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Montego Bay – Tourist Favorite with Profound History
“Mo-Bay,” as it is called by its inhabitants, is the tourist center of the country. A beautiful stretch of coastline with fine powder sand and turquoise blue sea. Whether luxury resorts, picture-perfect small boutique hotels, marinas, or classy golf courses – no wishes remain unfulfilled here. Moreover, many scenes for more than one famous James Bond movie were shot here – no wonder with these beautiful beaches.
Historical attractions are relatively few due to the devastating fires between 1795 and 1818, which more than once reduced the city to rubble and thus its history. However, these few attractions have it all. The monument to Sam Sharpe in Sam Sharpe Square: The national hero was one of the enslaved people who could read and write. Unfortunately, his educational work and freedom demonstrations cost him his young life, but they contributed to the end of miserable slavery and changed Jamaica.
Then there is a famous colonial house where a witch lived; even today, it is said to be haunted. If you are one of the brave people: night walks are offered on the estate. Enjoyment and fun are also important in MoBay. On the Hip Strip, you will find several restaurants and bars for lots of action, fun, and delicious food. And while you're turning night into day and sipping your cocktail, you can watch the planes land. The largest of all airports in Jamaica is located here, Sangster International Airport.
MoBay has grown rapidly in recent years, and you'll find a unique mix of modern high-rises and very simple wooden shacks. The difference between rich and poor is visible in some corners. While some are getting richer, others are sliding in the wrong direction. In the evening, take a cab home instead.
Top Things to Do
Montego Bay is the most popular destination in Jamaica, no wonder, with its gorgeous beaches and exquisite and diverse hotels. There are all kinds of recreational activities in the water and on land, and Montego Bay is also extremely popular with golfers.
1 - Doctor's Cave Beach and Bathing Club
When a cruise ship docks, this place gets bustling, so if you don't like it crowded, better not go that day. You will also find changing rooms, restaurants, and souvenir stores.
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2 - Rockland Bird Sanctuary
A very green and beautiful property where you can observe and photograph endemic and exotic bird species. Upon arrival, you will be given a bottle of nectar to feed the birds and even hummingbirds. A fantastic experience and a very charming new way to observe the birdlife more closely.
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3 - History and Art at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre
The Montego Bay Cultural Centre includes both a gallery and a museum. You'll find paintings and sculptures that celebrate the island's fantastic art scene and culture. Opened in 2014, the center also features rotating exhibitions on various themes. A cultural highlight where you can see a lot about the history and art of Jamaican culture.
4 - Rose Hall Great House
Built in 1770, Rose Hall is a restored plantation house with beautiful ocean views and one of the most notorious houses in Jamaica. Rumor has it that Annie Palmer, the wife of the plantation owner John Palmer, practiced black magic on the enslaved. She ruled with a cruel hand and met a violent death. Some people swear they see her ghost haunting them. How about a spooky tour in the evening, including stories about ghostly apparitions? A location between beauty and shivers.
5 - Visit Sam Sharpe Square
You will find a very dark piece of Jamaican history at Sam Sharpe Square. For this is where Samuel Sharpe was executed. Sharpe was one of the very, very few enslaved people who could read and write, and he campaigned unconditionally to end slavery. Unfortunately, during the Christmas Uprising, fields were burned, which Sharpe did not want.
The uprising was ended by the military within two weeks. Sharpe was executed as one of the leaders. However, this Christmas Uprising and subsequent execution drew two detailed inquiries that contributed to the end of slavery. The Jamaican Parliament declared Sharpe one of the island's seven official national heroes in 1975.
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6 - Golfing
Golfers will love Montego Bay. Sprawling and with fantastic views, absolutely harmonious. There are several courses for you to choose from, which have also hosted one or two competitions. Whether you are new to golf or have been playing for a while, you will have fun here.
Many tourists arrive by cruise ship, and Montego Bay has adapted perfectly. From party restaurants to duty-free shopping, you'll find it all here.
Arrival By Plane
Montego Bay makes it very easy for tourists. National and international flights land at Sangster International Airport, and incidentally, it has the most visitors per year in Jamaica.
Some accommodations offer airport transportation. Otherwise, you can take a cab from the airport. Practical, reliable, and bookable in advance, you can organize your airport transport here.
Arrival by Bus
The Knutsford Express has two stops in Montego Bay, one at the edge of downtown and one at the airport. You will find cabs to take you to your accommodation at both stops.
Arrival by rental car
There is left-hand traffic in Jamaica. In Montego Bay, the traffic is pleasant, and nobody gets into a hectic rush. If you have a rental car, always take an all-day guarded parking lot and never leave anything in the car.
How to Get Around
You can explore Montego Bay on foot; however, the ways are often long, and many parts of the city are not as pretty. After sunset, you should take a route, bus, or city cab – check the price in advance.
Where to Stay
There is a wide and fantastic selection of hotels in Montego Bay, including all-inclusive deals and every price range. You can also find hostels, vacation rentals, and apartments for rent – but always ensure that the accommodation has security guards and/ or cameras.
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Where to Eat
You'll find everything from the typical diner to fast food to exquisite fine dining restaurants in Montego Bay.
Restaurants we tried and liked
Our Recommendations for $ - $$
Our Recommendations for $$ - $$$
Our Insider Tips
1 - Richmond Hill Inn
The beautiful Richmond Hill Inn offers breathtaking views of Montego Bay, the surrounding hills, and the ocean. The plantation house was built in the 18th century. Today it is a quiet retreat with an excellent restaurant and many historical artifacts. You don't have to stay overnight to enjoy this ambiance. Just come in the afternoon and stay for sunset.
2 - Catamaran Tours
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3 - Ahhh Ras Natango Gallery & Garden
A colorful gallery, nature without end, and a fantastic view await you here. On a slope in the mountains above Montego Bay, the artist Ras has created a paradise for himself with his wife and son. An open-air gallery and botanical garden with parrots and hummingbirds. Everything is recycled and integrated into the total work of art. A perfect place to buy unique, locally made artwork and souvenirs.
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4 - Hip Strip: Gloucester Avenue
The quintessential street in MoBay is entertainment, games, fun, and food. Many famous chains like the Hard Rock Café or Harley-Davidson can be found here. You can watch the planes landing from the beach while having a delicious drink. Sea, sun, fun, and a water slide can be found at Margaritaville – definitely always worth a visit.