Negril, Jamaica Travel Guide
- 80-90 degrees F (27-32 degrees C) beach weather year-round
- Most beautiful sunsets in Jamaica
- Excellent snorkel and scuba conditions on the West End Cliffs
- All buildings are shorter than palm trees, per local ordinance
- Seven Mile Beach, one of the softest and longest beaches in Jamaica
- Safe, cheap, and convenient public transportation
- Lots of marijuana, everywhere -- though it's technically illegal (be careful)
- Excellent, affordable restaurants and food stands
- Cliff diving on the West End
- Live beachside reggae at Alfred's, Roots Bamboo, and Bourbon Beach
- Tap water is safe to drink
- No international airport
- $80/person drive from Montego Bay International Airport can take up to two hours
- Only one mediocre golf course nearby
- Roads are bumpy, potholed, and sometimes narrow
- No hospital, just a minor emergency medical clinic
- No casinos (except slot machines at hotels)
- Prevalent drug culture (mostly pot and cocaine)
- Criminalized homosexuality (between men) and local hostility toward LGBT individuals
- Prominent sex tourism
- West End Cliffs can be unsafe for children (most hotels don't allow them)
- Slight chance of hurricanes from June 1 to Nov. 30
What It's Like
Jamaica's "capital of casual," Negril can be an intimate -- or illicit -- haven. Locals and tourists interact more here than elsewhere, and with quaint boutique hotels on the West End Cliffs, nightly live reggae on Seven Mile Beach, and a plethora of delicious -- and super-cheap -- beachside lobster shacks, Negril is the ideal place for travelers looking to get outside the resorts and experience real Jamaican culture.
Though technically illegal, marijuana is readily available and a draw for many visitors. "Brownie" stands are known to sell pot-infused baked goods (pun intended). But the drugs are easily avoidable at family-friendly resorts like Riu Palace Tropical Bay, Beaches Negril, and Beaches Sandy Bay.
Where to Stay
Grown from expat hippie bungalows in the 1970s, Negril's eclectic jumble of beachfront motels, cliffside cottages, and gleaming all-inclusives all exude a laid-back, "one love" kind of vibe -- no doubt assisted by the region's spectacular sunsets. Local law requires that all buildings be shorter than palm trees, so even the booming beachfront mega-resorts -- like the Riu Negril, Grand Lido, and Couples that line Bloody Bay on Negril's northern end -- feel smaller and more intimate.
Central Negril is divided into two distinct areas: Seven Mile Beach and the West End Cliffs (which are seaside but off the beach). Seven Mile Beach is a long, beautiful stretch of public beachfront with clubs, restaurants, and low-key independent hotels like Negril Treehouse or mellow all-inclusives like Sunset at the Palms. The quieter Cliffs are home to romantic, upscale eco-boutique hotels like the Caves, Tensing Pen, and the Rockhouse Hotel, all of which have cut out staples like in-room TVs in favor of yoga lessons, outdoor showers, and thrilling cliff-diving platforms.
Negril Hotel Guides
At Oyster Hotel Reviews, value is the most important factor we consider when evaluating a hotel. After sleeping at 40 of the most popular hotels in Jamaica, we know the competition and can tell you which Negril hotels really offer the most for your money.
Many Jamaican resorts show off photos of candlelit dinners, secluded beaches, and timeless sunsets. What they won't show you are the screaming toddlers, poolside beer-chugging contests, and flies buzzing around the buffet. After touring the island incognito and sleeping in more than 40 beds, we can assure you that these are the hotels in Negril that truly deliver -- comfortable rooms, scenic pools, blissful spas, and a discreet yet obliging staff.
Jamaica has great honeymoon destinations for every taste, from classic, luxurious accommodations to private cottages. Here are your best bets for Negril.