Hello everybody! Hopefully I can provide some info today for those lucky enough to be on their way. One week in Negril is not enough – try to stay longer if you can! Today I will report on our transport, activities and shopping and will try to be brief. We had prearranged for a driver at the airport – 70$ US for the 4 of us plus we gave him a 15$ tip. Our flight was 1/2 hour late and he was still waiting – very grateful. At our request we took the inland road – it was great once you got up and away from Mobay.
Our schedule had to accommodate the kids desire to sunbath so the hours of 10 am to 2 pm were off limits. This is okay as I remember the importance of this! Dave and I did snorkel during this sacred time. We went on one of the glass bottom boats near the Beach Club for 20$ US each for about 2 hours. Instead of going straight out to sea they took us up the beach towards the point and then out to the reef. It was very nice to enjoy this ride – just like the TV commercial! I had been advised by many people to bring my own mask and snorkel. I would strongly recommend this. As I was warned, the gear that came with the trip did not fit well at all but worse, there was no doubt it was clean – the chemical was so strong it burned my eyes. Bring your own – plus the asking price to rent mask, snorkel and fins at Parrot was 5$US per 1/2 hour. Anyway the 2 boys who took us out were very fun and nice. I would guess they might take you for a 1 hr. ride along the beach and back. Also they do sunset cruises around to the cliffs – it looked to me like maybe you could even swim from their boat to then jump from the cliffs at one of the places. These are the boats that say “Glass Bottom Boat” on the side.
Went to Mayfield – it was great. Paid 80$US to our driver who had a nice new van with air conditioning. He was to take us to the market in Sav on the way back (Sat may be the best day for the market, I’m not clear) but we cancelled that at the last minute to catch some more sun time. We left the hotel late at 9:30 and were back on the beach by 2 – we didn’t eat at Mayfield. Our guides at Mayfield -Derrick and Denver – were awesome – we tipped 500J to one and 1000J to the other who tore off his toe retrieving my wallet which was racing down the river! Unbelievable! They seemed very happy with our tips and requested our company that evening at Alfred’s. We gave our driver additional $ as by now we were in love with him. On one’s first trip I believe it would be impossible to rent a car and find Mayfield on your own.
Taxied up to the lighthouse where Sofia took us up. We gave her 200J as recommended by some people up there. Then we walked down the hill scoping out places to jump. Rick’s was fancy, Coral Seas was very charming. It would be a good place to go for breakfast outside, have a morning jump and I bet they would let you swim in the pool. The cliffs at Pickled Parrot were the best/coolest (the bar opens at 10 and I don’t know if you can jump earlier) and I could see the entrance to what I think was Joseph’s Cave. I think they named the restaurant after the owner. Xtabi had a funny vibe – maybe it was too fancy. After all this we never got to jump as the remainder of our stay had choppy seas – jtgogo1 had warned us of the dangers of jumping during choppy seas.
We shopped for groceries at the Hi-Lo. We brought a bunch of staple type stuff with us, which was a good idea. I believe the circle in town is called the roundabout. As you are walking in to town from the beach go to the left where I found the best produce stands. I bought calliloo one day but declined the offer for onions and tomatoes only to find out this is what I needed. I went back to the lady proclaiming my ignorance and she fixed me up a bag of all I needed to make awesome callilou at home – Lydie I am available if you need help!
The kids wanted CD’s – I read on the board the price should be 300J – and also to buy them at Country Side which is in the shopping center with the Hi-Lo. The man would not budge on the prices of 700J and 800J. I can higgle pretty good but got nowhere on this. The next day as we walked to the Hi-Lo from the roundabout we stopped in the Palazina Record Shop. As you go up the road there is a 2-story cinder block bldg with shops on the left. We met Wayne who runs the upstairs shop with his girl Wendy. He explained the price of 300J was for bootlegs – who knows – last year in Mexico we had the same no-higgle experience on CD’s. We very much liked him and would recommend shopping there, as Country Side seems to have more than enuf business. Appleton rum cost 7$US. Mmm!!
We attempted to buy live lobster from the fishermen under the bridge. We went down at 7:30 am to inquire before they went out to empty their traps. They told us no problem – come back at 10:30 – we did but they weren’t back yet – we waited a while but they weren’t back yet – oh well. I’m sure you could also buy fish there.
I walked up the beach road one day, which I really enjoyed – it was interesting to see everything from that side. On the way back along the ocean I had to pass inspection to be allowed to cross the beach at Beaches – what’s up with that!!
Shopped at the craft market – really the only place to shop. One board report was negative about the items available – I was impressed. You will be asked to visit each shop, which I was happy to do – maybe to some people the items look the same but I am an artist and took great joy in shopping for the exact right rooster. I thought the use of dyes to color the wood was really superior. I don’t think I should teach anyone to higgle – it’s a skill you must earn – but I would say you could start at 50% of the asking price. We bought a beautiful walking stick from some young boys on whom I did not have the heart to use my powers! On the other hand the bowl I spotted as my desire was priced at 110$ US on the first day and the next day at 150$ by the boss! I successfully scored my prize for 65$ from a guy who for all his crying had a fat wallet and a fat belly – I felt fine. All prices were in U.S., which was a relief as you’d be in the 1000’s of J’s. It must be strange to come from another country and do the craft market in US dollars.
Okay – my last info regards our trip home. We flew from Negril via Timair on an 8 passenger plane. It was great. Right on time although I had a scare when the Negril office did not have record of our reserv – Mobay office did. 15 minutes plus a beautiful view. One advantage to having 4 of us was no problem reserving a plane – there was one single guy flying with us – you might have a hard time making a reserv for 1 or 2 or at least pay more. We got a better price by paying with cash. In fact if I were going again with only 2 of us I might try to meet people on my US flight down to share the plane ride/fare on the way back. We left Negril at 2:30 – were at the US airways desk by 3 for our 4:55 flight – plenty of time for us. Our flight home was straight thru – a general tip – these days watch out as they can call a flight non-stop and actually that can mean a long layover somewhere with no change of planes. Also US Airways, in a very irritating fashion, tried to pressure us to get on the plane very early which I did not appreciate – if we didn’t have the kids I would have sat right there at the bar until 10 minutes before takeoff. They also could have informed us of the tax we were required to pay at the US Airways desk in Jamaica. In Philly security was so lax my passport was not reviewed and I was not required to turn in my documentation – weird. I wish they would at least check your luggage tags.
I hope this info is helpful. I want to return so bad. I’m sorry we missed you Sienna at 3 Dives – we got there about 6:45. The weather was a little iffy on our trip, which affected our day trip plans. We attempted to reach Solomon once for Mayfield and ended up going with our airport guy – with the weather constantly changing we had to also! We loved our driver very much. It was very nice to have someone so family-oriented also with such a nice roomy van. I liked having connections for drivers before we went down. There are several on this board – I would advise bringing telephone numbers with you. But there are plenty of drivers on the street. One lady on this board was nice enuf to email to me the exact correct info and details on how to do Black River/ YS. If anyone wants this info I can forward her email – we didn’t make it. I also wanted very badly to go to Roaring River and the Blue Hole Gardens. It would have been an easy drive of maybe 40 minutes and I thought good for an overcast day to swim in the caves but I was voted down by the majority of my 3 companions, who think they go on vacation to relax!
So we had a blast – if anyone needs more info please feel free to email me. I can’t imagine a cooler experience. We were not hassled at all by anyone and can only report many wonderful times. Our daughters were very politely asked many times to stay in Jamaica! There seems to be some pressure on the locals not to hassle the tourists. This was appreciated as our daughters are very pretty and somewhat young but hopefully the beach will retain the mixing of all who visit it. And hopefully the Jamaicans will hold onto their property! I was told it was the government that sold the land upon which Burger King sits. Buy a phone card from the desk of your hotel – a 200J card was all we needed – and we had a phone in our apt.
Thanks everybody for your help – Hope I can also be as helpful.
sincerely – j