Catching a Jamaican Sunset
Watching the sun set on Jamaica's west coast is a bona fide activity. The island's red skies are a sight to behold. I have yet to experience a better Caribbean sunset than in Jamaica. From Montego Bay all the way to Negril--famous for having the best--to Whitehouse, get your camera and Red Stripe ready for the last hours of daylight. You won't lack for choice of seafront bars or scenic spots--from the trendy Pier One in Montego Bay to the wooden shack watering holes along Negril's West End cliffs. Wherever you end up, there's a very good chance you'll get hooked on this daily sunset viewing routine.
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Jamaica's west coast and the long stretch from Montego Bay to Negril are graced with Jamaica's most beautiful beaches. No wonder this area is one of the island's greatest tourist draws. Long, soft powdery white sands to thick golden stretches abound, both public and private. And while you won't be able to experience them all in one trip, it's even more reason to return. From the postcard-perfect and popular Doctor Cave's beach, dotted with colorful umbrellas and tanned bodies, to the secluded cove at Half Moon, just outside Negril--this side of the island is the picky beach bum's paradise.
The Jerk Centers
Jamaica's "jerk centres" are outdoor, casual eateries serving up some of the best local specialties including, of course, all sorts of jerk meats and seafood. They are usually located off the highway and are the perfect pit stop on your road trip to or from the beach, activities or even the airport. As it happens, the west coast has some of the most popular jerk stops. Scotchie's in Montego Bay, never disappoints and you'll see as many locals here as tourists. The nearby Pork Pit is another contender, and serves up more than just jerk pork. In Negril, 3 Dives Jerk Centre--facing the gorgeous cliff side--serves up the best jerk lobster and homemade jerk sauce (buy a bottle!) in the area and hosts an annual jerk festival, held in late November. One thing's for sure, you'll never go hungry around here.
Beach Bar Hoppin'
Word is, there are as many bars in Jamaica as there are churches--more per square mile than other countries in the world. If that's true, the liveliest ones must be on the West Coast. Montego Bay's Pier One, directly on the sea, gets lively at sunset. Negril's funky bars are open all day along Seven Mile and so numerous you won't lack for choice. They serve up every kind of frozen cocktail--a great pick is the Boat Bar on Seven Mile with occasional afternoon live Reggae. Along the highways, you'll spot stand-alone shacks, brightly painted and serving up the cheapest Red Stripe and stiff, mixed rum drinks. Bar hopping is a daily, social activity on Jamaica's picturesque west coast.