This Caribbean city offers the essential vacation ingredients: white-sand beaches, a rich history and a relaxed pace.
Relaxation is one of the top reasons why visitors come to Montego Bay, and the beautiful beaches here offer the perfect place to indulge in nothing but enjoying the glorious Jamaica weather. The beaches have white sand, clear water and coral reefs that are perfect for snorkeling just 300 feet (92 meters) from the shoreline. Order cocktails from the beach bar and have them delivered to your rented lounge chair. The locals operate on “Jamaican time,” which means that service might sometimes be slow but it will always be friendly.
Doctor’s Cave Beach and Walter Fletcher Beach are the city’s major draws, offering calm water and white sand.
For adventure, try wave running, jet skiing and scuba diving, all of which can be done at the city’s main beaches. Aquasol Theme Park also offers a range of watersports, plus go-kart racing and tennis, making it an ideal place for families. Elsewhere, local crafts markets and grand colonial architecture provide a glimpse of Jamaican culture, both past and present.
Jamaica became a British colony in 1655, and slavery was introduced on sugar plantations soon after. At Rose Hall Great House you’ll get a glimpse of Montego Bay’s part in the country’s history of slavery. The plantation house was built in the 1770s and one of its former residents, Annie Palmer, referred to as the White Witch of Rose Hall, is said to haunt the home still.
Explore Sam Sharpe Square, the heart of the city. A bronze monument commemorates Sam Sharpe, the 19th-century Baptist minister who led a major rebellion that contributed to the end of slavery in the area. Today, he is considered a national hero. The cobblestone square is full of beautiful colonial architecture and is great for people-watching.
Restaurants and cafés line the major downtown thoroughfares of St. James Street and Market streets. Enjoy seafood brought fresh from the nearby Caribbean Sea, or try a dish seasoned with jerk spice, a Jamaican speciality.
Montego Bay is a quaint city on the Caribbean Sea, about three hours by car from Jamaica’s capital, Kingston. Pristine beaches, friendly locals and a rich culture make it a popular, family-friendly destination year-round.