Negril, Cockpit Country, Sav-la-mar & Lucea

Had a wonderful, inexpensive, active two-week trip in April last year. Tried to avoid the beach/night club scene in E. Negril (missed the high season, so no good acts coming through in late April anyway). Stayed out West End Road toward the lighthouse at the incomparable Tensing Pen. Car (and eventually foot) trip into the Cockpit Country was fascinating. Saw Acompong, Maroon Town, other agricultural towns in the interior. The people we encountered (including a group of giggling schoolgirls who hitched a ride) were unaccustomed to the tourist trade and weren’t hawking anything (a welcome relief after the persistent roadsiders in Negril). Machetes are as common as noses out here and it takes some getting used to (particularly when a helpful banana worker is giving directions and gesturing with in the vicinity of your face!) Visited English gravesites, old Maroon lookout posts around Maroon Town.

Side trip to Lucea for cricket matches was washed out by rain, but managed an impromptu tour of Fort Charlotte from a helpful local. Thank you, Balvin Myrie! Was informed that a Nyabingi was going on in the hills nearby, but that this was not a sacred event at which tourists were not welcome. Fair enough.

Sav-la-mar also recommended for a bustling, urban Jamaican experience sans the tourist trade.

Best vacation I’ve ever had, and will be repeated this year.

Paul Dubuc

Chicago, Illinois