Negril is a small (pop. 3,000) but widely dispersed beach resort town located across parts of two Jamaican parishes, Westmoreland and Hanover. The name Negril is a shortened version of Negrillo (Spanish: Little black ones), as it was originally named by the Spanish in 1494. The name is thought by some to be a reference to the black cliffs south of the village; another theory holds that because there was a vast population of black eels along Negril’s coast, the Spaniards called the area Negro Eels which was shortened to Negrillo and then to Negril.
The geography of Jamaica is diverse. The western coastline contains the island’s finest beaches, stretching for more than 6 km (3.7 mi) along a sandbar at Negril. To the east lies a swamp called the Great Morass, through which runs the Negril River. Within the Great Morass is the Royal Palm Reserve, with protected wetlands and forest.
The Negil area first gained international attention when it was featured in Ian Fleming’s 1965 novel The Man with the Golden Gun. Since then, the area has become a popular destination for North Americans, including Dave and Crystal Meggitt (photographer) along with their daughters Kaycee and Dakota from the Medicine Hat area in January, 2012.
Photo by Crystal Meggitt