Montego Bay

Montego Bay is Jamaica’s most popular tourist destination. Many international companies have resorts in the city. Montego Bay is a popular tourist destination featuring duty-free shopping, a cruise line terminal and several beaches.

Photo: Jamaica Tourism Board

Montego Bay — popularly referred to as “MoBay” — is primed and ready to address the needs of even the most discerning visitor. Montego Bay is the capital of the parish of St. James and the second largest city in Jamaica. The city is Jamaica’s most popular tourist destination. Many international companies have resorts in the city. Some of these companies inlcude Hyatt, Hilton Hotels, Holiday Inn, RIU Hotels, Royalton and Iberostar. Montego Bay is a popular tourist destination featuring duty-free shopping, a cruise line terminal and several beaches. The city is served by the Donald Sangster International Airport located on the edge of the city.


Steeped in history, mystery and magic, the Rose Hall Great House is a must-do for visitors to Montego Bay. Legend has it that the ghost of Annie Palmer still drifts inside this restored Georgian mansion, with its stone-cut walls, romantic archways and eerie hallways. Indulge in her past and learn how she practiced voodoo, tortured slaves and managed to kill two husbands before being strangled to death by her slave lover. Lovers of history and legends can also visit the Bellefield Great House and Gardens, one of the oldest sugar plantations in Jamaica. This property boasts lush gardens nestled on perfectly manicured lawns that span 10 acres. The great house was built in the 1600s as a militia outpost for the British. It later became the official residence of the Kerr-Jarretts — one of the city’s oldest and most renowned families — for six generations. Its pristine beauty and Old World charm make Bellefield a popular location for weddings and themed events.


MoBay, the Second City, is home to some of the island’s most scenic beaches, and they’re not too hard to spot while touring the coastline. Almost all of the resorts, such as Half Moon, Sandals Montego Bay and Hotel RIU Montego Bay, are fantastic beach properties. However, guests who opt to venture outside the confines of a beach resort won’t be disappointed. One stunning beach is Cornwall Beach, which offers showers, snorkel gear, beach fun, towels, lockers and more. It even has a bar and restaurant serving up sunny day staples. The popular Doctor’s Cave Beach is always a great way to unwind. Here friendly locals meet and mingle with tourists while enjoying the warm waters. By day, there is tons of action, which includes but isn’t limited to a session of beach football, a local pastime. But come night-time, it’s the perfect place to find a rocking beach party. For a more family-friendly experience, beach bums can head to Aquasol, an amusement park set up along the ocean with plenty of watersports action. Paddle around the calm beach waters on a banana boat. Rent snorkeling gear or a glass-bottom boat for a view of the marine life. Jet-skiing, wave-running and parasailing are all available as well.

Adrenaline junkies can dive head first into the many MoBay attractions that get blood pumping. Enjoy the thrill of jungle river tubing on the Great River, one of the largest on the island, which runs 57 miles long and spans three parishes. Other water activities include the kayak safari tour, an exciting option for those who may want to see the rainforest by water and learn about the natural ecosystems of the Caribbean. But the fun doesn’t stop just there, as guests at Chukka Caribbean Adventures can also opt for a zip-lining experience through the lush, tropical forest or challenge each other on the ATV trail. Animal lovers can head south to the newly opened Dolphin Cove attraction in Lucea, Hanover, just 40 minutes outside of MoBay. Like its Ocho Rios counterpart, the marine attraction offers close encounters with dolphins and other aquatic creatures. Nearby Good Hope Estate also offers tours around the estate that are thrilling adventures — think river tubing and zip lining — or more relaxed affairs, like a high tea service or a horse-and-carriage ride through the property.


In Montego Bay, you can find everything from perfume and jewelry to dreadlocks caps and shot glasses — often with a dose of Jamaican humor on display. The downtown Crafts Market houses homemade items like straw hats and bags, carved objects and musical instruments. The Old Fort Craft Park offers a broad variety of handicrafts hawked by 180 highly competitive vendors — all licensed by the Jamaica Tourist Board — who are open to haggling. From small souvenirs to more substantial items, this is a good place to land a great bargain. The Harbour Street Craft Market has the best deals on Jamaican memorabilia, including one-of-a-kind woodwork and hand-painted T-shirts. This market is an attraction in itself.


Those looking for tasty local grub can indulge in oxtail, stewed peas and jerk chicken, steaks, burgers, milkshakes and more. If you’re hungry for an upscale dining experience, you will be delighted by the easy sophistication of The HouseBoat Grill. The floating restaurant situated in the Montego Bay Marine Park Fish Sanctuary features fresh-caught fish dishes, lobster, steaks and pastas.


For a rockin’ good time, head to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, where the DJs spin, making dancing irresistible.

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