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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    4

    Default Expert Retuners: Getting Around Negril-- rentals, excursions, safety, favorite spots

    Hi everyone! We are going next weekend to CN for the 1st time for a wedding (staying 5 days 4 nights)and CAN'T WAIT! We want to get an overview of the area OUTSIDE the resort--we are 30-something adventureists and love to meet local people and support local communities. Few ?'s : How do you get around outside the resort? Jeeps? Taxi's? Vespa? We prefer to rent our own transportation but have no clue what roads, rules, safety and prices are like in Negril..Second: Does CN offer decent snorkle opportunities? Where can I get a good map online of the area? Third: Are there nearby Falls that are must-see or any other nature tours you feel are not-to-miss? How far is DRF and is it worth the time to go? Lastly (for now, lol): What's the BEST seafood restaurant on/off resort?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    776

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    First, you don't want to rent your own car in Jamaica. You would be better off taking a cab where ever you want to go. I am sure there are independent car rental companies that you could rent from, but remember when I say independent, it could be the family car being rented out. And you will have no clue as to the maintence. On any of the boards I have been on the recommendation is always to just take a cab.

    CN does have a snorkeling boat that goes out twice a day I think that is included, I think that it is decent, I have not been but several friends have. The snorkeling right from the beach is not anything to write home about, a lot of sand.

    All of the resraurants on the resort offer seafood options, some really great fish dishes, lobster is out of season right now so you won't find that on the resort or in any of the restuarants of property either.

    You could take the tour to Mayfield Falls, again we have not been mainly because the reviews have not been that great. DRF is on the other side of the island and it would be a 3 hour ride there and back, no I don't think it is worth it.

    For local flavor you can walk down the beach to the Office of Nature (either the first one you come to or the second) and you can enjoy some really cold Red Stripe and local fish, fresh caught.

    I also think you will find that sand gravity kinda of takes over at CN and you won't do as much as you planned. Enjoy, it is a great resort.
    Last edited by Blondie; May 16th, 2011 at 03:16 PM.

  3. #3

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    We just got back from our 12th trip to CSA and have stayed at CN once. The closest falls is Mayfield Falls very beautiful as weve been twice and is only abt 40 minute drive from the resort. Another place not really advertised but really cool is Roaring river just outside Savlamar. We always hire a driver as its just easier and they can take you too places you might miss if you rent your own scooter etc..The snorkeling is good ...always take some bread or a banana with you to get fish all around you. Lucea, Savalamar, Negril, and whitehouse i would recommend to check out as there all really cool towns and the people are frinedliest youll meet. In Whitehouse theres a restaurant on the beach "Jimmys" great food.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    708

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    The real reason you don't want to rent a car in Jamaica is beyond the vehicle you would be driving, it's the driving in Jamaica and it's not only about driving on the left side of the road. Jamaicans have many unspoken or unwritten rules of the road and it's virtually impossible to figure it out in a trip or even many trips. They speak much with their horns...what they are saying is yet to be figured out many times. Even the shuttle bus drivers will tell you that driving is difficult at best sometimes and they live there and do it professionally. Accidents are common occurrances on the roads and you really don't want to be involved in one as a tourist. Roads are narrow, winding and full of potholes that you need to avoid and to do so you need to understand the rules of the road or you will be causing one of those accidents. Generally speaking tourists just don't do the driving in Jamaica. Sit back and enjoy the ride though, you'll have a great vacation.

    For getting off the resort you can either go as a pre-arranged tour, transportation will be arranged for you, or hail a cab outside the resort. The ones with the red letters on the license plates are considered safe for tourists by the way. You can also go to the desk in the lobby and they will help you arrange transportation anywhere you would want to go.

    As was pointed out above Dunns River Falls is AT LEAST a 3 hour trip one way...I'm going to say it's more and that's with good traffic.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    2,336

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    In planning off resort activities, you need to first realize that you will only really be at the resort for 3 days and one of those will already be taken up with wedding festivities. Your first and last day will be spent traveling. For 3 days, I wouldn't plan much off resort. As Blondie said, sand gravity has a way of kicking in and taking over. If you do want to take a trip, I suggest the tour of YS Falls, the Black River, and Pelican Bar. This is a full day trip and will show you the island as well as take you on some cool nature stuff. The resort can set-up this tour for you.

    There are also lots of activities at the resort that will keep you plenty busy. Especially for only a couple of days.

    As far as renting a vehicle/scooter, I highly recommend against it. The rules of the road are very different in Jamaica plus they drive on the other side of the road. It is MUCH wiser to hire a taxi which the resort can handle for you. Be sure you negotiate the price before you get into the cab and only use cabs with red license plates. Those are the ones who are licensed and insured as taxi drivers.

    The resort has 2 snorkeling trips per day and it is some fairly decent snorkeling.

    All of the restaurants serve seafood. There are also a couple good restaurants on the Cliffs in Negril. The Rockhouse is a good one to watch the sunset over the ocean. Catcha Falling Star also gets really good reviews.
    Juliann & Jeff
    Jamaica Soon Come

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    33

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    I would agree with Blondie about DRF. I've stayed twice in Ochos Rios (did the falls the first time around) and if you were on that side of the island, I would tell you to go for it. It's a nice, interesting excursion to do, but being so far away, it really isn't worth the time and expense to go.

    If you go back to Jamaica and stay on the Ochos Rios side, then by all means do it. It is a trip I would recommend if in the area. You will need water shoes of some sort because you actually walk IN the waterfall, not beside it. Which was not adequately explained to me before going. LOL! It worked out, but my hiking boots sure were wet for a few days. ;-)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    434

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    We go off property for lunch or dinner a couple of times when at Couples. At the beach we like Cosmo's. On the cliffs we go to Ivan's, Pushcart or Rockhouse. Lots of other options as well like LTU for really casual atmosphere and good food.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    342

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    I also think you'll experience "sand gravity" - especially due to the fact that you are only staying four nights. CN is a beautiful property with impressive dining options; you may find it hard to leave. Staying at an AI resort is expensive if you are planning to dine out and be away from the resort for extended periods of time. We, too like to meet the Jamaican people and enjoy meeting them while walking on the beach.
    In response to your question about getting around - please don't even consider renting a car. Jamaicans drive by a set of rules that are not understood by tourists and drive on the left side of the road. You'll understand once you get there... don't do it!
    Have fun!

  9. #9
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    Jul 2009
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    1,741

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    Do not attempt to drive in Jamaica. First, they drive on the left side of the street. Second they drive crazy. They seem to have their own set of rules there. Narrow, winding roads, wild animals and pedestrians all over the place. It always amazes us that we donít see any accidents. I have no problem driving in downtown Chicago, but I would never attempt to drive in Jamaica.

    Once we saw a car passing a car that was passing another car (3 abreast on a two lane road) coming right toward us. They got back in their own lane just before we hit them. It didnít even faze our driver. I would have slammed on my breaks and the car behind me would have smashed into me. They follow very close to the vehicle in front. Drove me nuts at first until I realized that they know what they are doing.

    Leave the driving to the Jamaicans. The ride from the airport to the resort should convince you. Don't get me wrong, the drivers that Couples uses are very good and safe drivers. They are real pros.
    [
    CN 2006, CSS 2009, CN 2009, CN 2010, CTI 2010, CN 2011, CSS 2012, CN 2012, CN 2013, CSA 2014, CN 2014, CSA 2015, CN 2015

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    1,988

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    I remember when Sienna (long story... old friend in Negril) first proposed an "official" map of the Negril area (7-Mile Beach and The Cliffs areas) several years ago. She very ambitiously developed this map, with the help of some folks at Travel Advisor. Its become a touchstone to me, and I try to be sure I have the latest edition wheneve I go to Negril.

    This is a rather large Adobe download, but it is well worth it, and can be found at http://media.tripod.lycos.com/2567851/1586661.pdf .

    As I always say, if you're headed to Negril, don't leave home without it!
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default LOL..and THANKS

    Thanks for all your responses--some had me literally laughing out loud! After spending nearlyu a decade in NYC (6 as a driver), I can totally picture the Jamaican way of driving--in fact I think there are MANY native Jamaicans as licensed cabbies in NYC! OK, so renting a jeep is out...

    Also getting a kick out of the "sand gravity" reference--never heard of that one but that's the perfect description to my 4 o'clock slump post-swimming/drinking...love it!

    Thanks also for telling me how far away things are--we are only staying a few days (2 little ones left behind with Grandma) and don't want to waste any time on commuting. I suspect there will be plenty to keep us busy on property, and plenty of awesome people watching right from our chairs on the beach!

    Think we are about set for the weekend--Can't wait to leave, this is gonna be a long 7 days!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Awesome map!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    I remember when Sienna (long story... old friend in Negril) first proposed an "official" map of the Negril area (7-Mile Beach and The Cliffs areas) several years ago. She very ambitiously developed this map, with the help of some folks at Travel Advisor. Its become a touchstone to me, and I try to be sure I have the latest edition wheneve I go to Negril.

    This is a rather large Adobe download, but it is well worth it, and can be found at http://media.tripod.lycos.com/2567851/1586661.pdf .

    As I always say, if you're headed to Negril, don't leave home without it!
    Chris, I finally got to refer back to this message and download the map-THANK YOU! This is EXACTLY what we were looking for!! And we WONT leave home without it! P.S it downloaded in seconds on my iPhone, so even if it's huge it didn't take any time at all-popped right up!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    1,050

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    Have fun!
    We have a little one, as well, but savor anything we can get! lol

    CSA 2009, 2014 [20th anniversary]
    CSS 2010
    CN 2011

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,988

    Default

    OkieJess....

    Glad to help... we always check that map out, because now that it is established, they do a great job of maintaining it! Its VERY useful, as you can see!
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


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