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Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

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Indianapolis...
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Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

Hey there! Just looking for a little advice/help on planning a vacation to Negril.

First off this will not only be the first time my husband and I have been to Jamaica, it is also the first time we have ever taken a vacation alone in our 8 years together. Highly overdue!

What I'd like to know is benefits of staying at all-inclusives versus regular hotels. Here's where I've been looking and what I'm thinking:

Couples Negril:

This is currently my frontrunner of a choice, but of course, it's also the most expensive.

I like the all-inclusive idea because, 1) No worries about finding places to eat, spending money on bars, etc. 2) It's couples only, which is awesome, too. 3) There's plenty to do at the resort, but there's still the option to venture into town/do other things if we want. 4) Shuttle transportation to and from the airport.

Essentially, I LOVE the "no worry" factor...requires much less planning on my part!

Blue Cave Castle:

The place is absolutely gorgeous (from what I can tell) and it looks like a total treasure. Their penthouse suite is only $100 a night in the off-season, so it would be much cheaper than all-inclusive...however, then the costs start piling on for food, drinks, activities, etc. I like this idea because it would require being more adventurous, getting out to see the sights, finding new restaurants/places to hang out. But, would also have to figure out our own transportation from Sangster to Negril. Biggest drawback to me: Without having ever been to Negril and reading a lot of info about crime...I just don't know if I'm really comfortable wandering around so much. Of course, much of it, I'm certain, we'd just have to be smart about it...but it seems foolish to assume personal safety just because it's a resort town.

So...for those who've traveled, what's better? All-inclusive (no worries, just chill and be lazy)? Or regular hotel (more planning ahead of time, wander around and would still probably cost about the same)? And specifically, if you've been to either of these places, I'd love to hear about your experience!

Any insights would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! :)

United States
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1. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

All inclusive or not all inclusive depends what you are looking to do on your vacation.

"All-inclusive (no worries, just chill and be lazy)?"

If you want to just chill and be laze is probably what the owners of the hotel want you to do. Each all inclusive has a list of included for which you have paid. If you just chill and do not use these features the owner will love you. To get your moneys worth you need to match your interests to what the all inclusive offers and then use those features. Otherwise go to a regular hotel and use, and pay for, only those few features you want to while you chill most of the time.

As to the two hotels, they are like night and day. Couples Negril is on what is probably the best section of beach on the island while Blue Cave has no beach at all. Couples Negril is a larger hotel, about 250 rooms, while Blue Cave has about 15 rooms. Couples Negril has many included features while you will need to go out for most types of services if at Blue Cave. I recommend Blue Cave for those who want to relax and read a book.

"would also have to figure out our own transportation from Sangster to Negril."

See the following for names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and web sites to arrange transfers from your home in about 15 min. or you can arrange it at the airport in Montego Bay in about the same amount of time. See the following

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g147309-c177265/Jamai…

Connecticut
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2. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

The "info" you have been reading about crime is not the case about Negril.

Negril has two unconnected beach sections that result in the 7-mile beach. Couples Negril is on the shorter of the sections known as Bloody Bay (some 2 miles long) and is considered the 'quieter' section. The longer section is known as Long Bay and is about 5 miles long; it has more of the Negril 'vibe' to it.

As mentioned above, Blue Cave has no beach as it is located in the third section of Negril know as "the Cliffs" or "the West end." Not all the rooms in the Blue Cave have AC units and it seems, by reading the Blue Caves website, that the penthouse does not have AC.

Let me add some additional resorts to you research.

AI:

Sandals Negril (Long Bay)

Couples Swept Away (Long Bay)

Grand Lido (Bloody Bay; adults over 16yo)

Grand Pineapple (basic AI [no a la carte, no disco, no piano bar], on Long Bay with a great beach and near the vibe)

Non-AI

Coco La Palm (great beach, in the thick of the activity like beach concerts, pubs and eateries)

Negril Tree House ( http://negril-treehouse.com/welcome.html )

Then there is Hedonism II as an AI with lots of inclusions and is adults only over 18yo; nice beach, two swim up bars, two beach grills, 2 a la carte eateries, disco, piano bar, motorized watersports, new owners doing massive renovations.

Georgia
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3. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

Lol as a Couplesholic I can chime in and say CSA rocks! Very romantic eateries, nice beach, lots of no worry bang for your buck, & as you mentioned couples only with no tipping. Huge gym at CSA, both Couples resorts in Negril will let you hear the Silverbirds. If you look at a current thread here about Couples Negril entitled 'live from Couples Negril' perhaps the pics & info there can also help you decide between the two. You really can't go wrong with either one. I like the ease of all inclusive & the couples only aspect makes it extra romantic:)

Edited: 02 December 2013, 03:27
Ormond Beach...
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4. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

Stella - Couples sounds like the way to go by a mile IMHO. If you've never done an AI vacation, it's great... and Couples will set a relatively high bar for future vacations. :)

As said above, the 2 properites are night and day. BCC is a charming rustic place on the busy part of the West End Road. Couples Negril is MUCH more posh, quiet & carefree. For your first major vacation together, I'd suggest an AI - and Couples is a good choice. No hassle for all your food, drinks & many activities.

In contrast, if you stay @ BCC, you'll be walking or cabbing for most meals. Each cab ride entails a little negotiation. Any activities but swimming or snorkeling will also entail a cab or boat ride - with associated negotiation.

Edited: 02 December 2013, 04:16
Apache Junction...
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5. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

You could probably stay at BCC three times as long, even having to buy your own food, drinks and everything else. My choice would be BCC but it really comes down to what you really want in your vacation.

Winnipeg, Canada
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6. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

Also if you're looking at the cliffs, check out Catcha Falling Star and Tensing Pen. Still much less expensive than Couples on a quiet part of the West End. Or perhaps split your stay with a few days on the cliffs followed by the AI on the beach.

Minneapolis...
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7. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

I'd recommend Couples Swept Away over Couples Negril. Both are fabulous resorts and great stretches of beach, but CSA offers more in terms of inclusions: Sea Grapes, best fitness center in Jamaica, ala carte options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, beach bars, disco, etc. It also provides you direct access to the action of Long Bay beach should you decide you want to venture off resort. You can take a walk down the beach and visit the locally owned bars and restaurants. If you stayed over on Bloody Bay, you would need to take a taxi over to Long Beach as you can't walk from Bloody Bay to Long Beach. Not much going on over on Bloody Bay except a few other AI's. CN does have a nicer pool and an au-natural beach if that's important to you.

As far as Non-AI vs AI...both have their pluses and minuses. If you are a big drinker and eater and like to participate in water activities such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, glass bottom boat rides, water skiing, etc, then you will get much more value staying at an AI.

If you are more adventerous and like to fend for yourself when it comes to negotiating taxi rides to get supplies and search for places to eat on your own, not as big of a drinker, and maybe more budget-concious, then staying non-AI might be up your alley;.

The only right way to vacation is to determine what's right for you.

Saskatchewan, Canada
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8. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

If you like the idea of the option of an AI but also to be able to justify the additional cost of venturing off and trying out some of the more local fare, how about a less expensive all inclusive, such as Grand Pineapple (there are others too but that is the first that came to mind)? You are then located in the middle of long beach, have all inclusive drinks and food (at a less cost) and easy walking distance to try other things out.

Bodega, California
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9. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

It depends on what you are looking for in your vacation. If you want a true cultural hit - people, music, food - do BCC on the cliffs. The Penthouse is GREAT and what a great value for the money!! If you simply want to relax on a beach, not take out your wallet and enjoy the Carribean sea you might want to stick to AI. Personally, I'd suggest doing a split stay so you can get a little of both. The Jamaican vibe won't be found at an AI the way it will at a smaller non-AI hotel, particularly one on the cliffs.

Indianapolis...
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10. Re: Looking for Negril vacation planning advice

Thank you all so much for the insightful and helpful information!

I'm thinking the way to go is maybe split the time between the two. Spend 5 ish days at an AI, the remaining nights at BCC. That way, will still probably cost about the same as a full week at an AI and we can have a taste of both experiences. Thanks again!!