I arrived in Negril roughly four hours after touching down in Jamaica. That's two hours clearing customs and immigration and the two-hour ride to my hotel in Westmorland with a few stops for cash and gas.
I gave the driver the address, and when he asked me to look out for the hotel, I knew he had no clue what we were looking for. Eventually, we found it, and I was ready to begin my adventure.
Jamaica has been on my list for the longest and I can't believe it took me so long to get there but I was going to make the most of it. I spent eight days, spent time from one end of the island to the other but wanted to start in Negril as it made sense for me to move in one direction.
I stayed at the Samsara Cliff Resort in Negril. I picked a garden room that I thought would put me poolside, but there are wooden cabins across the street that classify as garden rooms. Nonetheless, they were still a great choice.
The room was a good size with a queen bed, a dresser table, an actual table with a chair, a bathroom, and AC. It also had two lawn chairs and a hammock on the outside. After a long shower, I proceed poolside for dinner. I was a bit early, so I had a few fruit punches while I waited. I also tried a Redstripe for the first time (I like the sorrel flavor the most). My first meal in Jamacia was stew chicken rice and peas. It didn't necessarily live up to the hype as I was comparing it to how it's done in the States. Anyone that lives in the Bronx knows there is no shortage of great Jamaican restaurants so I had quite the comparison. I ended the night with a few Heineken zeros poolside.
The next day I returned to the pool for breakfast. I was starving having completed a run prior. I then figure out it was ok to stay at the hotel but I would have to eat elsewhere. The food wasn't really all that and I found out the hard way not to critique chefs. I got cursed out in the local language but it was really funny when they realized I could understand what was being said(Another story for another time). The best part of the hotel is Jeniffer at the front desk. Great service and hospitality. She ensured I had a great time at the property. The taxi drivers were cool too but the kitchen staff missed the hospitality lesson completely.
In Negril, I wanted to do two things, one was to visit Ricks Cafe and the other was to relax at Seven Mile Beach. I also wanted to do horseback riding in the ocean but I'd leave that for the next trip.
Normans Taxi was my mode of transportation while in Negril. They are great guys, knowledgeable about the location, and have excellent service. You can also walk in Negril as I did several times but be warned the sun is no joke. The first stop was Ricks Cafe, it's an attraction at sunset but I went earlier to avoid the crowds and relax. For lunch, I had Jerk chicken. It came with french fries and coleslaw and was washed down with a Jamaican Dragon Stout. The divers are pretty impressive and there is also a music stage for performances. It's an all-around chill spot with great service and a good place to be.
From there I called my taxi and went straight to Legends. Legend is the sister property of Samsara in Negril and has access to Seven Mile Beach. I walked up the beach and stopped at this quaint little place called Flamingle Beach Bar. The bartender and the owner were really nice. In most places on the beach if you're not staying at the attached hotel you have to pay for chairs or get harassed by beach security for setting up shop. The water, although cold at first was really nice. I spent the remainder of the day at the beach. I got sugarcane and coconut from a guy walking the beach and continued my diet of red stripes while sunbathing. As sunset approached it was time for me to get some food.
Dinner that night was at the Rockhouse cafe. I found it while scrolling online for the best places to eat in Negril and let me just say, It lived up to its hype. They started off with a free Callaloo soup and some bread. For appetizers, I had the oxtail patty. Then it was lobster for dinner with rice and peas. I also had a rum cake for dessert. Although pricey the meal was every bit worth it. There is also a hotel attached to the restaurant so I think I'll stay there for my next time in Negril.
The next morning I had breakfast at Xtabi. I had the saltfish and ackee as well as a fruit platter. The view was amazing and there were also some caves and vantage points I didn't get to discover but is a great thing to do while on property.
I walked back to Samsara which was only a few minutes away and then checked out of the hotel. Norman Taxi took me back to Montego Bay. (Where I landed)
Taxis were a large part of my budget in Negril. An alternative is the Knutsford Express. I didn't know about it when I landed but it will sure be how I get around going forward between cities in Jamacia.
Overall, Negril was nice. I like the atmosphere, it was one of the places I walked around with zero hassle. I would run in the mornings and most people would just stare and say good morning. It's really a calm and relaxing place and I can't wait to return.
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