By Dave & Deb Bouskill, on July 10, 2013

Jamaica fun in the sun

Known for its spectacular Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica was made for fun in the sun. The sandy white stretch of beach is in truth actually only about five miles long, but over the years has grown into its “Seven Mile” title. However long the beach may be, it is spectacular. So spectacular in fact that it is regularly named as one of the best beaches in the world by top travel publications. On Seven Mile Beach you’ll find a blend of luxury resorts and small family-run hotels right on the water facing west, making for a prime position for sipping Jamaican rum while watching a glorious sunset. Today we give you our recommendations for how to experience it.


Our trip to Negril included a trip on a catamaran to discover the turquoise waters and rocky coast. This stretch of Jamaica may have a long and incredible beach, but it’s the rocky coastline that also sets it apart. From Beaches Negril Resort, we wove our way through sun worshippers, vendors, and souvenir stalls to catch our ride. I could have done all my shopping right there on the beach! If you don’t mind haggling and bartering, you can find some nice souvenirs to take home memories from Jamaica. But our day was about adventure, so we propped our bags on our heads and waded through the warm water to board a catamaran for our discovery tour of the west coast of Jamaica.

We’ve always wanted to go on a Caribbean sailing trip and we finally had our chance. Sailing is a great way to scope out the best places to catch a few rays, and a fun way to take in the sights. As you sail along the coast of Negril, the sandy beaches eventually give way to white rocky cliffs. Resorts and million dollar mansions are scattered along the shore and the coastline has been kept beautiful by sticking to low-rise designs that have allowed the jungle canopy to survive. The amount of green space that is left in Negril is surprising. While many other resort destinations have been cluttered with high rises, Negril has worked hard to preserve the beauty of the land. 

Ricks Cafe in Negril, Jamaica

Rick’s Café Cliff Divers

Our captain set a course for Rick’s Café as we sat on the mesh trampoline at the front of the boat taking in the sublime scenery enroute. Watching the daring cliff divers of Rick’s Café has become an island tradition, with bus loads of tourists from Montego Bay even showing up to experience an afternoon at the bar. Set on cliffs as high as 35 feet, this cafe at the far west end of the island is known to have one of the best views of sunset in the world. It’s also known for the guys who jump from rocky outcrops and plunge into the crystal clear waters below. Give a donation to the divers and they’ll thrill you with their daredevil skills. 

Viewfinder Tip: Tourists can jump from Rick’s Cafe as well, but only dive if you are an experienced cliff diver. There have been many serious injuries over the years.

Besides watching the divers, we also had the chance to snorkel just off the coast. The swim from the boat took us to an abandoned pirates’ cave. At one point someone turned this cave into a bar, but today it acts as a resting place for tourists tired of treading water. Some of the best diving and snorkeling in Jamaica can be found off the coast of Negril and the warm inviting waters make you want to jump right on in to explore what lies beneath. We were surprised to find reefs that were in good condition with an array of fish and corral. We often expect the worst when it comes to highly trafficked tourist destinations, but in Negril, there is plenty of marine life.

The Beach

We’re here to talk about the beach though, and Negril has a beach to remember. If you are looking for a lively and active day in the sun, Seven Mile Beach is the place for you. It’s home to such Jamaican resorts as Beaches, Sandals, and The Caves. And the best part: Seven Mile Beach is a public beach open to everyone. We’re always happy to see a place where the tourists can mix and mingle with the locals.

An all-inclusive view

A fun stop is Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. In front of the famous restaurant chain you’ll find a giant jungle gym for adults to play on the water. And play we did. It was here that we got back in touch with our inner child and jumped and frolicked to our hearts’ content. Warm water, bouncing balls, water slides, and rubber bridges; who could ask for more? 

If you haven’t been to Negril, you should give it a try the next time you’re in Jamaica. There’s something for everyone. Families, couples, and groups will all have a blast. If you choose to stay in the more relaxed west end, you’ll find small cottages, boutique hotels, and affordable restaurants where you can eat with the locals to feel the true Jamaican Island vibe. In the east, you can have a more upmarket experience with the superclubs and luxury resorts. There is a reason that Negril is regularly voted the best beach in the world, so why not try it out for yourself and see what you think?

 Where’s Your favorite beach in the world?