Negril, 81km west of Montego Bay, is the vortex around which Jamaica’s fun-in-the-sun vacation life whirls. You’ll soon find yourself falling in love with Negril’s insouciance and its scintillating 11km-long beach sliding gently into calm waters reflecting a palette of light blues and greens. Coral reefs lie just offshore, and you’ll want your camera close by to record the consistently peach-colored sunsets that get more applause than the live reggae concerts.
Tourism is Negril’s only industry. But despite phenomenal growth in recent decades, Negril can be as laid-back as anywhere else in Jamaica and there’s an easygoing rapport between visitors and locals.
Once upon a time – in the mid-1970s, to be exact – Negril was still an off-the-beaten-track nirvana to the budget-minded, beach-loving crowd. It was a ‘far-out’ setting where you could drool over sunsets of hallucinogenic intensity that had nothing to do with the ‘magic’ mushrooms that still show up in omelettes and teas.
Negril’s innocence is long gone. The red-eyed hippies have been joined by neatly groomed youths who whiz about on rented motor scooters, often with a local lass or dreadlocked ‘Rent-a-Rasta’ clinging tightly behind. Today the area is roughly divided into two distinct areas with dissimilar personalities. Long Bay and its extended white-sand beach is brash and touristy while the West End, with its small boutique hotels and counterculture credentials, suggests a former flower child who now carries a laptop and platinum credit card.
In spite of Negril’s perhaps predictable evolution from a remote, sensual Eden to a big-money resort, the place remains Jamaica’s best destination for Dionysian revelry. Let your hair down, sample the local pleasures and let Jamaica happen around you.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
(3 star Hotel)
From US$149.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$1200.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$135.71 per night