You can’t talk about Negril without talking about THE beach. It is known worldwide for its famous seven-mile beach. People flock in droves over the winter months to get out of the snow and plop themselves firmly down on this famous beach.
When I first laid eyes on this famous beach I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I hail from Long Island, New York where the beach is not only long…it’s wide. Really wide. Burn your feet in the sand on your way to the ocean wide.
The seven-mile beach in Negril is NARROW. In 1983 it wasn’t as narrow as it is now…years of storms and more so, development have eaten away at the width of this beach. But you put this beach next to that crystal clear, bright blue water – well, that IS impressive and that is quite beautiful.
In the years that followed, even though we always stayed on the cliffs the beach was a must do everyday. We’d get up, have coffee and walk from SamSara to Risky Business and plop ourselves down on that beautiful beach and swim in that awesome sea which we dubbed the Blue Jello.
Eventually the beach became more crowded and we stopped going as much. In two months we were at the seven-mile beach just a handful of times and the only plopping we did was at various bars to pick up drinks and continue walking. The people watching is great – we arrived at White Sands one day after a good sea storm and all their lounge chairs were stacked just about one on top of the other, each occupant in various positions of sun tanning. Fascinating. We walked from the bar right into a sea of white asses.
Where the people watching gets fun is seeing those white asses interact with local merchants. You can really get anything you need right from your lounge chair if you are open to it. Ganga? Got it. Teeny-Weeny lobsters? Got it. Fruit? Got it. Ceeeeeeeeeeeegarets? Got it.
There are those that leave the lounge chairs and that’s when the fun starts. I spent quite a few moments watching some tourists at a vendor’s table “haggling” with the poor man. They “haggle” because they are told to “haggle”. And the vendors are prepared for this – a bracelet, made of authentic coconut shell – the price will start at $20US. The good haggler should be able to get him down to $10…the rude haggler will get in the vendors face and INSIST he will not pay a dime more than $5…but ends up paying $10 because his wife MUST have the Coconut Shell bracelet.
As years went by this lovely stretch of beach got more and more and MORE developed…great for people watching but that get boring. The quaint seven mile beach started to resemble the Las Vegas strip…try to walk down a narrow stretch of beach with a hundred other people going in each direction and you’ll know what I mean.
Granted, I have my favorite “haunts”…White Sands is a nice bar hang…Idle Awhile has these GREAT hammocks that we took over one afternoon and didn’t BUDGE.
Still and all, I was in quest of that Robinson Crusoe feel – and Les wanted desperately to take his clothes off. For a few years Bloody Bay was that beach. That’s the remaining 2.5 miles of the 7 mile beach. There were a group of guys cooking up lobsters (tiny ones) and selling beer at one end of the beach – they were just a group of guys back then but now they are known as the “Office of Nature”. You could walk that entire stretch of beach with it’s most gorgeous bay and find yourself a little nook next to a SeaGrape tree – throw your towel down and chill for the day, butt naked if you wanted to. The sea is the sea but at Bloody Bay it is calm and clear – you needed to watch where you walked as there were patches of sea grass and rocks that hid urchins and tiny fish that would kiss your ankles. If you swam out far enough, the snorkeling was great – the reef was just beyond and you could float and see stingrays and barracudas swimming right below you.
What can I say. Then RIUs came and that little piece of pristine beach was GONE. With it went the sea grass and rocks, ruining the eco-system there. Storms came and the beautiful, sugary white sand beach was replaced or supplemented with sand brought in from another part of the island…so now you have man made beach and man manipulated bay. From what I hear, that creates a type of stink similar to sulfur at times…and that pesky sea grass they keep pulling out – well that gets buried under the shipped in sand and come 4:00pm you best RUN back to your room with a number the size of a zip code or you will get eaten alive by a bunch of pissed off sand fleas.
While Negril’s 7 Mile is no longer a “relaxing” hang for me, it draws tourists to its shores year after year. Despite how built up it’s gotten it still ranks up there with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. If you want quiet and twenty-four hour relaxation, the cliffs is the place for you.
But if you want action and activity to go along with your sugary white sand – Long Bay is the place to be.
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