Long Weekend in Negril, Jamaica

3 May

A few weeks ago I posted a “sneak peek” of my long weekend in Negril, Jamaica.  It was a spontaneous, much-needed getaway, which turned out to be exactly what I needed.  If you are contemplating a vacation or extended weekend away any time soon, here’s why you should make Negril your next destination.

Why Negril? One word: easy.  Although it might not seem like the ideal place for a quick getaway, Negril is actually a quick 1 hour and 15 minute direct flight from Miami to Montego Bay.  Once you land, take a shared van for about $25 per person. The ride is 1-2 hours depending on traffic, but it’s a scenic route with plenty to see and take in.  (Sidenote: once in Negril, hit up our man Tony as your driver, a rare gem amongst Taxi drivers. Very knowledgeable about local spots. Example: “Where can we buy the best mangos?” Present him with a Cran Wata (cranberry water) to get on his good side.  His number is (876) 893-4645 ).

We stayed at Rockhouse Boutique Hotel and Spa and highly recommend it. This spot offers amazing villas right on the cliffs overlooking crystal clear water. It’s very private and peaceful, providing access to the water right from your villa: use the ladder or jump from either the bridge or cliffs into the pristine water and explore the reefs and caves. An outdoor shower at your villa awaits after your saltwater swim.


The Rockhouse staff is amazing. Want a plate of chilled mangos delivered to your room at midnight?  “No problem, mon”.  The spa will even accommodate your massage right on the cliff’s edge.

As for food, Rockhouse features two great restaurants on location. Push Cart Restaurant and Rum Bar offers delicious local food.  For an unforgettable sunset experience, check out Rockhouse Restaurant and Bar.  I really enjoyed the jerk tacos (ask to add mango chutney and fried plantains).  Great offsite eats include Three Dives, a spot favored by both locals and tourists alike for its jerk chicken.  The jerk chicken at this ocean-side shack was hands down the best we tried.  Don’t go too early because the grill gets fired up around 3pm. Another noteworthy restaurant is Catch a Falling Star; here you enjoy a charming ambiance and outdoor seating at the cliffs’ edge while your local snapper dish is served to you in a papaya bowl.

There’s really no need to leave “The Rock”.  However, if you choose to venture into town for some local flavor, hustlers are very persistent.  Use humor to quickly ward them off, or just a simple but firm “no thanks” does the trick.  No need to exchange US dollars for Jamaican money but do be sure to carry small bills as places often only accept cash.

Fun fact about Negril: Patwa, the local language is made up of English words and slang in a Mad Gab fashion. (Example: be quiet would be “kippa” as in “Kippa ya mout shut”). Try listening to culture music and attempting to decipher words. I recommend downloading some “I Wayne” music or better yet, stop by Alfred’s or Bourbon for some live reggae and culture music.

Negril offers plenty of activities after you’ve had your fill of downtime.  If you feel especially adventurous you can go scuba diving at Negril Scuba Center.  If you are new to scuba diving as my girlfriend was, you can sign up for an hour pool scuba training course followed by an hour supervised dive.  American instructor, David Wallace, was patient, safety-minded and informative. The pool could use a cleaning but otherwise we would give the program 5 star rating.

Another noteworthy activity is the zip line tour. During this two hour tour, a quirky staff takes you on a bumpy truck ride to some seriously long zip lines and amazing views. The company can pick you up from your hotel in Negril, but if you prefer to arrange your own transportation, try to get a jeep as the roads are pretty bad.  We did this trip on our way back to the airport – a memorable ending to an unforgettable weekend in Negril.


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