So much has already been said about Negril, but for those coming for the Reggae Marathon for the first time, or for those who don’t know Negril well, this post’s for you. I figured that it’s always useful to have a local’s insight into the “must do” things in a new town. So, for those Negril newbies out there, here’s my list of the top five things to do in Negril.
To begin with, for us Jamaicans, Negril has always had this “other wordly” vibe– a visit to Negril for the weekend was like leaving Jamaica and heading off to a distant place with a unique feel and carefree scent in the air. To quote, Richard Hershman, the original owner of Rick’s Café, it was like “your body suddenly arriving where your mind has always been”.
A little history- up until the 1970’s Negril was not much more than a spectacular seven mile beach, a lighthouse, lots of crabs, and some hippies who came seeking the low key lifestyle. There were no hotels, in fact there was little accommodation of any sort.
Today, though Negril is one of Jamaica’s best known resort towns, it still maintains its relaxed low density feel. There are lots of hotels and guesthouses, though none thankfully more than two stories high. Negril is essentially divided into two areas: the beach and the cliffs, also called the West End. The seven mile beach is dotted with hotels, guest houses, bars, and waters sports. The West End, which has no real beach, follows a winding main road along rocky cliffs and also has myriad small hotels, guest houses, restaurants and bars.
So, finally, here’s my list of the top five must do things in Negril (along with running in the Reggae Marathon of course):
- Watch the sunset.While sunset watching at Rick’s Café is what’s most often promoted, Negril’s famous sunset can be viewed from pretty much anywhere along the beach or the cliffs. But I do think there is something special about sitting ciffside, sipping a cold Red Stripe or rum, and taking in the spectacular colours of our Jamaican sunset.
- Jump of the cliffs at Rick’s(or be a spectator as I prefer). The cliff diving from Rick’s Café is a pretty amazing sight to see. What started off as simply jumping from Rick’s natural cliff formations (about 70 metres high) has evolved into the local divers finding even higher heights to plummet from, to entertain the onlookers as well as to collect tips. Pretty much anyone can participate in the cliff diving, but be warned it’s not for the faint hearted (there are also a variety of height options to choose from).
- Eat dinner at Rock House.Rock House is an über-chic boutique hotel on the cliffs, known for their overall hip design, great food, cool restaurant setting (right on the water above the cliffs), and infinity pool. Dinner on the cliffs followed by a post-dinner stroll to the pool is not to be missed.
- Bar hopping along the beach strip. Negril’s famous seven mile beach is chock full of little bars and restaurants worth checking out. Each place is different with its own unique look/feel and drink specials. Be sure to make friends with the local bartenders, always one’s best friend on vacation, as they’ll always know what’s happening in town.
- Dance the night away at Alfred’s Ocean Palace. Another Negril institution, Alfred’s is a classic beach/restaurant bar spot which features live music most weekends. It can get a bit crowded with all kinds of colorful characters, but worth checking out if you’re jonesing for some night life.
This guest post is courtesy of Karin Wilson Edmonds a Jamaican living and working in Jamaica. She publishes a blog that explores the edge of Jamaican culture, www.yardedge.net
Until next time…
that running guy