Make Your New Year’s Resolutions the Negril Way

It is once again that time of year when everyone is making New Year’s resolutions–then probably giving up on them after a week or two–which is completely understandable when you consider most New Year’s resolutions. Lose ten pounds? Join a gym? Stop eating carbs? The problem is clearly with the resolutions and not with your actual resolve. Instead of making a list of “Resolutions” that are just glorified chores, how about working on a more holistic approach to increasing your happiness?  Here is what we recommend.

Resolve to take time to relax and enjoy life.

Sit on a beach for a few days and watch the waves and the people. You might be surprised at how much better you feel after soaking up some sun and some Jamaican-style good vibes.

Resolve to enjoy time with friends.

Without getting overly intellectual here, many research studies have shown that having social and meaningful interactions help to improve a person’s overall happiness. At Samsara and Legends we have a great group of guests who tend to bond together over drinks, sunsets and a love of a low-key vacation. So, come and make some new life-long friends.

Resolve to do something exciting.

Be a little adventurous! For you that may be as simple as trying a new kind of food. Have you ever experienced Jamaican-Italian fusion cuisine?  Stop at Ciao Jamaica on your next trip and taste their world-famous Scotch Bonnet Red Snapper. Or, for the more adventurous, try taking a plunge from the cliffs at Rick’s Cafe. It is one thing to watch the cliff jumpers, but there is an adrenaline thrill to jumping off the cliffs that is sure to have you wanting to go back again and again. You can practice jumping off the cliffs at Samsara if the jumps at Rick’s are too intimidating.

Resolve to experience the culture of Jamaica.

You can start by wandering down the beautiful Seven Mile Beach and taking the time to listen to the music, stop and get drinks at local bars and talk to the people. Jamaicans are renowned for their friendly manner and willingness to share their good vibes with anyone who respects their culture, so take the time to appreciate not only this beautiful island but also the amazing people who live here.

Resolve to try a new adventure on your visit.

Ask our staff and they will be happy to give recommendations on some great day trips from Samsara and Legends. Whether you are in the mood for a glass bottom boat ride, a visit to one of our amazing waterfalls or you’re looking for the best music in town, they will be delighted help give you recommendations and advice.

Now, don’t those seem like resolutions you’ll be happy to keep? We look forward to seeing you in 2018!


Bringing School Supplies to Jamaica

Coming to Negril to soak up the sun and enjoy some much-needed Rest and Relaxation is fantastic, but many of our guests come and find that they are both charmed by, and drawn to the people of Negril as much as to the beach. Leading them to ask what they can do to contribute to the community on their next visit. One way to make a lasting positive impact is to help provide much needed school supplies to the children of Westmoreland Parish. Here is all you need to know about bringing school supplies to Jamaica.

Photo © by Davianna Absera

 

As mentioned in our previous blog post, packing for a vacation in Negril is easy and does not involve a lot of bulky items, leaving plenty of room in your suitcase for bringing the small, light-weight items that will bring so much joy and educational benefit to the children.

Photo © by Davianna Absera

 

Items such as crayons, pencils and colored pencils, construction paper, erasers, glue sticks, markers, rulers, tape, chalk and lined notebooks are easy to pack in your suitcase and will not need to be declared at customs.

Photo © by Davianna Absera

 

As any traveler knows, airlines continue to put more restrictions on luggage amounts and size, so for those who find packing light difficult but are still intent on bringing school supplies to Jamaica, there is also the option of waiting to shop at the local Jamaican stores to pick up the supplies you would like to donate.

Photo © by Davianna Absera

 

Upon arrival please let us know that you would like to help the local children and we will be delighted to either deliver the supplies for you, or help you connect directly with the school.

Photo © by Davianna Absera

 

There is truly nothing like witnessing the joy on the children’s faces when they accept the new supplies, making it difficult to determine who receives the most reward, those receiving the gifts or those who have the great good fortune to be able to bring that much joy by donating what they can. Remember, no amount is too small.


What to Pack When Coming to Negril

Whether you are a detailed list kind of packer or more of a throw everything in the bag half an hour before your flight kind of person there it is a good idea to keep several things in mind when preparing for your relaxing vacation at Samsara Cliffs Hotel or Legends Beach Hotel.

The Beach:

Remember that you have chosen to come to Negril, Jamaica: the capital of casual and home to one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, so naturally you will want to bring along several of your favorite bathing suits and sandals. And don’t forget to throw in a couple of sarongs or other types of covers in case you decide to go directly from the beach to the dining room or bar.

Many people come for the blue waters and blue skies and then forget that with the blue skies comes strong sunlight. Unless you have a wish to turn lobster red, it is recommended that you pack plenty of sunscreen as well as your sunglasses and hat to make your beach time as enjoyable as possible. You will also want to bring along a beach towel, though there are plenty of places to purchase towels and they do make excellent souvenirs to remember your beach vacation by.

Jamaica is a tropical paradise, and with the lush foliage and perfect weather come some annoying bugs. The sandflies and mosquitos can be quiet a nuisance in the evening if you are not prepared for them, so if you are looking forward to an evening stroll on the beach don’t forget to bring your bug spray!

Out and About:

In addition to your swim wear you will want to pack light-weight, low-maintenance clothing that can be mixed and matched. Think about what excursions you may want to go on and plan accordingly. If you are wanting to explore some of Jamaica’s wonderful waterfalls then plan on clothing that can get wet and be sure to bring a good pair of water shoes. If you want to hike in the Blue Mountains than bring along some light weight khakis and sturdy hiking shoes. Just remember, this is your low-key vacation, leave the ironing and hand washing at home and enjoy the good vibes of relaxing in Negril.

Toiletries:

You are coming to an Island of sun, sand and amazing people. Hopefully you are looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing a different culture. Remember that when visiting a different country, you will not find all the same items stocked at the market. If you have a preference regarding shampoos and skin care products thing to bring your own and don’t forget to throw in a couple of spare wash cloths.

Water Gear:

Located right on the cliffs, Samsara provides a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving. Be sure to bring a snorkel and a mask at a bare minimum. If you wear glasses, a prescription dive/snorkeling mask is easy to obtain: just visit your local dive shop at least six weeks before departure to make sure you get it in time for your vacation. Many of our guests recommend bringing a waterproof camera for taking pictures of all the marine life you find.

Extras:

We asked our guests what suggestions they had for packing and here are some of the things they suggested:

School Supplies: If you want to help out a local school you can bring lightweight supplies in your bag such as: crayons, pencils, pens, rulers, notebooks, erasers, scotch tape, masking tape, lined notebooks, and scissors.

Late Night Snacks: Jamaica is famous for its food, but occasionally a taste of home is just what is needed, so if you are a late–night snacker you may want to bring your favorite candy bar, chips etc. Be aware that chocolate packed in a suitcase will likely be melted by the time you get to your hotel!

Pack Light: Bring comfortable clothing and remember that you may end up changing often.

Leave room for Souvenirs: Don’t overfill your bag as you will probably find souvenirs you want to bring home with you.


When is the Best Time to Visit Negril?

When asked the question, “When is the best time for visiting Negril?” we automatically respond that it is always a good time to come to Jamaica! That is after all the complete truth. However, there can be a little more to it than that, so let’s break it down.

January, February, March

January through March continues to be the most popular time. The weather is at its most idyllic, the breeze is perfect, the water is calm and the weather is mild.

Spring Break starts in March and  many people head to Seven Mile Beach for some fun. All of this adds up to make a vacation in January, February or March the perfect time to enjoy the Jamaican culture, lovely weather and meet new friends.

April, May, June

For those who find unending sun monotonous, or who enjoy the beauty of rain coming in off the ocean an April through June vacation is perfect. Sure, you may have an hour or two of rain each day, but there is still plenty of time to work on that tan and the sunsets are truly spectacular this time of year.

July, August, September, October

Once July rolls around hurricane season is here to stay until the end of October. Which means this is the best time for travel deals and it is the least crowded time of year. So, if you want lots of room to stretch out and an abundance of peace and quiet this may just be the time for you!

Summer is a great time for family vacations while the kids are on their school breaks. Teachers also come to Negril in the summertime for the same reason!

November and December

Who could pass up the chance to spend the holidays in Jamaica, you may ask? That is a valid question. By mid-November the hurricane season has ended, and there tends to be some great travel deals, making the idea of spending the holidays in warm and beautiful Jamaica a real temptation. Plus, with the beaches less crowded there is more room to spread out while working on your winter tan.

Any Time is Good Time

It may be a cliché, but the truth is that it is always a good time to come to Jamaica. Each person may have a personal preference regarding when they most love to visit, or you may make your decision based on the weather at home. 80 degrees looks very tempting when you are looking at piles of snow in the winter or when you are boiling in 110-degree weather in the summer. The one thing that can be guaranteed is that once you come you will fall in love.


Negril

by Ever Flanigan

As a Wanderer, I’m always excited to visit places new to me.
When the travel agent told me that Negril was ‘the end of the road’
the hair on the back of my neck raised.
In 1990 I ventured on my first Jamaican journey.

I stayed a week in a cottage across the road from the cliffs.
The sunshine, the water, the food, the music…the people.
They called me ‘The Man with the Red Stripe.’
It was sold out of coolers on the side of the road.  J$2.

The next year I landed in Mo-Bay, jumped a bus and
ended up in Kingston, and then the Blue Mountains.
A week later Mr. George let me a room in Port Antonio.
It was glorious.

But the West End kept calling me. So I returned.
And returned. And returned. 7 times, by my passport.
Always to Negril. Always to the sound, the feel,
the joy, and the people.

I’m often asked why I keep going to Negril. After a few minutes of
fruitlessly attempting to describe the place, I always find myself
talking about the people. Jamaica is wonderful. But Negril…
Negril is where I feel at home.


The Story of Flat Donald

Get your tissues out! This story was written by Lisa Horton, a guest who stayed at Samsara Cliff Hotel and took care of her friend in the most wonderful way.


It was early Spring 2012 in South Carolina, USA. Three friends were planning a trip to Negril (we were staying at Samsara in mid-June) – this would have been our first trip together. For my husband and me, the trip was paid in full and we were ready to go! Our friend, Donald was almost there until…

He wasn’t feeling well about a month before the trip. To make a long story short, he ended up in the hospital facing a very serious condition requiring surgery and many weeks of recovery. We had to go without him. This broke my heart and I just couldn’t allow that to happen! I gotta make this right for him somehow!

I asked my husband for help, and with his awesome computer skills we created “Flat Donald” – a cartoon-like cut out with Donald’s face and wearing his favorite t-shirt and swim trunks. He would have no idea about any of this until we got back over a week later.

Flat Donald going swimming at Samsara Cliff Hotel in Negril

 

Flat Donald went everywhere we did, swimming, sipping coffee…

Flat Donald having breakfast at Samsara Cliff Hotel. Look at that yummy omlet!

 

…sunsets…

Flat Donald enjoying a Negril sunset at Samsara Cliff Hotel

 

…meeting friends along the way.

Flat Donald made friends in Negril

Zip-lining at YS Falls where we was King of the Jungle!

Flat Donald was King of the Jungle at YS Falls!

 

Dinners and drinks.

Flat Donald chillin' with a Red Stripe

 

Everywhere! He even stopped by to pay ’nuff respect to Peter Tosh!

Flat Donald pays his respects to Peter Tosh

 

Once we got home he couldn’t believe what we did and we still laugh about it today. We got together a few weeks later where Flat Donald got to go home with real Donald, in a really nice wooden box painted with the Rasta flag and decorated with a few sea shells and the printed photos.

We love our friend as much as we love Jamaica! If he couldn’t be there in the flesh he was in our hearts!

Lisa Horton and her husband, wonderful friends to Real Donald!

 


21 Tips for First-Time Visitors to Jamaica

Once you travel to Jamaica, you know.

You’re all set to travel to Jamaica, but sometimes when you visit a new country for the first time, you feel overwhelmed by all the things that you don’t know.  Relax! We have gathered together a list of tips for first-time visitors from our very own guests, many of whom come back to Jamaica and stay at Samsara and Legends in Negril year after year.

  1. The cheapest time to travel to Jamaica is during the summer months. In July, flights through the Montego Bay airport are most likely to be overbooked, so you might have the chance of earning a voucher by agreeing to stay another night (at the airline’s expense)!
  2. Don’t go to an All-Inclusive resort and be closed away from the “real Jamaica.” Go stay local, and eat local, and get out and mingle. Feel the vibes! If you do go All-Inclusive, do it at a smaller resort offering the option like Samsara or Legends.
  3. Keep an open mind.
  4. Don’t tell anyone you’re a first-time visitor to Jamaica.
  5. Just relax and enjoy! It goes by too quickly…soak up everything! And start planning the next trip because you will be hooked.
  6. Don’t worry bout a thing cause every little thing gonna be alright.
  7. Don’t be scared of nothing.
  8. Jamaica is very clean. Leave little behind and be a respectful visitor. Soak it all in – it is one of the most magical places on Earth!
  9. Treat everyone with maximum respect and most likely you will meet friends for life after even a short visit.
  10. Live each day of your vacation like it’s your last!
  11. Do this as much as possible.
    Do lots of THIS when you travel to Jamaica!
  12. Book a one-way ticket because you won’t want to go home.
  13. Eat lots of jerk chicken and dumplings
  14. Get to know the Jamaican people – they are the friendliest people you’ll ever meet!
  15. Eat patties!
  16. Wear bug spray if you’re on the beach at night.
  17. Leave nothing but footprints.
  18. Corner Bar is a must-stop for real Jamaican food. (Ask the front desk how to get there.)
  19. Relax and just enjoy!
  20. Bring lots of USD $5 bills if you can. Taxis and tips are all usually $5.
  21. If you wear glasses and plan to snorkel, invest in a prescription snorkeling mask.

Did we miss any tips? Feel free to leave them in the comments or stop by our Facebook page and post a comment!


Negril Vacation Tips: 6 Things to Know for Your First Visit

We have all been in this situation: we are vacationing at a new place for the first time. We are anxious to spend our money wisely, and we want to be sure we get to do and see everything we can. When planning your Jamaican vacation, you lurk on TripAdvisor and Facebook looking for Negril vacation tips.

Negril Vacation Tips: take a sunset catamaran ride!

So, to make things easier for you, we posted this question on Facebook: What things do you wish you had known when you came to Negril for the first time? Our fans answered us enthusiastically, and here are six Negril vacation tips!

Stay for at least 7 days on your first trip.

6 nights and 7 days gives you time to explore most of the Negril area. From the West End where Samsara is to 7-Mile Beach where Legends is, you can pretty much do it all in 7 days.

Choose Cliffs or Beach based on your vacation preference

If you like to party all the time, meet lots of people and hear music all day and into the night then the Beach is where you should be (checked into Legends, of course). If you crave peace and quiet, you’ll be happier staying on the Cliffs at Samsara where you only hear the gentle sound of the ocean breaking against the Black Cliffs.

Regardless of your choice, if you arrive and discover you don’t like your environment, it’s very easy to switch your reservation to the other hotel. Just ask!

Negril Vacation Tips: Go on a Glass Bottom Boat Ride!

Go on at least one Glass Bottom Boat Ride

These are not just a boat ride. The operators also take you on a guided snorkeling tour of the reef. They provide the equipment and teach you how to use it. It usually costs about $20 and is worth every cent!

Bring a prescription scuba/snorkeling mask

If you wear contact lenses, this is not quite as necessary. But if you wear glasses you will want to get yourself a prescription scuba mask before you leave for Negril. You can get this done at any local dive shop, or find an online shop. You’ll be very glad you did when you get to see Dory and Nemo in 20/20 vision!

Leave your social anxiety at home

Don’t be afraid to leave the resort and mingle with the people. Jamaicans are among the friendliest people on this earth. Just use common sense, be honest and respectful of them and that’s what you’ll get back in return. If you don’t understand what they’re saying, ask for clarification…do not just agree politely!

The cacophony of honking horns can be a bit alarming at first, as is the multitude of people who want to give you a ride (for a price). If you have any questions or concerns, check with the security guard or the front desk. Our bartenders are also great sources of information when you’re wondering how to interpret the world outside the gates!

Be prepared to want to live in Negril permanently

It’s a fact that once you go to Negril, you never want to leave. After returning home, you’ll find yourself daydreaming constantly about how to pack up and move there. Our Facebook page is an unofficial support group for this condition. Come feel the love and understanding!

We hope these Negril vacation tips help you, and we hope to see you soon!


Fall in Love Sale!

fall-in-love-sale-banner

Don’t wait to take advantage of this super hot deal for a Negril Vacation this Fall! Save up to 50% at Samsara Cliff Hotel or Legends Beach Hotel when you book by October 31, 2016!

Details:

  • Valid for both Legends and Samsara
  • Travel by: December 21, 2016
  • Book by: October 31, 2016
  • 3-night minimum stay
  • Not valid on Pillar Houses or King Cottages. Some dates are restricted.

May not be combined with other promotions. Not valid on single occupancy and child AI rate. Not valid for Tour Operators or Travel Agents. Only valid for direct bookings.

Book this Deal at SamsaraBook this Deal at Legends

If there’s a better deal available,the booking engine will automatically apply that one instead.


8 Reasons Why Your Health Insurance Should Pay for Your Negril Vacation

We (meaning we who live in Negril) already know the multitude of health benefits to be enjoyed in Jamaica. Here are just a few factual ways health insurance companies could save big bucks if they would only pay for your vacations!

Snorkeling burns calories and increases fitness, helps reduce stress, anxiety, depression and promotes healthy sleep patterns! AND, it's fun!

Snorkeling burns calories and increases fitness, helps heal skin conditions, helps reduce stress, anxiety, depression and even promotes healthy sleep patterns! AND, it’s fun!

Regulate Sleep Patterns

The closer you get to the equator, the closer the length of the day matches the length of the night. This helps regulate your sleep patterns, or circadian rhythm, which reduces both types of insomnia. Not surprisingly, sleep medicine is a booming business these days. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has doubled their number of sleep centers since 2007 [1], and it should be safe to say that those sleep centers were largely paid for by insurance payouts.

Good Quality Food

Most everyone agrees that seafood is one of the best foods you can eat for a healthy heart, healthy brain and healthy weight, and we have plenty of seafood! Jamaica also has a wide variety of other food to eat that is low in cholesterol, low fat and full of nutrients. Coconut rice and peas is one example of a delicious, healthy meal. The native plant Callaloo is considered a superfood [8] and makes an excellent omelet! You will also find very little processed food on the island, which is ideal for following an anti-inflammatory diet. Additionally, Dr. Mercola touts Jamaican allspice as being one of ten most potent anti-inflammatory spices. [2]

A superfood breakfast: steamed callaloo, farm-fresh eggs and low-fat cheese.

A superfood breakfast: steamed callaloo, farm-fresh eggs and low-fat cheese.

Relieve Sinus Problems

Sea air is naturally beneficial to your respiratory system, which is why those of us in dry climates must regularly spray saline mist into our noses, or use a neti pot. In Negril, all you have to do is sit by the shore and breathe, and your entire respiratory system gets rejuvenated. No more doctor visits for sinusitis! [3]

Anti-Depression

Speaking of the sea air, beach mist is full of negative ions which have been shown to regulate serotonin levels in the brain. Negative ion generators have been shown to relieve depression as effectively as antidepressant medications (which are very expensive). Jamaica’s shoreline, plus its many waterfalls, all contribute to a naturally anti-depressant environment. [4]

De-Stress

Along with lifting your spirits, ocean water itself is chock full of minerals, primarily magnesium, which relieves anxiety and helps you feel calm. Swimming in the sea allows your body to absorb a balanced mix of essential minerals that help you feel your best, not to mention all those wonderful endorphins released by the exercise! Relieving stress is thought to be one of the cornerstones of good health, so insurance companies ought to be highly motivated to assist their customers with this! [5]

Vitamin D

Nowadays many doctors are writing prescriptions for Vitamin D, as it seems a lot of people are deficient in this crucial element. In Negril, we have abundant sunshine which allows your body to produce as much Vitamin D as it needs.

Heal Skin Conditions

Psoriasis, eczema, rashes, acne and a variety of other skin conditions can be healed by the sun and the sea water. And if you get sunburned while treating your skin condition, Jamaica provides all the aloe vera you could want! [5]

Heart Healthy Exercise

Walking in the sand is much more of a cardio exercise than walking on the sidewalk or a treadmill. Swimming is generally regarded as the most efficient form of exercise, and can be done even by people with bad knees, bad feet or bad backs. A 160-pound woman who snorkels for 60 minutes burns 340 calories. If she goes scuba diving instead, 60 minutes burns 476 calories! In addition to the calorie burn, she will enjoy improved cardiovascular fitness, better aerobic fitness (increased oxygen update when breathing), toned core, shoulder and lower body muscles, and of course the benefit of seeing all the colorful sea life close by in Negril. [6]

The average cost of a mild heart attack is about $760,000, so it does seem as though a few vacations would be an immense cost saving for insurance companies! [7]

Unfortunately, it’s not likely that health insurances will start paying for beach vacations in Negril. But you can save on your out-of-pocket health care costs by doing what you can to improve your health. Check out our Negril Vacation specials and come see us soon!


  1. http://nypost.com/2014/06/24/the-high-price-of-insomnia/
  2. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/02/02/anti-inflammatory-foods-herbs-spices.aspx
  3. http://www.spiritualityhealth.com/articles/14-reasons-beach-vacation
  4. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/negative-ions-create-positive-vibes
  5. http://www.livestrong.com/article/400377-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-swimming-in-sea-water/
  6. http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-health-benefits-snorkeling/
  7. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-much-would-a-heart-attack-cost-you/
  8. http://community.omtimes.com/profiles/blogs/12-health-benefits-of-callaloo-a-super-food