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Jamaica: the quintessential beach getaway

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My recent trip to Jamaica was simply unforgettable. Now, sat in my lectures at university, I often find my mind wandering back to the morning walks along the pure white sandy beach, to the precious times laughing and joking with the warm-hearted Jamaicans and just how relaxed and happy I was during my winter break.

After having soaked up three days of the tropical Jamaican sun, gradually turning our pasty white winter bodies into the colour of sun blushed tomatoes, my family and I decided that we should step outside of the hotel and gain an authentic Jamaican experience.

We set off for the day with a local taxi driver, who drove us from where we were staying at the Royalton Whitesands Hotel in Falmouth, to the far-stretching coastline of Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, located two hours further to the east of the island. Falmouth is extremely beautiful and is far less touristy than some other places along the coast. However, it was a bit of a burden being so isolated from many of the more significant sites we intended to visit and so I would strongly advise that if you are someone that enjoys regularly venturing out into the town centres, then you should look at staying somewhere livelier, such as Montego Bay.

On the journey to Negril, we passed the legend Usain Bolt’s first school, Rose Hall’s Haunted Hotel and various little market towns in between. When we arrived in Negril, we spent the morning on Seven Mile Beach, soaking up the hot Jamaican sun and embracing the funky Caribbean vibes, whilst sipping from a cold bottle of Jamaica’s finest beer, Red Stripe.

Negril beach offers a wide range of different activities for tourists to partake in, such as snorkelling, paddle boarding, and horse riding, so it is very much a place of entertainment!

In the afternoon, we drove on down to Rick’s Café which boasts an unrivalled view of the vast, turquoise Caribbean Ocean. The taxi driver could not have timed our arrival more perfectly; when we got to the cafe it was pretty much empty! The café sits on the edge of the rugged cliffs, which protrude out towards the Atlantic Ocean. Our table was fronted by a sheer drop...it was a seriously long way down!

Situated directly in line with the sunset, we had found a great spot to take some picturesque Instagram snaps.

However, within half an hour or so, flocks of tourists came charging in, crowding over the sunset and ruining the site’s tranquillity. By now, there were about 200 people all milling around the café, watching the beautiful sunset and trying to find a table to grab a bite to eat. When it is that busy, it is important not to leave your belongings lying around or on show, as due to so many people being crowded in such a small space, it is very likely that pickpocketing will occur.

So far, the Jamaican people in Falmouth were the friendliest that we had ever met; they constantly radiated a sense of optimism, reiterating the idea that we should not worry because we were ‘in Jamaica, man!’. However, at Rick’s Café it seemed like the true Jamaican spirit had been somewhat tarnished, possibly due to the large number of tourists who flock to this stunning destination every year.

The café is most famous for its extreme cliff jumping. There are three different platforms: the tallest one is 100m high and saved especially for the Olympic divers; the second tallest is an intimidating 30m high, and the third is 25m. I took the plunge, but because of the lack of safety regulations and lifeguard support, I did not reach any higher than 25m.

Cliff jumping is something a lot of people do but if you are a thrill seeker then make sure your insurance knows that and covers it! Also make sure you're confident enough to land safely, it can really hurt if you miss the landing!

So, on your next trip to Jamaica, make sure to spend a day in Negril! There is plenty to do and you will definitely leave buzzing with Jamaican vibes. For more information about your safety when travelling to Jamaica, please visit the Foreign Office’s Travel Advice page.  

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