8 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Negril

written by Karen Hastings

At the western end of Jamaica, laidback Negril maintains the sleepy tropical charm that first attracted tourists in the 1960s. It's much more laid-back than Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, but also offers plenty of alluring natural attractions, both inland and along the coast. One of the main draws is Negril Beach. Also known as Seven Mile Beach, this stunning stretch of soft, white sand and azure sea fronts many of Negril's hotels and resorts and is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

Besides basking on its powdery shores, other fun things to do include exploring the coral reefs, soaking in therapeutic mineral springs and rain forest waterfalls, hand-feeding hummingbirds, and zooming through the jungle canopy on ziplines. After a day of relaxation and adventure, head to the famous Negril Cliffs, where tourists and locals alike gather to watch divers plunge from the limestone peaks as the fiery sun slides into the sea.

1. Negril Beach

Negril Beach

Negril Beach

Stretching from Bloody Bay in the north to Long Bay and the Negril Cliffs in the south, Negril Beach, is one of Jamaica's finest stretches of shoreline. Also known as Seven Mile Beach, though it's really only four miles long, this ravishing stretch of soft sand and turquoise sea is great for strolling, swimming, and sunbathing. You'll find plenty of watersports on offer, as well as some persistent hawkers wandering the shore selling souvenirs. Several areas of the beach are also designated as clothing optional. Hotels and restaurants line the sand, but most lie tucked back behind sea grapes and coconut palms.

If you want to go snorkeling in Negril, you can take a boat tour to the coral reefs surrounding Booby Cay, just north of Negril Beach, or snorkel off the Negril Cliffs in the south.

Address: Norman Manley Blvd, Negril

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Negril

2. Diving off the Negril Cliffs

Diving off the Negril Cliffs

Diving off the Negril Cliffs | Abir Anwar / photo modified

Rising above the sea, south of Negril Beach, the picturesque Negril Cliffs were used as a backdrop for the James Bond film Thunderball. At their highest points, these limestone outcrops rise up to 12 meters high and are a popular spot for both locals and tourists to dive into the calm sea below. Rick's Café, perched above the ocean, is a favorite venue to relax at sunset and watch all the action.

Some of Negril's most luxurious resorts preside over gorgeous ocean views atop the cliffs here, including The Caves, one of the best luxury all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. A short walk from Rick's Café is Negril Lighthouse. Built in 1894, it towers 30 meters above sea level and is the highest structure in Negril but is no longer open to visitors.

Location: West End, Westmoreland Parish

3. Mayfield Falls

Mayfield Falls

Mayfield Falls

About an hour's drive from Negril, past papaya trees and plantations, Mayfield Falls are smaller and less commercialized than Dunn's River Falls, and blissfully less crowded. These spring-fed cascades tumble into more than 20 pools, providing tranquil spots to soak under the invigorating rush of water. The road through the jungle to reach the falls is rough and rugged, but that's part of the adventure. You can catch a cab to the trailhead and hire a guide once you arrive who will lead you on the hour or so hike to the falls and point out interesting birds, butterflies, and plants. Another option is to join an organized tour from Negril. It's a good idea to wear water shoes and only bring items you are willing to get wet, as you have to wade through the river for about an hour to reach the falls. Before you plunge into the cool water, you can stash your belongings in lockers that are available for rent.

4. Barney's Flower & Hummingbird Garden Jamaica

Doctor bird

Doctor bird

Tucked in tropical foliage, a five-minute drive from Rick's Cafe, Barney's Flower & Hummingbird Garden is a tiny treasure box of birdlife. Here, hummingbird's hover over hibiscus, bougainvillea, ginger, and other tropical plants in this small quarter-acre garden. Visitors are offered a bottle of sugar water to feed these winged beauties, so you can enjoy up-close encounters and fantastic photo opportunities. Other small animals such as butterflies, bees, and lizards also visit the garden, and if you're lucky, you might even spot the doctor bird, Jamaica's national bird, also called the swallow-tailed hummingbird. Keep in mind that the weather and other conditions influence hummingbird activity.

Address: Hylton Avenue, Negril

5. Zipline Canopy Tours

If you want a taste of the jungle and you can tear yourself away from Negril's beautiful beach, a canopy ziplining tour is a great option. Not far from Negril, you can soar through the treetops on a series of ziplines, linked by platforms perched high up in the trees. The Canopy Tour typically lasts about two hours and includes hotel drop-off and pickup as well as safety briefings and expert guides. Along the way, you can learn about Jamaica's ecosystems and enjoy bird's-eye views of the lush landscape below.

6. Blue Hole Mineral Spring

About 25 minutes southeast of Negril, Blue Hole Mineral Spring lies in a limestone cavern, where you can soak in the cool, clear waters and test the claim of its therapeutic qualities. The white clay-like mud surrounding the spring is said to be soothing for the skin. If you're agile, you can jump off a cliff into the chilly waters or climb down the long ladder, and those who are physically challenged can soak in the spring-fed swimming pool.

Location: Brighton District, Westmoreland Parish

7. Kool Runnings Adventure Park

Family-friendly Kool Runnings Adventure Park is a great place to spend a few hours if you have children. You and the kids can drift around the lazy river ride, zoom down Jamaican-themed waterslides, cruise in the go-karts, and bounce on the bungee trampoline. Small children will love Captain Mikie's Coconut Island, with smaller slides and interactive water features, and paintball is fun for the older kids. After a day of water-themed fun, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the on-site restaurants.

Address: Norman Manley Boulevard, Negril

Official site: www.koolrunnings.com

8. Half Moon Beach

Quieter than Seven Mile Beach, the private Half Moon Beach is a peaceful slice of hammock-slung coast where you can bask on the sand and feast on fresh-grilled lobster at the open-air restaurant. A daily fee covers use of the beach and its facilities, and a short boat tour whisks you off to a tiny island for snorkeling and refreshments. Wooden cabins are also available here, and animal lovers enjoy hanging out with the friendly dogs who patrol the grounds.

Location: Green Island, Hanover

More Must-See Destinations in Jamaica and the Western Caribbean

For information on other areas to stay and things to do in Jamaica, see our pages on the popular tourist destinations of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. If you're wondering where to stay in Jamaica, some of the country's hotels grace our list of top luxury all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Beach connoisseurs should also check out our article on the best beaches in the Caribbean.

For information on other islands in the Western Caribbean, see our pages on Cuba and the Cayman Islands.

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