Jamaica Part 1 – Riu Negril

When: Nov 2011
Why: Nick’s friends’ destination wedding
Where: Riu Negril

First time in Jamaica, and I get a 2 parter.  1st part is with Nick for his friend’s wedding.  2nd part is for work, in a nearby resort at Lucea.  awesomeness!  As we came with a group of 40, a transport bus was arranged for us right out of the airport.  Unfortunately as it was in the evening when we landed, we couldn’t get any kind of glimpse of Jamaica roads on the way in.  The drive from airport (Montego Bay) to Negril is about 45 mins.  A standard welcome drink greeted us while we register and get our coloured bands, then off to our room.


The room key is an actual metal key, which i haven’t seen/had in a long time for any resort/hotel, on top of that, it’s attached to a large Riu Negril keychain.  guess they are not worried about it getting rusted from being wet.  The room is a decent size with 2 double bed pushed together to create an artificial king bed.  so long as you don’t fall into the middle crack, you’re good.


The first thing next morning, we explored the resort – overall the resort is nice, a bit dated, but the structures are open and grand.


2 main pools + LLLLOOOONNNG stretch of sandy beach was the best part of the resort.


O, 2nd best thing about the resort was the on-the-beach-Jerk-Chicken-hut.   fresh roasted chicken with jerk sauce.  line up galore. but so good!


And of course we took time to go scuba diving – chose to go with Marine Life Divers. 2 back to back excursion days.  didn’t see the illusive turtle (after so many scuba dives, we still haven’t see one yet!) see post here.

One of the group excursion was a Catamaran Boat ride which includes snorkeling and a visit to Rick’s Cafe (a famous tourist spot by cliff side).  If memory serves me correctly – it was $35USD each for that excursion.  The Catamaran was right off the beach from the Riu Negril, and we were off!  The snorkeling was so so – not much to see, but the location was cool – it was by caves, so we were able to get some good photo shots.


Rick’s Cafe is a definite must however – we arrived by boat, and there were tons of people along the cliff.  Local divers jump off the cliffs in super Olympian skills 30-50 feet above water into unknown depth of turquoise waters.  Be prepared to be bombarded for “tips” for the divers.  4 from our group bravely dove as well – from the 25 ft plateau.  craziness.  with a live band at the edge of the cliff, restaurant/bar and a souvenir shop, it was quite hopping.  We caught the beginning of the sunset as well – best place in Jamaica apparently to capture pictures.  Unfortunately the ride back was quite rough and i got quite seasick. =(


Riu Negril does a good job with destination weddings – it was set out on the beach, at the end of 8 mile stretch.  very romantic, but definitely hot as the ceremony was at high noon.  guests were mostly crowded under tree for shade until the ceremony was underway.  Evening reception was at one of their restaurants, upstairs for privacy.  intimate atmosphere, with great view of the beach in time for sunset.  =)

On the last day before departure day, a small group of 8 of us decided to take an excursion into town to get Jamaican Patties.  hired a private van – cost us approx $50USD (negotiated rate) that took all of us.  the driver brought us to tourist shopping spots – which was fine by us as we needed some souvenirs and t-shirts and packs of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans.  Not too much room for negotiations at the stores, but they will drop it a bit.  And then finally, we got to Juici Patties – a Jamaican franchise for patties.  it was DELICIOUS! fresh out of the oven as we were ordering 2 dozens – 2-3 for each of us, plus a box to bring back to the rest of the folks at the resort.

Overall, the Riu Negril is great for beach lovers as it has access to the longest stretch of beach.  the restaurants in the resort was so-so.  the french restaurant wasn’t good.  the late night place was just pizza (very disappointed at lack of late night fries!), and the steak house was again so-so.  But when you are at a resort with 40 new friends and a wedding, it makes the experience terrific.


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