Just beyond the hustle and bustle of Negril‘s Hip Strip, that stretch of road that marks off the
beach and the hotels that spill out on to the famous white sands, is a secluded place known mostly to nature lovers.
The Royal Palms Nature Reserve, part of the 6,000 acre Negril Morass, is a 300 acre expanse of towering Royal Palms – the largest stand in the world – and long thatch palm.
This popular eco-tourism spot teems with about 300 species of animals, reptiles, birds and butterflies as well as over 114 species of flowers.
Walk the half-mile boardwalk and see up close the variety of birds that live among the mangroves – from egrets and herons to ospreys and hawks – the West Indian Whistling duck, an endangered species, and plants such as anchovy pear, wicker vine and saw grass. Some plants are endemic to the area, others have medicinal purposes.
Or climb the 30 foot observation tower to get a bird’s eye view of the area.
The black lake at Royal Palms is evidence of the extensive deposits of peat in the area.
Next time you’re in Negril, plan a day to take a leisurely stroll through Royal Palms. It’ll be a relaxing experience.
Tours can be arranged through hotels and guests houses or you can go on your own. Royal Palm Nature Reserve is just outside Negril on the Sheffield Road in Westmoreland. Open daily 9-6. Cost $15/adults; $7/children. 876-364-7404