Just around the bend from more touristy Montego Bay—only about 90 minutes south of the airport and far enough away to forget completely about casino encrusted avenues—is “Seven Mile Beach.” Seven miles of sparkling turquoise bathwater and fine-grained sand that shimmers like diamond powder are just two reasons why this beach is touted the best on the island. Islands like Jamaica are visited for the sun, surf and sand, but once you peel some layers from the veneer you will find that there is much more to the area than Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and overpriced jet ski excursions.
What to do:
Stay: Saddle up at “Sandals,” “Breezes,” or “Couples” if all-inclusive resorts are your speed. If not, select one of the many boutique hotels spanning Seven Mile Beach for a more authentic stay. We suggest: The Palms Resort, Negril.
Relax and enjoy: Read books that have been collecting dust on your night stand for months. Play gin rummy under an umbrella. Shop for trinkets. Watch beachgoers. Swim. Throw a Frisbee. Drink freshly pressed juices, drink a Red Stripe. Dance and sing along with beachside songs. Life’s a beach right? Enjoy it.
Explore: Get off the beach and explore the real Jamaica for at least one day. It will lend an entirely different perspective to your stay.
- Visit YS Falls to swim in refreshing inland water and zipline over a tier of five waterfalls. Stop on your way and enjoy some habanero or jerk peel n’ eat shrimp on the side of the road.
- Watch local cliff diver’s catapult from handstands into the surf below at Rick’s Cafe.
- Eat goat at Sweet Spice – a local eatery not frequented by tourists.
- Visit the farms. Journey to the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee plantations on the east side of the island.
Get around: Opt for a driver – someone recommended by your hotel and known by other guests. This will save you money and allow you to enjoy the island in a more intimate way. You will almost certainly meet more local people traveling this way.
Safety: There is discrepancy of whether or not Negril is safe. Locals say that hotel personnel spreads the word of danger as a scare tactic to keep guests at their establishments, rather than walking to other bars on the beach. Others will say that there are vagabonds hiding on the beaches ready to rob you. Probably a little bit of both is true. As always when traveling, staying safe often relies on using your best judgment and trusting your gut.
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