When we were deciding on where to stay in Negril we had to choose between Seven Mile Beach and the Cliffs. Ultimately, Seven Mile Beach won out because what’s a trip to an island without easy beach access? However, our visit to Negril wouldn’t have been complete without spending some time up in the Cliffs. It’s scenic and peaceful. More laid back. Even though I love walking it’s a long haul to get here from Seven Mile. The roads don’t have sidewalks and people drive fast around blind curves, so it’s advisable to take a cheap cab. You can make a full day out of visiting the cliffs or spend an afternoon. Here are some places to get you started:
Things to do
As a bird lover, Barney’s Hummingbird Garden was one of the places I was most excited to visit in the city with the promise of getting up close and personal with Jamaica’s national bird. The red-billed streamertail, also known as the Doctor bird, is indigenous to the island and a sight to see. We called to make our reservations and Barney greeted us and showed us around. He was very hospitable and informative. He pointed out the places the birds frequent, showed us their nests, and explained to us the difference between males, females, and juveniles. Males have a bright green chest contrasted with a dark black cap, a long scissor tail, and vibrant red beak. They are gloriously beautiful. Females have the green coloration, but lack other prominent features. Juveniles lack the long tale, but look similar to males. We were in awe as the tiny territorial birds stood their ground unafraid of us and we got a chance to admire them face to face.
Barney gave us a sugar bottle and my mom got a hummingbird to come right to her hand. A walk around the garden is a delight, dense gorgeous flora and decorations scattered about create a serene atmosphere.
The garden isn’t huge so after awhile we sat down by a feeder to chat and wait. Hummingbirds came to sit beside us and feed.
We saw males and juveniles and also caught a fleeting glimpse of the more shy Jamaican Mango Hummingbird with its gorgeous purple throat. We spotted non-hummingbirds as well. Barney told us it was fine to stay as long as we wanted, but we had other places to explore. On our way our we saw a small herd of goats! How exciting.
This was a lovely memory to add to the collection during our stay in Negril. If you are a bird lover like myself, don’t miss a visit to Barney’s in the Cliffs.
You can’t miss the Negril Lighthouse as you drive down the winding road at the edge of the Cliffs. Its fresh white paint is a dynamic contrast to the bright blue sky.
We pulled into the little lot midafternoon and not one else was around. Our driver Carleton called for the lighthouse attendant. He came out with the skeleton key and gave us a private tour.
Once inside we went through all of the history at the base. First the lighthouse was powered by gas, then acetylene, and now solar energy. We looked at some artifacts and then headed up the 104 stairs. It is hot up there. Thankfully there is a teeny-tiny door you can climb out of and feel the fresh air.
The views are amazing!
Don’t forget to ring the bell before you head back inside.
The tour is free, but a tip is expected at the end. We loved walking around the grounds afterwards admiring the huge cotton trees and swinging under the almond trees.
Rick’s Café is probably the most visited tourist spot in Negril.
The joint has been open since 1974, before Negril really even hit the map. Today it is a well known spot to get some food and enjoy a drink which can be expensive, or come for free to watch the cliff jumpers and better yet – participate! We stopped by to join the crowds and see what all the fuss was about.
Locals experts can jump from the post way up high, and tourists can jump from the still quite high rock ledge. There are platforms with varying heights for comfort levels.
The color of the water is amazing and the cliffs hide caves.
The atmosphere was fun and relaxed, a great place if you’re into the party scene. For me it was a little too crowded and beers were twice the price found elsewhere. Great to stop by watch the divers jump off a cliff and it would be a picture perfect sunset!
Whoopee’s Hammock Park is more of an off the beaten path to get a drink – I adored this place.
This is a family run spot with a very sweet bartender who was also a schoolteacher, she served us up cold Red Stripes at the bar.
Everyone here was very welcoming and talkative. After hanging out at the bar for a bit you can take your drink and lay in one of the many hammocks and forget about the world outside.
My favorite thing about this bar was the fact that there are so many goats walking around!
Be sure to stick around for sunset, you have a perfect unobstructed view out into the ocean if the sun decides to cooperate.
You can’t beat the atmosphere at Whoopee’s if you’re into a laid back scene.
Places to eat
Tucked away on a little back road in the Cliffs is, Just Natural, a favorite restaurant experience in Negril.
We loved the ambiance and focus on healthy food. Put your order in and walk around the magical little trails of the garden out back. Admire the plants, listen for the hummingbirds, watch for the huge toad that we saw on our visit. Find yourself a cozy little seat. Complimentary bok choy soup came out and was beyond welcomed as the slight chill of the night was setting in. We both ordered different fish dishes with different preparations and they came out with a beautiful presentation and all sorts of great little goodies on the side.
We were so happy to see healthy vegetables and no bones in our fish! After our meal the warm waitress served us a delectable little square of beet cake. It was absolutely wonderful, and a perfect ending to the meal.
Hungry Lion was the hippest restaurant we visited – rooftop seating
and a little art gallery.
I was so happy to see watermelon juice on the menu – it was amazing! We both ordered the coconut snapper and this was the biggest portion of protein we received on the trip – it was so delicious too. And, MASHED POTATOES were offered and paired with real fresh vegetables!
We were so happy with this meal, it was definitely another favorite. Another great thing about this restaurant is that they will pick you up with cab service for free, you just have to pay on the way back.