About ninety miles south of Cuba is the fourth largest island in the Caribbean. This reggae-famous island country is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, the fastest track runners, sunsets that never disappoint and some of the most delicious rum in the world. Whether you are staying at houses for rent in Jamaica or at your favorite beachside resort sipping a creamy ice-cold pina colada, made with fresh coconut milk is a treat that can be found anywhere no matter where you roam. With your toes melting into the warm sand just a few feet away from the clear blue water the first sip will make you feel as though you never have to go back to work again. Or perhaps that first sip makes all your worries fly away in the breeze while your hair floats in the wind and you gaze out into the deep serenity, legs dangling forty feet above the crystal water. Something many people do not realize about Jamaica is its landscape not only offers beautiful beaches, but some of the most stunning views and entertainment are found atop ocean-side cliffs.
Located in the North-Western part of the island is the town of Negril. Best known for its long stretch of sand, Negril is home to the world-famous Seven Mile Beach. Mile after mile of soft white sand offers views of pristine serenity that go on forever. This strip of paradise is nothing short of spectacular as the scattered umbrellas and lounge chairs encourage a daily dose of leisure.
A day spent along the beaches of Negil, Jamaica may begin with a sunrise breakfast under bamboo umbrellas, a morning mimosa with fresh squeezed juice and a breathtaking view as the sun makes its first appearance of the day. The sun rises higher, illuminating the soft morning tide, accompanied by a plate of lox and fresh fruit. A slice of papaya will cleanse the pallet and a morning stroll gets the blood flowing before the rest of the world wakes up to join. The silence creates a calm immersion into the day before the hustle begins. Locals become quite the effective sales people, showing off the bracelets and carvings they’ve made from the land.
The day continues and one may grab a paddleboard, a perfect opportunity to challenge a balancing act above the crystal blue water while watching stingrays swim below the shallow surface. A boat ride is also an option. Snag a set of snorkel equipment and bring the GoPro out to the depths of the local coral reef to film some stunning footage of bright fish and a whole world of life under the sea.
Post snorkeling, one may take a break and catch some rays just to appreciate the blue of the sky and water that never disappear. Jamaica’s sun doesn’t seem to ever stop shining so a lunch break is a great time to enjoy a fresh coconut and continue relaxing.
As the day moves along one may feel like taking a walk to Rick’s Café, which is a world famous outdoor bar and viewing area for professional, and amateur cliff jumping. The most picturesque time to watch the cliff jumpers is during sunset, as the “pros” will dive from as high as 85 feet. This is a site nobody should miss. Spectators will be caught holding their breath as they watch tourists, who typically have had a little bit to drink, jump from the lower cliffs that range from 10 to 35 feet. Cross your fingers for safe landings, and if you are feeling extra daring, stay cautious, and make a jump. However, anybody looking for a more relaxing evening should head right back to where the day began to enjoy a beachfront dinner. As the sun dips behind the horizon a local islander will play banjo as a light serenade.
The cliffs at Rick’s are pretty wild, but nothing compares to the rocky overhangs headed South West towards the Negril Lighthouse, which of course is a must-see. The waterfront access changes this way. The whole mood moves from mellow beachfront to rejuvenating cliff side bliss. The slow wade into the water is no longer an option, as the intimidating thirty-foot jump off the side of the bluffs is the new invitation into the refreshing salt water. Have no fear, if thirty feet is too daunting; one may ease their way in, beginning with a twenty or ten-foot jump, or even just a scoot from a much more appealing level.
What is so fascinating about the cliffs of Jamaica is not only the thrill seeking adventure they create, or the formation of caves that offer some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean but the views are breathtaking all day long. Perched up above and closer to the clouds, aligned with the horizon, an outlook into the vast birth of the day is a perfect place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee, papaya, and fried plantains. If fried plantains don’t sound delicious, think again and don’t knock it until you try it because this Caribbean staple is a treat nobody should miss. If coffee isn’t part of the usual routine, allow a few sips anyway of the world famous Blue Mountain Peak Coffee, ranked number nine in the world.
At first, being settled up on the cliffs may create a feeling of limitation but it soon becomes clear that the thrill of this new place is nothing short of ordinary. The infinity style hot tub at The Caves Resort offers not only a wonderful photo opportunity and a stunning view of adventurous jumpers, but as mentioned before the pina coladas are just the delicious boost needed to get jumping into the water.
A relaxing day at the spa is a must do tradition while visiting the cliffs of Jamaica. Enjoy a panoramic oceanfront view, a tropical breeze and the massage of a lifetime from the magical hands of local Jamaican masseuses. A warm breeze will drift in the open shutters, as the salty smell of the waves calm every nerve in the body. One may need a pinch to remember this moment is not a dream. Coming down off that relaxation high never has to happen. Grab a chair and a book and try not to fall asleep in the warm Jamaican sun.
Whether one spends their time in Jamaica along the magical stretch of Seven Mile Beach or residing above the caves and atop the cliffs above the friendly Caribbean waves, the town of Negril is a must see destination for anybody planning to visit the homeland of Legendary Bob Marley. It is impossible to say which part of the island coast is more alluring, but no matter where one visits it is safe to say the pina coladas, the reggae music, the never ending summer, the warm salty water, and the breathtaking sunsets will never disappoint.
Micayla Gilligan is a spontaneous travel blogger and photographer, currently residing in New Hampshire after spending the last two years based out of Breckenridge, Colorado. Her plans are to see all of the places and meet all of the people, as she captures this through her photos and writing. Check out her blog for travel advice and stories about inspirational people she has met so far, and follow her next journey as she backpacks through SE Asia and Australia for the next year.
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