It’s always party time in hedonistic Negril, set on the northwest tip of Jamaica and one of the country’s most affordable destinations. The development but still lovely Seven Mile Beach (also known as Long Bay) is the source of all the action, with sprawling all-inclusive resorts and the occasional nudist section. Negril’s quieter side can be found in Country Country’s 20 sherbet-colored gingerbread cottages – wraparound porches and lovely gardens promise a mellow respite right in the middle of the action. True seclusion can be found a quick cab ride away at Rockhouse Hotel, a stylish but unpretentious retreat of thatch-roofed cottages atop a rocky waterfront promontory just outside town. Book massage or a mocha and run body wrap in cliff-edge treatment cabanas or snorkel in the sheltered waters of Pristine Cove below. In the evening enjoy Negril’s legendary sunsets from the 60-foot cliff-top pool that seems suspended in air, then dine either at Pushcart, whose menu draws form Jamaica’s street food – seafood fritters, jerk sausage, and warm sweet potato pudding – or the Rockhouse Restaurant, which specializes in lighter and modern interpretation of Jamaican cuisine.
For the island’s most renowned sunset scene, go to nearby Rick’s Cafe, inspired by the film Casablanca and the most famous bar on the island since it opened in 1974. Everyone watches drives do backflips off the cliffs 35 feet above the sea below, white waiting for the sun to sink beneath the horizon, when a lucky few will glimpse the elusive green flash.