Situated on the west coast of Jamaica, the town of Negril is a haven for tourists who come to partake in its array of opportunities for adventure.
Miles of sandy beaches, shallow bays and tranquil, turquoise waters, together with world-class water sports and a hotchpotch of bars, restaurants and resorts all cater for the large numbers who flock to Negril each year. If you’re heading to the captivating Caribbean town in the near future and would like to add some great activities, landmarks and attractions to your itinerary, check out our list below
Visit one of the world’s finest beaches
Once said to have been plagued by pirates, nowadays Seven Mile Beach more commonly features on lists of the world’s best beaches, thanks to its enticing combination of an idyllic setting and top-class amenities and activities for all ages and tastes. Whether you’d like to take a leisurely stroll along its seven-mile stretch of enticing white sand, sink back into a deckchair while soaking up the panoramic ocean views, or get the adrenaline pumping with some jet ski or banana boat action, there’s something for everyone here.
Go on a catamaran cruise
Combine a trip to the beach with a fun-packed cruise on this all-day catamaran tour. Starting with a visit to Seven Mile Beach (see above), you’ll have time to enjoy your surroundings before boarding a catamaran directly on the beach. After sailing out to a coral reef for snorkelling and the chance to marvel at the abundance of tropical fish, the cruise continues to the westernmost tip of Jamaica, for a short stop at Ricks Café to watch the locals dive from the cliffs. Back on board, the sails go up and you can take in the magnificent shoreline as you cruise back to the beach. The tour price includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, plus on-board drinks and use of snorkelling equipment.
Try your hand at scuba diving
One of the most popular activities around Negril is scuba diving, and the town even boasts its own dive centre. Catering to beginners, the centre runs dedicated scuba diving courses that include trips to the area’s finest diving spots. Starting with a pick-up from your Negril hotel, you’ll be taken to the dive centre to be fitted in your scuba gear and introduced to your instructor. During the lesson, you’ll learn about diving techniques in a controlled area before trying some shore diving. Once you’re well acquainted with the skills and techniques required, you’ll then head to your second diving location for stunning views of coral formations and marine life. The tour price includes all scuba equipment.
Watch a music-filled marathon
Jamaica has been the birthplace of some of the world’s finest sprinters, but the island is also renowned for attracting more sedate running exponents. Each year on the first weekend after the USA’s Thanksgiving in December, Negril plays host to the Reggae Marathon, which offers the chance for runners to test their stamina over 26 miles while enjoying the area’s beautiful coastline. Live DJs and bands keep spirits up along the route, and those who reach the finishing line are rewarded with an ice cold can of Red Stripe, fresh coconut water, and a dip in the area’s crystal blue waters.
Starts at Long Bay Beach Park / December each year
Embark on a deep sea fishing adventure
The Jamaican waters are positively teeming with tropical fish species, including tuna, marlin, mahi mahi and even dolphin. And one of the best ways to see them up close for yourself is by joining a deep sea sport fishing tour. There are a number of reputable local companies that run tours that take you out to the deep waters where many of the fish tend to gather. During the trip, you’ll be shown fishing techniques and even have the chance to reel some in for yourself. Sunset fishing cruises and excursions aboard glass bottom boats are also available.
Let the kids loose at an aquatic-themed adventure park
Jamaica’s largest theme park experience, Kool Runnings Adventure Park draws large numbers of visitors every year with its 10 incredible water slides, along with a wave pool, splash pools for younger kids, and a quarter-mile of lazy river. There’s also an Adventure Zone featuring paintball, astronaut rides, go-kart racing, tubing, rafting and kayaking. Food and drink are available at several kiosks and on-site restaurants and there’s a gift shop where you can pick up souvenirs.
Norman Manley Boulevard / Fri, Sun & Tues-Weds-Sun 10am-5pm Sat 10am-6pm Closed Mon
Kick back at a famous beachfront bar
The perfect antidote to a tiring day of water sports, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville is one of Negril’s most popular entertainment spots. With direct beach access, the full service restaurant and bar delivers VIP service, swanky cabanas, live entertainment and even a water trampoline for patrons with excess energy to burn. An enticing food menu and rustic Tiki Beach Bar serving up island-inspired refreshments add to the experience.
Norman Manley Boulevard / Sat-Thurs 10am-10pm Sun 10am-2am
Take the plunge off of Negril Cliffs
Perched on the edge of the famously rocky and rugged Negril Cliffs, Rick’s Café attracts a steady stream of patrons with its live entertainment and buzzing atmosphere. Visitors have easy access to the sea via steps and stairs carved into the rock, but for true adrenaline junkies there’s also the option of launching yourself into the ocean via diving boards positioned at varying heights along the cliff edge. If you’re not so inclined, there’s always the option of looking on with a mix of fear and admiration as others take the plunge.
West End Road / Mon-Sun 10am-10pm
Swim to a private island
Nestled just off the coast, between Seven Mile Beach and Bloody Bay, Booby Island is actually swimmable from the Negril shoreline – although the boat traffic in the area means anyone who does so should be extra careful. Once successfully navigated, the island itself is a delight to behold, with many visitors coming here to scuba dive, snorkel or simply sunbath and soak up the views. It also attracts keen twitchers thanks to the abundance of birdlife found here. Or for a memorable dining experience, island eateries will serve up lobster or fish for you to devour directly on the beach.
Barney’s Flower & Hummingbird Garden
Lush, tropical and beautifully maintained, Barney’s Flower & Hummingbird Garden is a haven for nature enthusiasts visiting Negril. Best known for the large number of hummingbirds naïve to Jamaica who reside here, visitors can explore the garden via a walking trail lined with exotic flowers including Heliconias, Ginger Lily’s, Firecrackers and Thunbergia’s. There’s also the chance to nourish the hummingbirds yourself through small feeding bottles.
West End Road / Mon-Sun 8.30am-5.30pm
Take in some live reggae
Hearing reggae music in Negril is a bit like hearing an argument in New York – if you hang around long enough, it’ll happen. Wherever you go, you’re likely to encounter the music genre’s distinctive tones being pumped out of homes, bars and public spaces. But if you’d like to listen to some reggae in a more formal setting then there are live reggae bands playing somewhere in the town pretty much every day of the week. Among the favoured spots are Alfred’s Ocean’s Place, Roots Bamboo and Bourbon Beach, while many all-inclusive resorts also have their own themed reggae nights.
Admire a century-old lighthouse
Dating back to the end of the 19th century, Negril Lighthouse stands tall on a green expanse and is visible for miles around. One of the first concrete lighthouses built anywhere in Jamaica, the edifice could, until fairly recently, be explored via informal tours that allowed visitors to ascend the 103 stairs to be greeted by superb bird’s-eye views of the coastline. Today, however, the lighthouse is closed to the public, but is still worth a visit to admire from ground level.