Negril in August - a few questions

Old Apr 20th, 2005, 03:47 AM
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Negril in August - a few questions

We're thinkning about a trip to Negril in early August. We're a family of four (two adults and two kids, ages 14 and 16.) We've never been to Jamaica before, so I have a few questions for the afficionados on this board:

1) We're considering Idle Awhile, Coco La Palm or Country Country. IA sounds great, but is more pricey - but maybe worth it? My husband and son would probably enjoy the privileges at the Swept Away sports facilities, but then again, IA has no pool. Has anybody stayed in any of these places with teenagers? My kids are experienced travellers, very well behaved and don't require - or want - special 'teen activities', just a generally relaxed, but fun atmosphere. (We're not looking for a specifically 'family hotel' with lots of young children, kids' clubs, etc.) But, having said that, is Country just too low key (I like the look of it)?
2) Weather in early Aug: Does it rain often (every day?) If so, is it typically a brief afternoon shower, followed by more sun (which can be kind of nice in the Caribbean), or does it rain all afternoon, several days per week?

Also - I know it's fairly hot, but is it also extremely humid?

3) Beyond waterfalls, etc., we'd also like to possibly take a day trip to a plantation (preferably with a 'Great House') or Appleton Rum Estate - any suggestions? Prefer someplace that doesn't involve more time driving than exploring, but we're interested in seeing something of Jamaican culture/history as well as its natural beauty.
4)Any thoughts on when/if lower summer airfares might be available? And, how busy is Negril in August - am I correct in assuming hotels might not book up so far in advance at that time?

Much thanks for any/all feedback!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 06:44 AM
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Coco La Palm is a perfect choice for your vacation to Negril. We make it there every year....sometimes twice! I have been traveling to Negril since 1985 and have not found a better place than CocoLaPalm for our needs, traveling with family, or just my wife and I. We have been going to CLP for the past 5 years. Very low key....no organized activities on site. But they have many activities for booking from the front desk if you so desire, such as parasailing or snorkeling. Tours and daytrips are available from there as well. The pools are very nice with one located on the beach and the other within the courtyard. Rooms, especially the JR Suites, are spacious and clean. The staff is incredible and if access their website, you can read all the accolades on their "guest book". I can attest to most of the positvie remarks....it truly is #1 on Negril Beach. You will not regret your decision if you choose CLP! Enjoy your vacation....we are hoping to get there in November!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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August is defeinitely low season but for some reason a LOT of Italians show up in Negril then. So things won't be that quiet.

I haven't stayed at any of the hotels you're looking at but have passed all and read great things about all (except CountryCountry and only because it's under new management...I haven't read anything bad).

Coco probably ahs the most other people around, it's larger than Idle and CC. Maybe your teens will prefer that.

You might also consider villa/cottage setups that have kitchens and separate living rooms and bedrooms so you can be together but not sleeping in one room andhave some hangout space (we do this with our family in Negril). Nirvana, Rondel Village, Whistling Bird and Beach House Villas offer that, I'd recommend the first 3 over BHV as i find it a bit overbuilt right now.

Nirvana and Whistling Bird have BEAUTIFUL gardens and beachfronts and a very low guest-acre ratio. Nirvana has 8 units on 2 acres and WB is similar. Rondel has a pool, jacuzzi, AC, TV and other amenities that you might want, we stay there when traveling with the in-laws who prefer AC/TV etc over the jungly authentic atmosphere of Nirvana or WB.

Have fun planning!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Thanks for the info. CLP does look nice and the idea of a place having some life, without actual organized activities, is appealing.

Liza - I did consider the villa option, but decided that after a long hard winter, we wanted this to be a REAL vacation - without even the possibility of preparing meals (beyond a take-out picnic on a veranda!), making beds, etc. Just want to be lazy, saddle up to the bar for a Red Stripe, have someone serve us breakfast...Will keep notes of Rondel,Nirvana, etc. for future reference though, so thanks!

Any one been to Country Country lately (since it's been under new management)? What's the atmosphere like? Also - read somewhere (Trip Advisor?) that their beach might be badly eroded?

Any experience with August weather in Negril - frequency, length of rainstorms, etc.?

I know I'm asking ALOT of questions, so many thanks for your replies!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:39 AM
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Very few villas in Jamaica rent without a cook (and maid)...and it's hard to beat waking up to the cook ringing the breakfast bell...we just roll out of bed/out of the pool and to the table

This is not at all like renting a condo or unstaffed villa.

Nirvana and Rondel come with cooks (Nirvana 2 meals a day, Rondel 1 - but Rondel's restaurant has room service).

Whistling Bird has a private restaurant onsite.

I'll put rum and stuff in the blender or use the microwave to reheat a patty but that's all the cooking I've ever done in Jamaica!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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Liza - Well, now that you put it that way...

I'll check out the places you mentioned. As long as someone else makes the bed and does dishes, I might be able to handle flicking on the blender! I think even with a cook, we'd want to eat several dinners or lunches out - we'd want to try different local places. I imagine that you'd hire the cook on a daily (or even per meal) basis, so this wouldn't be an issue. Thanks again!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 11:33 AM
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When I say the cook does 1-2 meals a day, I mean that is included in the price of the rental. You can always hire extra if you want. You do need to shop for the food, I think, but that can of course be done for you for a fee as well.

And in Negril you DEFINITELY want to eat out - there are so many great places to try!

Sometimes it's nice to have breakfast ready right there though, that's the only meal we usually asked them to cook for us. Mainly we love having a living room and hang out area and not having to share a hotel room.

I have photos of these places, and trip reports too:

http://www.alink.com/personal/liz/negril/index.htm

Have fun!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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Liza - I'll definitely check out your photos - hopefully tonight once things around here quiet down to a low roar. All this info is so helpful - really appreciate it.

Agree about breakfast - whenever we travel, I always prefer having my coffee, etc. at home, before heading out for the day (which sounds especially nice with someone cooking us up Jamaican specialties.) Much more civilized.

Am looking forward to the food in Jamaica - luckily my kids are adventurous eaters, so trying restaurants is always high on our travel agenda. Am mostly hoping to find low key, even funky places that do local dishes, not glitzy 'resort' food - Negril does seem great for this, and I know there are lots of recommendations on this board. (Have only been to the Caribbean twice before, to St. Barts and Cozumel, and both offered VERY different, but equally wonderful eating experiences.)

Looking forward to viewing the photos!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 07:21 PM
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I prefer Coco and IA locations over Country Country - the beach is more eroded there. I took my teenage daughter to Coco and she loved it there. The staff is great.
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 09:57 AM
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Liza~

Just to answer your query...August is when Italians generally go on vacation so it makes sense you saw quite a few of them during that time. I saw it every year when I lived there, every August..<poof> shops close, people take off for the beaches and other parts of the world. Bad time for tourists in Italy that being said...
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 10:53 AM
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Carera - I agree. Below Margaritaville the beach gets much wider.

Thanks for the info Bjork, that makes sense...I've only been to Italy in late winter and early summer so have missed the great exodus
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 01:01 PM
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I've spent time in Italy over the years during various seasons - and judging by the heat during our only August visit (to the Veneto,) it's entirely possible that the Italians are actually escaping the heat by fleeing to Jamaica!

Which leads me back to one of my original questions: how hot is it in Negril in August? And more importantly, how much does it typically rain - if everyday, for how long? A brief afternoon shower can be cooling and lovely, but all afternoon...not so much.
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 01:23 PM
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I've only been to JA in August once. It was very hot and humid, the water was very warm. I don't remember any rain but I'm sure that varies.....
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Old Apr 25th, 2005, 10:05 PM
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I have to recommend the Coco La Palm - We loved it there and the constant activity on the beach is sure to entertain your teens.

Also, I second the poster who said you should eat out. Go to Cosmos for the conch soup -- it's fabulous!
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Old May 10th, 2005, 08:58 AM
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Dear Hadley,

My last trip was December 2003 with my pregnant wife and 2 year old son.

I did a fair amount of looking around that trip since I am trying to optimize set-up for my young family on the beach. I have been going to Negril regularly since 1984. I just about always stayed on the cliffs, which have their own charms, but are not suitable for young children.

Obviously (like many) I have a major love affair with Negril & Jamaica. Sadly Negril has become aggressively developed. Many Jamaicans love cement (or at least equate it with prosperous living). The Florida aesthetic creeps in, overwhelming the native (natural) feel or the more low key shabby British atmosphere. Of course, how can you expect such a lovely spot to be left pristine in a country without real preservation or zoning measures? And Jamaica needs foreign exchange, jobs and so on...

Still, the perennial appeal of Negril survives and it is definitely worth going. If you are realistic about Negril it never disappoints. If it is less rustic today, it has different comforts --- more food choices, it's safer, etc.

In my opinion the issue on the beach is to be in the right location. That's part of the attraction of CocoLaPalm (& Nirvana & Idle Awhile) --- just about perfect "quality" location (in terms of quality of beach, noise, aesthetics -- away from establishments that have concerts, etc.)

I looked into Idle Awhile -- very tasteful, probably have a very nice time, not sure it's worth the money
(rather go to Swept Away --- best all-inclusive choice). Country Country is great design (same woman who designed Strawberry Hill) but was poorly managed when I was there. Nirvana is really nice and you won't go wrong (great grounds, few guests) but a bit rustic, cabins a little tired.

August is hotter than norm but it'll do. It may be worth having AC in the room in case there is no breeze (most of the time in Negril you can do without AC). You'll have a good time and if it rains it will probably be for short duration.
August is as quiet as it gets in Negril.

Work out inland trips when you get there. Definitely go, even just for a picnic at a waterfall. The tours are a little overblown but the countryside is beautiful and the locals tend to be nice.

(I'm just reading the other "posts" now. I think they offer you very good advice.)

Take a taxi up to Rock House for a meal.

Last, bring a couple of cans of Deep Woods Off for the trip. Trust me on this one...

Have a great time... John
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Old May 12th, 2005, 08:41 PM
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Not sure if you made your travel plans yet or not. I lived in Jamaica off and on for about 10 years, back and forth. I know August very well as it was a certainty that I spend my whole summer there when I was a student. No one has mentioned Reggae Sunsplash or Sumfest. Both festivals take place in August and draw a huge international crowd. That makes for a lot more people than the ordinary. As for the rain, it rains briefly daily, I would say, but not really anything torrential. You may get a good downpour here and there but no flooding type situations were ever experienced by me in the month of August. I am really surprised that no one mentioned the reggae fests as they do bring a lot of tourists to the island. One takes place in the Portmore area outside Kingston and the other in Montego Bay. I imagine that many of the Montego Bay reggae fest visitors stay in the Negril area. Negril is a beautiful spot, however, I found it to be a little spoiled by the tourist/local attitude toward tourists. It seems that there is a constant hustling going on there. I personally prefer other areas of the island, but by no means do I discount the beauty and the fun to be had in Negril. I hope this helps as it seems no one really addressed the weather.
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