Negril and the West

Wellness & Fitness

Hanover and Westmoreland are Jamaica's westernmost parishes. Hanover wraps around from Montego Bay on its northeastern border to where Negril's large hotel strip overflows from Westmoreland at its western reaches. It's a picturesque parish with small mountains tapering down to the coast with rivers, lush valleys, and deep, navigable coves. Caves dot the landscape of some of Jamaica's most biologically diverse ecosystems, in the shadow of the Dolphin Head mountain range.

Negril, which straddles the Hanover\Westmoreland border, has become a mass-market destination popular among Jamaicans and foreign visitors alike. The Kingstonian phenomenon of a weekend escape to "country" often implies a trip west to kick back and adopt the beach life, which necessarily involves taking in spectacular sunsets and the enviable slow pace evoked in Tyrone Taylor's 1983 hit, "Cottage in Negril." A constant stream of new visitors also gives hustlers a chance to do their thing, and Negril has gained a reputation as a mecca for sinful indulgence as a result.

While Negril is the region's most well-known draw, there are several low-key communities farther east that are just as easily accessible from Montego Bay's international airport and worthy coastal destinations in themselves, namely Little Bay, Bluefields, Belmont, and Whitehouse. The Westmoreland interior consists of vast alluvial plains on either side of Cabarita River, still some of Jamaica's most productive sugarcane territory. The plains extend from the base of the Orange Hill, just east of Negril, to where the Roaring River rises out of the earth from its underground source in the hills above Blue Hole Garden.

Hanover exists as a parish since it was portioned off from Westmoreland in 1723 and given the name of English monarch George I of the House of Hanover. The Spanish first settled the area when New Seville was abandoned in 1534 and the capital moved to Spanish Town. Lucea became prosperous, with a busier port than Montego Bay in its heyday, which served 16 large sugar estates in the area. Remnants of many estate great houses dot the landscape to the east and west of Lucea, their abandoned ruins showing evidence of having been torched and destroyed during slave riots. Kennilworth, Barbican, and Tryall are a few of the old estates that have visible ruins; although they have been declared national heritage sites, they are not maintained.


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Rockhouse Spa

The brand new Spa Pavilion at Rockhouse is an organic, temple-like structure surrounded by lush gardens and compliments the cliff-edge treatment cabanas. The philosophy is a simple, holistic approach to well-being, health and happiness, with a natural Jamaican style. At the Rockhouse Spa, the focus is on relaxing and healing your system, allowing you to rejuvenate.

In: Wellness & Fitness

Jackie's on the Reef

Jackie's on the Reef provides therapeutic body massage and yoga sessions.

In: Wellness & Fitness

Long Bay Medical & Wellness Centre

Long Bay Medical & Wellness Centre (Norman Manley Blvd.) is run by Dr. David Stair.

In: Wellness & Fitness

Oasis Spa at Couples Swept Away

Oasis Spa at Couples Swept Away (8 a.m.-7 p.m daily) has a hair salon for his and hers and offers the full range of treatments, from facials to manicures and pedicures, nails and waxing, as well as massage and scrub packages (US$150-200) in state-of-the art facilities with steam rooms, Jacuzzi and pool. 

In: Wellness & Fitness

Oya Oezcan

Oya Oezcan offers therapeutic body massage.

In: Wellness & Fitness

Fanette Johnson

Fanette Johnson leads Iyengar-style yoga sessions at the Negril Yoga Centre and Rockhouse and will also do private sessions. She has 20 years' experience teaching yoga around the globe.

In: Wellness & Fitness

Negril Fitness Centre

Negril Fitness Centre (US$5/day, US$25/week, US$45/month) next to the Cafè Taino, has basic equipment like dumbbells, Stairmasters, and treadmills and serves a mostly Jamaican clientele.


In: Wellness & Fitness

Negril Scuba Centre

Negril Scuba Centre offers dive packages that include accommodations at Negril Escape and Spa, where the center is based, or at other participating hotels. Popular dive sites include Booby Cay Island, The Arches, Ballard's Reef, a Deep Plane, Gallery, King Fish Point, the Throne Room and Blue Castle Ship Wreck, among several others. PADI courses range from a beginner three-hour Discover Diving session (US$80) to Advanced Open Water (US$300), Rescue Diver (US$350), and Scuba Master (US$600) courses.

In: Wellness & Fitness