Welcome to the Complete Resort town—where there is something for everyone. It may be known as the "Second City", but with the high energy, wealth of historical spots and adventure attractions, Montego Bay (known by friends as "MoBay") has been catapulted into the island’s number one tourist destination spot.
Take it easy on the historic Doctor’s Cave Beach, which has welcomed visitors for more than a century with its refreshing turquoise water and powdery sand; or rip through the canopies of Rose Hall Estate on one of Chukka Caribbean’s zip line tours. Sport enthusiasts can keep moving thanks to the numerous championship golf courses, many with breathtaking sea views, or even explore the terrain on horseback.
From luxury watches to locally handmade crafts, shopping is a delight in MoBay. A wealth of duty free options treat the pocket, while Harbour Street market offers a glimpse of the island’s unique crafts and arts. And once you’ve crossed off all the items on your shopping list, a little history or culture is the perfect way to round of your time here. Home to the infamously haunted Rose Hall Great House; statues of two of our national heroes; and our most famous export, Appleton Rum, the Montego Bay area will leave you breathless with options. And with so much to offer, you will have to come back for a second visit.
Don’t leave Montego Bay without…
1. Shopping. Great buys await in Montego Bay, with super prices on everything from luxury watches and jewellery, to fun t-shirts quirky knick knacks. For super low prices, a multitude of duty free shops await, including Casa de Oro, Bijoux and Royal Shoppes. For one-stop duty-free shopping head to City Centre Shopping Mall and shop to your heart’s content. The Shoppes of Rose Hall and Half Moon Shopping Village offer great shopping in a calming environment, and great dining options.
2. Taking in history. Downtown Montego Bay, visitors are invited to learn about the city’s past. Sam Sharpe Square is home to the statues of two of the island’s national heroes—Sam Sharpe and Paul Bogle. The Civic Centre can also be found here, which houses the Museum of St. James and numerous Arawak relics and exhibits.
3. Learning a ghost story. The legend of the White Witch and Rose Hall includes love, revenge, voodoo and murder. Known for ruling over the thousands of acres on which the Rose Hall Great House stood, with an iron fist, Annie Palmer, was a feared woman. She was also known for "disposing" of her husbands, and taking slaves to bed, whom she later killed. Visitors to the restored great house have reported ghostly encounters like hearing tapping on the walls, sounds of crying babies, and seeing apparitions in mirrors. Be warned!
4. Drinking rum. About two hours outside of Montego Bay, rum aficionados and novices alike will be intrigued by the story of rum as told by the island’s oldest distillery, Appleton Estate. Producing rum since 1749, Appleton Estate, visitors will explore the distillery, learn about the rum aging and blending process, and enjoy a complimentary tasting session in the Appleton Lounge. www.appletonrumtour.com
5. Relaxing. You are on vacation, so what better way to pass the time, than horizontally, on one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. The fine white sand and crystal clear water at Doctor’s Cave Beach is the ideal way to spend a day. Grab an umbrella, a lilo, and take in the sunshine. www.doctorscavebathingclub.com
6. Some adventure. If an adrenalin rush is more your speed, turn to the folks at Chukka Caribbean Adventures and sign up for one of their many adventure tours. Whether ziplining from 1,200 feet up, and traversing from platform to platform through the dense jungle; or testing out your quad biking and off-roading skills on the Rose Hall Estate, Chukka has options for all. And if a gentle river tubing tour or horseback and swim ride are more your speed, they can fulfill that need also. www.chukkacaribbean.com. If you want something a little slower paced, Mountain Valley Rafting is the ideal way to lie and relax.
7. Go under the sea. Fear not, this need not involve getting wet. With MoBay’s UnderSea Tours, courtesy of their newest semi-sub reef explorer, the Coral See, visitors are invited to witness colourful marine life in air-conditioned comfort, while experts are on hand to answer any questions. 876-940-4465
8. Go back in time. History comes alive at the Belvedere Estates Historical Village and 1,000-acre plantation. 876-956-4710
9. Staying active. The Aquasol Theme Park includes watersports, go-cart racing, tennis and other activities. 876-979-9447
10. Sailing away. Enjoy the sights of MoBay’s coast, above the sea and below the sea at the Montego Bay Marine Park, on the Calico Sailing Cruise.
11. Sampling the island’s flavours. Travel into the hills of the Catadupa mountains to Croydon in the Mountains, to experience Jamaica’s lush vegetation. Sample pineapples, citrus, sugarcane and walk through coffee groves. www.croydonplantation.com. John’s Hall Adventure Tour also takes you through the mountainous countryside, inviting visitors to get up close with the island’s nature and wildlife. www.johnshalladventuretour.com.
The Hilton High Day Tour offers a taste of the island’s bounty, and shows you the real Jamaica. 876-952-3343
12. Going to Margaritaville. It’s a Hip Strip staple! Slide down the water slide, jump on the floating trampoline, enjoy a succulent hamburger and fries, and finish it off with a specialty margarita…perfect. www.margaritavillecaribbean.com
13. Feeding the birds. With over 289 species of birds found in Jamaica, with 28 endemics and 6 introduced species, the Rocklands Bird Feeding Station is a welcome sanctuary where you can watch, photograph and hand-feed the birds themselves. 876-952-2009
14. Riding horseback. Located at the Half Moon resort, Rocky Point Stables offers excellent riding facilities to equestrians of all levels. Ride along the beach and watch for dolphins, or take a leisurely jaunt through the property. www.halfmoon.com/equestrian.php
15. Going all-inclusive. For those after a day of convenience, head to one of the Sandals All-Inclusive resorts where all your food, drink and activities are at hand. www.sandals.com