My first encounter with Negril, Jamaica, was in 2000, when I stayed at Grande Lido Resort for my honeymoon. This resort is quite lovely and located near Bloody Bay, sort of apart from the rest of the 7 Mile Beach area. My stay was wonderful.
Due to all the bad press I had come upon about Jamaica, we decided it would be best to stay put at the resort. In other words we were afraid to leave, afraid of the
Well, six trips later, I am no longer afraid or confined to staying at a resort, as we found all of the stories, rumors, and fears untrue.
As with any new place, the obvious issues with safety, etc., must be observed, just as you would in your own home city. I am here to say that Jamaica and its people are wonderful.
I have met so many new friends there that I am able to stay for over a week and feel most safe and comfortable walking freely.
Of sightseeing interest to me: A must-see for dinner and a sunset is 3 Dives restaurant on the cliffs. The view can't be beat and the lobster dinner or jerk chicken is the best I have had.
Another great place to visit on the cliffs in the West End is Joseph's Cave Bar, a small family-owned bar that sits in the front yard. Buy a drink from Mae (or pay the entrance fee) and you'll be allowed to enter the cave in her front yard. This cave goes under the ground, and views of the water and sunset can be seen. If one is brave enough, you can jump in, swim to the other side of the street, and come up in Pirate's Cave, another restaurant-bar on the cliffs with another perfect view of the sunset. Seeing is believing, and words just really can't explain this place fully.
As the story goes, Mae purchased the property knowing of the big hole in the front yard. She wasn't exactly thrilled that the hole was there. But upon further discovery and expense, Joseph's Cave Bar was founded. This is a must-see.
Many places in and around Negril that are absolutely unsurpassed in beauty and wonder aren't even advertised. In fact, many locals aren't aware of just how wonderful these places are, as they have been around this beauty and wonder all of their lives and consider these places just part of the scenery.
Another place of interest, just outside of Montego Bay, is Glistening Waters. It’s another must-see, a lagoon where saltwater and freshwater combine. At night, especially on a dark night, the less moon, the better. You will take a boat ride out in to the lagoon, where you will be amazed at the glowing microorganisms called dinoflagellates. These amazing microscopic creatures are located in only seven places in the entire world, and in Jamaica they have a high concentration. As you ride out, the water behind the boat begins to glow bright neon green. The guide stops the boat, scoops up some of the water in a pail, and swishes his hand around—his hand glows. It’s quite amazing, a wonder of the world. At first one is skeptical, and you think that maybe lights are being used to create such a display. However, this is the real thing. You can even see fish swimming by under the water, as movement is what causes the organisms to light up. We even jumped in the water and splashed around, all of us glowing and laughing. It felt surreal and magical at the same time.
I must comment again on the people of Jamaica, because this is truly what brings me back time again. These people are kind, happy, and appreciative. They are guides and storytellers. They are proud of their country and its beauty. Yes, there are many poor Jamaicans and some scam artists wanting to sell you any and everything. A simple NO is all that is needed to send them on their way. Remember, they are only trying to make a living. The unemployment rate there is unreal, along with the wages. I think their minimum wage is around US$2.50. Could you live on that? And they don't complain a lot about this.
I have so many more wonderful stories and places to tell of in and around Negril. I will provide more on this wonderful place I call my home away from home again soon.