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benvoliet Apr 10th, 2011 12:15 PM

Negril B&B for solo female?
I'm looking for something similar to the wonderful trip I took by myself last year to Playa Santa Teresa (near Malpais) on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. I stayed at a tiny hostel (10 rooms) with the beach, yoga classes, surf lessons+rental, relaxed restaurant and grocery store all within 5 minutes walk. I loved the laid back, friendly, and quiet atmosphere with the abundance of activities available. It did not feel very touristy, and no one hassled you to buy anything, and there wasn't a big loud party atmosphere either (though dancing down the road if you wanted it). I loved the community feel the staff and fellow travelers gave the place.
(If anyone's interested, I can certainly tell you more!)

This year, I'd love to have a similar 5-7 day relaxed trip in late April. I want to be very close / on a beautiful, quiet beach where I can go swimming. I'd prefer a smaller B&B/hostel/bungaow type place for less than $100/night (ideally less than $50/night). I'm definitely not looking for AI as I like the option to explore (so not entirely secluded).

1) From reading the forums, it seems most recommend Negril - can you recommend specific spots to stay? (Unfortunately the hostels I've research don't seem to have many/or any reviews). I'd certainly consider other locations/islands, but Negril sounds wonderful, and it's a shorter flight from Boston.
2) Is it worth it to spend a day or two in Montego Bay on the way in/out?
3) Any safety tips for a solo female traveler who speaks no Spanish are appreciated!

Thanks so much for any feedback!! :) and for reading my long post :)

JeanH Apr 11th, 2011 05:52 AM

We made our first trip to Negril this past November. Stayed at a little hotel on the beach, the Bar-b-Barn. I think we paid $70.00 a night, including breakfast. Friendly little place, two restaurants, right on the beach. Very short walk to more lively bars with live music.

Take a look at this website, although not all properties are on there, you can get a good idea of what's where.

suze Apr 11th, 2011 06:33 AM

I was in Negril last summer for 10 days, half the time solo. I don't think there's anywhere quite as laid-back as what you describe. There are vendors. And the beautiful 7-mile beach in Negril is a fairly busy place. But I think if you research and are willing to change a little bit your requirements, you can find a nice fit. They speak Jamaican and English on the island, not Spanish. No I wouldn't spend any time in MoBay, I'd just arrange a shuttle straight out of the airport and spend all my time in Negril.

Besides the excellent onestop website already mentioned, there's a good group of posters over at Trip Advisor on the Negril forum there. Very helpful and knowledgeable.

suze Apr 11th, 2011 03:13 PM

As far as safety tips, you do need to keep your wits about you in Negril. The local men will likely come on strong. Use only officially licensed taxis (they will have a red license plate), don't go off with strangers, don't let anyone put something on you (bracelets) or into your hand (ganja), etc. Don't get me wrong I loved my time in Negril, but I did feel the need to be a bit more on guard than where I usually travel (Mexico or Hawaii).

fishee Apr 13th, 2011 03:00 PM

I've loved trips to Negril but Jamaica doesn't sound like what you're looking for -- there is a much stronger hustle vibe compared to the laid back atmosphere of CR. As suze notes, the attitude towards single women is playfully flirtatious and like in any country, this can be annoying if you're not in the mood to deal with it.

My experience of CR has been everyone (male and female) of being supremely polite and even formal compared to Mexico, Jamaica, or the U.S. Just my 2 cents!

suze Apr 13th, 2011 03:15 PM

Agreeing with fishee. Really Negril sounds about the exact opposite of your CR experience. Only partly joking around.
Also under $50/night is not going to get you much in Negril. I found it quite expensive compared to what I'm used to in Mexico (PV).

spook Apr 15th, 2011 06:28 AM

Try the White Sands right on the beach. It is a friendly family run hotel and low season rates should be around $45 -$50 US.

benvoliet Apr 17th, 2011 08:00 PM

Thanks everyone for your responses! I booked my trip to Negril, looking to stay at Mariposa Hideaway on the beach, then the last couple nights at Xtabi on the cliffs if they have openings. Based on trip advisor reviews these sounded like reasonable options in my price range with good security. I hope I don't regret not going back to CR! Half joking ;)

Any good options for a massage or kayak/snorkel rental/trip?

PS Suze - that was a silly comment about Spanish, must have still been thinking about my last trip...

suze Apr 18th, 2011 06:26 AM

no problem :-) it did make me laugh. That said... it is technically English, the local patois is impossible to understand when are speaking with each other! I even commented to my friends I understood more in Mexico!!

If you could get Xtabi (or anywhere else on the Cliffs) for the last few days I think that would make a wonderful trip.

fishee Apr 18th, 2011 10:55 AM

Hope you have a great trip, I love Negril. Xtabi sometimes has really great, easy access snorkeling right off their bar area. (presence of fish seems to shift a bit according to weather) The cliffs are a more mellow area than the beach, IME, if not just due to the privacy produced by the rocks. I've also never heard any of the places on the cliffs blasting music with some guy yelling through a megaphone.

We bring our own snorkel gear but I believe there were rentals available through that hotel. Sometimes it's just a stand/shack near the entrance. But i'd suggest getting your own snorkel and mask if you vaca regularly, if you haven't already.... doesn't take up much room in luggage. We've gone boating in Jamaica for a day trip and I love being on the water -- but a noisy motorboat with diesel fumes isn't for everybody :)

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