Negril Jamaica: Too much is just enough!

Accomodations and restaurants, activities, craft artists, side trips and personal stories.


Negril Jamaica: Too much is just enough!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by wvbluerock on July 23, 2001

Whether you stay on the beach or on the cliffs, Negril has something for everyone. Many come here for raucous revelry, intoxication, dancing, letting go of inhibitions or simply relaxing on the seven mile beach. We like staying on the cliffs and going to the "beach scene" often. Each time we seem to discover a different facet of this remarkable place. Relax, go snorkeling, take a boat tour, listen to music, dance, eat and be merry at a variety of places and talk to a lot to tourists and locals. Meet the local craftsmen and taxi drivers, and collect great bargains while you make some good friends. Take side trips to the morass, the lighthouse, Mayfield or YS Falls and/or raft the Black River. Go on Appleton's Rum Tour or see Bob Marley's handbuilt house at Little Bay. You can hardly help loving it all!${QuickSuggestions} Stay on the cliffs, for the best room bargains. You can hang out on the beach anywhere for at most the price of a drink, and cliffside hotels are friendly too. See the famous Negril sunset from Pirates Cave or Rick's Cafe. Or swim along the cliffs from Joseph's Cave, Pickled Parrot, Rick's Cafe, Rock Cliff or Rock House. Watch cliff divers, but watch out for them if you are swimming below. Drink rum drinks with fresh juices. Eat lobster and Red Snapper. Go snorkeling and boating. Jet ski or parasail, if you are so inclined. Visit with the woodcarvers. Be flexible, as things do not always go as planned, but usually turn out better than you hope. People will most likely think you are rich, and try to take advantage of you. Some can be verbally aggressive, but are rarely threatening. Be firm but polite in refusing offers. We avoid spring break crowds, but like it in virtually every season. November is our favorite time. May or June are delightful. January and February are rainier and the seas tend to be rougher. Many tourists stay away in peak hurricane season (August until late October). ${BestWay} Take taxis from cliff to beach or vice versa. They cost less if hailed from the street than from your hotel (you should be able to bargain one to under 200J per CAB from the cliffs to any place you like on the beach). Taxis are sometimes hard to get on the cliffs late at night, but you can pick one up from most beach hotels anytime.

Walking is generally pretty safe, but walk with a friend late at night and avoid the shadows.


Xtabi

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by wvbluerock on July 25, 2001

For value, comfort and convenience, Xtabi is my first choice of accomodations in Negril. It offers a perfect blend of professionalism and friendliness. It has a great restaurant, and the bartenders know how to mix a fine drink. It''s quiet and sort of laid back. If you want "party central", this place is probably not for you. But Kaisers'' is just down the street, and is usually rocking well into the night.

I always stay in an upstairs garden room, overlooking the gardens. I like #15, near the swimming pool. Rooms are spacious, with king sized bed, air conditioning and overhead fan; and winter rates are only $60 per night. The cathedral ceiling and nice furnishings are also a plus.

The villas are also very nice, but more pricey. They overlook the sea, and are quite large (see picture). Each has private access to the reef and caves, and attractive natural plantings on stone paths to the restaurant.

I love to go down to the caves in the morning and snorkel from there to the cliffside reef a few feet away. Sometimes I swim next to the cliffs and get out at Moonlight Villas or Pee Wee''s bar, a couple of hundred yards away. 3 Dives restaurant, next door, serves terrific and economical jerk chicken, if you get tired of the fine, but slightly expensive cuisine at Xtabi. It''s within safe walking distance to several craft shops and local restaurants and bars, and a taxi ride to the beach only takes a few minutes.

Staff are friendly and can meet any need. It has a freshwater pool which is always open, and is a great place to meet fellow travelers.

Xtabi
Norman Maney Blvd - West End (Cliffs)
Negril, Jamaica

Footeprints

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by wvbluerock on July 25, 2001

We were a little disappointed in this family run hotel, but liked the family that ran it. Rooms were moderate size. Furnishings were old and a little beaten up, and they took a couple of days to repair the toilet that backed up and flooded the bathroom. The bar played loud, "gangsta" rap music until early morning, and the management could not be reached to remedy our concerns.

Security seemed weak, as locals seemed to prowl right outside our windows all night. The beach (always a little narrow and cramped) had been mostly washed away by a hurricane a few months before; and was very tiny, with ugly sandbags preventing easy access to the sea. The location, far up on the north end of the beach, was pretty much out of the beach action. If it were less expensive, these things might easily be forgiven. But several places nearby seemed to be a better value.

Footeprints'' Friday night Lobster Grill almost made up for these inconveniences, however; and served one of the largest, most succulent and perfectly cooked crustaceans I''ve had in my life.

Foote Prints On the Sands Hotel
NORMAN MANLEY BLVD
Negril, Jamaica
876-957-4300

Moonlight Villas

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by wvbluerock on July 26, 2001

This very intimate hotel has six spacious rooms with opening glass doors that directly face the sea. Very friendly. The owner or caretaker sleeps upstairs, so it has a family feel while still offering privacy and great beauty. You walk down beautiful stone steps to swim in the sea below.

No restaurant, but plenty of places to eat nearby. Many guests return year after year and consider it their home away from home. Location is next to PeeWee''s and Blue Cave Castle, so there''s often lots of activity right outside the gate, and perfect peace within.

Moonlight Villas
Norman Manley Blvd.
Negril, Jamaica

Junior Bruce, Woodcarver

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by wvbluerock on July 27, 2001

Junior, his son and a couple of other rasta friends carve all day in back of a shop across from Pirate's Cave and Pickled Parrot (on the cliffs). Junior makes wonderfully expressive heads, masks and animals out of ironwood (lignum vitae). His "Lions of Judah" are the best in the Negril area, and seem to jump right out of the wood. This is also an excellent place to get bargains on sculptures of animals and to negotiate for custom work. On one of the best days I ever had in Negril, I got to sit by the carvers while they worked. We talked and joked about the local life, and I even got to learn and practice some carving techniques. If I had time to visit just one carver in the area or wanted one really fine carving to bring home, my choice would be to head right over to Junior's shop. I smile every time I think about the place.
Woodcarver Junior Bruce
Norman Manley Rd. (cliffs) by Pickled Parrot
Negril, Jamaica

Famous Vincents Glass Bottom Boat

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by wvbluerock on July 26, 2001

Of several freelance boat operators, we like Vincent best. He is easy to talk and get along with and really wants his guests to love the experience. I'd describe him as knowledgeable, flexible and fun. He snorkeled with us for at least a kilometer along two reefs, and showed us hiding places of fish, moray eels, skates and shellfish that we would have missed if we were swimming by ourselves. And he didn't ask us to return to the boat until we were absolutely ready.

Vincent takes his boat from the cliffs to the beach about 9 or 10am- until he finds a fare. Yell at him and wave your hands at the best place to board from your hotel. You can also sometimes pick him up from the beach. Don't settle for second best, but wait until he's available. I don't know exactly what he charges now, but we found his rates a bargain last winter. Small, unassuming boat. Good man.

Famous Vincents Glass Bottom Boat
Cliff Hotel Pickup
Negril, Jamaica

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