a VirtualTourist member asked on Nov 2, 2016
Hi all, My wife and I are in the planning stages of a Jamaican vacation for next fall (2017). She's mentioned staying at an all-inclusive, but I think I would prefer possibly a boutique hotel on the order of Jake's or The Rockhouse. I'm looking for input and suggestions about the pros and cons of each. Based on what little I know of Jamaica (this will be our first trip there) I'm leaning towards the Negril area.
Friends stayed at Couples Swept Away and loved it, maybe take a look at that one.
Negril would be my choice of the three main areas (Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios). While I understand why someone would want to stay in a non AI, I prefer the all inclusive resorts when in Jamaica. I'm not wild about local cuisine as it's a bit too spicy for me so I'm not really interested in trying out local restaurants as I would be in other places. Many of the AIs include non motorized water sports, my husband likes to sail so that's a benefit to him. And the AIs on Bloody Bay/7 mile beach keep a lot of the vendors out, it's a bit of a hassle to be asked if you want to buy weed or have your hair braided over and over. We're not big drinkers but if you are that might be another reason to weigh in favor of the AI format
I am not a fan of AIs at all. Most of them are very generic and onr Club Med is like all the other Club Meds. The ones I do not recommend are Sandals, Couples, and Hedonism.
Negril is the best of the three main destinationm, which are, besides Negril, Mo Bay (Montego Bay) and Ocho Rios. Mo Bay is where first timers usually go, and Ocho Rios is the place if you are into fishing..
Jakes at Treasure Beach is a a very nice place bit limited in other places to explore, It is located on the south west side of the island, where there are not that many places to explore.
The Rockhouse on the other hand is a fine place in Negril. Here are two more properties I really like in Negril, - the Nirvana, and the Caves, owned by Island Records mogul and the historic manager of Bob Marley back in the day.
Here is a look at some of the things to do in Jamaica.
This should give you a start. Come back with specifics and we will go from there. Don't be afraid to ask.
I will add this. Most people that go to Jamaica, never go to Kingston, usually due to being told that it is dangerous. It is no more dangerous than say, New York. If you have not been to Kingston, you really have not been to Jamaica. Yes I am biased, I spent considerable time in Jah Town. Being a huge reggae fan, to miss the Bob Marley Museum is a crime. However this may not be what you want, but i would not be true to my Jamaica if I did not include it.
Negril is likely the nicest of the three main tourist areas on the north and west sides of Jamaica. The RIU on Bloody Beach is probably the nicest.
I would rather go to a resort that is not all inclusive and have more freedom to pick and choose. Don't worry about, finding things to do, bars and such. Plenty within reach. Here are a few: I can recommend Mi Yard.
Oh, - one thing. You may want to check out Rick's once you hear all about the cliff diving. Everyone gets caught up in that one. If you are serious about jumping off the cliff at Rick's, , perhaps you need to take a look at their fatality rate.....
Here is some stuff from our VT members about Negril, including cliff jumping.
[original VT link]
I would perhaps try to make a trip to the Royal Palm Reserve, a protected flora/fauna area just a few miles inland from Negril close to the town of Sheffield. It is just breathtaking. There is a a long boardwalk that you can walk deep into the reserve, and they have over 40 observation towers that give you just spectacular views over the area.
Nearby is the Lighthouse Inn, where the cuisine is very good. What they do have, that in quite good, is a local "Mento" show. They used to do this once a week but if you check with them you can find out the day(s) they do this. They will also pick you up and drop you off at your hotel if you make dinner reservations.
Mento, by the way, is Jamaican folk music that is similar to Calypso but different. It predates ska and reggae, and if not for Mento, there likely would be no reggae. Well worth seeing. (Reggae is the soundtrack to my live/movie....)
Don't know if this is your style, but this is a little known hideaway on the beach in Negril, that is just beautiful, and serene. I do like this place a lot. No, it is not a huge place, but for a couple it is definitely worth it. Just though I would throw it in here.
If you are interested in the "real" Jamaica, relatively unspoiled still, a drive past the Lighthouse down the south western coast is the place to go. Relatively void of tourism, the people are friendly and the scenery is great.
Enjoy my Jamaica. Hope this all helps a bit! One love......d:o)
I'll just add that friends of ours LOVED Rockhouse: it was their go-to place in Jamaica. We almost went with them one year but plans fell apart (darn).
As I recall, it is 90 minutes to two hours from Montego Bay airport, if that makes any difference.