With a birthday looming I planned a last minute trip to Negril, Jamaica for some beach lounging, ganja, and reggae. I was set to travel solo for the 1st time and I was nervous but decided it was a great way to get out of my comfort zone. I found an awesome Groupon deal for a boutique hotel located on the Seven Mile strip, and it was here at the Negril Tree House, that I fell in love with Jamaica, its people, and their way of life.
Negril Tree House is one of the most welcoming hotels I have ever stayed at. The owners have guests who have been returning for years. On my 1st day, I met two women who travel to the Tree House each year in May for a month if not longer. My new friends gave me their tips and suggestions for a first timer visiting Negril, from heading into town to stock up on Red Stripes, to hailing and negotiating taxi’s, as well as the best places to catch an awesome sunset and enjoy some good Jamaican food.
At the Tree House, you feel like you are family, to celebrate my birthday they had a reggae band, cupcakes and they announced my birthday in front of all the guests staying at the Tree House. It was awesome to be surrounded by travelers all celebrating and dancing. During the birthday celebration, I met Lil D and Tony Montana, two employees of the Tree House. Lil D is a rasta who guests can book for tours around Negril, and Tony Montana is in charge of all of the water sports for the hotel. These two guys are beyond awesome! Tony will walk the grounds dancing while balancing chairs on his chin. Yes, you read that right see picture below. Lil D will go out of his way to ensure you have the best and safest trip. Then there is Chef Alan who makes food so good you can’t possibly think of going anywhere else on the island to find food that good.
On day two of the trip, my sister arrived and it was no longer a solo trip! Happy to have my sister around for some birthday celebrating, Lil D arranged for us to have dinner at a restaurant called Xtabi on the Cliffs. This place was interesting it had great views and good food as well as caves for exploring! After dinner, my sister and I nervously climbed down the flight of stairs passing the sign that read ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! Once inside the cave we heard or rather saw something flying around not sure what it was we stood there and argued over what it could be. I was certain they were birds but my sister kept questioning me “Are you sure?” No, I was not sure. Turns out I was wrong and they were fruit bats. It was an exciting after dinner adventure!
Visiting Pelican Bar. We hadn’t done much research all we knew was it was not to be missed. It was a good hour and 1/2 away from Negril and we hired Trevor another awesome rasta. He drove us out to a beach where you can catch a boat that heads out to Pelican Bar. The waters were choppy that day and my sister kept looking at me with a concerned face. I think we were both nervous about the entire excursion nonetheless, we were on the boat and couldn’t really turn back at this point.
There were only a few other travelers visiting the bar that day. The workers sat around playing a game I can’t even remember if it was cards or dominos. We moved around the bar slowly and cautiously at first. As we began to relax we ordered some Red Stripes and began to chat with the most handsome rasta who was sitting in a corner of the bar carving items out of wood. He sat there smoking his joint carving away and for a small donation he carved our names into a piece of wood inside the bar. His smile was sweet and charming and one I won’t soon forget.
If you are planning a trip to Negril do yourself a favor and avoid the big chain resorts the all-inclusive ones and consider the Tree House instead. At the Treehouse, you will be met with friendly faces, warm smiles and get to hang out with some of the coolest Jamaicans around. Ya Mon!