What to Do, What to See
In the parish of Westmoreland there are caves, a nature retreat and waterfalls, plus some really interesting historic and cultural sites to visit in addition to the beaches and fun things.
Be sure to check out the adjoining parishes for more things to do while you are in Negril, such as Appleton Rum Distillery, Pelican Bar and YS Falls in St. Elizabeth Parish, Bloody Bay, Booby Cay, Zipline Canopy Tours and horseback rides at Rhodes Hall Plantation in Hanover Parish, etc.
- 7-Mile Beach: Although it's really only about 4 miles long, this is Negril's most famous stretch of land and one of the island's finest beaches, stretching from the Negril River on the south to Rutland Point on the north. Travel magazines often rank it among the world's top ten beaches. (Note: It's real name is Long Bay Beach.) The north end is home to many of Negril's all-inclusive resorts while to the south lie the smaller, family-run hotels. To view panoramic videos of 7-Mile Beach, click here.
- Benji's Paradise: Feel the need to be a "Rasta for a Day"? About 45 minutes from Negril and 8 miles NE of Savanna-La-Mar, you can relax, hike, swim in the river, and dine on Ital food at this lush and beautiful private property. Contact Benji’s sister, Biggie, and tell them when you would like to be "Rasta for a Day". Phone: 876.350.6152.
- Bluefields Great House: In the 17th Century, Bluefields, then known as "Blewfields," was a base for pirate strikes against Spanish ships and ports. It was here in 1670 that Henry Morgan mustered his fleet and sailed off to sack Panama. It flourished with taverns and gambling and carousers. The Great House is noted for its association with Phillip Gosse, the British Naturalist, who spent 18 months there (1844-1845). While there he collected and sent to the British Museum hundreds of specimens of local flora and fauna. He also wrote the well-known book Birds of Jamaica. In its garden today is a breadfruit tree believed to be one of the first brought to the island by Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame, after his expedition to the South pacific.
- Blue Hole Mineral Spring - Located in Brighton, about 20 minutes from Negril and near Little Bay, this attraction recently had its grand opening (2010). Jump from platforms into the clear mineral spring water of the Blue Hole or swim in the beautiful new pool which contains mineral water pumped from the spring. Enjoy a few Red Stripes at the on-site bar and grill. Phone: 876.860.8805.
- Kool Runnings Water Park – Take your kids (as an excuse!) to enjoy their 10 amazing water slides and other water rides, Captain Mikie's Coconut Island, food and games. I'd say my favorite is the Kickpuppalick (patois for "somersault"), where you plunge from a height of 40 feet into a pool! Stop over at Anancy Village to enjoy the go-kart and bungee trampoline. Through May 2010, they are open Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 11am to 6pm. Beginning June 1, 1020,they will be open every day except Monday from 11am to 7pm. Phone: 876.957.5400.
- Great Morass – The Great Morass stretches north 10 miles from the South Negril River to Orange Bay in Hanover parish and is two miles wide. It is virtually impenetrable and is said to be the remnant of a primeval forest. It is the second largest freshwater wetland in the island and forms a refuge for endangered waterfowl. At its edges, the endemic fish the God-a-me is found. This fish can live out of water in damp leaves and mud for up to a day. The morass is critical to the Negril environment. Like a giant sponge, it filters the water flowing down from the interior of the parish. As the tourism sector there expands it places additional demands on the infrastructure and increases the danger to the environment. The Negril Watershed Environmental Protection Area has been created to protect the morass and reefs.
- Long Bay Beach Park - Although Long Bay Beach is the alias for Negril's 7-mile Beach, the Beach Park sits at the far north end and is actually in Hanover Parish. See more information here. (FYI - Don't confuse this with beautiful Long Bay in Portland parish on the opposite end of the island.)
- Mannings School: In 1710 Thomas Manning, a Westmoreland planter, bequeathed 13 slaves, land, cattle and "produce of a pen" in Burnt Savannah for a "free school" in Westmoreland. The school was established in 1738 near Savanna-la-mar instead of the land left by Manning. It is the second oldest secondary school in the island.
- Mayfield Falls and Mineral Springs is located in Glenbrook, in the Dolphin Head Mountains, and is approximately a 1-hour drive from Negril. Mayfield Falls is home to 52 varieties of ferns & wildlife, wildflowers, and different species of birds. There are also two waterfalls and 21 natural mineral water pools on the property. This is one of Jamaica’s first eco-tourism resorts. Take a guided tour of the falls or just bask in the beautiful and natural surrounding.
- Negril Hills Golf Club - The Negril Hills Golf Club is an 18-hole par 72 course located on the main highway outside the resort center of Negril. It has spectacular views over Negril Bay. Get a cart - there are plenty of hills to tire you out. Golf clubs are available for rental. Phone: 876.957.4638 or 876.957.3614.
- Negril Point Lighthouse - This Lighthouse is situated at south Negril Point which is at the extreme western end of the Island. The concrete tower is painted white and stands 66 feet above ground level. The light is elevated 100 feet above sea level. The Negril Lighthouse was built in 1894 by the French Company, Bubbler & Bernard, on a tank 14 feet deep, which is kept filled with water. This is to keep the tower balanced and secure in the event of an earthquake. Initially, the Lighthouse was operated by a gas lamp, but in 1956 it was replaced by an acetylene gas lamp. This was used until 1985 when it was replaced by solar energy.
- Negril Scuba Centre - With several locations in Negril (Mariner’s Negril Beach Club on 7-Mile Beach, Negril Escape Resort on the West End, and Sunset at the Palms on Bloody Bay), Negril Scuba Centre offers both shore and boat dives to the best dive sites in Negril. Their services include equipment rentals, PADI certification courses, refresher courses, and a course/dive for beginners. The marine life here is beautiful and guests say a particular highlight is the “Throne Room” dive where you enter a vaulted cavern through a reef chimney. Phone: 876.383.9533.
- Peter Tosh Birthplace & Mausoleum -True reggae fans will want to visit this memorial in the small coastal village of Belmont, near Bluefields, Jamaica, south of Negril. Winston Hubert “Peter Tosh” McIntosh, militant poet, songwriter and Rastafarian trailblazer was born in Belmont in 1944. His success as one of the three original founding members of the 1960s band “The Wailers” (the others were Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer) saw him rise to international stardom. Tosh was murdered in his Kingston home in 1987 at the age of 42. His body was returned here and the mausoleum was erected. Nothing like the tourist mecca of Bob Marley’s Nine Mile, this is a small humble memorial containing Tosh’s tomb and some photos and memorabilia. There is also a small gift shop for CDs and t-shirts. You will find it in a small yard just off the A2; look for brightly painted gates. Stop in, sign the guest book and pay your respects to the Malcolm X of reggae music. Tosh family members still occupy the property and care for the monument.
- Roaring River Park and Cave – A former slave plantation, the Roaring River Estate near Petersfield is named for the gushing waters of the river. Now a heritage and nature park, you can get a taste of Jamaica's cultural heritage and enjoy its natural beauty. Roaring River is located in the little village of Shrewsbury, one of the estates owned by Peter Beckford, a horse trader who arrived in 1660 and broke his neck some 50 years later when he intervened in a riot in the House of Assembly. He died leaving 24 estates and 4000 slaves. The Roaring River runs underground, before appearing close to the Roaring River Cave, a series of limestone caverns with a small mineral spring inside. The river provides the parish capital, Savanna-la-Mar, with its water supply and it is the most important source of water in central Westmoreland and the Georges plain. The Roaring River Citizens Association, a local community group, looks after the property. Steps lead up a steep hillside to the mouth of a cave which tunnels into the cliff face. The cathedral-like caverns are quite large. It is lighted and has many chambers.An admission fee for the cave covers the services of a guide. There is also a fresh water sinkhole where visitors can swim and a landscaped private garden. The majestic Silk Cottonwood tree by the pool is at least 300 years old. Be sure to bring a bathing suit and a towel, as the water is very clean and loaded with healing minerals. This nice park has yet to be totally commercialized. A hidden gem!
- Salem was created from the need to relocate the Moravian congregation at New Hope. Moravian missionaries had been invited to Jamaica in the 1750s to serve the large slave population. The church building was a small school-house which was in a state of disrepair. Also New Hope had gained the reputation of being an unhealthy place. In 1860, A. B. Lind purchased a lovely property at Beeston Spring, about 750 feet above sea level, sold back to the mission about 40 acres for a mission station and then sub-divided and sold the rest to members of the church and to others. Soon after the purchase, preparation for the construction of a new church began. By the end of 1867 the church was completed and received the name of Salem.
- Savanna-la-mar Baptist Church: This church was founded on June 7, 1829 by the Rev. Thomas Burchell. At this time the anti-slavery movement was gaining momentum in the West Indies and England. Another famous emancipator, William Knibb, was also pastor at this church. The church was destroyed by fire in 1839 and rebuilt in 1840.
- Savanna-la-mar Fort - The fort at Savanna-la-mar seems to have no name and is simply called the Fort. It can be seen at the end of Great George Street. It was constructed in the middle of the 18th Century. Situated partly on land and mostly in the sea, a large section of the wall in the water has crumbled. The fort was built originally to protect the town but was never completed.
- Savanna-la-mar Court House - The Savanna-la-mar Court House was built in 1925. It is located on Great George Street in Norman Square. The public square which has several other public buildings is protected by Jamaican Law. The Act is known as the Norman Square Act of 1891. This piece of legislation ensured that: the expressions of Norman Square shall be deemed to include all piece or parcel of land in the town of Savanna-la-mar around the Court House. Located near to the Court House is a large cast iron Fountain which was presented to the town of Savanna-la-mar in 1887 by E. J. Sadler, a planter from Westmoreland.
- Seaford Town - After the abolition of slavery (1834), many planters saw an impending shortage of labor. One measure used to solve the rpoblem was the establishment of a European settlement by Lord Seaford, then owner of Montpelier Estate and Shettlewood Pen which were located in St. James. Over 1,000 Germans were brought to Jamaica with the promise of being granted house, land, and employment. The township was established on 500 acres of land in the parish of Westmoreland. Some buildings in Seaford Town have retained some of their German architecture, and Catholicism has remained the dominant religion. Today, it is not uncommon to see a blond haired, blue eyed member of the community. There is a museum in the town displaying the history of the township.
- West End Cliffs - Make at least one visit to the West End Cliffs at the southern end of Negril to have a bite to eat or something to drink at one of the popular bars and restaurants that sit atop the cliffs. While there you can witness a spectacular sunset, visit the Negril Lighthouse, and view the popular cliff diving. Tip one of the local kids to dive from the cliffs for you or take the plunge yourself if you are so inclined!