Montego Bay, Jamaica
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Montego Bay has long been the jewel in Jamaica’s crown – and for good reason. Boasting lush golf courses, white–sand beaches, reggae music and jerk everything, the island’s third–largest city offers something for every type of traveller. Even if you’re staying at a resort on the outskirts of town, don’t miss a day trip to MoBay.
Due to COVID–19, please contact businesses directly to determine their current business operations before travelling.
Where to Stay
- Airy, open concept suites at Eclipse at Half Moon in JamaicaEclipse at Half MoonFor the ultimate luxury
- The sun setting over the outdoor pool of The Tryall Club in JamaicaThe Tryall ClubFor the championship golfing
- Clean and modern styled suites at the S Hotel JamaicaS Hotel JamaicaFor the honeymoon amenities
- A sparkling blue pool lined with palm trees at the Hyatt Ziva Rose HallHyatt Ziva Rose HallFor the family-friendly perks
- Outdoor lounge chairs and bath at a bungalow on the water at Sandals Royal CaribbeanSandals Royal CaribbeanFor the over-the-water bungalows
Eat & Drink
Authentic jerk at Scotchies The smell of pimento wood and classic spices permeates the air at this cash–only roadside pit. Pair jerk chicken, fish or pork with traditional sides, like bammy (discs of grated cassava that are dipped in milk and then fried), festival (slightly sweet fried dumplings) and steamed vegetables. Order a Red Stripe beer or Ting grapefruit drink and grab a seat at one of the outdoor tables.
Alfresco dining at Peppa’s Cool Spot Those in the know come to this local favourite for a laid–back lunch of fresh fish or braised oxtail. Service here tends to operate on island time, but the food – eaten outside – is worth the wait. Burgers, wings and other North American staples are available, but the peppery escovitch fish comes highly recommended.
Blue Mountain Coffee at Café Blue This small family–owned chain – there are six locations on the island – is involved in every step of the coffee–making process, from picking the beans on their farm in the famous Blue Mountain coffee region to roasting and brewing. Pair hot or cold espresso drinks with a croissant and don’t miss their selection of bars and chocolate–covered beans.
Refined island cuisine at Sugar Mill at Half Moon Chef de cuisine Christopher Golding adds a modern flair to seafood classics and popular dishes at this high–end, open–air restaurant located on the grounds of the historic former Rose Hall Sugar Plantation. Pair a selection from the restaurant’s extensive rum collection with coconut–crusted grouper or rack of lamb, served with tangelo chutney.
Surf ’n’ turf at HouseBoat Grill Chef Rich Nurse serves up a Jamaican fusion menu on board this houseboat set in the waters of the Montego Bay Marine Park Fish Sanctuary. Fresh seafood, succulent steaks and more fill out the seasonal menu. Dine inside or on the moon deck underneath the stars.
What to Do
Cliff jumping at Island Gully Falls Skip the crowds at Dunn’s River Falls and head to this local favourite in Ocho Rios, a two–hour drive from Montego Bay. Originally called the Blue Hole – an apt description of the saltwater pools that emerge seemingly out of nowhere – the area is the perfect place to spend an afternoon, thanks to rope swings, assisted waterfall climbs and cliff jump options.
Made–in–Jamaica clothing at Schatzie Boutique This fashion boutique features 100–percent linen resort wear designed by local style arbiter Pat Wright. Shop beach coverups, jackets and jumpsuits in bright African prints and tropical colours to add some pop to your vacation wardrobe.
Wicked links at White Witch Golf Course This 18–hole championship course, designed by Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril, sits on the land that was once Rose Hall Plantation. According to legend, Annie Palmer, the former mistress of the property who is referred to as “the white witch,” haunts the grounds. If so, she is likely a golf fan – players have consistently rated the par–71 course as one of the best on the island.
Kitschy souvenirs on the Hip Strip The Hip Strip – a stretch of shops along Gloucester Avenue – offers a mix of kitschy souvenirs (the colours of the Jamaican flag – gold, black and yellow – feature prominently here), arts and crafts and even a Starbucks. The proximity to area hotels, clubs, bars and restaurants makes it a solid one–stop shopping destination for last–minute souvenirs.
Rafting on the Martha Brae River What gondolas are to Venice, rafts are to the Martha Brae River. Climb on board a bamboo raft as a local guide takes you on a serene journey under lush foliage. Queen Elizabeth II, Spike Lee and Olympic gold–medalist (and Jamaica native) Usain Bolt have all visited this famous attraction that ends with a stop at bar–slash–souvenir shop Rafter’s Rest.
Handmade crafts at the Harbour Street Craft Market This open–air market offers handmade goods, from coconut–palm baskets and beaded jewellery to custom woodworking. Be warned: Vendors know that competition is fierce and can be pushy in their attempts to persuade you. Bring small bills and be ready to haggle. If you go early in the day, you will miss the bigger crowds that come with cruise ship arrivals.
Family–friendly fun at Yaaman Adventure Park Kids of all ages will be entertained as they explore the gardens at the Great House, take a cooking class, swim in the secret river, ride camels, learn about the local birds or head out on a mud buggy adventure. The natural terrain of this 18th–century estate on the edge of the Caribbean Sea is a great introduction to Jamaica’s natural side.
Duty–free goods at The Shoppes at Rose Hall Visitors flock to this outdoor mall to shop all things duty–free from local makers and international brands. Find custom clothing and jewellery at DejaVu, authentic Jamaican or Cuban cigars at Rose Hall Cigar Club, and Red Stripe paraphernalia at Jamrock Jamaica. Ask the concierge at your hotel about the mall’s complimentary shuttle service.