Montego Bay hotels
Mad Montego Bay
In the heart of Jamaica, the geographical King of Cool, lies its hip-and-happening offspring, Montego Bay. If the beaches laden with tanned beauties don’t seduce you, the ever-growing crowds of American college kids enjoying Spring Break on gaudy Gloucester Avenue (known, slightly embarrassingly, by the party crowd as ‘the hip strip’) will probably try to.
But don’t think drunken debauchery is the be all and end all of a Montego Bay holiday. More organic attractions include Doctor’s Cave Beach, Cornwall Beach and Walter Fletcher Beach, all boasting views you thought only existed on a postcard. Choose from diving, snorkelling, swimming or surfing, or just chill out on the sand with a drink and a pair of perve-enabling dark sunglasses.
Montego Bay's Top 10
10. Museum of St James Exhibitions, relics and a 200-seat theatre are housed in this civic centre museum.
5. Burchell Memorial Baptist Church Slave leader Sam Sharpe was a deacon at this church, which now houses his remains.
9. Dead End Beach It’s not the most appealing of names, but the sunsets will blow your mind.
4. Town House This quaint little house is currently a clothes store, providing the perfect excuse to shop in the name of sightseeing!
8. Creek Dome This hexagonal building is known as the ‘keeper of the creek’, although it merely houses a spring rather than any sort of troll-like creature.
3. Sam Sharpe Square Three statuesque admirers stare at the National Heroes in the centre of this cobbled square.
7. Bellfield Great House See how people lived back in the very refined day.
2. Greenwood Great House The court jester’s chair is an original from the 17th century. Resist the urge to sit on it…
6. Barnett Estate Get some sweet lovin’ in the daylight hours by visiting this huge expanse of sugarcane.
1. Rose Hall Great House A great house indeed – this massive mansion gives equally great views from the hilltop.
Montego Bay History
- Greenwood Great House – This estate built in the 18th century still has its original furniture and impressive library for a glimpse into Montego Bay’s plantation past.
- Croydon Plantation – This coffee and pineapple plantation offers tours and samples and teaches visitors about the agricultural history of the island.
- Sam Sharpe Square – Named after the national hero Sam Sharpe, this square contains the Cage, a jail that once housed runaway slaves.
- Burchell Memorial Baptist Church – Sam Sharpe’s remains are buried in this 19th-century church.
- Fort Montego – This is the remains of the first fort built in Jamaica.
Montego Bay Art & Culture
- Gallery of West Indian Art – This gallery features arts and crafts from all over the Caribbean.
- Ambiente Gallery – This gallery features local artists and sells prints of their work.
- Maroon Attraction Tours – This tour takes you to historical and cultural points of interest and gives you a look into Montego Bay life.
- Jamaica's Spirit of Reggae: The Bob Marley Experience – This all-day tour takes you to Bob Marley’s birthplace and traces his life and music.
- Dome House – This theatre offers performances in both dance and drama.
Montego Bay Shopping
- City Centre Building – This plaza features duty-free shops selling jewellery, crafts and pottery, among other things.
- Clapper's Music – If you love reggae, this is the place where you can find a complete collection.
- Sangster's Book Shop – Drop by here if you need something to read on the beach.
- Super Plus – This shopping centre is the biggest in Montego Bay and has a supermarket.
- Harbour Street Craft Market – This is a mammoth crafts store that encompasses three city blocks.
Gay & Lesbian Montego Bay
- Ibersostar Grand Rose – This adults-only resort is fairly relaxed. However, public displays of affection are strongly discouraged.
- Sandals Resorts – A reasonably relaxed resort for all lifestyles.
- Hip Strip – This local street is crowded with bars. There is one gay bar here, but be aware that it known to be raided by police.
- The Twisted Kilt – This is a restaurant/bar with outdoor seating.
- Far Out Fish Hut – One of the best places to get seafood in Montego Bay.
Montego Bay is not known to be overtly gay friendly, so gays and lesbian are encouraged to be discreet.
Montego Bay Outdoor
- Doctor's Cave Beach Club – This is a small beach but very clean and fun and often crowded.
- Martha Brae River – Enjoy a lazy tube crawl down this river to see the beautiful scenery.
- Montego Bay Marine Park – This is the best place to see the amazing marine life in the waters surrounding the island.
- Animal Farm – Here is where you can bird watch and learn about the Montego Bay’s cultural history at the same time.
- Widowmaker's Cave – This is one of the must-visit scuba diving destinations.
Montego Bay Sport
- Golf at the scenic Rose Hall Golf Club.
- Go on a zip line tour through the Jamaican jungle with Canopy Tour.
- Take a jeep or ATV tour from one of several adventure companies on the island.
- Bobsled along a thrilling course with the Jamaica Bobsledding Tour.
- See amazing marine life whilst scuba diving off Cornwall Beach.
Montego Bay Events
January cruises into town with the Jamaica Jazz Festival, where many well-known performers get together from around the world.
Jamaica’s favourite son is suitably celebrated in February’s Bob Marley Week, one of the biggest events of the year and the perfect excuse to get your reggae on.
Spring Break hits Montego Bay in March. Hordes of students fill the bars, clubs and streets with unapologetic rambunctiousness. Go and enjoy or avoid at all costs, depending on your point of view.
August celebrates the Emancipation and Independence Celebration with a music competition and other events to celebrate freedom from slavery.
Christmas Day is huge in Jamaica. Spice up the usual roast and gravy with traditional specialties like rum cake and gungo peas.
When To Go
- Jamaica is very popular due to its warm climate, and Montego Bay is no exception. Temperatures are a constant 30°C (86°F) year round and the water is just as lovely.
- Even during the rainy season, overcast weather only puts a dampener on part of the day.
- Montego Bay can be extremely busy from mid-December to mid-April, and prices increase accordingly.
- Walkingis easy between Gloucester Avenue and Downtown. And let’s face it, you’re going to be having a few drinks…
- Busesdon’t run in town, but they can take you to the surrounding suburbs.
- Taxisare widely available but can be pretty pricey at around US$8 per ride.
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