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lazymanrunning Nov 18th, 2012 06:58 AM

Ocho Rios vs Negril- Which one to travel to?
Would love your thoughts on either one or if you have traveled to both, what are your pros/cons of the two? Researching on which part of the island is better and why? I know (from reading) that 7mile beach are the best beach's Jamaica has to offer but is that it? Who has the better resort/hotels? Better dining? Better Al's? Better night life? Which is better for a little more seclusion and somewhat intimate?

Thanks for taking the time!

KVR Nov 18th, 2012 11:52 AM

Negril is more laid back. Most of the AI's choices are located on Bloody Bay and not 7 Mile Beach.

Couples, Sandals and the RIU's are the better known AI's in Negril and Ocho Rios. I have stayed at the RIU Tropical Bay and would not recommend to anyone unless they are fully aware it's a low budget family resort and they do their research.

I have stayed at 2 Sandals, though not in Jamaica, and I don't highly recommend them either unless people do their research. I feel they are over priced for what they offer. Sunset at the Palms in Negril gets good reviews. It's across the street from the beach and the RUI Tropical Bay. We stayed at the Jewell Dunn's River in Ocho Rios last December and loved it. It was formally a Sandals.

Personally, I feel the best AI resorts are the Iberostars and Secrets in Montego Bay. It just depends on what you are looking for.

In the Negril area there are the YS Falls, Mayfield Falls, Rum Factory, Black River, Rick's Cafe, and Margaritaville just to name a few things to see and do.

Ocho Rios has more exursions than Negril, and is also the main cruise ship port. I enjoyed Ocho Rios more than Negril because we tend to be very active on vacation. However, we found the locals in the area way more agressive than Negril.

Comparing the 2 areas are really like comparing apples and oranges. They both have their pros and cons. You can do what we did and try one and then try the other or if you have lots of time try both areas in one vacation.

lazymanrunning Nov 18th, 2012 03:02 PM

Hello KVR.. Thank you thank you thank you for the input! Extremely informative as you always are! I was ready to book Sunset at the Palms until I heard not only is it across the street from the beach, but as you mentioned, it is across from the RIU Tropical Bay (not really my style). Many of the reviews for Sunset at the Palms also said that guest were getting eaten alive in that mini make shift jungle.
Its only a 4 night stay so Im not being to picky, I just don't want the family budget stay nor do I want the RIU Palace or Sandals style resorts.. Something in between but on the beach.

Your comparisons shed a lot of light on what I am looking for.


KVR Nov 18th, 2012 03:36 PM

Thank you! :)

I don't think you will find that in Jamaica.

Look at the Mahekal Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen, MX. Little bungelows directly on the beach. Includes meals, but not alcohol. 15 - 20 minute walk to 5th Avenue. Rooms do not have a TV or phone if that would bother you. I was going to book there, but DH did have a problem with no TV in the rooms. I ended up booking at Playa Palms. Another hotel choice I regretted making.

I regretted not booking Sunset at the Palms. We walked over there and checked it out. I loved the litte tree house rooms. I didn't think the walk across the street to ther beach was a big deal. They have their own private section away from the RIU. My second choice would have been Couples Negril. My DH walked down the beach and looked at it and came back and demanded why I didn't book there instead. I told him it was too expensive at that time. I should have sucked it up as we were terribly unhappy with the RIU. A true statement of "you get what you pay for".

When are you going? We are headed to Cabo in December. We tend to go to the Caribbean side, but the pools are just too cold for me in December. We've not been to Cabo yet and most of the resorts there have heated pools. The pools in Jamaica are much warmer than Mexico. We are more pool people than beach people.

lazymanrunning Nov 18th, 2012 03:53 PM

As I am getting more reviews about Jamaica, I think I am leaning toward MX as you are right, I am having a difficult time finding what I am looking for with my "in-between" budget. I am traveling the last week of this month (Nov) so As long as the ocean is still warm, I will be ok! I also did not know that Sunset has their own p"private" beach across the street.. Its the little details sometimes people forget to mention that make a big difference.

Another question.. Out of PDC, COZ and Isla Mujures, which you you recommend? (wait wrong forum.. sorry)

Good luck in Cabo.. Im sure I will read about it in the near future!

Weadles Nov 19th, 2012 04:48 AM

Great information above. There are pros and cons to all your choices. I don't think the beach in PDC is nearly as nice as the one in Negril, but you may find more upscale accommodations. And just a FYI: Love Mexico, but we got eaten alive by no see'ums at the beach there last December. Bring bug spray with you no matter where you go.

Best of luck with your choice!

suze Nov 19th, 2012 05:14 AM

I love Negril but it is pretty rustic. Not exactly a fine dining high-end resort kind of place.

I agree with your idea to look to Mexico instead. You will find a LOT more options closer to what you are seeking there.

alfranc5 Nov 19th, 2012 08:33 AM

If you are a beach lover than you will choose Negril. Arguably, Negril has the best beaches in Jamaica. The seven mile beach is simply amazing. The entertainment is ok and they have a few attractions.

Ocho Rios is the more "all round" destination. Nice beaches, tons of attractions, many restaurants, a better nightlife and a wider shopping experience.

Ochie is more upbeat and Negril is more laid back.

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