Jamaica's shrine to permissive indulgence, NEGRIL metamorphosed from deserted fishing beach to full-blown resort town in little over two decades. American hippies first started visiting what was then a virgin paradise in the 1970s, setting the tone for today's free-spirited attitude, but these days, the presence of deliberately risqué resorts like the infamous Hedonism II has ensured that Negril is widely perceived as a place where inhibitions are lost and pleasures of the flesh rule. The traditional menu of ganja and reggae draws a young crowd, but the north-coast resort ethic has muscled in too. All-inclusives of every ilk pepper the coast and hotels line every inch of the beach, while hustling has increased to an irritating degree.
Negril shrugs off such minor issues and remains supremely chilled-out. Pristine miles of sand, comprehensive watersports facilities, open-air dancing to first-rate live music, a wide range of eating and drinking joints, gregarious company and the best sunsets on the island are all on offer. Many foreigners have stayed on permanently, blurring the distinction between tourists and locals and making for a relaxed, natural interaction that's a refreshing change from other resorts.