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Home > Destinations > Jamaica > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Jamaica - Trip Reports

Riu Tropical Bay, Negril


Day #1

Stayed overnight at Ramada Airport West in Toronto. The room was overheated.had to open window and turn A/C on so we could sleep. I arranged for the shuttle to take us to the airport at 3am. I had asked for a wakeup call at 2:30 am but never received one.good thing I set the alarm!

We arrived at the airport 3 hours prior to our flight and breezed through our luggage checkin and were left with a lot of time to kill. I think we could have slept a bit longer.

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:10 am but we were told on the plane that the pilot couldn't take off till 6:30 am due to a noise bylaw (so why would the airline schedule it at 6:10 ????).

The flight was uneventful. The sky was very clear.I was even able to see ships on the ocean below. We arrived in Montego Bay on schedule. There was even a welcome from native singers/musicians. We breezed through customs and were on our way.

There were 2 full size tour buses waiting to take us to Riu. A tour rep put bracelets on our wrists and gave us the paperwork to fill out on the bus so that we could just arrive at Riu and go straight to our room (great idea!!). The bus driver didn't say two words during the whole trip.was kind of disappointed that there was no commentary about the scenery we were passing. The new road was great.took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to arrive in Negril. You no longer pass over the Ganja Bridge anymore so we didn't see anyone holding out bud on this trip. The bus stopped for a rest stop on the way.$100J or $2US for a Red Stripe.

When we arrived at Riu we were given our room assignment and went straight to our room. I had called the resort a couple weeks before we left and requested a ground floor room.was pleasantly surprised when Rm#3111 turned out to be an oceanview room (we had paid for gardenview). The view was fantastic from our terrace. We were right in front of the beach. The terrace was fully enclosed and had a drying rack attached to the wall. The room was nice.2 twin size beds pushed together, bar fridge stocked with a six-pack of Red Stripe, several Diet Pepsi, Pepsi, tonic and soda water, 1.5L jug of bottled water. ( Note: only had Ting one time during the week.fridge restocker said they were out of it??). The TV had satellite channels.CNN, Fox, Cinemax, MTV, TNN, etc. The bathroom had full size bathtub, showerhead with lots of water pressure, hair dryer and plenty of towels.

After arriving at the room, I was overheating and just wanted to put on my swimsuit and get some food and Red Stripes into me. This is when I discovered that somehow I had lost my key to open my luggage so after dumping my purse out several times in hopes of finding it, I traipsed back up to the front desk to find someone to cut my lock off. The desk sent out a maintenance guy who was at my room within 10 minutes.

Finally, I made my way to the Jerk Shack and ordered up a plate of jerk chicken and put lots of jerk sauce on it.within seconds my mouth was on fire and I rushed to the bar to wash it down with some Red Stripe. The drinks were served in a cup just a tad bigger than a Dixie Cup!! (thank God my husband and I had the forethought to bring our own 20-oz thermal cups with us).

Regarding the drinks - there are no premium alcohols at the Riu..not even Appleton Rum. There are also no Coke products to be found -only Pepsi.

After we had satisfied our hunger and thirst, we decided to explore a bit. About 10 steps into our walk, my husband blew a strap on his sandal (of course, he had only brought one pair so he spent the rest of the week wearing his leather deck shoes or running shoes).

We had made seating plans for 6:30 pm for supper at The Negril (note: is stated in the travel book that men must wear long pants but saw plenty of men in shorts.only rule is no muscle shirts or swim shorts). We never made it to supper because we were so exhausted from our travels that we went to bed and slept instead. It was still very humid out even at night so we had A/C on all night.it is very loud and very temperamental.only comes on when it wants to even when dial on thermostat set to 10degrees Celsius.

Even so, we slept well for the entire week. The ceiling fan was great and earplugs are a must to drown out the noise of the A/C.


We woke up at the crack of dawn and were ravenous for breakfast. Breakfast service begins at 7 am at the Negril restaurant. There is every type of egg served, croissants and breads, fruits, cold meats, several fresh juices, etc. We opted for an omelette made by Kelvin.

After breakfast, we got our beach towels and headed for the beach. There are tons of lounge chairs on the beach available and plenty of sun/shade spots. At about 9:30 am, they start the music.mostly reggae except for the daily water aerobics class in the ocean when they played awful techno trash. The people at Riu are mostly European.German, Italian and Spanish.very few Americans. Lots of exposed boobs of various shapes and sizes. The water is fairly calm.lots of small rollers crashing on the beach though.

While on the beach, I was not once approached by anyone wanting to braid my hair or sell me drugs. These services are easy to find though once you leave Riu boundaries.

After spending the entire day on the beach sipping Dirty Bananas and Mango Daiquiris all day, we retired to our room and sat on the terrace. About 5:30, we got a rain shower which sent people scurrying all over the place. We had another early night.didn't really care for the nighttime entertainment. Woke up about 4 am and went out to terrace to star gaze. There were a million stars to be seen.saw my first falling star!!


Today started out sunny but turned cloudy after breakfast so we decided to head out to the cliffs. We exchanged some money at the Front Desk.exchange was 42J for 1US or 25.50J for 1CA.

We flagged down a Route Cab out front of the Riu.fare was $100J each to downtown plaza (note: will cost you $20US if you go thru Riu!). Downtown, we went to the Cambio and changed some more money over.exchange was $28J for 1CA. After changing money, we flagged another Route Cab to take us to cliffs (look for red license plates and usually says on side of door Route Taxi-West End Rd). This cost us $50J each and he took us all the way to the lighthouse.

The West End Rd. is still under construction.right up to Blue Castle almost.. then new pavement starts. We walked from the Lighthouse to Blue Cave Castle and stopped at several spots for Red Stripes. Be careful walking.not much of a shoulder to walk on and drivers drive like maniacs. Beer prices ranged from 100J to 125J. (coldest beer at PeWees).

Stopped at LTU, Rockhouse, Tensing Pen, Samsara, Kaisers, Xtabi and PeWees. The best swimming hole was at Rockhouse.we found a little sheltered cove where we could swim. The nicest resort in the cliffs, I think, was Tensing Pen.awesome little huts and spectacular views. Kaisers looks great but we didn't see a single human there.Samsara was very quiet as well.

We got back to Riu in the early afternoon and enjoyed bright sunshine on the beach till about 4:30 when the clouds rolled in again.no sunset tonight.


Total "do-nothin" day. Beautiful, hot, scorching sun all day.just ate, drank and soaked up rays today. We spent the day relaxing with our thermal cups filled with beverage of choice and my husband brought a cooly bag filled with Red Stripe from the room and ice from the ice machine. (note: bring a bottle opener.. the one in the room is secured to the wall).

Our afternoon consisted of watching a very drunk guy and his girlfriend splashing in the water and making noise..very amusing to watch.

Had a perfect sunset tonight.the only one for the week.


We woke up today to mostly cloudy skies so we decided to go back up to cliffs. We stopped in at Joseph's caves..nice place but no ladder to get into water so we decided to see if we could go swimming at Pickled Parrot even though it was closed.turns out that they removed the ladder there too.the rastas have rigged up a rope to get in and out but I wasn't comfortable with that so we went back to Rockhouse to swim.

After leaving the cliffs, we decided to explore the main beach. We walked from Negril Beach Club to Sweptaway. It was kinda creepy because there were very few people on the main beach..even the vendors were desperate for business. It was pretty much a ghosttown on the beach with zero activity. The only busy spots seemed to be Merrils and Negril Gardens. Marguaritaville, Legends and DeBuss were all dead. The beach is badly eroded in some spots.especially by Country Country and Seasplash.these places are practically falling into the ocean!


Another "do-nothin" day..sunny in the morning with clouds rolling in later in the day.

We decided to go to The Office Of Nature for lunch. The lobster was excellent..about 6 small tails served with rice and toast for $15US or $700J. Rasta settled for 600J and a Red Stripe.

This was some of the best lobster I've had.BBQ'd by rasta on fire pit.nicely seasoned.

We checked out the beach area for Negril Cabins which is right beside Office Of Nature.looks nice..has beach bar and lounge chairs available but where do you go to the washroom.do you have to go across the road back to your room???

On the other side of The Office Of Nature there is a private beach with some nudity and further down the new construction of Riu Palace.

We spent the rest of the day on the beach.there was a late afternoon shower which we spent in the ocean enjoying the warm stream of


It's our last day.not very nice out today..cloudy..very little sun.

The power at the Riu went out at about 7 am and didn't come back on till 2 pm. I don't know if this occurs often. It didn't really bother me except that you couldn't have any blender drinks and the ice machine didn't work so you couldn't fill your cooly bag with Red Stripe and ice. The power in the restaurant worked by generator so eating was not affected. The bar served Red Stripe from bottle instead of draft so that was a bonus.

I decided to go parasailing today.have never done that before so was kinda nervous. I signed up with activities coordinator on the beach.cost $30US for 15 min. What a great time.it's like being on a swing high in the sky. The view is incredible..a must do from now on. Our last supper was great at the Negril restaurant..fresh shrimp on the menu.


We're going home!!! Our tour rep told us that shuttle would be picking us up at 7am to take us to airport.was delayed till past 8am by marathon taking place. The marathon was tying up traffic from downtown Negril by BurgerKing right to Green Island. Checkin at the airport was tedious.all checked luggage was opened and searched by attendant. Our plane was delayed by almost an hour because a passenger had been denied boarding and luggage had to be removed off plane and reloaded. The flight back was uneventful.once again, the view was incredible.was even able to see skyscrapers and office buildings. We flew over the mountains and could see snow allover the place. The sky turned very cloudy as we neared Toronto. No snow on the ground in TO. We went through customs okay in Toronto however it was an absolute madhouse at the luggage carousel.several flights arriving at the same time. Upon calling for the shuttle to take us back to the hotel.was informed that it was on its way so we scurried outside to the area..50 mins later it finally arrived. We were pretty much frozen by that time and had no sense of humour. After retrieving the car, we were finally on our way home.a 2 hr. drive to London where there was a mountain of snow..aah..home sweet home...

Thanks to Dana for this trip report ...
December 2002

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