The moment David and I arrived at our chosen spot on the famed Negril seven mile beach, we were greeted with a huge smile from the security guard at the property, “sun or shade?” he asked. Without skipping a beat, and before I could answer, he looked at me and said with a little laugh, “shade, looking at you, I see you need shade!” Yes, I said. Yes I do!

Dave and I are very fair skinned, and we need to ease into the sunshine (or we would be one of those poor unfortunate souls who burn to a bright red crisp on the first day of their vacation). For us, we always choose shade, and prepare for our time in the sun with lots and lots and lots of sunscreen.

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Our first day in Negril was as wonderful and relaxing as we knew it would be. We ventured from our quiet cliffs villa, to the much busier beach area. We spent the day swimming in the gorgeous blue sea (the sand here is white and soft, and you can walk out for a mile on the shallow shelf) and walking up and down the beach.

One of the things I love about Negril is how laid back it is. If you aren’t staying at an all inclusive (we aren’t), you can stop at any hotel beach spot and someone will warmly greet you and bring you a beach lounge chair and a towel and set it up for you. And, there is always a security guard watching everyone’s things for safety (and to take it out of the rain for you if you are out swimming or walking on the beach). It’s not mandatory to buy a drink or food while you are there, but personally, I think it’s a wonderful way to repay the hospitality you are sure to receive.

It was a bit of a cloudy day, which helped with our plan to not get a sunburn on our first day! It also gave us a good reason to get under a canopy and enjoy a wonderful jamaican lunch, a red stripe beer and a rum punch (or two).

Our lunch was at our beach spot, Idle Awhile (the sister property of Hide Awhile on the cliffs). It was absolutely fantastic! Dave had a chicken curry dish, while I had steamed snapper in coconut milk. Both of our lunches were served with rice and peas (the standard side dish in Jamaica – very good and very addictive).

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