Duration: at least one week
Budget: $ 75 per day
Stay: Belleh23 or Raggamuffin
Negril’s 7 Miles beach is, without a doubt, Jamaica’s most well-known beach. It has earned worldwide popularity ever since. Once home to mostly Hippie ex-pats, Negril has been booming and attracting mostly all-inclusive visitors for decades. So after Montego Bay, another big-time tourist hub, surprised me so pleasantly, I was eager to see what Negril offers. Contrary to Montego Bay, Negril is a proper tourist city where almost everything seems to be centered around the tourism industry. As I was traveling in shoulder season during the pandemic, Negril was relatively empty. The city only seemed to be waking up slowly.
The beach area is pretty beautiful; however, after traveling the world, I must confess: It’s not the most beautiful! It took me some days to understand why Negril has been so popular for such a long time. I found the hustling by the beach quite energy-draining, the food too commercialized, and the vibes soso. I was almost ready to give up on Negril when I slowly started to feel Negril and decided to stick around for some more days.
- Sight Seeing 40% 40%
- Party 70% 70%
- Culture 50% 50%
- Activities 100% 100%
My stay in a pretty local neighborhood allowed me to make friends and explore while avoiding the hustle. Little by little, I started to get the vibes that must have attracted visitors for so long. Negril’s location makes it a perfect starting point for adventures in the surrounding areas, such as the Marijuana fields in Orange Hills and the mineral blue whole.
My recommendation for backpackers: Come to Negril and give it a go if you have more time and happen to travel in a low season. If you have little time on the island, I’d skip it and visit more authentic places.
Is Negril's 7 Mile beach the best beach in Jamaica?
If you ask me: no way! Even though Negril’s Seven Mile beach is one of the most well-known and popular beaches in Jamaica and has earned a worldwide reputation for its stunning beauty and crystal clear waters, it didn’t win my heart.
First off: After walking the beach, I can only confirm: The world-famous Seven Mile beach is only about 5 miles long. The calm water is a stunning color, shimmers in all shades of turquoise, and is perfect for swimming. The beach itself is seemed by restaurants, bars, and hotels. So if you are up for mingling with other visitors, Negril’s Seven Mile beach won’t disappoint!
As I was traveling in shoulder season during the pandemic, Negril was relatively quiet, with only a fraction of the tourists that flock there during peak season. It didn’t bother me at all as I enjoyed some stunning sunsets over Negril’s beautiful beach by myself.
Also, there are tons of things to do! Negril’s Seven Mile Beach offers plenty of water activities!
Try Rasta Ade Restaurant for some fantastic Rasta food and good vibes.
Why didn’t I care for Negril’s Seven Mile beach too much?
Contrary to Montego Bay, Negril is a proper tourist city where almost everything seems to be centered around the tourism industry with all the good, bad and ugly. As a result, everything seems more expensive, the restaurants serve more international dishes, and I found Negril’s hustlers to be the most tiring, making it extra hard to make human connections with Negril’s locals.
Explore Negril's bohemian West End
Negril is a unique place, with its split geography and diverse character. The world-famous Seven Mile Beach is located in the northern part of the town, aka Negril North. It is famous for its beautiful smooth sand and aquamarine waters, attracting tourists from all over the world. But beyond Negril North is another side to the town – Negril South or Negril West End. Here, towering cliffs plunge into the ocean, providing stunning vistas and an adventurous spirit to those who want to explore them. In addition, Negril is home to some of the best eco-hotels in Jamaica. West End Negril is a much better destination for any traveler looking for a bit of excitement on their vacation around Negril. If you’re into jumping off cliffs, swimming in crystal-clear blues waters, joining the party, or cooling down by a nearby waterfall while enjoying a touristic infrastructure, Negril is the place for you!
Numerous small bars and restaurants make up for a lively evening atmosphere. Negril’s West end is also home to the world-famous Rick’s Cafe, where you can either admire cliff jumpers or even jump yourself; you’ll also find party vibes during COVID. Because it seemed like one of the most touristy things to do, I avoided going to Rick’s Cafe on my first days but ended up enjoying the vibes when I finally ended up going.
Rick's Cafe - catch the vibes and jump off the cliffs
In the vibrant West end of Negril, Rick’s Cafe is a world-famous hotspot known for its stunning views and exciting cliff jumping opportunities. So whether you are a thrill-seeker looking for an adrenaline rush or want to take in the breathtaking scenery, Rick’s Cafe is the place to go. And even though it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Negril, you’ll still find a fun and festive atmosphere with great music and friendly vibes. So if you’re visiting Negril and looking for unique things to do, be sure to check out Rick’s Cafe at the West end! Because it seemed like one of the most touristy things to do, I avoided going to Rick’s Cafe on my first days but ended up enjoying the vibes when I finally went!
Relax at Halfmoon Beach
Half Moon Beach is one of the best-kept secrets in the Negril area. This tranquil private beach is located 10 minutes north of Negril and offers visitors a chance to get away from it all and relax in beautiful surroundings. No vendors are allowed on the beach, so you can swim, sunbathe or enjoy the serene setting without being interrupted by salespeople.
You can visit Half Moon Beach on a day trip, stop for a meal, rent a cabin, or camp on the property. Plenty of activities keep you busy, or you can relax and soak up the atmosphere. Half Moon Beach is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a relaxed and peaceful place to stay in Negril. There is also a restaurant to feed you! It’s best to visit Half-moon beach by taxi.
Visit the Marijuana farms in Orange Hill
If you’re looking to explore the world of marijuana cultivation, look no further than Orange Hill, a small town nestled in the hills of Jamaica. You’ll find sprawling fields filled with rows upon rows of lush, green plants – a true mecca for cannabis connoisseurs and Rastafarian pilgrims alike.
Marijuana farms are a big part of the Jamaican economy, even though most revenues leave the country through foreign firms. If you make some trustworthy friends in Negril, they’ll likely be able to take you to Orange Hill, home to some of the most extensive Marijuana fields in the country. In addition, you’ll be able to learn an interesting thing or two about the herb. Just be sure to follow your friends’ lead and not wander off on your own – Marijuana farms can be dangerous places for tourists who don’t know what they’re doing. After all, the Marijuana farms in Orange Hill are illegal!
Chill out at Long Bay Beach Park
At the north end of Seven Mile Beach, Long Bay Beach Park is a hidden gem that offers a quiet and serene beach experience. With miles of sugary sand, shady picnic areas, and calm, shallow swimming waters, this beach is perfect for relaxing your visit to Negril. So whether you want to sunbathe, read a book, play in the sand with the kids, or enjoy the spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea, Long Bay Beach Park has something for everyone. And best of all, it is far less crowded than other beaches in the area so that you can enjoy your time here in peace and tranquility. So if you’re looking for a picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of typical tourist spots in Negril, be sure to check out Long Bay Beach Park!
Cool of at Mayfield's waterfalls
Mayfield’s waterfalls is a true local gem and relatively crowd-free. It offers breathtaking views of nature at its finest. The entrance fee is only around $20, and on-site, you’ll find a restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat and water shoes that will come in handy as the stones can be slippery. Mayfield boasts not one but two stunning waterfalls that cascade into pristine natural pools, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind. In addition, this unique location is home to an array of diverse flora and fauna, including 52 types of ferns, exotic flowers and plants, birds, butterflies, and even wildlife. To protect the delicate environment of Mayfield’s waterfalls, visitors are asked to refrain from using sunscreen while they are there; however, don’t worry – there is plenty of shade available, so you can still enjoy all that this picturesque spot has to offer without any negative impact on the landscape. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable day trip from Negril during your next vacation, be sure to check out Mayfield. It’s about an hour’s drive from Negril. Unfortunately, the roads leading to the entrance are pretty bad.
Blue Hole Mineral Spring
The Blue Hole is a hidden gem located just a short drive from the beach town of Negril, Jamaica. As its name suggests, it is much more than just an unremarkable hole in the ground–it is a natural spring that serves as a portal to paradise. When you peer into the Blue Hole, you will see the brilliant blue water sparkling below, calling out to all those who are adventurous enough to take the plunge and jump twenty-two feet down into its depths. If you would prefer not to participate in this risky activity, you can still enjoy the Blue Hole by taking the stairs down into its grotto and marveling at this hidden treasure of nature.
Get ready to tavel Jamaica
Public Transport in Negril
Route Taxis reach Negril from MoBay with a stop in Lucea. Travel time is about 90 Minutes. It costs around 700 JMD. Within Negril Route, Taxis frequent between the 7 Mile Beach and West End for 150 JMD.
Public Bus: The bus stop is downtown Negril. I couldn’t find a schedule. They seem to go more frequently than the Knutsford.
Knutsford: Leaving from Negril, Jamaica’s luxury bus connects more significant destinations. Be aware that the time stated refers to calculated driving time and not the actual time to reach a destination. Adding to the driving time are stops and bus switches which are not apparent when buying the ticket. Due to Covid, there are fewer buses than usual, so purchasing the ticket online is better.
As a female traveler, I felt safe. However, you’ll be fine with the hustlers if you are friendly and walk with a purpose. I found the hustle in Negril to be the hardest and roughest in Jamaica. It makes it somewhat harder to move freely, and you’ll have to groove in. Avoid the beach area between the market and 7 Mile beach when there are no or few people around. Also, take a taxi when you need to get back from the West End to 7-mile Beach by night.
Best Time to Travel
There is little change in temperature all year around. However, the official Hurricane season lasts from June to December, causing more rain. As for me: I loved traveling in shoulder season as the prices were low and there were very few other visitors at the sights.
In Negril, getting Jamaican dollars from ATMs or money exchanges is pretty straightforward. Even though US $ is widely accepted, it’s more convenient and cheaper for you to pay with JMD. So if you are planning on heading South, I highly recommend stacking up on cash in Negril.
Marijuana or "the herb"
Marijuana is not entirely legal in Jamaica. Yet, it is decriminalized. Meaning it’s almost impossible to get in trouble for. Quality and price vary greatly. Get a prescription card (cost $10) from a legal pharmacy to make it legal. In Negril, Hedo Weedo would be the place to go.
Even though Jamaica is considered a third-world country, it provides the best water quality in the region. You are, therefore, safe to drink tap water. This is especially true in the cities. However, if it makes you feel uneasy, bring your Lifestraw pro. It will keep your drinks cold for 24 hrs, too!
Biggest challenge for the responsible traveler
Make sure to bring a foldable food container and cutlery with you! The amount of waste caused by food sold on the street is incredible.
Make sure to protect Jamaica’s marine life and bring reef-friendly sunscreen!
Packing List Jamaica
As you see, there are plenty of things to experience in Jamaica. To come fully prepared, check out my packing list for Jamaica, which includes everything from eco-friendly toiletries to sustainable fashion and even the coolest travel gadgets!
Places to visit in Jamaica
No matter how often you visit Jamaica, it will always capture your heart!
Montego Bay | more than an all-inclusive hotspot
I was a little weary of Montego as it seems such a popular all-inclusive spot. However, the city quickly grew on me. Montego was the perfect starting point for my trip to Jamaica. Its touristic infrastructure allows you to settle in quite quickly while downtown affords you glimpses into real Jamaican city life!
Belmont | Peter Tosh’s birthplace
I left Negril seeking a more peaceful and authentic experience further South. Belmont seemed like the perfect option! About midway to Treasure Beach, Belmont comes alive on the weekends and is quiet during the week. Belmont is stretched along the Highway and consists of charming restaurants, bars, and Berry selling the best pudding in town.
Packing list caribbean
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