July 1, 2010
Sundays at the public beach in Negril
It is quite remarkable that most tourists in Negril tend to stay within a 100-meter radius of their hotels. There are the adventurous few who take it upon themselves to walk up and down Seven-Mile Beach. Some of these tourists make it to the end where the public beach is, but almost none of them swim in this part of the beach. Because of this self-segregation, the public beach almost always has only Jamaicans. People who are not Jamaican at the public beach are almost always expatriates who are living in Negril – usually North American and English women with Jamaican boyfriends.
The public beach is about 200 meters from the closest hotel, thus making it beyond the normal radius of most tourists. It is the closest beach to the Negril River, which, at times, can make the water quite unpleasant. However, most days the water at the public beach is crystal clear, just like the water in the rest of Seven-Mile Beach. Unlike much of the rest of Seven-Mile Beach, the public beach has several trees which offer ample shade.
On Sundays, the public beach is a lively place where local DJs set up enormous speakers that blast out dancehall tunes for the listening pleasure of beachgoers and anyone close enough to hear. Families sit beneath one of the many trees and picnic. Kids jump and play in the water and teenagers show off their gymnastic abilities on the sand.
There is a restaurant/bar on the beach, currently operated by Sanchez, who is from Sav-la-Mar. Sanchez’s place serves up delicious food and ice-cold beverages at a fraction of the price of most places on the beach. You also can try the conch soup which is served by a local man right off of his bicycle. He has a gas tank on the back of the bicycle and a burner on the front, which ensures that the tasty soup is steaming hot all afternoon long.
Last Sunday, we spent a couple of hours at the beach with my kids. They had a great time running around with all of the other children there. This was a nice change, as we often go to the beach in Negril and there are few if any children around.