What to Do in Negril, Jamaica for a Swoon-Worthy Tropical Getaway

Calling all beach lovers and honeymooners

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Jamaica Tourism Board

We recently visited Negril, Jamaica and let’s just say we’ve never fallen so deeply in love with a place so quickly, thanks to its stunning beaches, heaps of sunshine, boldly-flavored cuisine and immensely friendly locals. Whether you’re planning a wellness retreat, a honeymoon or a family vacation, keep reading for why Negril belongs at the top of the list. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you: It’s the kind of place you never want to leave.

Where to Beach

News to no one: The turquoise waters of the Caribbean are breathtaking. And if a tropical beach getaway is what you’re looking for, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more breathtaking location than Negril. Head to Negril’s famous Seven Mile Beach for swaying palm trees, striking cliffs, powdery soft sand and remarkably tranquil aqua marine sea, which might be described as nature’s most beautiful infinity pool and is perfect for pretty much every water activity except surfing. (Note: The gentle waters make for a particularly family-friendly beach experience.) Indeed, Seven Mile Beach is one of the top beaches in the world, occupies the number two spot on a U.S. News and Travel list of the best things to do in Jamaica and belongs on everybody’s bucket list.

Damocean/Getty Images

What to Do

You can expect all the typical trappings of a tropical beach vacation (sun bathing, snorkeling, swimming, boating and more), but there are so many other ways to enjoy nature in Negril. One of our favorite ways to explore the Westmoreland parish is with a Rastasafari. This immersive cultural experience offers an adrenaline-fueled introduction to the history and lifestyle of the Jamaican minority group with a rollicking ATV tour through the beautiful countryside, plus a refreshing swim in a bottomless mineral pool and authentic eats, to boot.

But if you’re looking for something a little more active, don’t skip one of the many waterfall hikes. Negril is home to both Mayfield Falls and Benta River Falls—two natural retreats in the Westmoreland parish that are located away from the resort strip and boast lush natural surroundings and fascinating wildlife. Both these destinations provide visitors with the opportunity to explore the cool river waters, natural jacuzzis and mineral pools of the Caribbean with a scenic hike that includes climbing the falls themselves (with the assistance of a skillful guide). Best of all, you can end your outdoor adventure with a therapeutic mud bath and a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant before you return to the commercial district.

Divers—both beginners and experienced—should head to Negril Adventure Divers, a scuba tour agency that hosts solo dives for certified folks (basic open water certification courses take two to four days to complete), as well as accompanied dives for uncertified beginners. Coral reefs, shipwrecks and sharks are all on the menu—day and night.

Jamaica Tourism Board

Where to Eat

Jamaica is known for its heavily spiced yet approachable food, and you’ll have your pick of great eats in Negril. There is perhaps no place more iconic than Rick’s Cafe—a veritable institution that’s perched atop the West End Cliffs and provides unparalleled sunset views, authentic party vibes, and the truly unique spectacle of daredevil cliff jumping. It’s the atmosphere and the views that set this award-winning establishment apart, but it’s also worth noting that the drinks are strong and cold, and the menu, which features everything from authentic Jamaican small plates (think: Red Stripe beer-battered shrimp) to full surf-and-turf dinners, is nothing to shake a stick at either.

For a more chill, daytime-vibe than what Rick’s has to offer, check out Just Natural, a West End gem that’s highly recommended for top-notch vegetarian, seafood and ital (i.e., Rastafarian) fare. If you’re looking for a sanctuary with a beautiful (edible) garden and well-prepared food, you can consider this your go-to breakfast spot. 

When it comes to farm-to-table eating, you’ll want to head to Rondel Village—a boutique hotel whose restaurant, Jaybird’s, sits right on Seven Mile Beach and serves up tasty fare featuring ingredients from their own garden and local farms, which are used to create fresh and original dishes with passion you can taste. Best of all, the entertainment on the weekends is lively and vibrant (and may or may not include minute-to-win-it games that you’ll totally lose after a couple delicious cocktails).

The Cliff

Where to Stay 

The Cliff Hotel is an award-winning and very well-appointed honeymoon resort boasting amazing pools, cliffside swimming, sweeping views of the Caribbean, a five-star restaurant and spa, and a decidedly calmer atmosphere than other nearby options. We’re also big fans of the revitalizing on-site yoga sessions that are available to guests and are conducted in a serene environment in which you can take in said views. (The full-body, deep tissue massage with oils and skin treatments made from local ingredients is pretty stellar, too.) Bottom line: If you’re looking for a place to unwind and focus on wellness or romance, rather than partying, you’d be hard pressed to find a better hotel to call homebase. 

Wellness seekers should consider a stay at the beautiful Rockhouse Hotel, that offers the standard massages and facials as well as a very cool psilocybin sound bath. The experience is thoroughly relaxing and as tame as can be (oh hey, microdosing). Plus, the music is good, the lady-speaker-leader has the voice of an angel and the leaves on the trees never look prettier than when you’re taking a very *mild* trip of this sort. 

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Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...