Bluefields & Belmont
Bluefields Bay stretches for 10km (6 1/4 miles) along the coast and is broken up by a number of little coves. Here you'll find a string of sandy beaches separated from one another by mangroves. Walk along and select your favorite spot on the sands.
Along the western fringe of the bay stands Paradise Park (tel. 876/955-2675; www.great-adventures.com/destinations/Jamaica/paradi.html), a 404-hectare (1,000-acre) cattle-and-dairy farm that has been in the same family for more than a century. It is centered around an 18th-century property on a tropical savanna with luxuriant growth. Arrange a horseback ride, and afterward explore the grounds of the estate on trails cut through a tropical forest full of bird life. In May and June, you can pick mangoes right off the trees. The waters here are ideal for swimming, and you can picnic in the park: Picnic tables and open barbecue grills are provided. You can also swim in the Sweet River. The park lies 2km (1 1/4 miles) west of Ferris Cross, along the main A2 highway between Negril and Black River. Admission costs US$5, riding tours cost US$40; the whole experience takes about 4 hours.
At a section called Bluefields Beach Park, you'll find most of the local vendors, terrible toilets, and jerk stalls. Because the fish is likely to be fresher than the pork or chicken, this is a good place to order jerk fish, along with a Red Stripe beer. Locals make highly prized hammocks, which are sold along the road in this area.
The best beach is reached by going along a small trail past the Alexander Seaview Shopping Square. It's sleepy here during the day, but comes alive when fishermen return in the early evening, bringing the day's catch.
Black River & The Great Morass
Treasure Beach is a catchall name for four beaches: Frenchman's Bay, Great Pedro Bay, Billy's Bay, and Calabash Bay. Beaches here are either coral colored or of black sand. At times you can virtually have a beach to yourself. The sea is at its calmest in the morning, so this is the best time for snorkeling. Be cautious when swimming in the rough currents, however. The waves along here are moderate but good enough for bodysurfing. About 92m (300 ft.) offshore are beautiful coral reefs ideal for snorkeling.
The coastline between Treasure Beach and Lover's Leap is riddled with footpaths that make for ideal hiking. You can often secure a mountain bike at your hotel and can ride along this flat or hilly terrain, stopping perhaps at a small rum bar for a refreshment.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.