Negril, Jamaica Beautiful Vacation Destination

Our Trip To Negril, Jamaica Becomes A Reality

Our family decided to travel to Negril, Jamaica for several reasons. I had seen some beautiful pictures from a friend’s trip to Kingston. I loved the lush and beautiful flowers, and the numerous shades of blues and greens that are the Caribbean. Friends told us about the low prices of all inclusive vacations, proving that a week spent on many tropical islands costs less than a week at the NJ shore. Since this includes all the meals, liquor, and many resort activities, it is an attractive deal. My husband & I had been on a cruise from NY to the Bahamas, but due to bad weather only enjoyed one day on Rose Island. It was just enough to whet our appetites for more tropical isles!

So I began some internet research, considered many island paradises, and finally decided on a quiet, secluded resort in Negril, I like mellow, out of the way places, where you can get to know the staff. Plus, I love nature, and wanted the best combination of beach and native plants. So although you CAN find great, party resorts in Negril, that was not my goal. We had 6 months to study anything related to Jamaica, and did lots of research, We got very excited as the day approached, and Bob Marleys’ Legend CD took up permanent residence in my CD player. Negril is located on the Northwestern tip of the island. We were to land at Sangster Airport at Montego Bay, then take a 1 ½ hour shuttle ride to reach our destination. Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road, and the taxi drivers are notorious for terrifying vacationers with their death defying antics on the road.

Grand Pineapple Beach Resort, Negril, Jamaica

Negril, Jamaica From The Former Negril Gardens Resort, now Grand Pineapple Resort.
Negril, Jamaica From The Former Negril Gardens Resort, now Grand Pineapple Resort. | Source

Negril, Jamaica, My Favorite Spot On Earth

Negril, Jamaica, Grand Pineapple Resort Our room was just steps away down this walkway to the Caribbean!
Negril, Jamaica, Grand Pineapple Resort Our room was just steps away down this walkway to the Caribbean! | Source

Bob Marley Legend

Legend: The Best Of Bob Marley And The Wailers (New Packaging)
Legend: The Best Of Bob Marley And The Wailers (New Packaging)

Legend Bob Marley of Jamaica sings many of his most famous songs on this terrific CD! It stays in my car at all times! Even when he was rich, he stayed living the same way he always did, never getting a swelled head. It's happy music and the Jamaican people are still very proud of him.

 

Negril, Jamaica, First Impressions

As luck would have it, Hurricane Dennis passed through Jamaica right before our departure from NJ, and Hurricane Emily arrived about halfway through our stay. The nightmare began as soon as we arrived at Newark Airport, 3 hours early for an international flight. Our 9AM flight was now leaving much later in the day, from JFK airport, and we were bused there. Many of the other passengers were angry and very aggressive, to the point that we decided it was safer to wait for the next bus. We arrived at JFK a few hours later, but all of us ended up on the same Air Jamaica flight. To make a long story short, we arrived at what was then called Negril Gardens around 10PM in the dark. The kitchen was closed, so my husband headed for the bar. My son & I searched out the dining area, and thankfully some desserts were still out on the table, as we had only eaten a snack on the plane.

My son & I ventured down to the beach to check out the water temperature. The sand was so soft and powdery. A Jamaican man approached us with that lovely, lilting accent they have, and said, “Welcome to Jamaica! Is this your first visit here?” Before we could reply, we both had coconut bracelets slapped around our wrists, and he said, “That will cost $20 US.” So much for what we thought was a representative of the hospitality office! Exhausted and confused, all 3 of us headed back to our cottage.

We awoke the next morning and I found a lizard on my facial cleanser. I like nature and am called “Mountain Girl” by some who know me well, so I took it in stride. There were all sorts of birds and butterflies we had never seen. We then headed outside to explore and eat breakfast. The magnificent and colorful plants and the gorgeous, calm Caribbean Sea just took our breath away! We had only to walk down a short path lined with flowers, vines, and palm trees to reach the restaurant, bar, beach and the Sea. Remember the scene in the “Wizard of Oz” where Dorothy sees the yellow brick road in color, instead of everything in black and white? That’s the only way I can describe the difference of what we saw now as opposed to the previous night.

Norman Manley Boulevard

Unusual tree seen on a walk down Norman Manley Blvd. In Negril, Jamaica
Unusual tree seen on a walk down Norman Manley Blvd. In Negril, Jamaica | Source

Negril, Jamaica's Beautiful People

We chatted up the staff and other vacationers at the resort. It was small and off the beaten path, chosen by us for that reason. There were only 65 units. They were two story ones, with pretty carved pineapples and artwork on all the wooden balconies and railings. Colored in yellow, pink, orange, blue and green, we were surrounded by a riot of colors and scents from all the flowers. Gardeners were busy tending all these exotic bushes and trees new to our eyes. We later found that Jamaica is a volcanic island, and has plant life not found anywhere else in the world.

We ventured down to the beach and it became obvious that the native Jamaicans were not allowed on the resort properties. We had mixed feelings about that, so set out to walk around and get to talk to the country's people on our own. They are very poor people, but very rich in spirit. Most were delightful to talk with, and happy to share any info about their country, making suggestions about tourist sites. It was apparent that although tours were supposed to be made through the front desk, the natives needed money and preferred to act as tour guides. I thought I was prepared to see poverty, but I never saw anything like the tin roofed shacks that we saw as we traveled the countryside. I sat in wonder, listening to the always present reggae music, tears in my eyes. There are few jobs in Jamaica besides tourism. And of course, the sale and use of Ganja (marijuana) is a way of life for the Rastafarians, and many tourists are happy to partake of it. It is illegal, but the police look the other way. Some of the women in the country seemed to resent the tourists. Since the poverty is so bad, they think that all Americans or people who can afford to vacation are "rich" and do not realize that both myself and my husband worked for the whole year to be able to go on this trip. So the people try to sell you all kinds of trinkets while you walk down the beach. We sympathized with their plight, but it is annoying to be hounded to buy things every time you try to walk to the water. Some of the jewelry and carvings were creative, and we did buy some, but were bound by a budget ourselves, and had to make that clear. I have a beautiful Cancer the crab pendant and a 3 faces carving done for me by an old Rasta with long gray dreadlocks.

The warm and calm Caribbean is unbelievable. We laughed when they said the water was a "little rough" when the "waves" were about 6 in. high! I can see it in my mind's eye whenever I feel stressed or sad. Just floating around amidst all the scenery is like a dream. The temperature of the water is 80 degrees, and the air around 85 degrees all year around. You can sit in the shade of the palms and fruit trees, and there is always a breeze. The sunsets are spectacular. Seven Mile Beach in Negril is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, and rightfully so. It truly has to be seen to be believed.

Sites on Norman Manley Blvd.

A local store in Negril, Jamaica   All the buildings except the resorts are small and colorful.
A local store in Negril, Jamaica All the buildings except the resorts are small and colorful. | Source
Negril, Jamaica has the most lush and gorgeous flowers I have ever seen!
Negril, Jamaica has the most lush and gorgeous flowers I have ever seen!

Our Negril, Jamaica Personal Guide

We fell into a friendly relationship with a Rasta named Phillip, who became our official Jamaican go-to person for questions and our tour guide. He explained much about Jamaican culture and its people to us. He was about 35, but appeared years older, gray hair threaded through his foot long, thick dreads. He spoke of how there was no future for the young people there. He was 1 of 4 siblings, and the only one still living in Jamaica, not liking the fast pace of the U.S. He was beginning to get sick from the contaminated water from the first Hurricane, Dennis, when warnings of Hurricane Emily started coming in. The Weather Channel was predicting a Category 4 storm as a direct hit on Negril. The Jamaican natives that hung around the sidelines of the resort had no TV's or radios to track the weather. My husband kept them updated by drawing maps in the sand. Later, when we got home, our friends told us that Emily was predicted as a Category 5 storm in the U.S. news, and they were freaking out worrying about us. Since our resort was older and not hurricane proof, we were told to pack everything up in case we had to be evacuated. We didn't know what to think, and the staff looked scared. Luckily, we were spared the worst of the storm, but it did rain sideways for 24 hrs.

The blue skies quickly returned, and the tourists good moods as well. But when we saw Phillip, he was very sick. My son & I weren't feeling too well due to the water, it was "treated", but different than home. Phillip said he lived in a shack in the slums, and his family collected drinking water that fell from the tin roof in a bucket. He felt feverish and was dehydrated. I always travel with too much stuff, so was happy to be able to give him Advil, Imodium, and some other medicines we can get easily over the counter at home. He thanked me profusely and later seemed much better.

We enjoyed the last few days, took a river walk where you actually walked IN the river, shopped for Blue Mountain Coffee and Appleton Rum. The Blue Mts. are lovely too, sprinkled with little villages in lush, green jungle like settings where the coffee grows. Once again, we were delighted with the natural beauty.

Phillip decided we were "honorary Rastas" and continued to thank us for everything we gave him, which in our eyes wasn't a lot. I told him we only tried to help. He looked at me evenly and said in that lovely Jamaican accent, "No, Mama, you didn't just try. You helped. Not only me, but my whole village." I was deeply moved and humbled. People in the U.S. throw away more food than these people live on.


Walking on Norman Manley Blvd.

Source

Time to Leave Negril, Jamaica

It was sad to go home, though I always miss it when away. We kept giving Phillip and his friends all the food we could up until the time we had to catch the shuttle to our return flight. We left the resort to catch a 4PM flight on a Sunday afternoon, to return home about 10PM that same night. At least it was daytime as we traveled back to Sangster Airport, and we could see the combination of fancy resorts with bright green golf courses, and tiny, poor shacks and businesses we now knew probably didn't even have clean water to drink. The airport was a disaster when we arrived, all the flights backed up yet from both Hurricanes. We had to stay one more night in Montego Bay, and never did get on a plane home until about 10 PM Monday night. We landed at Newark airport at 2AM on Tues. morn, 2 days later than expected and stranded at Newark airport. I raved at the people manning the Air Jamaica desk, as our cab company had given up on us. Newark is not a nice place to be in the middle of the night. The airline picked up the tab and rode us home in a Town Car. We decided never to fly Air Jamaica again, because when they say, "No Problem" it's just denial. Continental has 1 non-stop every day from NJ to Jamaica.

There is one other point I want to bring up here. People always hear Bob Marley's One Love song, and believe it's a big "party" song because of the line, "Let's get together and feel alright." The Marley Foundation graciously lets the Jamaican Tourism Board use the song with changed lyrics. If you listen to the You Tube version above in this hub, it's a song about a coming Armeggedon, and a plea for all people to come together, be spritual, take care of each other, and then they will be alright. It's a prayer for world peace, which I heartily endorse!

Despite all the mishaps, I fell in love with Jamaica, its people, its spirit, its reggae music. We have returned 4 times, and hope to return again. The resort is now part of a chain called "Grand Pineapple", which so far has kept the natural trees, plantlife and pretty buildings intact. There are many large hotel complexes being built, but they destroy many of the old growth plants which only grow in Jamaica. They do not always employ the native Jamaicans so they can make a living, but prefer to bring their own staffs. Phillip and other friends we met over the years are well. I will always have a special place in my heart for these poverty-stricken people with generous spirits and hearts filled with love.


Countries for Peace

The Bakula family made this Peace sign during a trip to Negril in 2007, dragging seaweed and fruit to write "Peace." We went out, and on arriving back at the beach, found it written in French and German too! It was such a touching moment!
The Bakula family made this Peace sign during a trip to Negril in 2007, dragging seaweed and fruit to write "Peace." We went out, and on arriving back at the beach, found it written in French and German too! It was such a touching moment! | Source

© 2010 Jean Bakula

More by this Author

  • How Opposites Attract In Astrology
    57

    Astrological opposites attract, just as they do in the world of science. Your opposite sign has the qualities that you do not possess, so as soulmates, you are perfect. Of course, there can be trouble even in Paradise!

  • Negative Astrology Sign Characteristics
    63

    Many people are familiar with the good traits of the Astrology signs. But the negative characteristics are not often discussed. I offer up some of the main ones here, in good spirit!

  • Scorpio Moon Sign Emotions
    84

    Scorpio Moon Sign People know exactly what they want and where they are going. They seem stubborn and unyielding, but that's not true. They just cannot be swayed by whatever they see as true, no matter how much they...


Comments 16 comments

Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hello there,

Yes, many cruise ships stop near Ocho Rios. Montego Bay is really pretty. Just be prepared, the people are very poor, and try to sell you everything, unless you are with a tour group that has some muscle or security along. I have also been considering a cruise, but know if the shore excursion is in Montego Bay, I'll be sad if I don't get to Negril. It's about a 90 minute drive. It is very beautiful though, and there are many lovely resorts by the bay.


beachbumaxp profile image

beachbumaxp 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

After reading your hub, I already want to visit Negril. I was actually talking about Falmouth, Jamaica. It's a lesser known town in Jamaica, as it's not a resort community. Royal Caribbean International built a port there in 2011 to help attract Georgian architecture aficionados, and also because it is relatively close to Montego Bay. Falmouth, Nova Scotia does sound very nice, however! :)


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi beachbumaxp,

We went back 3 more times. Once we met a man from Canada, who stayed in Negril for a month. He went home to his chilly country, and felt very depressed. So he came back to Negril, deciding it was the reason for his depression! It was so funny. Aren't the cab rides terrifying? I had white knuckles all the way back to the airport last time. Falmouth, Nova Scotia? I was there for my honeymoon many years ago. Beautiful place.


beachbumaxp profile image

beachbumaxp 3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

Just returned from Jamaica this week, and read your hub because I miss it dearly. We had such a wonderful, and scary time, but it was priceless. I love how you captured the uncertainty and the discomfort of the first impression. I just finished writing part 1 of 3 about our trip to Falmouth because I couldn't squeeze everything into just 1! See you on the other side! Voted up.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Thank you. It's truly a beautiful place. The poverty is hard to see, yet the people are gentle and kind. The beach is a slice of heaven!


DoJamaicaYourWay 4 years ago

What a GREAT read about Negril and Jamaica. I am glad you had a great time! I love Negril so much, that beach is just amazing and there is always so much to see and do!


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

Thanks for the advice Randy. We can't afford to go this year, but I know we will return. I will check out your hubs. Negril Gardens, now Grand Pineapple, was going to evacuate us, but it never came to that. The locals seemed scared, and some were just poor people hangin out on the beach. With no TV, they were getting their info from those of us at the resort. But now we know the management and other people much better. Have a Bob Marley for me! One of those shots with 3 colors of liquor, red, green, and yellow! After one yr when we met 3 Australian guys there, I think their bar stopped serving them, they are pretty strong! Be Irie!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

I would highly recommend Coco La Palms, Jean. It is owned by a family from Minnesota and the manager has been there for many years. I've written a hub about it if you need more info.

It certainly was a bit difficult during the short time of the hurricanes but Negril hasn't had a major destructive one in over 200 years. Always ask the locals what to do if a hurricane is coming. This will save you much time, worry, and expense as we found out.

I'm heading back to Negril, probably in the next month or so. Hope you get to return there soon!

Respect Mon!

Randy


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi Randy,

It does sound like our trips overlapped. It was so beautiful in Negril (so much of Jamaica) but with all the hurricanes and waiting at airports, we felt we lost a lot of time. You are closer, that's great. The drivers really make getting to your hotel a scary experience! I will definitely check out your hubs! I want to try other resorts, but am torn, as I love where we were and know the people after being there 4 times. We can't go this year. Maybe next year! Thanks for stopping by and sharing.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

Forgot to add, we were probably there when you guys arrived, as hurricane Dennis delayed our departure for 4 days. We were staying at Coco La Palms, not far from you guys. You might want to check out my Negril articles for some familiar sights! A small world indeed!

Randy


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

I enjoyed this hub, Jean! My wife and I try to go to Negril every year as we have made friends there over the last ten years or so. Jamaicans are great people when you get to know them as we have.

For us, it is a 250 mile ride to Orlando and an hour and twenty minutes to Montego Bay. The ride from there to Negril is an experience in itself. See you there!

Randy


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey Author

We went on a cruise to the Bahamas, and they were so beautiful, we needed more island time. It only takes 3 1/2 hrs to fly there from NJ, but Negril is another almost 2 hr ride. It's worth it though. It's like paradise, the beauty of the place and the people keep us going back.


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

This is beautiful hub. Lowe the pictures. I want to go to Jamaica someday. I bought me a tie die shirt when I went to the Bahamas. I wear it every chance I get.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Very beautiful! Thank you so much for this. Thank you for posting on my Vietnam page. I'm a bit sad right now remembering. I just wanted to say thank you so much. I need Jamaica right now. Maybe I should go there to live. God bless you.


Jean Bakula 5 years ago

Thanks for reading! I wrote about our first trip to Negril because the impressions were so intense being in a new country and experiencing the two hurricanes. It is beyond beautiful. I can't afford to go this year :( But maybe next year. Best Wishes!


Hummingbird5356 profile image

Hummingbird5356 5 years ago

A very interesting hub. I like the photos particularly the one shaped like a peacock's tail. Thanks.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working