Taking it not-so-easy in Jamaica

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 13-19, 1997
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Boundary Waters canoeing for city slickers
Taking it not-so-easy in Jamaica

Taking it not-so-easy in Jamaica
Question: Can you suggest activities in/near Negril, Jamaica, other than enjoying the fine products that country is known for (I mean coffee and hot sauce, of course ...)?

R. Lenz
New York City, NY
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: At the risk of stating the obvious, Negril is not lacking in water-related activities: scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, deep-sea fishing--you name it. Much of this can be arranged through the many hotels' watersports centers, regardless of whether you're a guest or not.

For diving, check in with SunDivers Jamaica (809-973-4069) at the Rock Cliff Hotel; they offer multiday PADI certification courses, night dives, one-week scuba packages, and equipment rental. If you're looking for snorkel gear, windsurfers, jet skis, or a three-hour sail to prime snorkeling waters, Aqua Nova Watersports at the Negril Beach Club (809-957-4323) is worth a look. They also have half-day guided fishing trips for $250 per person. For parasailing or just plain small-boat sailing (via Sunfish), Ray's Parasailing (809-957-4349) is the place.

Back on dry land, horseback riding is big among visitors, as is pedaling around town on a rental bike--and there are a handful of outfitters who'll set you up with a trusty steed for a two-hour ride along the coast or up in the hills. Try Country Western Horseback Riding (809-957-4439) or Rhodes Hall Plantation (809-957-4258); bike rentals abound along West End Road and Norman Manley Boulevard. For additional Negril information, call the Chamber of Commerce at 809-957-4067.

If you tire of the well-oiled crowds and reggae, consider renting a car and heading to the Blue Mountains, on the eastern end of the island. The long drive is well worth the trouble, as you'll find yourself in thick green forests full of orchids and ferns. Sense Adventures (809-927-2097) runs overnight hikes into the mountains, as well as three-day canoe trips on the Black River. Also in the area, Blue Mountain Tours (809-974-7075) will customize a two-day mountain bike trip through coffee plantations and tropical forests.

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