The most expensive time for visiting Jamaica is during their winter season which runs from December through May (when it is not the hurricane season or very rainy). This is when when the island has its best weather so tourists flock here then in big numbers and all prices are higher because this is when the tourist resorts must make enogh to survive year round.
So to most economize a trip to Negril try come during the off season. But be prepared for some wicked heat, lots of rain and an occassional hurricane which if intense, can badly ravage the island.
Off season non-stop round trip airfare with Air Jamaica (as of 2009) from Chicago and New York to Montego Bay by advance reservation are in the $400 to $500 USD range.
On season can be as low as $450 USD round trip from Chicago and New York to Montego Bay if booked in February or March for December thru May. Any later bookings and the airfares increase proportionally up to $900 USD round trip non-stop airfares in November - December!
There are 2 unionized airport transfer bus services servicing Sangster International Airport from Montego Bay to Negril. They are JUTA and JCLA and they are the cheapest form of transportation for visitors and locals. Both of these companies offer similar low rates for their bus trips back and forth to and from these 2 places. As of this writing their prices were in the $30 to $40 USD range per pasenger for each trip. However a party of 2 or 3 might want to instead hire a private taxi for a similar total fare.
Hotels, Resorts, Villas and Rooms
As a rule of thumb, staying in places that are off of the beach itself or inland of the cliffs will give you the lowest room rates. An inexpensive resort on beach in off season will rent their lowest cost room for $50 - $90 USD. On season that same room will cost $95 to $150.
Right across the street from the beach resorts an inland resort with walking access to that place's beach (and maybe a pool) will rent an inexpensive room for $40 - $60 USD off season and for $50 - $90 on season. The same pretty much holds true for places on and inland of the cliffs.
There are quite a few grocery stores in the greater Negril area and there is a large Hi - Lo supermarket right downtown. Here all kinds of food, rum, beer, pop and other goods may be purchased to save you money. Just be sure that you have a working refrigerator in your room or access to plenty of ice there if you elect to go this route (which will cut your food bills in half compared to buying cooked food at even the cheapest restaurants.
You can bring all kinds of snacks from overseas into Jamaica, just not any meat products. The Jamaican government wants tourists to spend money on the island for everything possible so thay make it hard for tourists to economize by bringing in food or liquor.
The rule of thumb for dining out is to ask the locals where they eat because they know the lowest priced good food places. Ossie's and Goa's on the land side of the 7 - mile beach and Fatty's and 3 Dives on the cliffs are 4 places known for serving good sized portions of great food at low prices. These are places where you get more than enough to eat so you can take leftovers back to your room for consumption later.
There are a couple of hundred bars and restaurants in Negril, each more colorful and more fun than the next because everyone in them is always interseting, nice and polite. The price of beers in them starts at a low nowadays of $200 JD ($2.25 USD). Tropical rum drinks are usually double that and up.
Transportation within Negril
Negril provides a free shuttle bus every 2 hours which traverses One Love Drive from the 7 - mile beach al the way to the lighthouse in the cliffs. This bus may be flagged down all along that 14 mile route by tourists and locals. It's purpose is to pull 7 mile beach resort patrons up into the cliffs to increase the tourist trade there. It is the cheapest form of transportation other than walking because just like walking, it is free.
The next cheapest form of transportation in Negril is the route taxi. These run either up and down the beach portion of One Love Drive to and from downtown for 7 miles or up and down the cliffs portion of One Love Drive to and from downtown for another 7 miles. Either trip is $80 - $100 JD one way no matter how far within these 7 mile routes you want to go. This equates to only about $1 USD per ride so most passengers give a tip of anothe $100 JD to the driver.
Licensed route taxis have red license plates and should not be confused with unlicensed robot taxis that are not legal to use and that are sometimes unsafe for tourists to enter. However, the drivers of the red plate route taxis are often speed demons because they have to run enough trips a day to pay for their vehicles before they make anything for themselves. So many tourists will not use them and instead opt for a resort's driver at twice the price or more.
Anytime a tourist enters a taxi of any kind in Negril they should first negotiate the price per passenger for their trip! Some unscrupulous drivers (usually route taxi drivers) will charge exhorbitant rates at the end of a ride because this was not done.
The cheapest entertainment in Negril is to just walk the beach or the cliff road for free and observe the shenanigans of some of the more colorful locals. However, when tourists do this they are invariably hounded by scammers and hawkers. But this in itself can be entertaining if the tourists are polite to the locals in their haggling over price and when they're ready to go on, they're firm but polite in their refusal of any more goods or services.
Single women can be accosted by obvious gigolos with some of them actually enjoying the attention and the flattery. But most don't so this is not a form of entertainment to them. If a woman is polite and firm in her rejection of these suitors, they will back down but some of them can be so aggressive that the lady may have to threaten to call for an officer. But that can all be fun for them, especially if there are a couple of girls who are out together.
Negril has a number of clubs and entertainment centers with something going on every night in one or another of them. They are free or they may charge a small entry charge because the local bands and entertainers there are usually great and worth paying a little to see. The Red - Stripes at these occassions are $300 - $500 JD ( $3.50 - $6.00 USD) which is very reasonable considering the high level of entertainment found at some of these places (add another $100 for Heinekin's).
Courtesy of Negril.com:
Negril.com's message board and Trip Advisor's Negril Forum have many daily threads that provide travelers with much up-to-date tourist information.
Owners, Managers and Patrons of All of Negril's Enterprises
All encyclopedias rely upon experts to provide them with authoritative and true articles about their subjects and this video encyclopedia is no exception. However, the articles that we use here are in photo and video form, so the experts whom we must rely upon to produce them are Negril's enterprise owners, managers and their patrons. After all, who is better quailfied to provide good visual information than these folks who have valid, first-hand knowledge about each of Negril's resorts, restaurants, clubs, shops, road stands, attractions and activities?
Therefore, we here request Negril's enterprise owners to record for us a brief digital video welcoming people to their enterprise and describing its attributes (preferably with them and some of their staff and / or their patrons in it). This will humanize their enterprise to the public by being a very friendly and inviting way of encouraging people to come to Negril for their vacations.
Other Videos and Photos
Enterprise owners (and their patrons) may also provide us with separate additional videos of some of the unique, interesting things that occur within their enterprises.
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Promote Negril's Mini & Micro Businesses
If you own a smaller Negril enterprise or micro-business and you are without a website of your own, you may use your page here for a starter website until you are ready to create one of your own. Just e-mail us at email@example.com to obtain our help in quickly customizing your page for you at no charge whatsoever.
Get the Word Out!
Any loyal patrons of any enterprise in Negril which has not yet taken advantage of our offer to build, improve and / or customize their page at no charge, should pass this offer along to those enterprise owners whom they know well enough to suggest it.
Videos Humanize Each Enterprise
All videos and photos of Negril's enterprises will greatly humanize and express the true ambiance of each of them. This can help allay potential visitor's fears of the unknown and increase each enterprise's chance of obtaining their patronage.
E-mail or Snail-mail Visual Data to Us
Just upload their video(s) onto You Tube and then e-mail us their link(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll then approriately categorize and embed these You Tube'd video(s) onto their page and onto any other appropriate pages within this website.
If the video(s) can't be uploaded to You Tube, then just e-mail them to us as a file attachment. Send these also to email@example.com.
Alternatively, people may snail-mail cd-rom(s) of their video(s) to Alex Hanson at 6542 N. Clark Street, Chicago IL 60626. When we receive these videos, we will check them for quality and then load them right onto You Tube and embed them onto all of the appropriate pages within this Vidia to which they might apply.
Each digital video embedded on this Vidia is also shown on You Tube, so it becomes a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, goodwill ambassador that will promote that particular Negril enterprise - world-wide!