Negril, located at the western-most tip of Jamaica, spans the parishes of Westmoreland and Hanover. It is believed that the Spanish gave the region its name in 1494 either in reference to the black cliffs located there – the setting for the James Bond film “Thunderball! – or to the many Black Eels found along the coastline. Negril’s beaches are consistently rated among the best in the world. Its natural beauty, which features an almost equal mix of majestic cliffs and welcoming beaches, has made Negril a prime tourist destination since the 1950s. Today, the area is home to nature preserves and many fine resort hotels, shops, and restaurants.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Negril
1) 7-Mile Beach
This legendary beach, located in southern Westmoreland, was once a pirate lair. Today, its white sands and warm clear waters make 7-Mile Beach a top destination for swimmers and sun-worshippers from around the world.
2) Royal Palm Reserve
Comprising 300 acres in the Great Morass, a visit here offers the opportunity to explore the local wetland environment. Visitors can see many species of birds, including the endangered Jamaican Black Parakeet, and other wildlife. The reserve features a nature museum, riverside bar, and a restaurant serving local Jamaican cuisine on the shore of Cotton Tree Lake.
3) Negril Lighthouse
Built in 1874 by a French company, Bubbler & Bernard, the Lighthouse offers dramatic views of the coastline and Negril’s famous cliffs. The lighthouse was one of the first to be built of concrete. Originally powered by gas and acetylene, it was converted to solar power in the mid 1980s. The light is 100 feet above sea level and flashes every two seconds.
4) Rhodes Hall Plantation
The plantation offers horseback riding through groves of banana and coconut groves and into Jamaica’s hill country. Visitors can also participate in a “crocodile watch,” enjoy scuba diving, or go fishing in the plantation’s 500 acres.
5) Mayfield Falls
A visit to this area features the chance to view a working farm, a bamboo village, dozens of waterfalls and swimming in an underwater cave.
6) Dolphin Cove
A major tourist attraction, visitors to Dolphin Cove in Lucea can swim with dolphins in their natural environment. The site features a 20-acre area in which swimmers can enjoy personal encounters interacting with dolphins and other sea life.
The English playwright and actor Noel Coward died in 1973, and his estate, Firefly< ultimately was gifted to Jamaica. The house now serves as a museum, depicting its state as it was in 1965 when Britain’s Queen Mother made a visit there. There are guided tours through the art studio where Coward received instruction in painting from Sir Winston Churchill. Also displayed are photos of Coward and the many celebrities he knew, along with his original paintings.
8) Appleton Estate Rum Tour
A tour through Jamaica’s history and culture is provided at this estate, which is the home of the Appleton run distillery. It has functioned as a distillery since 1749 and offers a firsthand view of the rum production and aging processes.
9) Discovery Falls
This site features a natural, spring-fed lagoon and waterfall and an opportunity to experience the culture of rural Jamaica and its villages. A zip line suspended 40 feet above ground takes visitors on a ride through 1,000 feet of the tree canopy.
10) Cashoo Ostrich Park:
Located on the Black River, this working ostrich farm offers 100 acres of boating, fishing, and walks through a medicinal herb garden. The site combines a nature park with a commercial ostrich farm and features an orchard with some 60 kinds of Jamaican fruit trees and nearly 50 varieties of local herbs, a petting zoo and ostrich tour, and picnicking along the river.