Jamaica’s most famous beach, parties and hustle

A backpacking guide to Negril

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 has to offer. Contrary to Monetgo Bay, Negril is a true tourist city where almost everything seemed to ce centered around tourism industry. As I was traveling in shoulder season during the pandemic, Negril was realtively empty. The city only seemed to slowly be waking up.

The beach area is fairly beautiful; however, after traveling the world, I have to confess: There are many more beautiful beaches worldwide and in Jamaica. 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 to be 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.

My stay in a pretty local neighborhood allowed me to make friends, go around 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 only a little time on the island, I’d skip it and visit more authentic places.

Negril’s two faces:

Similar to Montego, let’s divide Negril into two areas:
Negril West End: Home to the world-famous Rick’s Café and a variety of restaurants and bars. On the other side, the beach area surrounding 7 Mile beach, dominated by all-inclusives on one end and restaurants and bars on the other.