Montego Bay, the capital of Saint James Parish on Jamaica’s north coast, is a major cruise ship port with numerous beach resorts and golf courses outside its commercial core.Sun-soaked beaches, historic plantations, tropical gardens, and a lush countryside rippling with jungly peaks provide a peaceful escape from the urban grit of the downtown precinct. Accommodation is abundant. Large resorts and all-inclusive hotels preside over the best patches of sand, and you’ll find more guest rooms here than any other part of Jamaica. Divers and snorkelers can explore the protected waters of the Montego Bay Marine Park as well as reefs fringing the blonde-sand beaches. Other popular things to do include fishing, golfing, guided river rides on bamboo rafts, and zip-lining through the jungle.
Best Time to Visit
November to mid-December, that’s when the island’s already with beautiful and the most pleasant weather.
Top Places to Visit in Montego Bay
- Doctor’s Cave Beach
At Doctor’s Cave Beach and Bathing Club, white sands fringe clear, calm waters that some believe are fed by mineral springs. In the early 1920s, a famous British osteopath declared that the water had curative powers after swimming here – a claim that helped shape the future of Montego Bay by luring visitors from around the world. Hotels sprung up along the beach, and the area became a tourist hot spot. This is also a popular place to go snorkeling in Montego Bay.
2. Dunn’s River Falls
One of Jamaica’s most famous natural features, Dunn’s River Falls tumble down 180 meters of smooth limestone terraces into the sea. The falls lie about a 90-minute drive from Montego Bay, near Ocho Rios, but they are a popular day trip, and you can combine a visit here with a tour of Nine Mile, the birthplace of legendary reggae musician Bob Marley.
3. Martha Brae River Rafting
Rafting the Martha Brae River is one of the most peaceful and romantic things to do in Montego Bay. It’s also a relaxing way to soak up the lush scenery of Jamaica’s countryside. The trip involves drifting down five kilometers of jungle-fringed river on bamboo rafts poled by local guides. Along the way, you can learn about the local flora and fauna. Some guides also serenade you with reggae songs. Trips leave from the Martha Brae Rafting Village, about 32 kilometers from Montego Bay. Amenities here include picnic grounds, swimming pools, restrooms, souvenir shops, a lounge area, and a medicinal garden. It’s a good idea to bring your swimsuit in case you want to take a dip before or during your rafting adventure.
4. Rose Hall Great House
Overlooking the ocean, about 20 minutes from Montego Bay, Rose Hall Great House is a restored plantation home built in 1770. Today, her home is decorated with furniture from the period, and you can tour the house during the day or opt for the spine-chilling candlelit night tour.
5. Rocklands Bird Sanctuary
At Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, you can view, photograph, and hand-feed exotic and endemic species of birds. Upon arrival, guests are provided with a bottle of nectar, and hummingbirds quickly descend to outstretched arms. Look for Jamaica’s national bird, the regal long-tailed Doctor Bird. Rocklands lies about a 30-minute drive away from downtown Montego Bay.
6. Croydon in the Mountains
Tucked in the foothills of the Catadupa Mountains, Croydon in the Mountains is a 132-acre working plantation with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. The plantation’s main crops are coffee, pineapples, plantains, and citrus, and the plantation also produces honey. During the tour, you can learn about the different crops, sample the produce, and sip drinks made from the plantation’s fresh fruit as you stroll around the beautiful grounds. After your tour, enjoy a barbecue lunch topped off with Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.
7. Jungle Zip-Line
Zip-lining through Jamaica’s jungle canopies gives you a unique perspective of this tropical island as well as a huge rush of adrenaline. Zipline Adventure Tours is one of the most popular companies. Trips include an off-roading mountain adventure in a 6X6 Pinzgauer. You then learn about the sport before winging through the treetops on the longest zipline in the Caribbean, with fantastic views of the countryside below. Tours also include tropical fruit tastings and refreshments.