charrela and Jungle Club in Negril in early December to celebrate the reggae culture and music of the Jamaicans.
- Flashpoint Film Festival – A set of shows about Jamaica that are held in a few clubs in Negril in December.
- Negril Crab and Seafood Festival – Popular seafood cultural festival held in Negril every June.
- Ja-Ja Arts Gallery – Studio and art gallery in Negril that depicts various paintings, sculptures, jewellery and artwork from Jamaican artists.
- Gallery Hoffstead – This galleria showcases both international and Jamaican pieces of art.
- Jamaican Arts and Crafts Market – From wood carvings and jewellery to naturally dyed clothing, tourists will find many Jamaican souvenirs here.
- Tajmahal's Duty-Free Stores – The ultimate jewellery store for shoppers in Negril.
- Times Square Plaza – A shopping mall in Negril that offers all the goods that a tourist could possibly have forgotten to carry during his trip.
- Cigar World – This shop in Negril offers a variety of Jamaican cigars, as well as other brands from international markets.
- Negril Crafts Market – This market in Negril is famous for souvenirs, and reggae music fans will find portraits and music of their favourite musicians.
Gay & Lesbian Negril
- Xtabi Hotel – Located above the Xtabi Cliffs in Negril, this award-winning hotel is known to be gay friendly.
- Jungle Night Club – With four bars, a restaurant and three dance floors, this gay-friendly nightclub is a must-visit for every reveller in Negril.
- Hedonism II – A gay-friendly hotel with a nightclub that is especially known for adult-only rules and a free culture.
- Black River Hotel – Gay-friendly beachfront villa hotel that is known for fishing spots and great food.
- Port Antonio – A boutique hotel that is serene and romantic for gays and lesbians.
- Bloody Bay – The famous spot for cliff diving or watching others take the plunge.
- Great Morass – An ecologically diverse swamp area in Negril.
- May Field Falls Excursions – There are a number of tour guides who can show you around the 21 waterfalls and seven natural jacuzzis.
- Negril Yacht Club – Offers tours to various places in Negril, including the famous Bob Marley Museum.
- Rhodes Hall – An experience of a lifetime in which tourists get to ride horseback and enjoy various hills and rivers in Negril.
- Scuba dive with the Negril Scuba Centre.
- Jog along Long Bay beach.
- Run on the beach through Sandal Resorts.
- Sail in Booby Cay, Negril.
- Snorkel in the Rackliff glass boat and experience the rich marine life.
July’s Reggae Sumfest prides itself on bringing the best beats and booze.
ATI Weekend in July/August is one of the buzziest and messiest times of year. Negril’s beaches, bars and eateries transform into massive party venues.
December’s Reggae Marathon is another major event, bringing reggae beats, Rasta drumming and red eyes from around the globe.
When To Go
Thanks to the tropical Jamaican climate, Negril’s average annual temperature is a sizzling 32ºC (90ºF).
Avoid holidaying in October if you don’t fancy the humid drizzle.
Negril’s winters are pretty warm, with winter highs still hovering around 30ºC (86ºF)
There are a bunch of taxi services and they are probably the best way to move around. Look for ones with red plates.
Hiring a car is a popular option, although the roads can be a little tricky to navigate. If you’re inexperienced with narrow, winding streets, stick to the taxis.
Negril is spread out, so unless you can manage a lot of pedal action in the heat, save the cycling for cruising along the beachfront.
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