When: February is a hot and happening time to visit Jamaica
Happenings: Water sports & exotic birds
Famed for: Movie sets, MTV and caribbean cabaret
Remember to bring: Sense of cool and stamina to dance all night
There’s another side to Jamaica, where time is slow, sweet and happy. This is the western coast, where lush tropical scenes and wide sandy beaches look towards the world’s most stunning sunsets.
It’s an easy-going free-spirited place where you shed the clutter and pressures of metropolitan life, and float into a natural place set by the sun and sea. You slip out of your inhibitions as easily as you slip out of your travelling clothes. These are the shores and bays that knew BuccaneerCalico Jack and the notorious women pirates, Anne Bonney and Mary Reid.
Located just about an hour and a half from the airport in Montego Bay, Negril is a lively, resort-dotted Caribbean playground which rests peacefully in the deep-blue sea on the western-most tip of the island of Jamaica, and is most famous for its seven mile long beach.
Negril is home to a number of world-famous, all-inclusive resorts, large and small hotels, private villas, cabins, cosy guest houses and cottages.
There are many things to see and do in Negril besides just hanging out on the beach or staying put within the confines of a hotel or resort. Negril boasts a conglomeration of tourist facilities stretching for about fifteen miles from Bloody Bay to the Lighthouse and continues to grow.
A favourite hot spot, just down the road on the beachfront is called Risky Business known as the Spring Break Capital of Jamaica. Risky Business features on MTV’s Jamaica spring breakshowcases and this place is now regarded a must visit by many American and Canadian college students.
Situated further down and across the boulevard is the Negril Tree House Resort, which is more like a family-orientated vacation spot which boasts an upstairs, open-air dining patio, bar & lounge, water-sports facilities and numerous activities for kids and adults. There are also a number of fine properties including the famous Alfred’s Ocean Palace, named after Alfred Arthurs – an icon in town and from one of the original Negril families. Alfred’s as it is called locally, hosts regular nightly reggae and variety floor shows featuring gymnasts, fire eaters, limbo dancers, live bands and some of the most talented bartenders anywhere in Jamaica. What is very special about Alfred’s is the continuous music that floats out from the bar area which helps to attract vacationers from neighbouring hotels, cabins and resorts in the area as well as locals.
More and more package tourists are heading to Negril, for its rum, reggae and rich history, from the capture of the infamous pirate Calico Jack in 1720 to the filming of the Walt Disney movieTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
Other activities in this seaside resort also include horseback riding, bicycling on its many bluffs and of course a wide variety of water sport activities such as kayaking, snorkelling, diving and water skiing. For the more relaxed, Negril also offers excellent shopping and dining choices. Also don’t forget to visit the Courtyard Garden situated in the Negril Beach Club. The garden is a sanctuary for a variety of tropical birds and flora. Here you can see the unique humming bird, locally known as the Doctor Bird, Exotic Bald Plate Doves, Cling Clings andegrets which nest and feed in a natural habitat.
By Noreen Mutapha