Come to Negril, Jamaica. Come to Negril and you will see why many people extend their stay indefinitely. Take the tall, skinny, middle aged, white haired man from North Dakota for example. He casually patrols the beaches every morning (okay early afternoon), red stripe lager in hand. This man with his skin tanned to the shade of tree bark is on island time. He came with a modest amount of money and conserves it further by staying in cheaper accommodations than that of the fussy tourists who never truly let go of their troubles. Those tourists don’t embrace island life and island time. They will be leaving before they realize they are on vacation.
Negril is about an hour and a half from Montego bay but it is worth every second of the drive. Sure, one could stay in a fancy, expensive, all inclusive resort five minutes from the airport, but you might as well be in Mexico or better yet Florida. If you want nothing to do with the wonderful Jamaican culture lying just beyond those high white all inclusive resort walls, save your money and go to Florida. The atmosphere inside an all inclusive is entirely different and entirely lacking compared to that of the outside. The best part about a visit to Jamaica is the surrounding environment and there are many reasonably priced hotels in the heart of Negril that will allow you to experience it. During the day the surroundings are calm and playful as tourists do water sports in the sea or lounge in the sun. Jamaicans stroll up and down the beach strumming their guitars or selling tropical fruit. The patty man comes around the same time every day selling delicious meat pie pastries that one can not get enough of. The evening is a transitional period as the noises of the day morph into the enchanting sounds of the warm Jamaican night. The mystical sounding Jamaican tree frogs come out as the sun sets slowly into the glistening sea. At night people saunter down the beach to find a bite to eat and the funky sounds of reggae can be heard in the distance. Negril is a wonderful window into Jamaican culture including live reggae shows nightly and some of the best food in all of Jamaica. Just head down the beach and pick a place. It is almost impossible to get a bad meal here. If you feel too spoiled for choice on the beach, head up to the cliffs and enjoy some of the most delicious cuisine Jamaica has to offer.
As far as entertainment goes, there is every type of water sport imaginable available along the tantalizingly white 7 mile beach. At night there are choices of quaintly lit beach front dive bars or nightclubs that will be bouncing late into the night. If water sports and night clubs are too intense, hop on a daytime booze cruise over to Rick’s Cafe and take in the award winning sunset and live reggae music. Jamaicans are open to bartering so don’t forget to haggle the price of activities down a notch. This will help you extend your vacation time and who knows, maybe you can be the next tall, skinny, absurdly tan, middle aged, white haired man from North Dakota.