by Sasha Brown
Negril, 1 hour and 13 minutes west of Montego Bay, is the jewel of Jamaica’s crazy in the sun vacation destinations. Upon arriving you will be swept off your feet with the laid back, peaceful vibe that radiates from the city. Not to mention falling head over heels for the impressive “7 Mile Beach” with white sand so soft it feels like you are walking on a cloud. Clear, calm waters cover a beautiful and protected Coral reef and Negril boasts having one of the most captivating sunsets as well as a lively reggae music scene. Tourism is Negril’s largest industry and source of income. However, despite rapid expansion in the last few years, Negril wasn’t always a number one destination. In fact, it was not until the last 60’s that Negril’s natural charms began to be appreciated. The first people to discover the charm were what we refer to as the “Hippies and Flower Children.” They reveled in the laid-back lifestyle and the sparsely populated area. But a treasure like this could not stay hidden for long. The flower power movement was eventually joined by the modern day and the eighties saw an influx of business men, lawyers, and doctors seeking a respite from their hectic lives. Today the area is divided between two distinct personalities. The west end hosts a vibrant bohemian atmosphere with little locally owned guesthouses and hotels where you can find traditional Jamaican food. The east end is more modern day hosting a variety of largely known resorts and attractions. “Your body has suddenly arrived where your mind has always been” –Richard Hershman original owner of local Negril restaurant Rick’s Café. #
Today the residents of Negril boast of their uniqueness and radiate pride in their city. Negril is gifted with two iridescent beaches. Bloody Bay is one of Negril’s most popular and breathtaking beaches. With a name shrouded in mystery this once secluded beach is now lined with high end resorts and shopping centers. Here you can take fairly priced guided snorkeling adventures or maybe relax in the waters for a while. Bloody Bay is still regarded as a more secluded area in tourism. Unlike its brother beach, Long Bay, or the “Seven Mile Beach” as it is more popularly referred to is no stranger to the hustle and bustle of tourist life. Long Bay is the life of the party, bursting with hotels, restaurants, and numerous other tourist attractions. If you are done with the beach you can take the roads out towards the West End, where all the attractions cling to the cliff’s edge. Here there is no beaches only white sand gleaming from the gorgeous sea bed. Nature has provided breathtaking caves to explore and cliff diving for the adventurous adrenaline junkie.
Blue Hole Mineral Spring
￼ Blue Hole Mineral Spring is a hidden gem located about 25 minutes from Negril outside of a small town called Brighton. The spring is hidden beneath a hollow opening and is sheathed in karst limestone formations. The limestone acts as a natural underground filter creating a mineral bath for tourist to enjoy. The spring has many tours and a man-made pool alongside the springs. The locals are known for their friendliness and it is a prime spot to sample authentic Caribbean jerk chicken.
Royal Palm Reserve￼
The Royal Palm Reserve is one of the largest Eco-tourism spots in Jamaica. The reserve is a 300 acre expanse inside the protected Negril Great Morass. That boasts a variety of different plant life and animal species. The Royal Palm Reserve is the model place for the nature lover in you. You can enjoy relaxing nature walks and tour the museum on location. Also the reserve boasts a half mile boardwalk surrounded by the tropical foliage, leading up to Cotton Tree Lake where fishing is permitted. Also you will find a 30 foot tower that overlooks the reserve.
One Love Reggae Concert Series￼
A different headliner ever Tuesday night, One Love Reggae Concert Series has cemented itself as an established attraction. It boasts a rare opportunity to truly experience reggae music and experience the beauty of the Jamaican music culture. It is a rich offering of a true Jamaican pleasure, where you can let your hair fly, and carry your worries away.