Destination Spotlight on Negril, Jamaica's One Love
Positioned in the heart of the Caribbean Sea sits majestic Jamaica. The island country dons a turquoise halo with tufts of alabaster and cyan that one can’t miss from the view of a jet aircraft. Its pristine beaches and clear water are welcoming sites.
Jamaica’s history over the past five centuries is marked by the courage and resilience of the Jamaican people in their triumphant struggle for justice and freedom. With unrelenting resistance and determination in the face of adversity, modern Jamaica was built on a historical legacy of genocide, slavery, and oppression. Jamaica has ultimately established itself as a proud, free, and progressive Caribbean nation.
Frontier and Southwest Airlines offer nonstop seasonal service between Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ), United and American Airlines offer service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).
Jamaica's National Bird, the Doctor Hummingbird
WHAT TO DO:
Snorkel at Booby Cay and Lobster Lunch
Captain Jace Allen at Glass Bottom Boat Tours (876-361-1196) offers an enjoyable day of snorkeling with terrific guides and ample sea life. Post snorkeling you will explore the private island of the Cay and imbibe in Red Stripes, rum punch and the best
of grilled lobster and jerk chicken. A rather chill and shabby-hip experience; no white gloves here.
About an hour drive from Negril town center, and a welcome experience from the more touristy site of Blue Hole, lies the stunning river of Mayfield Falls. An assigned tour guide will take you to the jungle river site via a short and easy hike, then will guide you upriver as you experience swimming in emerald green water holes and resting on natural rock loungers as gentle waterfalls massage your back. Water shoes and a bathing suit are all you need. The hike/water trek is about a two-hour experience.
Enhance the cultural experience and enjoy the reggae scene. The Boat Bar, Roots Bamboo, and Woodstock are all great places to catch local live music and are located in the heart of Seven-Mile Beach.
WHERE TO EAT:
Owned and managed by a family of three siblings, who inherited the restaurant from their parents. The space is an eclectic ‘fairy’ garden — located on Hylton Avenue just off West End Road — with years and years of collected embellishments, giving the restaurant its rustic charm and ambient beauty. Hummingbirds might even greet you while you eat. By far the best dish to sample is the Jamaican breakfast staple of ackee (Jamaica’s national fruit) and saltfish, served with callaloo, freshly fried dumplings with tamarind, and sweet plantains. Play a game of checkers made from old wood and Red Stripe bottle caps at any available table.
LTU Cliff Bar and Restaurant
While overly crowded touristy sites like Rick’s Cafe get touted for the best views, LTU Cliff Bar is just next door with matching views of the ocean and sunset, yet with a much more tranquil vibe. The Jamaican curries are particularly delightful.
For a taste of authentic Jamaican culture, don’t miss a quick stop at Hammonds Bakery for a local treat any time of day. The equivalent of a Spanish empanada, the chicken and cheese patty, are a fan favorite. Located in the Negril town center.
Lobster lunch on Booby Cay
WHERE TO STAY:
SplashRock Villa | West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica
Off the beaten path, and located on the cliff side of Negril, SplashRock Villa is a small AirBnB with four private living quarters and beautiful ocean views. The rooms are airy and clean with island charm and character. The vibe is peaceful and serene while still within walking distance of restaurants and the hustle and bustle of nightlife. Ideal for couples or singles, this island sanctuary is hosted by an affable couple who also run a small and cozy cliffside bar just steps from a pristine salt-water pool, fed directly from the crashing waves of the sea. In addition to drinks, guests are offered the option to purchase breakfast or dinner, experiencing some of the best jerk chicken in Negril. SplashRock Villa is for the adventurous traveler seeking a deeper connection to Jamaican culture in contrast to a big resort experience.
Rockhouse Hotel and Spa | West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica
Atop the cliffs of Negril’s West End, the Rockhouse property is surrounded by eight acres of lush tropical gardens and offers 40 rooms with all the comforts of a boutique hotel. Embracing the jungle-like garden and volcanic rock of the breathtaking natural landscape, the rooms are built from timber, stone, and thatch. The deck-built restaurant offers great food and stunning views of the sunset. There is no escaping rejuvenation here.
Whistling Bird | Seven-Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica
Claiming to be the best of “genuine Jamaica,” the Whistling Bird is nestled among colorful and exuberant gardens just steps from the still of the warm ocean and white sandy beach. It is centrally located at the midpoint of Seven-Mile Beach and offers an actively jubilant vibe with plenty of shopping, music, and restaurants within walking distance. The octagonal-shaped cottages are basic, the staff is friendly and accommodating, and the beachside bar and restaurant welcome staples of island life. A sure place to settle into the Jamaican vibe.