When we made the decision to move to Jamaica more than 2 years ago we searched Google for rooms to rent in Negril and one of the listings we found was for Heart Beat Seaside Resort on the West End Cliffs of Negril. We decided to make the initial move in summer when better long term rates are available and we ended staying there for the first 6 months we lived in Jamaica. I think that living at Heart Beat and meeting the people we did has made our long term stay in Negril possible in many ways.
We moved and tried other places to live in Negril but we have remained close with the staff which includes Hyacinth and Junie the housekeepers and Kevin the groundskeeper as well as Valerie Brewis the property owner who is a 30 year resident of this wonderful slice of the world. We have lived away from the sea since we left and we have been longing for it since that same day. Something about living seaside is just so peaceful and natural to me and Heart Beat is the perfect place for relaxing days watching nature and life pass by. I think it must have something to do with growing up in Key West and always near the ocean but I can waste away hours just watching the waters in anticipation of a school of fish jumping or a dolphin popping up for air.
We sat at Devine Destiny for a long time and when it was time for a change we new we wanted to be within sight of the Caribbean again. If we could we wanted to be seaside but living there long term can be a trick. Lucky for us we happen to know some and we are once again relaxing in the beauty and cool quiet atmosphere of Heart Beat where the sunsets from the cliffs bring to end yet another wonderful day, each and every day.
I don’t think I have ever felt as laid back or chill as I do when we are here and the past two weeks have been so relaxed they seem to have slipped by in my sleep. We moved into an unused space that required some cleaning but in between the work and repairs we have enjoyed some of the best days this year and no matter what happens it’s always very calm and quiet here and the chirping of birds or the rustling of palm trees in the crisp sea breeze is about all you ever notice.
With 2.5 acres and limited buildings there is plenty of open space and there are a number of walking paths that lead to the waters edge where you can actually dive into the ocean head first from less than 10 feet above sea level. Many of the other cliff resorts are much higher up and not so well suited to afternoon dips or snorkeling in the warm waters of the Caribbean but you can experience some of the best cliff side snorkel trips in Negril right from easy to use ladders that you find on both ends of the property.
There is a coral reef which runs just off the Negril cliffs that starts in the waters off of Heart Beat and on any morning you may find Jamaican divers swimming by with spear guns in hand in search of the catch of the day. If you don’t see any divers you are guaranteed a show from the local fisherman who take off from the small fishing boat fleet on the beaches near Mi Yard and head out to the deeper reef far outshore in their motor boats or the lone fisherman who paddles by in his dugout boat and pulls fish traps just outside the mooring buoys along the coastline. It’s a cool way to start your day by watching them run their fish nets or pull the traps in the early morning sun which you can watch rise up over Long Bay Beach and the Westmoreland mountains between Negril and Montego Bay.
We have been snorkeling about as often as we can and even our four year old Robbie has enjoyed the beautiful sealife that can be found just a few feet from shore. We have seen dozens of different tropical fish including some pretty cool porcupine fish and multi colored damsel fish plus sea urchins, sea cucumbers and even a pretty big stingray feeding in the muddy sand bar. It’s almost never ending as each new day bring something new into the area and we have something new to discover just about every morning. I think mornings before 8am are the best time to jump in the water as the sun is about in the perfect position for taking well lighted photos and everything seems to be awake and feeding.
There are all types of wildlife in the natural environment around you and you can listen to birds sing almost all day long. Right now there is a pair of Jamaican Orioles weaning two chicks who hop around on palm tree branches begging food from mommy and picking through the beds of soft grass on ground below their home. An Orangequit has been flying onto the porch and grabbing tufts of thatch from the roof for the past week while building a nearby nest. There are a number of date palms in the yard which shed a sweet date that hermit crabs just love to eat. You can find them at all times of the day just about all over the yard but at night there are hundreds of them crawling around under the two largest trees. If you dare to pick one up carefully you’ll find an assortment of colors and shells and they can reach in size up to the palm of your hand. Every morning the White Crown Pigeons that live high up in the almond tree drop down on the cliffs to sip rainwater alongside the rock doves and occasional egret. The Jamaican almond trees shed seeds year round and you can actually crack them open and eat the almonds inside although it requires a bit more work then they are worth unless you know the trick to cracking them on the seam. The yard also has a number of ackee trees as well a coconut palms, sea grapes and spanish limes.
Heart Beat remains simple and there is no spa or restaurant operating on site although you can have a massage in your room or seaside with a local massage therapist. For dining there is Jacko and Jennys Restaurant across the street which offers a great selection of Jamaican and international dishes. From french toast and scrambled eggs to ackee and saltfish, brown stew chicken and fried fish with bammy they offer a variety of menu items that should satisfy anyone. At night you can find some of the best jerk chicken on the West End at Tayons where you can buy a cold Red Stripe and shoot a game of pool with the local crew. Tayons is open until 2am and plays a great selection of reggae and dancehall favorites on the sound system that I truly enjoy. I have heard some complaints about the loud music by those looking for sleep early in the evening but Negril is a late night place and you’ll hear music all over town until the early morning hours.
There a number of different room types available for rent from the small cottage with kitchenette and bath called Calypso where we lived to the seaside pillar rooms which feature beautiful hand finished wood work throughout and a porch facing those picture perfect sunsets up to the larger unit which sleeps up to 7 people in beds made from bamboo. All of the rooms have funky names to fit the theme such as Dancing Dolphin or Lovers Rock and come complete with mini fridge, screened windows and ornate ceiling fans. The rooms have comfortable beds and basic furnishings with a rustic homey feel to them and they are meticulously maintained by the kindest people you’ll ever meet.
The pillar rooms are very popular for romantic getaways for newlywed couples on honeymoon in Negril on their Jamaica vacation but are equally as popular with Jamaicans from as far as Kingston looking for that perfect Negril weekend. The seaside apartments in the main building are one bedroom units with full kitchen and private bath plus ceiling fans and screened windows which face Long Bay and Negril Beach for a great view of the bay and beach area with the mountains in the backdrop. You can join the local fisherman who walk out to the point of the cliffs nearby and bait fish with handlines each late afternoon for a beer and conversation or you can just sit and watch them from your veranda.
Heart Beat is a $2 taxi ride from everything in Negril yet inside the walls it often feels like your miles away from everything which is exactly how you want it to be sometimes. If you are looking for a romantic seaside getaway in Negril then you must check them out on the Heart Beat website or facebook page to arrange your vacation.