Seven Mile Beach is well known for its white sands and crystal-clear water. It is a well-known spot for watersports and has become increasingly popular over the years. Located near Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril —a small town with just over 3,000 people — Seven Mile Beach consists of a long seven-mile stretch, with three of those miles extending into Bloody Bay.
Vendors that sell their wares along Seven Mile Beach have recently claimed that they’ve received reports that there is a plan to stop them from working on the highly visited waterfront by 2023. Vending along the beach is standard practice. Many visitors enjoy perusing everything from custom-made wood carvings to Bob Marley souvenirs. Most visitors have reported that most vendors are very friendly and not pushy. A simple “no thanks” will suffice if visitors are not interested, and most feel completely comfortable with having the vendors on the beachfront.
The circulating reports are likely a scare to many of the vendors who make a living along the famous stretch of sand, as well as visitors who enjoy the unique experience of shopping along the beautiful beach for one-of-a-kind items to bring home with them. Richard Wallace, President of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, is most concerned with protecting the popular destination and has said that he is unaware of the claims being circulated. “I am not aware of such a plan. That is news to me,” Wallace said. “Jamaicans have a right to the beach, and based on what I am seeing now, it is open access for everyone, including a lot of undesirables.”
Who these undesirables are is left open to interpretation. However, it would seem that many vendors are worried that they could fall into that category. A third-generation vendor of hand-made wares, Cameron Dyer, sells items in Bloody Bay near the all-inclusive properties and says that the rumors making their way through Seven Mile Beach have caused much uncertainty among the beach merchants.
“We heard that we will have to leave the area soon, but we strongly object to any move to get us off the beach, because this has been our bread and butter for many generations,” Dyer said. “Selling on Negril Beach started from my great-grandparents and it schooled all of us. This is where I spent all my days as a child,” Dyer added. “Our greatest fear in Negril is that we will soon be like Montego Bay that no longer has a beach for the people, and the public is suffering.”
One con of Montego Bay when it comes to beaches is that most of them are not accessible unless you are a guest of one of the all-inclusive hotels built on them. Several popular beaches, such as Doctor’s Cave Beach and Cornwall Beach, can be accessed after paying an entrance fee. For most travelers on vacation, this is no issue, but it can be seen as a negative thing for locals and vendors. Merchants along Seven Mile Beach are worried that their coveted sands could go the way of Montego Bay and begin restricting access to the general public and vendors. For now at least, it seems Seven Mile Beach is safe from this fate.
For visitors, there are many ways to spend a day at Seven Mile Beach in Negril. Beachgoers can bask in the sun as the calm waves lap around them, go for an endless walk along the vast beach, or snorkel or scuba dive right offshore. The coral in the beach vicinity is vibrant, and there is a wide variety of marine life that calls the area home. If diving isn’t their thing, visitors can rent a jet ski, take a glass-bottom boat tour, or try out kayaking. After their adventures, visitors can look forward to endless food options to refuel for the next one. Concessions and vendors are plentiful and popular restaurants can be found at the resorts along the beach.
After a long day at the beach, travelers wishing to soak up that last bit of sun can end their perfect beach day with a sunset that will paint itself into their dreams for years to come. Seven Mile Beach has an option for every type of traveler and should undoubtedly be on the checklist if visiting Negril.
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