Next month we are heading back to Negril for our sixth and final visit. The small resort town has checked all the right boxes for us, more so than anywhere else on the island. Old school fans of Negril say that it has grown beyond recognition and that its former laid back, hippie style has been replaced with large, modern resorts that suck all the charm out of the place. Although I never knew it in the old days, I can see evidence of both Negrils. Hippie Negril is still there in West End with cute little cook shops, tourists shacks and bakeries selling hash brownies. It is looking a little run down now, and the cars roar past on the sidewalk-less road, making it hard to stop and look around. But there are some pretty nice cliff-top hotels too, where we’ve considered staying. The new Negril, situated on a long stretch of its famous beach, has expensive, high-end resorts with butler service, tropical cabanas, lounge chairs and destination wedding facilities. But for us the attraction has been neither.
The Negril we discovered was a resort village with 200+ small, individually-owned units on the north end of seven mile beach, just past the luxury resorts. The development is private and over twenty years old, and clearly had maintenance issues going on. We liked it immediately, even though it was a little frayed around the edges. But in the last year the management association has really worked to fix up the swimming pool, paint were its needed, and tear down the old buildings. It just a short time, it has smartened it up quite a bit.
Point Village has three, small sandy beaches that are clean and quiet. There are no vendors to bug you. The water is pretty and the swimming is easy. We like the coastline very much.
The units there are also priced reasonably. For about $125/night you can find a 1-bedroom or studio unit. They all have small kitchens were we can reheat food we have brought from Kingston and not spend a fortune eating out three times a day. As they are individually owned, they vary a great deal in quality. We’ve been a few times to the same one now, which has become a favourite with its sliding glass doors, shaded balcony, and views straight out to sea. Opposite is Booby Island, where we watch the little boats chugging back and forth with a handful of tourists on a visit. Most special of all is the spectacular sunsets every evening, right from our balcony:
A short walk away is the beginning of seven mile beach. Getting there involves walking through the nudist resort of Hedonism II, where everyone is letting it all hang out — most literally, I’m afraid! You get used to it though, and we just head through with sunglasses and a purpose, and you end up at the north end of Sandals resort and the beginning of miles of sandy walking. Unusually, Negril doesn’t allow the hotels to section off the beach to non-residents, so its possible to walk the entire length if you wish. This is an enormous bonus. Most large resorts take the best beaches and then stop public access. I’m so glad that the Negril township had the good sense to realize that open access to the long expanse of their beautiful beach is an important reason why people come.
Then its nice to walk back in time to capture the evening sunset from your balcony or watch the crabs on their evening walkabout down by the rock pool. I know many think we live a glamorous life because we access to places like this, but this is not everyday life. The more challenges present where you live, the more you need to get away once in a while. I wish it was closer, as its a four hour drive each way, but I’m so glad we found this place and could continue to visit regularly during our stay in Jamaica. This is probably the place that I will miss the most.