Visiting Montego Bay - What to See and Do
(Montego Bay Sangster International Airport MBJ, Jamaica)
, nicknamed MoBay, is like a jewel on the Jamaican crown, resting upon the stunning blue azure of the Caribbean Sea. The original settlement developed into a major trading port through Spanish colonisation, followed by British rule. Today, much of the landscape still provides glaring pieces of colonial evidence.
Tourism is the main economic earner within Montego Bay. It is not hard to see why, as the beaches lining the city are among the Caribbean's cleanest and most beautiful. Visitors will spend most of their time along MoBay's beaches, as plenty of luxurious resorts and hotels reside along the coast. The golden strips of sand are the primary attractions, but not the only attractions, in the city.
Cruise ships use Montego Bay as a regular stop-off point. This year-round tropical oasis boasts duty free shopping centres, which help attract international interest. However, there are also plenty of local craft markets to be explored, and night scenes remain vibrant 12 months of the year. Visitors will fall in love with the charming sights and sounds of MoBay's quintessential, Jamaican ambience.
Ten things you must do in Montego Bay
- Doctor's Cave Beach is the main strip of sand in Montego Bay. Operated by the Doctor's Cave Beach Club, this hip and trendy beach has become the most valuable commodity in town. Tourists should arrive early, especially in the 'winter months', as crowds can get heavy after 10:00.
- The Montego Bay Shopping Centre is the main shopping complex within MoBay, being famous for offering plenty of duty free items. The centre may not compare to the more modern shopping complexes in North America or Britain. but the range of cheap, tax-reduced goods will always make this landmark memorable.
- Spending a day, or even an entire Montego Bay holiday at Cornwall Beach will bring tourists out of their stress-shells and into a world of fun and relaxation. Snorkelling in the crystal blue water, participating in a game of beach volleyball, or sunbaking upon the golden sands are great ways to spend an afternoon at Cornwall Beach.
- The Harbour Street Craft Market gives tourists a different shopping experience. This arts and crafts market is located right behind the waterline of Montego Bay. Tourists can opt for a fantastic range of local crafts, from jewellery to ceramics. Visitors can also test their negotiation skills, as haggling is rife within the market.
- The island of Jamaica is rich in history, so tourists should check out the Museum of St. James. Boasting dozens of exhibits that detail the region's colonial history, not to mention a rather horrific slave trade - all are on display. There is also a small theatre and an art gallery found within the museum.
- A classic landmark that portrays British influence is Fort Montego. Even though there is not much left of the fort, the remains are still popular attractions for tourists. Many of the cruise liner visitors make their way to this end of Gloucester Avenue for great pictures of the entire bay and the Caribbean Sea. Three cannons still stand (but don't work) atop the site of the old fort.
- Dead End Beach is more interesting than it sounds. Taking in a sunset from this site is well-worth the trek here. Dead End Beach doesn't have the facilities that Doctor's Cave and Cornwall Beach possess. However, the lack of crowds makes up for the limited amenities.
- Gloucester Avenue is the centre of Montego Bay. As a matter of fact, most tourists rarely travel a minute or two from this central street. Known by locals as the 'hip strip', this lively avenue meanders along the beachfront area of the city. Once tourists get passed the tacky souvenir stands and round-the-clock crowds, magnificent restaurants and trendy bars make life on this strip memorable.
- With Montego Bay built on Spanish and British colonialism, the local landscape is dotted with simple yet historical colonial landmarks. Tours of the city's most famous structures can be found. Buildings of note include the many 18th-century edifices, such as the St. James Parish Church, the Bellefield Great House, the Barnett Estate, the Town House and the Rose Hall Great House.
- Head to the Aquasol Theme Park for the best in Montego Bay's beach activities. The park is part of the Walter Fletcher Beach, at the far end of Gloucester Avenue. A go-kart track, volleyball courts and tennis courts are among the many other sporting facilities available within the park. Stick around after sunset and enjoy dining at the local sports bar. The atmosphere at the bar becomes extremely lively at night.