I am pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Lisa, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Lisa lives in Australia and submitted the following report about Negril. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 2 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Jamaican Patois, English, Spanish
Reasons to Visit Negril
I asked a Jamaican girlfriend living in the UK, “Where should I go in Jamaica for a beach fix?” Many flock to Montego Bay but thanks to my friend, my pick was Negril.
On the West coast, about 1.5 hours from Montego Bay, you will find this quieter hidden treasure. I stayed right on the beach at Roots Bamboo Beach Resort which was happily shared by singles, middle-aged couples, and backpackers alike. There are regular reggae beach parties, attracting international artists.
Negril or Seven Mile Beach is a beautiful stretch of white Caribbean sand, dotted with stalls, resorts, and cafes. By day I soaked up the sun, bought some locally made beaded jewelry (great gifts to take home) and sipped fresh fruit punch – white Jamaican rum optional!
After watching the peach and pink hues of a Jamaican sunset, I can recommend live music at Alfred’s Ocean Palace and Legends Beach Resort. The atmosphere is chilled, so kick off your flipflops and sway to the reggae, mon! When you first arrive, do expect to be hassled and hustled. With constant approaches for ‘company,' make your intentions known from the beginning. Be polite but firm and don't promise anything.
The world famous Rick's Cafe must be on your list. Arrive late in the afternoon for some reggae, watch the cliff jumpers, then hang around for another awesome sunset. Make sure you sample jerk chicken or pork, the island's signature dish, cooked over an outdoor pit (jerk is the spicy seasoning and marinade).
My stay in Negril was made even more memorable by a local tour operator. I recommend that once you find a good operator, stick with them and it will save you all the hustling if you've arrived with an open itinerary. A good tour operator will work within your budget, and add value to your experience. You may hear interesting stories along the way, exposing you to the heritage, history, and cultural values of Jamaican society.
My guide organized a private overnight tour to the eastern side of the island, where I found another gem, Port Antonio. I stayed in a cozy Georgian-style guest house, chilled on a deserted surf beach at nearby Long Bay, and took a boat ride and swim in the Blue Lagoon (yes, where the famous movie was shot). Within a few hours of Negril, I enjoyed tours to the Bob Marley Museum and Dunn River Falls.
Solo Travel Rating
Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 2 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)