Negril Travel Guide

Jamaica's western coastline is extremely laid-back. There's little to do other than sit back, relax and enjoy the renowned sunsets in between beach-lounging and partying. At the centre of this hedonistic haven is the sunny resort town of Negril, which has been dubbed the 'Capital of Casual'.

Despite its popularity, the destination has managed to retain the sleepy tropical charm that first seduced seekers of sun and solitude in the 1960s. It was the hippies and flower children who were first drawn to Negril, appreciating it for being different from the overdeveloped package-tour market of Montego Bay.

Negril still attracts a young crowd, and the beachfront bars and cafes are abuzz each night with reggae music and dancing. Negril is known in the Caribbean as a partying hotspot, and its nude beaches complete its liberal reputation.

The town is favoured by those just wanting to get away from it all. It sports a famous seven-mile (11km) stretch of pristine beach encircling Bloody Bay, and five miles (8km) of cliffs where locals and visitors alike indulge in extreme cliff-diving.

The coral reefs and caves along the coast make it a dream come true for scuba divers and snorkelers, and there's the chance to take part in just about any water sport imaginable, such as kayaking into the mysterious Great Morass, a protected area full of palm trees, exotic birds and crocodiles.

Runners should look out for Negril's ever-popular Reggae Marathon. The unique event takes place along some of Negril's finest white sandy beaches and has a sound system rigged up along the race route that plays reggae music to encourage participating athletes. Runners receive a traditional Rastafarian welcome at the start; international competitors should be prepared for the heat and hydrate well, as December is hot in Jamaica.