Ready to vacation in Jamaica? Yeah, mon! Whether seeking fun in the sun or something to get in my belly, I found Beaches Negril provided my family with teen and tween plenty more than we could do in the four days we had allotted. So we’re sharing 5 insider tips to make the most of this delightful Beaches Resorts property.
Beaches Negril: Sun, Sand, Reggae, and Good Times
Jamaica is known for all of these. And Beaches Resorts, one of the preeminent resort chains, has upped the ante on luxury-inclusive vacations for families. One thing I’ve learned about traveling to the Caribbean: it’s important to be prepared. Especially when it comes to the resort of choice.
My family and I vacationed at Beaches Negril in October. It was a first trip Jamaica for our kids, so we wanted to squeeze as much as possible in to make the most of our experience. Now that we’re “insiders” of sorts, we’re sharing our 5 insider tips that we learned while vacationing at Beaches Negril.
5 Insider Tips for Beaches Negril
1. Make time to unwind.
It’s funny how we arrive on vacation and want to press fast forward to fit everything in. The vacation results in a bit of a frantic pace. To avoid that, we intentionally schedule times to unwind.
Some of my favorite options at Beaches Negril:
Book a massage or body treatment at Red Lane Spa. Reserving an oceanfront cabana for the day. Or chilling out floating down the lazy river at the Pirates Island water park.
An outdoor chess set, shuffleboard and pool table were just some of the games that enticed us to play outside. There’s also a miniature golf course, hot tubs, hammocks, game room, and gift shops. The key is do whatever relaxes and helps each person unwind.
TravelingMom tip: Grab a Mezzaluna signature pizza (half ricotta calzone and half margherita pizza) from Dino’s Pizzeria Italiana for a poolside snack between meals.
2. Food and Beverage Selections are Crucial.
Beaches Resorts are luxury-inclusive, so our food and beverages were part of our Beaches Negril resort costs. With 9 restaurants and 8 bars, 2 of which are swim-up bars, it was nearly impossible to eat and drink at all of them.
So here’s the skinny:
Make reservations for Kimonos and the Venetian.
Kimonos is hibachi-style Japanese, while The Venetian is Northern Italian fare.
Our favorite restaurants: Stew Fish for toes in the sand dining; The Venetian for the most gourmet quality food at the resort; Mariachi for those Mexican cravings; and Cafe de Paris for coffee, teas, pastries, and crepes! My favorite: any crepe with Nutella!
Try the specialty drinks.
A Dirty Banana was my absolute favorite. Of course, anything with that view behind it is going to seem even better:
Beaches Negril swim up bars are the best!
My teen and tween couldn’t wait to have virgin strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas to their hearts content. Having been to Beaches Turks & Caicos, the swim-up bars were on their short list of places they couldn’t wait to try at Beaches Negril. One nice touch: all the swim-up bars have a kids’ menu displayed prominently over the bar with lots of tantalizing options.
TravelingMom Tip: When dining at Kimonos, ask for Lashaun because she cooks teppanyaki AND sings. Multitalented!
3. Let the Kids Choose Their Activities.
My teen daughter and tween son have different interests. So it’s no wonder that principle also applies when we vacation. My daughter quickly made friends with another teen, and their idea of fun was snorkeling and kayaking together, hanging out on the beach to take photos, and exploring the resort together.
Meanwhile, my tween’s favorite pastime right now is water bottle flipping. Banned at school and yet free to do on vacation, he spent almost an hour bottle flipping at the main pool with Orlando, one of the lifeguards. He says his next favorite things at Beaches Negril were playing pool and the Xbox Play Lounge.
When an opportunity to collect another coconut on vacation came along, my son welcomed it with open arms. He found one at Turks & Caicos and named it Bubbles. Heartbroken that we had to leave Bubbles at the resort last year, he couldn’t wait to find another “Bubbles” at Beaches Negril. Fortunately for us, Kevin, one of the groundskeepers, saw my son’s coconut fascination, so he got him a fresh one from a tree and macheted off the top so we could have fresh coconut water. Thanks, Kevin!
Fortunately for us, Kevin, one of the groundskeepers, saw my son’s coconut fascination, so he got him a fresh one from a tree and macheted off the top so we could have fresh coconut water. Thanks, Kevin!
TravelingMom Tip: Give your kids a resort map and lists of activities the resort offers ahead of time so they can be deciding what things sound most intriguing to them. But also be open to ones they come up with on the fly!
4. Do a Photo Shoot with SnapShots.
We are so happy that we scheduled a photo shoot with Snap Shots. Thinking ahead to our Christmas cards! The session is free; all we purchased were the shots we liked. And there were plenty to choose from!
Our photographer Jesuth took an assortment of excellent shots, and he knew precisely when we needed to amble over to the beach to grab those sunset stunners. He had taken so many good ones, it was difficult for me to pair it down, so I ended up buying a bigger package. It included a photo album with the 30 prints as well as the digital prints and rights to use them for approximately $250.
TravelingMom Tip: There is also a complimentary photo shoot indoors at the EPIX Studio for a totally different feel.
5. Don’t Miss the Exceptional Water Sports.
Beaches Negril blew our family away with all the water sports options. Here’s one of the major selling points: water sports are included!
My teen did the snorkeling tour, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. My tween loved the banana boat, which is pulled by a speedboat and is aptly named because of its shape. Plus there’s glass bottom boat tours, kayaks, waterskiing, scuba, and even snuba.
My personal favorite: Sailing. Ok, so I wasn’t in love with my life vest, but learning the fundamentals of sailing and charting my own course was simultaneously fun and scary. Wasn’t it Eleanor Roosevelt that said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Mission accomplished!
TravelingMom Tip: Book your water sports activities one day ahead of time or the slots may be filled.
Ready for more tips about Beaches Negril? Fellow VIP TravelingMom Tara shares her 11 VIP Tips for Beaches Resorts Negril. And for a side by side comparison of Beaches Resorts, check out Indulgent TravelingMom Andrea’s Beaches Negril vs. Beaches Turks and Caicos.