Montego Bay Travel Guide: Montego Bay Tips
Montego Bay: Top destination in Jamaica. Travel tips to the beach paradise in the Caribbean / Montego Bay Travel Guide
Soft sandy beach and the relaxing sound of the sea are exactly your thing on vacation? Then visit Montego Bay! The dream destination in Jamaica spoils with paradisiacal views for sun worshipers and bathing beauties.
Welcome to Montego Bay, one of Jamaica’s favorite beach holiday and active destinations! There’s more than enough sun, sand and sea at your potential vacation spot in the heart of the Gold Coast. But the cultural highlights of the second largest Jamaican city, affectionately called “MoBay” by the locals, also know how to inspire. For example, walk in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus, who arrived here in the 15th century, or explore an old fort from the 18th century. Thanks to Jamaica’s largest local airport, you’ll be right in the middle of the action as soon as your plane touches down near the romantic beaches. The happy and casual atmosphere will spill over onto you!
It is logical that the main target group of the holiday resort on the Gold Coast are beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts due to the landscape. They can choose again and again whether they want to lie lazily in the sun, splash about in the sea or, for example, learn to dive and snorkel. Trips with different boats are also conceivable. But we would also like to recommend the destination to party lovers. Because a day at the beach can be perfectly combined with a lavish party night thanks to the big city flair. Enjoy one of the delicious, mostly rum-based cocktails – the drink par excellence in Jamaica!
Before you go to the beach, you might want to do a little sightseeing tour. Because the must-sees of Montego Bay are small in number, but all the more interesting. It is worth planning at least one day for the sights that we would like to present below.
Fort Montego / Montego Bay Travel Guide
Fort Montego is a former British garrison built in the 18th century. She should help protect the coast of Jamaica from pirates. Several cannons can still be seen at the site, but fortunately no military action was ever necessary. The colonial ambience of the fortress will captivate you as soon as you climb the hill to it. Tip: don’t forget comfortable and sturdy shoes!
St James Parish Church
Originally built in the 18th century, the church is considered the most beautiful in the country. This is not only due to the striking stained glass windows, but also to the architecture, which is reminiscent of a classic Greek cross. Nestled in a graveyard with centuries-old tombstones, the setting couldn’t be more mysterious and mystical. Even if it looks very old: St. James Parish Church was largely destroyed by an earthquake in the 1950s. However, the locals managed to rebuild it almost faithfully to the original.
Sam Sharpe Memorial & The Cage
Samuel “Sam” Sharpe was one of Jamaica’s national heroes, championing the emancipation of slaves in the 19th century. The memorial cast in bronze on the square of the same name commemorates him and shows his person. Right next to the memorial you can visit the night prison “The Cage”, built in the early 19th century. This served as a receiving station for escaped slaves or tramps who had to spend the night there. The first building was made of wood, but after a few years it was replaced by a brick building. This is still on site today.
One attraction with plenty of employment opportunities is a stretch of Gloucester Avenue known as the “Hip Strip.” Come here for those who want some modern action after immersing themselves in the past. For example, you can browse the colorful souvenir shops or chill with the locals and other holidaymakers to laid-back reggae music. The “Hip Strip” should also be the first port of call for hungry people, because there are various bars and restaurants here, often accompanied by cheerful music. Even late at night there are still snacks that will certainly not let you go to bed on an empty stomach.
You probably visit Montego Bay for the option of extensive sunbathing. But always lying comfortably on the beach might become a bit monotonous in the long run. No problem for “MoBay”, which scores with a variety of leisure activities.
snorkeling and diving
Anyone who has always wondered what is actually going on under the sea surface can devote themselves to snorkeling or diving. While the first type of sport involves swimming quite high up, the divers let themselves be carried away to the bottom of the sea. Vacationers can choose how far to literally go in a destination like Montego Bay.
The underwater camera should not be forgotten if you experience the beauty of the Montego Bay Marine Park live! This park is Jamaica’s first marine national park. You can explore the flora and fauna of the sea on more than 15 square kilometers. You don’t have to look far for guided excursions here. Especially from Montego Bay itself there are many varied offers.
Ahhh visiting Ras Natango / Montego Bay Travel Guide
Ahhh Ras Natango is the unusual name of the botanical garden above Montego Bay. It is easily reached by shuttle bus and is a perfect, exotic destination for nature lovers, bird watchers and romantics. After about a quarter of an hour’s drive you will see a wonderful fauna, which is mainly presented in different types of flowers (begonias, dahlias, gladioli) and types of ferns.
In the morning there is a chance to feed the local hummingbirds – but the colorfully feathered fellows also show up from time to time during the day. Two themed gardens, a fairy village and a dinosaur garden, are designed more for children and school groups at Ahhh Ras Natango Garden. In the souvenir shop there are not only unique pieces made of shells, but also hand-painted textiles as a special memory of your vacation.
Jamaica’s nightlife is often divided into “local party” and “tourist party” categories. In Montego Bay, however, things can get mixed up. On the beaches or on the “Hip Strip”, cozy cocktail bars with reggae music await mostly relaxed party fans. The larger hotels also have their own bars where you can party late into the night.
Those looking to test their luck should head to Coral Cliff – Jamaica’s most famous 24-hour casino. But be careful: the travel budget may be much emptier than expected afterwards! Visiting a live concert might be worth a little more, as it can cast a spell over the guests here from time to time.
The best beaches in Montego Bay
Raise the curtain on the gorgeous beaches that Montego Bay is so famous for around the world! One or the other beach fan will surely go into raptures just by looking at the photos. And how great will it be when you can open your towel on site! Perhaps it is one of the following scenic Gold Coast destinations.
Aquasol Beach Park
With shallow water and white sand framed by coconut trees swaying in the wind, the park doesn’t get much more paradisiacal. You have to pay a small fee for it, but you can look forward to wonderful and carefree hours by the sea. There is a lot on offer here, especially for families, so that it doesn’t get boring with the little ones. There’s a go-kart track and water sports options ranging from jet ski and banana boat rides to pedal boat trips and scuba diving lessons. Those who have not yet ventured into the water themselves can start a tour with the glass-bottom boat from Aquasol Beach Park and thus see the underwater world above the water surface. Table tennis courts, a children’s playground and volleyball courts complete the amenities.
Doctor’s Cave Beach / Montego Bay Travel Guide
This stretch of coast is known throughout the island nation of Jamaica for being a picture-perfect beach. Despite this, he is comparatively calm. White sand meets turquoise water – the scenario compensates for the slightly higher entrance fee in no time. The setting is clean and welcoming, and there’s plenty of on-site dining too. The underwater world can also be observed at Doctor’s Cave Beach, because the beach is part of the already presented Montego Bay Marine Park.
Dead End Beach
The beach is located at the end of the “Hip Strip” and allows you to watch the planes landing at the international airport. It’s free to enter and offers the thrill of watching the planes as well as a lively bar. It’s mostly locals, with holidaymakers preferring to visit Aquasol Beach or Doctor’s Cave Beach. If you like it quieter and more original, you’ve come to the right place at Dead End Beach.
Careful planning should be the top priority for an all-round successful vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. As always, here are some helpful tips and information!
Best time to visit Montego Bay
When Christopher Columbus came to Jamaica in 1494, he named present-day Montego Bay “Good Weather Bay”. So you can already guess that the weather is mostly good. However, this does not apply all year round. It gets nice and warm on the beach when the main season in spring (March, April) is chosen as the travel time. The fact that many holidaymakers then find themselves here makes little difference given the vastness of the beaches. Between September and November the risk of rain increases and it is hurricane season. If you want to avoid the uncomfortable weather, you should roughly stick to the period from December to April.
When entering via the USA, the regulations there (e.g. the ESTA approval) must be fulfilled. On the other hand, if you are traveling directly to Jamaica, you only need a valid passport if the stay does not exceed 90 days. Otherwise a visa is required.
Currency & Payment / Montego Bay Travel Guide
The local currency is the Jamaican Dollar (JMD). You usually have to exchange this on site, since the JMDs are officially not allowed to be exported from or imported into Jamaica. Alternatively, you can also pay in US dollars, but the exchange rate is usually worse. In larger establishments there is also the option of paying by credit card.
locomotion on site
There is little public transport in Jamaica, so you should be prepared for longer walks. But a lot is of course also possible with the taxi, which you can sometimes book for a whole day as a flat rate. Buses will take you to the larger cities like Kingston. For explorers, we recommend a rental car to explore the entire island. Attention: Traffic is on the left and a maximum speed of 80 km/h is permitted on motorways! Cars are usually only rented to people who are at least 25 years old.
When in Montego Bay, it’s always a good idea to seek out places that are well-known and popular with vacationers, rather than venturing into unfamiliar neighborhoods. There is a higher level of gang crime there. You should avoid walking the streets alone after dark.
language & understanding / Montego Bay Tips
Officially, English is spoken, but the Jamaican-Creole language Patois is also widespread. With the communication there should be no problems due to the usual English language.
Food & Specialties
The so-called “jerk cuisine” is known all over Jamaica and enjoys a long tradition. Meat or fish is prepared on the grill with the addition of sprigs of allspice and finely seasoned with spices. It’s true that Jamaican cuisine likes to be spicy – but there’s also something for friends of milder tastes. For example, the cooked ackee fruit from Jamaica, which is often served with fish.
Hotels & Accommodation
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of a romantic hotel overlooking the ocean! This dream comes true right on the beach; here you can watch the sunset over the sea. However, the accommodations there can be well paid for the privileged location. In order to go easy on the travel budget, we recommend either booking early or switching to other hotels. These are usually in the immediate vicinity and – apart from direct access to the beach – do not lack any amenities. Usually, the hotels in Montego Bay are also large complexes that offer you a wide range of offers.