A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Negril, Jamaica for a Year, Part XXVII

I’m going snorkeling this weekend — finally! — again. I was born and raised in Florida, but didn’t learn how to snorkel until about a year or so ago. It opens up a whole new world in the water!

Snorkeling, Lobsters & Glass-Bottom Boat Rides …

I made a vow when I came to Jamaica this time that I would spend more time at the beach, but it just hasn’t worked out that way. I’ve been here since last October, except for the two weeks in December that I spent back home in the states for the holidays. I think I’ve been to the beach a total of two times! 🙁

I run on the beach a lot, but don’t go and just hang out, ya know?

Note: Access links to all posts in this series.

I’ll be here until the end of June, and if I don’t make a concerted effort to go to the beach more, it’s just never gonna happen. I know a lot of natives here in Negril who haven’t been to the beach in YEARS! And the beach is everywhere, so I can totally see how it can booby-cay-negril2-snorkelhappen. Anyhoo, back to my snorkeling trip.

My birthday is next week and it’s my birthday gift to myself — a glass-bottom boat ride, some lobster and snorkeling. If you ever come to Negril and are looking for a nice way to spend the afternoon, let me tell you about Booby Cay.

Photo: This is me and my baby, Khadijah (click for larger view). Her birthday is the day before mine; I took her with me a couple of years ago and she’s going with me tomorrow too.

She was only four, but she suited up and snorkeled too! Safety first — Mike and his crew are great with kids and keeping every one safe in the water, so don’t worry if you have little ones you want to bring along.

Things to Do in Negril: Snorkeling, Boat Rides & Lobster

You’ll do it all on a day trip to Booby Cay, which is a tiny little island about a 20-minute boat ride from Negril’s infamous 7-Mile Beach.

It’s one of those “can’t miss” day excursions you should definitely put on your agenda. And, it doesn’t take a whole day! Really, you can go and be back in an hour and a half or two hours. It all depends on whether you want to hang out and swim and snorkel, or just eat and come back.

I always go on the boat of a friend who owns a glass-bottom boat business, Mike’s Glass Bottom Boat (his name is — you guessed it, Mike). I hitch a ride when he’s taking tourists out. We leave 7 -Mile Beach and snorkel for about half an hour. Then, we continue on to Booby Cay, where the fishermen catch — and cook — lobster over an open grill right there on the beach! You get to pick out which lobster you want.

It’s sooo good. They top it with melted butter and fresh garlic (if you want). And let me tell you — it rivals any five-star restaurant. You can also buy beer, water and/or soft drinks from a vendor there.

Cost for an Afternoon of Snorkeling, Boat Rides & Lobster in Negril

For the boat ride/snorkeling, it can range from $30-$50 per person, depending on how many is in your group (every glass bottom boat owner charges differently).

For the lobster, it’s between $15-$30 as of this writing. It all depends on the size of the lobster you want. The last time I went — me, my sister and my little one (a five-year old I’m crazy about here) split one for $20 — and we were full.

We usually spend anywhere from a half hour to an hour on the island after completing the snorkeling. When we finish our lobster, we head back to 7-Mile Beach. This is a fun way to spend an afternoon in Negril.

How to Schedule a Boat Ride

Most glass-bottom boat owners are docked somewhere along 7-Mile Beach. They call out to you or approach you on the beach and ask if you want a glass-bottom boat ride, and the negotiate the price with you right there on the beach.

Usually, the larger your party is, the lower the price per person. I think most of the boats carry up to 12 people. So it could be just you and your friends, or it  could be you and a group of strangers, which is a nice way to meet new people by the way.

FYI, Mike’s boat is usually anchored right in front of Rainbow Arch, a small family-owned hotel/bar on the beach. See photo below. His number is 876-847-7699. You can call and pre-arrange a time with him. Tell him Yuwanda sent you, ok? (Click all photos for larger view).

Boobie Cay: Island Right off 7-Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica

Mike's Glass Bottom Boat

Mike’s Boat & His Crew: If you go, call him to take you out. You (and your friends/family) will be in great hands.

Here are a few more pics from one of my snorkeling and lobster forays over to Booby Cay with Mike. (click images for larger view)







See, they cook the lobster on a grill right there on the beach.


This is Booby Cay; you can swim and snorkel some more while your lobster is being prepared.


Fisherman with lobster net — with lobster in it. Doesn’t get more fresh than this, no?

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