Montego Bay is the second largest city in Jamaica, and is the capital of St. James Parish. But what really draws visitors to this Jamaican city is its white sandy shores, charming plantations, ideal weather and excellent tourist infrastructure. Sitting on the island nation’s north shore, Montego Bay is blessed with a gorgeous coast. It is also the home of Sangster International Airport, the largest international airport in the country.
Fondly referred to as MoBay, the city is actually divided into two distinct sections. One section is the city proper or often called “downtown”, and the other section is the beach area, which includes the suburb Ironshore and where most all-inclusive resorts and hotels are located.
The downtown area of MoBay is known to be crowded, noisy and busy. It is a stark contrast to the resorts in the city that promote a relaxing and stress-free lifestyle. The downtown represents the more gritty and urban side of Jamaica that can be give travelers interesting insights about city living. If this sounds like something you would like to do, make sure to come during the day. Nighttime in the city proper is not really safe and streets are not well lit. Be prepared to deal with beggars and touts, but if you’re already an experienced traveler, then it should not be a problem detecting tourist traps. Another option is to ask a local from your resort or hotel to escort you as you navigate the bustling streets of Montego Bay.
One must-see neighborhood in the city and also the hippiest spot in town is called Gloucester Avenue. Situated not far from the airport, Gloucester Avenue is lined with shops, hotels and restaurants. This cool avenue is definitely best explored on foot. If you love shopping and purchasing duty-free items sounds very enticing to you, then head over to Harbour Street. This area is actually a popular destination for cruise ship passengers.
But the first reason people flock to Montego Bay is undeniably its beaches. Most of these beautiful sandy stretches offer public access, so it is easy for anyone to go for a beach hopping adventure. Doctor’s Cave Beach and Bathing Club is one of the most prominent stretches in Montego Bay. This beach captivates with its white sand and calm waters. It is even said that the water on this beach is fed by natural spring sources, and thus, has therapeutic capabilities. But take note that an admission fee is charged to anyone who would like to access the Doctor’s Cave. Because of its popularity, Doctor’s Beach can get crowded.
For a more convenient time in the city, most visitors opt to stay in a resort. After all the resorts in Montego Bay provide a well-rounded holiday experience. You don’t have to hang out the beach the entire day (although that’s perfectly alright) as activities like horseback riding, zip lining, golf, fishing and guided river trips can all be arranged through your hotel or resort.
The restored 18th century plantation home named Rose Hall Great House and the mansion, Bellefield Great House, and the Croydon in the Mountains plantation are just some of the key landmarks to visit in Montego Bay. Martha Brae River is the main destination for rafting enthusiasts, while bird lovers should proceed to Rocklands Bird Sanctuary.