Mystic of Negril Lighthouse
Measuring 145 miles long and 50 miles wide, Jamaica is the largest island of the former British West Indies. Although this island became an independent nation in 1962, its location has long been a critical waterway to other countries. To help guide ships and prevent shipwrecks during travel, lighthouses were built on the island. In all, there are seven historic lighthouses in Jamaica, all well-maintained by Jamaica’s Port Authority.
Each of the lighthouses in Jamaica is accessible and while they all have a long-standing history, only a few are well-known. On the western side of the island is the Lover’s Leap lighthouse, which is a 100-foot round tower painted with horizontal bands of red and white. Rose Hall is another popular lighthouse, which is 92 feet tall and omits five white flashes every 30 seconds. This steel tower is painted white and sits on the northernmost area of the island’s coastline.
One of the favorite lighthouses is in Negril. Officially named South Negril Point, this specific lighthouse was originally built in 1894. The tower stands 89 feet tall, it has a round shape and it has a unique reinforced concrete construction. In addition, the lighthouse is painted with alternating red and white colors and is set to omit a flash every two seconds.
The South Negril Point Lighthouse was built by Bubbler & Bernard, a French-based company. In addition to the unique solar powered lens design, this particular lighthouse stands out because it was one of the first to be constructed from concrete. In addition to the actual lighthouse, there are a number of single-framed houses on-site where ground staff lives. Keep in mind that while accessible and although there is ample parking, an appointment is required to visit the tower.
The design of the Negril lighthouse includes a base tank that measures 14 feet deep in which water is maintained to ensure the tower’s security and balance should the island of Jamaica be hit by an earthquake. At the top of the lighthouse tower is a traditional lantern, which omits the protective flash of light. Initially, the lantern was powered by gas but operation changed to acetylene and solar energy in 1956 and 1985 respectively. The Negril lighthouse also boasts a gallery at the top of the tower, which affords people incredible views.
Tours of the lighthouse are extremely organized and educational. Now, it is important to note that for some people, reaching the gallery at the top of the tower is a major challenge because of the vast number of stairs but also the fact that the stairs become increasingly steep and narrow toward the top. However, it is worth the effort because the view of the ocean, famous Seven Mile Beach, and surrounding area is simply breath-taking.
Seldom are there more than a handful of people visiting the Negril lighthouse. As a result, visitors are not rushed and have the chance to take in all the information provided by the guide. On a final note, this lighthouse is less than two miles from Rick’s Café, one of the popular hotspots in Negril. With this, people can dine on authentic Jamaican cuisine after touring the Negril lighthouse to talk about the incredible experience.