The town of Negril sits at the southern corner of its bay. A low ridge of mountains is just a mile or so inland. Negril itself does not actually seem to be much of a tourist destination. There are a couple of souvenir stores but for the most part it is surprisingly low key compared to the beach areas around it.
You can almost miss the town entirely if you aren't paying attention. There is one short commercial strip we visited a couple times for supplies. There are also banks with ATMs located in town.
Just across the river from the center of town (the rotary) is the Negril craft market. Apart from the taxi line outside the Montego Bay airport this is probably the only real high pressure place we visited in Jamaica. Contrary to all travel instincts, this is probably a place you want to visit while the tour buses are here. We came during a lull and were just about the only visitors at the time which meant every time we stepped out of a stall everyone competed to get us into their stall next. There is actually some decent stuff here among the dross though if one has the patience to find it.
South of Negril is a collection of neighborhoods known collectively as the Cliffs area. For the most part we wandered up and down the main road from Negril south (which can be an adventure on foot). There are some restaurants and small markets located on these side streets which go up into the hills but most items of interest are along the coast road.
We stayed at Blue Cave Castle at the Negril Cliffs. Basically we went past it in a taxi on the way to the lighthouse and thought it looked interesting so a few days later we moved over here. This is the lawn area on a cliff above the water.
Stairs lead down to the water where there is good snorkeling and a couple of small caves that can be explored. The castle has an assortment of room sizes. We stayed in a couple different rooms, moving to an ocean-facing one as it became available. Throughout the day catamarans pass by shuttling people from the all-inclusive resorts on the bay to the "sunset" destinations near the lighthouse.
While not as good as the reefs, there is pretty good snorkeling here. We saw quite a few stingrays and the usual assortment of rock-dwelling critters. Blue Cave Castle also has a shall we say 'atmospheric' restaurant. It's a complete change from the all-inclusive scene north of Negril - we would say a good change but it all depends on your travel style.
There are no sandy beaches along the cliffs so recreation is a little bit more of the deep-water type. Snorkel and dive boats can be summoned with the help of the front desk. The road to other restaurants (and Negril town) can be a bit difficult as it is narrow, curvy and practically walled in by all the compounds along the coast. We didn't find it all that bad during the day. At night we limited our forays on foot to the small market just down the street and the "bar" across the road where we could get an entire jerk chicken for $4 US.
The Negril lighthouse sits out on a promontory with a view of the coast and mostly just open water beyond that. It's something to see in the vicinity if you're out trolling around the area or an aficionado of lighthouses. We had our driver stop for a few minutes since we were in the area anyway. He seemed to find that an unusual request.
Negril town and the cliffs is the place to go for some actual Jamaican food. There are the ubiquitous drums of jerk chicken along the way and even some restaurants specializing in jerk (if they decide to open). If you're looking for some typical fare, we'd recommend looking for empty parked cabs. If the taxi drivers eat there, it's probably pretty authentic. On the left here is brown-stew chicken, on the right is just Jamaican style fried chicken. The biscuit type thing is called 'festival'. Of course you get rice and beans and starch (yucca).