Where to stay Negril-Jamaica, on the cliffs or the beach?

After 3 months travelling all over the island, I decided to visit Negril to find out myself whether it’s an awesome place to hang out, or just an annoying little village ruined by tourists and hustlers.

But first I needed to make a decision: What is the coolest place to stay, at the cliffs or at the 7 mile beach?

    Negril Beach_Inspiringvibes

Negril, a lively village in the west of Jamaica, stretches from Bloody Bay, Hanover, too far beyond Negril lighthouse in the parish Westmoreland. Spaniards gave the name Negrille, which comes from negro: black (as the blackness of the Negril River), in 1494. It was the perfect place to give shelter to ships. Negril, in fact, a swamp in that time, is discovered by hippies around 1950. They di put up tents on the beach and started a new living. The first tourist accommodations appear in 1960.
According to the law in Jamaica, no building may protrude above the highest tree. This is why smart guys did introduce some high palms. Still, Negril has the look and feel of a small village.
Negril, with its 7-mile white sand beach, is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. You can swim, (para) sail, snorkel, water ski and dive.

Cliffs Banana Shout_InspiringVibes  

West End versus Boulevard: cliffs versus beach

West End starts from the roundabout, around the corner, at the ocean side and leads to the West.
The street follows the coastline, meandering limestone cliffs, which actually is a former reef, uplifted and poised above the sea.

West End is a narrow and busy street, therefore a little tricky to walk, especially in the dark, but it has its charms to walk in the daytime and explore the surroundings.



The Corner Bar, to begin with, is famous by locals and tourists for music, pool table games, a terrace overlooking the ocean and most of all local food. There is always something to do at Corner Bar.
A little further you’ll find a post office, a hardware store and print office. The well-known supermarket ‘HiLow’ in the shopping mall, is great for all kind of (imported) food. Besides the supermarket, the mall offers souvenir shops, a travel agency and a medical center.
Back on the West End road along the curly way lays many hotels, (Spa) resorts, guesthouses, bars, souvenir shops and local restaurants like Mi Yard or Canoe Bar.

Negril local beach_InspiringVibes Negril Beach Mom's Place Ricks Cafe Jump_InspiringVibes

Rick’s Café

A must visit on West End is Rick’s Café, which is located at the top of a 35-foot high cliff.
The restaurant and bar with live reggae music entertainment became a famous hot spot, because of the heart throbbing cliff jumping. Brave ones jump from 35 foot into the ocean, while others watch or take the safer lower point. Rick’s Café is best at sunsets.

    West End view_InspiringVibes

What else to find on West End?

There is a lighthouse, Ital food restaurants, Love Lane and the best pizza in town at the German Bar. Are you on a low budget? Backpackers love to stay at ‘Judy House Cottages’, at the side road ‘West Mountain Road’.

With a scooter bike you can explore all the way to Little Bay, Bob Marley Beach and Jamwest Speedway. Be aware it will get very quiet along this dirt road though.

West End hotels of all kind of classes can be found anywhere on the Internet.
Some are completed by a pool, because access to the ocean is by a staircase. The blue, clear ocean is deep down below the limestone cliffs. The cliffs are beautiful though with amazing views and fantastic snorkelling options. Do you get the picture?

In this blog I only want to mention Tingalaya’s Retreat because of the yoga facilities and the boutique Banana Shout resort with the stunning view.



7 mile beach at the (Norman Manley) Boulevard

From the same roundabout in the village, the Boulevard leads east. It is the main road to Lucea, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. At both sides of the road are bars, restaurants, minimarkets, rental car or bike shops and rooms for rent in guesthouses, hotels and resorts.

The huge arts & crafts market will be found when you cross the bridge and look over to the left. You will pass the colored fishermen boats and reach the local beach. The whole stretch of 7-mile beach Negril is accessible for locals, although resorts can have some restrictions.
Some of the hotels along the beachside, like Margaritaville, are packed with tourists. It is the place to be for party with all kind of activities as long as there is plenty alcohol.


Local beach

Most accessible ‘for all of we’ is Bourbon Beach, where tourists and locals are welcome to chill and chat while listening to music and having a drink. In general, tourists will take the beach chair in the sun while locals chat in the corner, under the tree, next to the stage. Evening entertainment with live bands showing you the real reggae, dancehall or old school vibes.


Bars, Beaches and hotels

Alfreds Ocean Palace, Roots Bamboo Hotel and Bourbon Beach are the main hotels / bars for night party.
Bourbon Beach offers (live) music events seven nights a week. And during the day it is perfect for having a drink, taking a swim in the crystal clear waters or relaxing on a beach chair. They offer a freshwater shower in the back. These three places have access to tourists and locals, so it is easy to meet up and get to know a bit of culture. Hotel Bourbon Beach Jamaica is also known for their jerked chicken.

Shields Beach_InspiringVibes  glass bottom Negril_InspiringVibes

Roots Bamboo Hotel

The more laid-back vibes of Roots Bamboo Hotel is great for sunbathing. I love this place most speaking of the good, friendly atmosphere and the live music on Mondays and Wednesdays where great artists performing on stage and everyone seems happy and having an awesome time.

Choose the little bar Alfreds Ocean Palace for having lunch or dinner. Parties in the night, with DJ’s or at some day’s live bands, are famous too. Take your rum punch and meet up. And oh, Hotel Shields serves great cocktails, good for ‘Happy Hour’ and watch the sunset.

The upcoming Woodstock, next to Roots Bamboo Hotel, is perfect for relaxation: reggae music in the background, comfortable beach chairs – light enough to move them under the thatched roof umbrellas when the sun gets too hot and a beautiful wooden interior with amazing carvings.
They are still building on the high wooden building in the back, which will be turned into a club in near future.

The little Boat bar next door is a good alternative for having a drink in day or evening time.

Barry's Bold as Love Guesthouse Negril Beach Mom's Place view_InspiringVibes 

Where to stay in Negril?

As I did not bring a travel guide and didn’t do much preparation for my visit to Negril, I needed to make up my mind before reaching the town. I could make my mind up quick and fast and decided to leave West End for exploring by foot or bike and choose for the beach to stay.
The main reason: I do love daily walks on the beach and I like the sandy beach for having a swim. Besides that, it would be more easy for me to have access to parties in the evening: no taxi necessary to go up and down from and to a hotel at West End.
So I asked my driver to stop at a few places on the boulevard and I did find a couple of perfect accommodations, which I am sharing with you!


Which accommodation should you choose?

But both West End and Boulevard have plenty good and beautiful resorts. To name one along the beach, when choosing a resort and booking a flight and a hotel room together: Country Country Beach Cottages. This handcrafted resort, with 30 cottages, looks lovely. The garden looks beautiful and the rooms nice, natural decorations like bamboo and woodcarvings.
Now I am a great fan of supporting local owners and I also like to be flexible and choose a hotel of my own choice, separate from my flight, being free to move on when I feel too.

My top 3 accommodations on the boulevard:

  • Mom’s Place
    A nice, friendly and good family hotel directly on the beach. Mom’s has her own charm, it has 8 rooms with veranda, a bar and beach chairs. A chat with locals is possible as long as everybody is happy. Located close to Bourbon Beach, next to the alley.
  • Travellers Beach Resort
    This family hotel offers 42 comfortable and well-equipped, guestrooms some overlooking the garden. There is a swimming pool and the bar / restaurant has a great view over the ocean. ‘Travellers’ is also well known for its karaoke with, as I noticed, professional artists. Located at the beginning of the Boulevard, close to the roundabout.
  • Barry’s Bold As Love Guest House
    Barry’s Guesthouse, just behind Mom’s, is a great guesthouse if you want to meet locals. The bar is open 24×7. The vibes are chill and easy going, the garden is truly beautiful and the staff is superb. Rooms are clean, painted in bright colours and decorated with natural arts&crafts.


What do you prefer?

The question you have to ask is what you want to do in Negril and what you prefer?
For me it was immediately clear. I like to walk along the sunset-facing beach, overlooking the jade coloured and reef-protected ocean. It’s calling me for a swim, I can relax on a beach chair, read a book, gaze round. It is definitely the beach for me!

Now you can make up your mind where to stay, whether you are a cliff lover or beach worshipper. At both sides are many options for finding the perfect accommodation. From low budget to regular or 5 stars resorts and the ones which are perfect for your honeymoon celebration. Too much to mention here.

After many travels, I experienced the same vibes in Jamaica as in Africa. Every time I am reaching Jamaican ground I feel happiness and joy as I am coming home. My travel guides and blogs led through having a travel agency: Rappa Rasta Tours. ‘Explore the Real Jamaica in the Natural Rasta Way’. With my love for nature and people I am traveling a fair way, ‘full-joying’ every moment, and sharing it with you.


What’s up? Rappa Rasta Tours – our first Newsletter

Dear Jamaica lovers, friends, family, brethren and sistren,

The new year of 2018 has just begun and it may be a typical time to look back, but it is the right time for Rappa Rasta Tours to share some news.
This update is about a short view of the past 2 years, about the present situation and how we are looking into the future: Wishful thinking!
Are you also curious about Rappa Rasta Tours? Join us and see what’s up!


Shine a light on your dream

It was around May 2013 when Rappa entrusted Sandra with his dream to be a tour guide.

‘Why not?’, Sandra said and she created a business card and flyer.
Some paperwork needed to be done like a passport, a drivers license, and ‘Team Jamaica’ class. A few weeks later ‘Tour Guide Class’ by TPDco followed and Rappa picked up the license for the business name in Kingston.

Rappa did get some tour experience already a while ago by joining Francesco on his trips. With his own Tour Guide Certificate now, he was ready for his own tours around Jamaica.
As of a sudden tourists came to Rappa begging him to show the Real Jamaica and straightaway he rented a car and ‘off the beaten path’ he went.

Watch this: When you put your dream into the light, they can turn into reality!


Making the first steps

In the meantime, Sandra developed a Face Book Fan page and a website: www.rapparastatours.com. While she was in Holland, missing Jamaica bad, she wrote online travel guides and blogs for www.favoroute.com, www.wearetravellers.nl and www.Jamaicans.com. This way Rappa Rasta Tours became visible to the whole world.

Some months later, Rappa met the requirements of the internship and became a certificated Tour Guide by TPDco Jamaica, driving his own car by now.
With joy and happiness a new chapter started in both Rappa’s and Sandra’s life.


Happy travellers

The Tour Guide business / Travel Agency ‘Rappa Rasta Tours’ is a fact and the two owners are working perfectly together. One of them is best in guiding and the other one in PR / Social Media / Customer Service.
Rappa Rasta Tours have gotten all five-star reviews, written by their travellers on the Face Book fan page. Out of enthusiasm and happiness the guests share their experiences with friends and family. They are often going back home with mixed feelings: wanting to stay longer in Jamaica – full joying the ‘irie vibes’. With those reviews, it is encouraging to go on with the business and it also gives us the feeling being part of a huge family.
Besides of the happy travellers, Rappa Rasta Tours is blessed with the most inspiring connections all over the island. Everywhere they go, new friends and links are being made. Think of guesthouse owners or caretakers, taxi drivers, local restaurant owners, arts & craftsmen, (coffee) farmers, ganja plantation owners and Rastafari and Maroon cult healers.

Blessings & Respect!


2018: the positive way

January 2018: Rappa Rasta Tours was able, with help from friends, to exchange the personal car for a powerful Jeep: a Mitsubishi Pajero. Unexpected we ended up in a place where the 4WD was calling us. My Gosh, what a blessing, we decided in a couple of hours to buy a ‘7-seater Jeep’. Rappa and Sandra are grateful, happy and proud of this opportunity. The driving is a real joy for everyone and there are fewer visits to the garage. therefore a huge ‘thank you’.

Rappa’s daughter Tasheka is able to finish secondary education level this year (IT, Mathematics and Business Organization), thanks to guests who became friends and are able to support.


2018 and struggles

You have to live your life with ups and downs, in general it makes you stronger, but in the middle of a crisis it seems hard instead of easy.

To mention two examples which they are dealing with, without getting too deep in it:
– it seems someone bought the land Rappa lived on, for 7 years, and it is hard to accept Rappa has to leave the yard. The little cottage with wooden veranda on the rock, has an awesome view over Negril, and is enriched by flowers, trees, herbs, birds and bees. We are so happy there! All the energy (and money) to start building a stone house seems spoiled, and they have to start over again, some way, somehow. But it is uncertain at this precious moment what will happen, it is like harmony and peace turned into a restless feeling.

But yeah mon,  it is as it is, so we keep the faith!

– Another very sad story needs to be told: Rappa’s sister Mitzi has been killed. It turns the family upside down and it confuses them a lot.
Rappa got life teachings of his grandparents to live an honest and good life. Those teachings he always did spread around to his brothers and sisters, to bredrens and sistrens and he is living the teachings till today.

Bad energy came unexpected their way: gangsters burned her house, shoot her in front of her daughter and left her three children without a mom.
Rappa and his family are feeling confused and frustrated. They are holding on, staying humble and keeping the faith.




Looking forward to near future
– the funeral will be this week
– our Nissan Pulsar is for sale. (Send an email when having interest)
– probably we have to move somewhere this year to yet an unknown place
– we keep on delivering school supplies, when you bring from foreign, to the children of Pusey Hill
– we spread the love, joy and happiness, which we get by touring through Jamaica to each and every one for a sparkling energy


Jamaica is here to unfold

With our unique and authentic tours we are able to make a difference with our awesome tours:

– Rappa Rasta Tours is happy to add a 7-days round trip to the tour list. It will be a combination of stunning beaches, awesome waterfalls, hidden gems, culture, nature and history. In 7 days you will get a perfect feeling and knowledge of the Real Jamaica: Exploring on the Natural Rasta Way!


– Rappa Rasta Tours has developed a mixed holiday retreat of yoga & meditation with afternoon tours.
You will get relaxation, Maroon / Rastafari spiritual teachings with chanting and drumming and superb nature travels: a combination of inner and outer travels.
Information will be on the website soon. But when you have questions right away please send an email to rappa@rapparastatours.com.


support locals


Making the life of Jamaicans better is where we stand for: Supporting small local businesses and sharing benefits.

This we do together with YOU! We need you spreading the word: keep on travelling with us, share your travel experience with other travellers and build a better Jamaica.

While you will are having a great time exploring the real Jamaica, you will support small local businesses and individuals at the same time.
It is important to connect people, travel a fair way and sharing knowledge and benefits. You can read more about our Mission & Vision on our website.


Future goals

We are giving support in any way to persons who love to start a project in Jamaica to support Jamaica and Jamaicans.
For instance, we just started an investigation, together with Bio-Ron, for a natural farming project. Giving farmers a better possibility to grow natural food, looking at the specific dirt situation and fertilize the earth. we like to enrich the earth, animals and people with real healthy food and water.

We will assist you in buying a piece of land, and link you with the right persons: making sure the procedure is an honest one.

It would be great when Tasheka can go to college (IT) next year. It is important for teens to be able to survive by themselves in the future.

We are creating a better home base in Pusey Hill. Our dream is to have cabins for our guests,  a campsite for nature lovers and Rastafarian-way-of-living seekers. We also are creating a gathering place with a fire and natural seats around the tree.

Hopefully we are able to find a new place to live after we moved out of the rock and eventually having an office in Negril. With a fundraising program this must be possible.

Rappa Rasta Tours is unique and authentic

There is no other tour company like us. We are unique. We are authentic. With Rappa Rasta Tours you’ll get (private) tours and you will Explore the Real Jamaica in the Natural Rasta Way.
Meaning, you will experience the real vibes and will see much more than hot spots only. The chill Rasta Vibes with music and singing, new experiences and time for the unexpected will gets you.

Rappa Rasta Tours will arrange Tours and Round Trips on demand, therefore your special holiday fits perfect. And guess what? You’ll become a different person after this holiday. You will feel more relax and happy in daily life back home.

Jamaica will open your heart, will connect you with your inner self, makes you dance and sing, laugh and relax. We travel together with curiosity and flexibility, we go with the flow, we explore, party and protect.
We make sure you will have the best irie holiday ever!

Come and come again, and we will inspire together each and every one!

Prosperity, one love, blessings and respect


Read all about the travel guides and blogs of Inspiring Vibes, Sandra Smits.




4 blogs in het Nederlands over stranden, watervallen, Negril en veiligheid:
– Is Jamaica dangerous? The do’s and Dont’s
– 5 reasons why you should travel to Jamaica
– General information about Jamaica
– 6 awesome waterfalls, which one would you like to explore?

Te koop travel guide: