Beaches Negril in Jamaica

I have lived my whole life in the Minneapolis-Chicago-Cleveland part of the world.  Nearly 30 years ago, I discovered the health (physical and mental) benefits of spending a week or more in warmer climates during late winter season and in the more recent past, have attempted to instill this ‘secret’ in our kids and grandkids.  We have stayed at numerous places: The Cove on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Captiva Island in Florida, private villas on Isla Mujeres (twice) and Hawaii.  All of these were not all-inclusive activities and required lots of additional money and effort for food/drink.

We have now stayed twice at Beaches Negril in Jamaica, once in 2017 and now  2019.  

If all you want to do is see some of our pictures, click here.

Our opinion of the place  

It is easily a 5 star place and experience.  Excellent service, top-notch food and drink, very family and kids friendly, and favorite of our whole family. Simply can’t be beat, and a place I could come back to every year.  If you want to know why, read a few details below.  Otherwise you can visit their website.

Our group is a bit large with 11-13 people with a couple of over 65 people, several late 30-mid forty individuals and then 4 young boys (less than 12).  


We all flew into Montego Bay.  We had elected to use Club Mobay.  They greatly facilitate the arrival process and minimize the hassle of long lines.  On departure, it does not seem as helpful, but perhaps that is not always true.  

The airport is relatively small and can be crowded, but as airports go, it has a fun, relaxing vacation type of feel.

Montego Bay Airport

Leaving Montego Bay Airport on our way to Beaches Negril

The bus ride to Beaches Negril is about 2-2 1/2 hours, on winding and sometimes a little bit bumpy road.  If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to premedicate, but other wise the ride is quite comfortable. Along the way, you will get a glimpse of a Jamaica different from your experience at Beaches. 

Jamaica Market

Jamaica Market near Lucea, Jamaica

Upon arrival at Beaches, we were escorted into the Concierge check-in, offered drinks and got our rooms. Because we had four rooms with different arrival times, it was a bit complicated but Krystal (Concierge Manager) and Genette(Front Office Supervisor) sorted things out and we quickly departed for the beach to wait for the rest of the family to arrive.

Beaches Negri Relaxing

View from chaise (Hard to beat this)

Before I get distracted by the gorgeous beach, I should mention the rooms.  We stayed in beach front rooms in the Savannah Building. The rooms are fairly large and quite comfortable.  In between the two sides of the building is a lovely garden which hosts, during evening hours, many singing frogs.


Several of the first floor rooms were recently remodeled so one can walk out beachside from the rooms, an excellent improvement.  There is a safe and refrigerator stocked with water, juice, wine, and beer and they will bring anything else you want.  But you probably will not spend much time in the room as the beach experience is simply fantastic.


Looking south at Beaches Negril

I understand it is possible to walk from here to Negril along the beach and adults might like to make the walk.  

Some of the activities

For kids there are many safe and enjoyable activities, a big reason why Beaches is such an outstanding place to vacation.  Below are just a few examples of things available.


Chess and shuffle board in front of Montepelier Building at Calypso Cove


Playground just outside of the Savannah Buildings

A minature golf course, basketball and sand volleyball courts are just a few of the other activities available to keep the kids entertained.  


Lazy River at Beaches Negril


Bucket Dump at Beaches Negril


Two water slides make for endless fun


The large swimming pool

There is also a smaller, more shallow.  Both pools have a swim up bar.  Nearby is YoYo’s (a great ice cream parlor) and Bar,B. Q Park (a great snack place).


Cabanas on the beach

We reserve a cabana for a number of reasons, but most importantly it serves as a gathering place for the family, it is right on the beach, offers protection from the sun and comes with a server that makes sure all your needs are satisfied.  For a really relaxing time, it is the way to go.


Building sandcastles: a favorite past time


Rent a hobbie cat or catamaran!


Taking a dip while parasailing 

This can be arranged from vendors walking the beach.  It is a lot of fun and lasts about 15-20 minutes.  If you want to record your adventure, bring your GoPro (or equivalent) and make sure it is well attached to you.


Beach Vendors

You can purchase a variety of memorabilia and services from beach vendors, but they are not supposed to leave the shoreline.  Our experience is they are pretty mellow people. 


Beach Play


Take a plunge

Everyone mentions the beauty of Seven Mile Beach, and that is true, but the ocean is just as spectacular, crystal clear, warm, soft sandy bottom and some nice waves.  Great for taking a dip or a swim.  


Walk up kids drinks

There are lots of places for kids to get drinks of an infinite variety as well as food when they are hungry.  Certainly our grandkids enjoyed that freedom. 

During the evening, there is family oriented entertainment from a ‘Big Top’ Show with local talent to an outside barbecue buffet with different stage acts.  The acts are always enjoyable and they really engage the audience, including the kids, to participate.  It makes for a lot of fun.




Finally, there are a substantial number of off resort activities that can be arranged, although we have not taken advantage of these activiities.  


On both occasions, we always found the staff to be very friendly and willing to help.  Many times, they would address us by name and would remember conversations from earlier in the visit.  I think this is best exemplified by an example.  The Concierge Manager, Krystal, was busy helping someone else and when she saw us, she came to greet us by name, welcoming us back and even remembered some details from our previous visit.  Pretty amazing.  


  Krystal, Concierge Manager

The second remarkable observation is the senior management was commonly seen walking around the resort talking to guests, making sure everything is ok, but also making a more personal connection to their guests.  It is an opportunity to learn about their lives and to share some of yours.  

When we arrived at the resort, a commonly used phrase was ‘Welcome Home.’  This phrase really resonants because of the close personal attention from the managers and staff.   


For an all inclusvie resort, the food is quite good and clearly a significant step above of other all inclusive place we have stayed.  Our favorite places include:

Soy-Simply great sushi.  Small so get there early.

Cafe de Paris-Our regular meeting place in the morning for delicious coffee and pastries.

Dinos-Excellent pizza and certainly a favorite of the grandkids.

The Mill-An amazing collection of delicious alternatives that change daily, served buffet style, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Mariachi-Great Mexican food and our favorite for lunch.

Bar.B. Q-Really good snack food.

Stew Fish-A romantic dining experience with fantastic sunsets on the beach.

YoYo’s-an icecream palor and certainly a daily favorite of the grandkids.

For drink, the house Premium wines are generally pretty good and there are several bars serving a huge variety of alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages. 

And when all you want to do is relax after a busy day, sit and watch an incredible sunset, perhaps with a glass of wine and dinner at Stew Fish.  

1903240508 HDR


The resort has a group of photographers available and you will see them taking pictures.  These are available at a shop on the resort.  

But for me, I like to take my own pictures and travel photography creates some issues.  I have tried many different variations and most of them have worked, but for this trip, I think I have stumbled on very good combination.

Cameras and gear: Two Sony a7RII, Sony RX100M6 and a GoPro Hero Black with multiple lenses and a small flash

For this trip I used two carry on bags: a Think Tank Photo Airport Advantage Roller Carry-On Camera Bag and Think Tank Retrospective 20 x 1 that I carried on top of the roller bag.


Think Tank Airport Advantage Roller

Remarkably there is sufficient room to have a third a7RII with the 16-35mm f4 lens attached.  So with the combination of zoom lenses and fast primes nearly all photgraphy challenges can be met. Also in the bag is a  Vello ShutterBoss II RC-S2II from and a small flash, Nissan i40. In the external pouch, I carried a 15 inch 2018 MacBook Pro with 2 TB internal SSD drive.


Retrospective 20x1

There are four basic compartments in the Retrospective.  The back compartment where printed documents and an iPad can be carried and the front compartment where GoPro Triple Selfie stick with iPhone adapter and medicine trays can be carried  The middle compartment is divided into two sub-compartments, a larger one holding the BUBM case ( and a smaller one to hold miscellaneous items important to have with you.

Inside the BUBM case are various important gadgets:

1. Pelican 12 card case with 12 Sandisk 64 GB 300 MB/sec cards
2. Lots of batteries: 5 NP-BX1 for Sony RX100M6 and 8 NP-FW50 or equivalent (RavPower RP-PB056 Savior Series) for the a7RII and GoPro batteries.
3. Battery chargers: GoPro charger (Mibote-GP-BCG-503), Sony RX100M6 (Newmowa CHG-NPBX1-NMW, Sony a7RII (RAVPower RP-PC056 Savior Series).  All of these chargers were micro USB based and would charge 2-3 batteries at a time.
4. A 6 and 10 stop neutral density filter, and a 72 to 77 step up ring from Breakthrough Photography.
5. Two SDXC USB 3.1 USB C card readers from Cable Matters (Model 201058)
6. USB C to B adapter from Aukey
7. iPhone shutter release from
8. VisibleDust Zeeion blower for sensor cleaning from
9. Western Digital 2 TB My Passport SSD (USB C)
10. Various cables

There are a couple of reasons why this combination of bags works so well.  First, with the separate Retrospective bag I can have all my personal items and medicines with me all the time.  Second the roller bag makes moving through the airport considerably easier.  Lastly, once we arrived at our destination, the Retrospective can be quickly unpacked and used to carry two camera bodies with lenses attached, some extra batteries and cards for local excursions.  


At the end of each day, the images from the day were transferred from the SDXC cards to the MacBook Pro internal drive.  They were index by a 10 digit number YYMMDDxxxx, where YY is the two digit year, MM is the two digit month and DD is the two digit day and xxxx is a sequential number from 1 to 9999, as they were imported into LR CC.  Following import, the MacBook Pro was backed up to the WD 2 TB My Passport SSD using Carbon Copy Cloner and if the SDXC cards were full or nearly so, they were locked and stored in the Pelican case.  With this approach I had three copies of each picture at the end of the day.


A© 2011-2018 by Steven Seelig, Chicago Photographer                          630-561-6581