Blue Hole Mineral Spring
Brighton, Westmoreland (only 25 minutes southeast of Negril)
Hours: open every day from 9am until 11pm (or later if guests wish to stay longer)
Blue Hole Mineral Spring sits beneath a cavernous opening in Jamaica’s terrain and is completely encased by Karst limestone. The naturally occurring minerals in the limestone act as an underground filter for the steady upwelling of water, leaving behind a luxuriously pure bath of minerals for guests to enjoy.
Jamaica Estate Tours
876-963-9215 or 876-963-9508, fax 876-963-9218
(or check with your hotel’s tour desk)
Hours: 9-3:30 daily, except Sundays
It’s a beautiful drive from Negril to the Appleton Estate, located on the South Coast. Tours take a look at the distillery and the rum-making process. Visitors enjoy a taste and receive a complimentary sample bottle.
ANANCY FUN PARK
Norman Manley Boulevard
Hours: sunup to sundown
Admission, per ride
Anancy Park welcomes families with an 18-hole miniature golf course, go-kart racetrack, carousel and power wheels for the youngest visitors. Families can also take a WaterSkeeter pontoon paddleboat in the small lake and youngsters can borrow a fishing pole to try their luck in the well-stocked pond.
West End Road
This 100-foot-high lighthouse is open for tours. Just stop by the caretaker’s cottage next door and ask to see it. Bring good walking shoes for the climb; the iron steps are extremely steep. If you’ve got a problem with heights, skip this stop.
Open daily except Monday (closed)
Often part of a guided tour to Black River, YS Falls is well worth a trip of its own. We think these falls are as beautiful as Dunn’s River falls, but without the crowds. The pristine spot retains a quiet atmosphere every day of the week. Bring your bathing suit as well as walking shoes.
MAYFIELD FALLS AND MINERAL SPRING
876-957-9185 or 957-3075
Hours: 9-6 daily
A good tour for nature lovers, this visit includes a guided hike up the river with a stop at a bar and grill along the way. You’ll then continue via a bamboo bridge across a gorge.
Also see Shafston Tours for information about guided excursions to the falls.
On the road to Savannah-La-Mar
These rolling greens feature 18 holes, a clubhouse, bar, restaurant, pro shop and tennis. It’s not one of the island’s top rated courses, but it does have a liquor mobile! Greens fees are $58. Facilities include a clubhouse, restaurant and a pro shop. Par 72; 6,333 yards.
Adventures on Wheels
Rusty’s X-Cellent Adventures was established in 1996 by Americans Rusty Jones and Linda Levy and has been featured on national television as well as a long list of bike and travel magazines. This company has all sorts of Negril area bike tours for adventure travelers, whether you’re a dedicated biker or still discovering those muscles. The company has used old footpaths (as well as cow and goat paths) to create bike trails through the hills and along the coast. Some trips visit cane fields and rivers, others go to caves. The most adventurous tour takes bikes right off the cliffs on Negril’s West End – only for those extreme adventure travelers!
Adventures on Water
Negril is basically one long, seven-mile beach. This is as good as it gets for real beach devotees. The atmosphere here is still much like it has been for the past 30 years: relaxed, laid back and not too developed. Most of the seven miles of sand have been built upon, but the facilities are small, quaint jerk stands, tiny outdoor eateries, and a few guest houses sprinkled among the hotel properties. There’s non-stop action along the beach and vendors can come up to the high water line, but behind this line visitors can relax in peace.
AUTHORS’ TIP: Nude beaches are found at Hedonism II and Grand Lido Negril; both have beach bars and grills.
Several operators offer excursions for deep-sea fishing excursions from Negril.
Best Boat Reef Tour, 876-995-9709
Blue Whale Divers, 876-957-4438
Sea Raider, Our Past Time, 876-957-4224
Wild Thing, Mahogany Inn, 876-957-4401/2
On the West End, cliff diving is something of a local sport and a quick way into the clear water. You can dive, jump or fly out on a rope swing at many places along the cliffs. Be sure to watch the locals, who have perfected their jumps. Keep an eye on your children around here.
The local hotspots to meet divers (and be seen) are Rick’s and the Pickled Parrot. There’s even a waterslide at the Pickled Parrot that hurdles you off the cliff and into midair for a cliff cannonball if you like. Each slide will cost you a dollar.
Negril offers some of the best scuba diving on the island. With its protected waters, this area is one of the best in Jamaica for beginning divers. There’s a wide variety of dive sites to suit all levels, from coral formations to caves to wrecks. Dive sites include :
- The Throne Room. Here you can see through a crack in the reef and view nurse sharks.
- Sands Club, a 40-80-foot dive, is filled with all types of tropical fish.
- Treasure Reef is known for its large coral heads.
- Pete Wreck (a 50-foot tugboat)
- Two wrecked Cessna planes.
Operators offer both day and night dives.
Blue Whale Divers, 876-957-4438
Couples Negril, 876-957-5960
Hedonism II, 876-957-4200
Marine Life Ventures, 876-957-4834
Mariner’s Dive Centre, 876-957-0392
Negril Scuba Centre, 876-957-4425
Sandals Resort, 876-957-5216
Swept Away, 876-957-4061
West Point Watersports, 876-957-5521
Also see Shafston Tours for information about guided diving trips.
Adventures on Horseback
RHODES HALL PLANTATION
876-957-6333 or 6334
Hours: Sunday through Friday
These guided rides travel through banana and coconut groves as well as into the hills and on the beach. Also see Shafston Tours, for information about guided horseback riding excursions.
ROYAL PALM PRESERVE
Located on the southern side of the Great Morass, this preserve protects the wetlands and the royal palms that thrive here. As of now, there are no trails into the preserve; part of it can be seen from the Negril Golf Club.
Negril to Savanna-La-Mar to A2
The coastal town of Bluefields was one of the first founded by the Spanish. Henry Morgan – once a pirate, later a governor – sailed from here over three centuries ago.
Bluefields was once home base of naturalist Philip Gosse. The grounds here are home to what’s said to be Jamaica’s oldest breadfruit tree, brought to the island by old Captain Bligh himself.
Bluefields is also home to the Shaftson Great House, which offers great views. From here, Frank Lohmann conducts Shaftson Tours.
Belmont, next to Bluefields, is best known as the birthplace of Peter Tosh. The late musician is now buried here in a small building manned by devoted fans. For the price of a tip, you can sign a guest book and visit the memorial. Tosh’s tomb lies above ground in the center of the small building, surrounded by photos of him throughout his career.
Negril is home to an excellent sports complex at the Swept Away resort. Tennis (hard court and clay courts), a 25-meter pool, squash, racquetball, and more are available. If you’re not a guest at Swept Away, 876-957-4061 to inquire about purchasing a day pass.
Negril doesn’t offer the extensive shopping of the cruise port cities of Mo Bay or Ocho Rios, but foodies will find some good stops. The Hi-Lo Grocery Store, on West End Road in the Hi-Lo Shopping Centre, is one of our favorites. Stop by to purchase spices, hot sauces and Blue Mountain coffee at prices far lower than you’ll see in the hotel gift shops. While you’re at the shopping mall, walk from shop to shop for a good selection of souvenirs, liquor, local music, cigars and sportswear.
At press time, a new shopping area was opening called Time Square on Norman Manley Boulevard. This mall promises to bring the duty-free shopping that’s formerly been found only in Mo Bay and along the coast from Ochi to Negril. Look for fine jewelry, watches, designer clothing, perfumes, leather goods and more.
Negril is home to the Negril Crafts Market, just off Norman Manley Boulevard as you head south into town. The market isn’t much to look at, just a collection of rickety buildings, but the atmosphere is fun and there are some good crafts to be found if you persevere. We recently bought a very nice woodcarving here for US $12, along with some beaded jewelry starting at $3. The market is much quieter than those in Mo Bay and Ocho Rios, so don’t expect to hide in the masses – you will be spotted and asked (make that requested) to “come look at my things.” Go with the flow, put a smile on your face, and enjoy the experience in good humor.
AUTHORS’ TIP : Bargaining is very much a part of the game; shoot for about half the asked price on most goods.
Negril is known for its nightlife – not the glitzy, dress-up kind, but the funky, barefoot style that’s the essence of Negril. You’ll find that every night, one particular club is the place to be. Throughout the day, you’ll often hear cars with loudspeakers driving up and down Norman Manley Boulevard announcing that night’s show. As you walk through town, notice the neon signs indicating upcoming acts.
AUTHORS’ TIP : We recommend asking your hotel concierge for the best night spots. No concierge? No problem. Just about anyone in Negril can point you to that night’s hot spot. We tested it out recently and everyone, from front desk staff to the taxi drivers, knew the place to be on any given night.
ALFRED’S OCEAN PALACE
Norman Manley Boulevard,
Wear your shorts and t-shirt for Alfred’s, a genuine beach bar. The shows are held outside (actually, there’s not really an inside). The crowd of both locals and tourists fills the beach.
KUYABA BEACH RESTAURANT AND BAR
Norman Manley Boulevard,
This eatery features all types of tropical music early in the evenings.
Norman Manley Boulevard,
Like Alfred’s, Risky Business is another happening reggae joint.
Norman Manley Boulevard,
There’s no hotter place in Negril (or on the island, for that matter) than the disco at Hedonism II. You’ll have to pay a hefty fee for a night pass, which includes all your drinks and food once you’re on property. The disco features an incredible light and sound system and a rotating theme. The most popular night is Tuesday, when it’s PJ night and anything goes: thong bikinis, bondage suits, you name it. The action doesn’t start until after 11 and goes on until the last person staggers out of the disco.