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ljf1958 Jun 13th, 2005 07:32 AM

Poll/Opinion:Would you travel to Negril, Jamaica with. . .
Poll/Opinion: Would you travel to Negril, Jamaica with 3 small children: 2,3 and 5. We were hoping to stay at Moon Dance Villas.

i am trying to assess the crime situation there.

We liked Moon Dance for its location: rooms right on the beach - we just want to swim in the pool and play on the beach - the private cook in the villa will further let us relax. We would probably not leave the resort area (except for airport travel).

If you would not go to Negril, any suggestions on where else we could accomplish this beach/pool vacation? We will travel in either late August or early December. Also, liked Moon Dance pricing. $500-800/night for suite/villa accomodations is what we are hoping for.

The Beaches resorts and Atlantis sound too commercial/busy.

We have recently done Hawaii but would consider Mexico.

Thanks a ton.

mm Jun 13th, 2005 07:50 AM

I'd go. I've seen numerous families with small children enjoy the beach at Negril.

Seems like a lot of dough for an August trip but with a private cook I guess that works. Food is excellent in Negril but I guess you can't beat the luxury.

Jamaican's love children and I'm sure your kids will be playing in the sand with local kids in short order.


Diana Jun 13th, 2005 08:00 AM

Well, I personally would not go ANYWHERE with kids that age because I know I would have a nervous breakdown before I even got to where I was going. ;) (Kidding...)

That having been said, I was in Negril last August and didn't see many kids. Negril is not really a kid-friendly area imho, but Jamaicans DO certainly love children.

We never felt unsafe at all there, but I would never suggest Negril for someone with small kids if the adults had not done much Caribbean travel.

I would suggest Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres and Akumal Mexico - particularly Akumal.

You can get a gorgeous villa on the beach with a pool for far less than you are looking at for Moon Dance. I know they do also have villas with a cook, a housekeeper and even a driver if you like.

Check out the region (and the villas) at

We've gone through them several times and have been very pleased.

CaribbeanSoul Jun 13th, 2005 08:26 AM

Oh I respectfully disagree, Diana. Negril is one of the most kid friendly destinations in the entire Caribbean. I am speaking of the beach and not the cliffs, of course. The beach is long and has great sand...the water is very shallow out quite a ways and there is little or no surf. We brought our 8 year old and 8 month old last summer and it was great for them....and for us. But all we really like to do is hang on the beach all day. Margaritaville has a couple of water trampolines (sp?) that are fun for the kids....and adults who are kids at heart! There are a variety of restaurants on Negril beach with kid friendly items such as pizza, french fries and grilled cheese sandwiches. I think Negril is a perfect kid destination....that being said, it isn't over-run with kids which is nice for our adult-only trips! Jamaicans LOVE kids and the pickneys will get a lot of attention....the younger they are, the more attention they'll get! :)

Diana Jun 13th, 2005 08:54 AM

Carib Soul, I agree with everything that you have said, but I just have an impression that Negril would not be a good fit for the OP. I may be completely off base, but I wanted to give my .02

They have been to Hawaii and are willing to spend $800 per night for accommodations and a primary concern is safety.

Negril is not a "luxe" destination. And Moon Dance is not a "resort." People who are willing to shell out that kind of dough normally have certain expectations, and Negril is a fun and funky beach destination, but about 180 degrees from Hawaii.

We are seasoned Caribbean travelers, but some things about Negril were a bit off-putting to us. Also, unless they are able to get a connecting flight to Negril, there is a long taxi ride from the airport, and the haggling for that it entails. Not good while trying to wrangle three little kids around.

We were approached on the beach at least 100 times in less than a week to buy drugs, we were ripped off by a beach vendor and a bartender, and the OP may not know that toplessness is not uncommon there - if that bothers them.

Despite this, would I go back to Jamaica and to Negril? Absolutely! But I would not recommend Negril to people with small kids or who have not spent much time in the region. Jamaica can overwhelm first-time travelers to the area.

CaribbeanSoul Jun 13th, 2005 09:13 AM

All points taken, Diana. I am not sure if you have been to Negril since 2002 or not, but the new road from MBJ to Negril now takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes....a smooth highway for Jamaican standards. A huge difference from the 2 1/2 hour, windy, pot-holed "trail" that used to be the road to Negril. We also found the "solicitation" to decrease substantially when our kids were with us. I guess there is an element of respect for families that the higglers or hagglers have. Anyway....I agree it isn't for everyone, for which I think is good for all of us who love Negril.

KDR Jun 13th, 2005 09:32 AM

Just weighing in to agree with Carib Soul. My husband and I stayed in the cliffs in January, and would not take our child there, but would definitely stay on the beach with our two year old. We'd probably go the more economical route of staying at CoCo La Palm (is that the right name?). We spent our beach day at Idle Awhile, and saw many families and kids at CCLP. But, if we had three kids, I'd consider one of the villas b/c having a cook to prepare meals would be great.

But, Diana is right--if you want more of a resort vacation with activites, etc., then Moon Dance/Negril, probably isn't the best pick. If you really just want to lay on the beach and swim in the pool, I think it is perfect.

benj Jun 13th, 2005 10:05 AM

Definitely! My sis-in-law just visited us & showed us the brochure from their trip there. She LOVED Moon Dance & had nothing but high praise for it. First, the kids ate free because they were under 5. Second, they got the 3 bedroom villa at the 2 bedroom price. She said laundry was done daily & it didn't matter if every person (kid or adult) wanted something different to eat. Whatever you wanted they would do. She said the staff would check on you if you were by the pool or beach to see if they could get you something to drink or snack but they didn't intrude. She said the only reason she locked the door at night was to keep the kids in. She was not the least afraid. They even left the snorkling stuff outside in the yard & no one ever bothered it. Her comment was it was relaxed like visiting Grandma- welcoming & being fussed over. The rooms are as nice as the brochure from her description.

We stayed at Beaches Negril & now wish we had listened to her & gone to Moon Dance. On our next trip we will. If you do want to leave the resort then I suggest you contact Soloman Kerr at Talk of The Town Tours. He is excellent & very patient. His price is good & he will make a tour just for you. Negril was excellent & I found the Jamaicans a very warm people. They all seemed to love kids & wanted us to see the best of their country & culture.

liza Jun 13th, 2005 11:24 AM

"there is a long taxi ride from the airport, and the haggling for that it entails. "

Fixable - book a driver in advance. Ours have always shown up with a sign with our name on it and the price agreed to before we left home, even a full cooler with the beverages of our choice. And the ride is just over an hour. However, with kids that young you will want car seats, at least for the younger two, and few drivers in JA have them. Of course you can also fly if your flight arrives in enough time to get to Negril before dark.

My kids love Negril, they enjoy the water and being able to walk along to get snacks and check out the trampolines at Mville and shop. And while I have been approached to buy drugs when solo or with adults, it has NEVER happened when I was walking with my kids.

Moondance isn't a resort but IMO it's better - you have your own pool, your own cook, your own bartender, your own beach area and an entire home to spread out in, not just a hotel room. Watersports are right there (non-motorized) or arranged (motorized), I suspect in this case by your own staff.

However, it's hard to beat Treasure Beach for a kid-friendly atmosphere in Jamaica. Great Bay has calmer water than the rest of TB and there are a LOT of villas to chooe from for less than the OP is considering spending at Moondance. and both have some options worth looking at, most also fully staffed with cook and maid (at least) and with pool, on the beach.

cartera Jun 13th, 2005 12:53 PM

I think Moon Dance would be great for you. The villas are set back off the water enough that there is plenty of beach and shady areas on which to play and nap. The guard there makes sure you have your privacy. My daughter and I walked up one evening to get a better look at the place and he came out of nowhere to "greet" us. He was very nice but he knew we weren't staying there so we were intercepted. He gave us a brochure. The higglers will not venture up to where the villas are. I agree that Negril is a great place for kids. The water is perfect for them. Jamaicans are very respectful of families, and I was never approached about anything more risky than parasailing when I walked along the beach with my daughter. She loved the people there and has begged to go back. I also think Treasure Beach would be great - so many villas to choose from. Email Tiverton at for his advice on the one to suit your needs.

christiegr Jun 13th, 2005 02:56 PM

Maybe I should have made my family trip with the kids to Jamaica instead of St John.;)

ljf1958 Jun 13th, 2005 05:05 PM

Thank you ALL so very much for all of your opinions and candor.

I am still torn but in weighing everything you have said, the negative comments have really made me think twice (and I'm glad for that).

I am still completely in love with the Moon Dance Villas concept - for $650 + $150/night all food and drink and 2BR luxury accomodations and, apparently, light babysitting, is taken care of. (this was cheaper than the price I was quoted for Beaches) - I think we will do it just maybe in a year or two when the kids are a little older.

I am now leaning toward Anguilla. We have been to Cap Jaluca before (sans kids) and loved it. I feel safe there and know it is beautiful and some of the hotels have become kid-friendly with decent pricing (but sadly only for garden-view rooms).

As for the Mexico suggestions, I am grateful for them. I checked them out and they look fabulous. I believe, again, that will be a future trip - Anguilla seems easy since I know the lay of the land and we are now getting crunched for time.

Again, a hearty thanks.

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