Negril, Jamaica

Jamaica foodIf the food on your last vacation consisted of lukewarm buffet fare, fried pub snacks, and watered-down pina coladas, it’s time to rethink your island getaways. Fresh and local should be the standard, whenever possible. Freshly caught fish. Freshly picked fruit. Local beer. Even if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort.

So when you start planning your next trip, consider Negril. Yes, Jamaica. You probably think of perfect sunsets, the scent of ganja, and reggae music when picturing this former fishing village. All true. But Negril’s complex history–from Spanish and British occupation to slaves to Rastafarians–combined to create mouthwatering flavors.

Photo: N Preseault
Photo: N Preseault

Start the morning with Blue Mountain coffee. Banana bread. Mango and breadfruit. Drink Ting, a grapefruit soda, and Red Stripe. Coco bread. Turned into a callaloo patty. Use vinegar, curry, habanero peppers, and allspice. Jerk chicken or pork. Grilled lobster and snapper. Ackee and saltfish. Avocados. Plantains. And rum. Don’t forget the rum.

Most of this delicious food can be found within steps of the famous Seven Mile Beach. The sand is white, the clear-blue water is calm, and the coral reef is just offshore. Strict local laws means no buildings are above tree level. So no towering resorts. Stay in a beachfront veranda suite, surrounded by coconut palms and perfect spots in the sand. Or a thatched-roof cottage built into the cliffs, with ladders leading into the water. Go deep-sea fishing for blue marlin. Sip daiquiris. On a sunset cruise. Or at Rick’s Cafe, where the cliff jumpers dive 50 feet into the water. Another Red Stripe? No problem, mon.

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