Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second city in size and importance, but it is the island’s capital for tourism as well as one of the main tourist destinations in the Caribbean.
It is on the northwest coast of Jamaica and its beaches of white sand are flanked by floral plants, hills and prairies lined with palm trees.
The name Montego Bay derives from the Spanish bahía de manteca. The port was the boarding point for exports of lard from the wild boars that were once plentiful in the hills. Later on, sugar and bananas were to become the main exports.
There are two main districts in Mo-Bay, which is how the locals call it: the city center and the Gloucester Avenue zone. It is advisable to visit the city center only during the daytime—there you can enjoy the boisterous and chaotic Jamaican charm and experience the true essence of Jamaica. There you will find modern buildings that blend in perfectly well with Georgian constructions.
Gloucester Avenue is full of tourist hotels, shops and restaurants, being a safe area both during the day and at night.
Montego Bay came to fame early in the 20th century thanks to Doctor’s Cave Beach and its white sand and crystal-clear waters. The curative powers of the sea water drew in celebrities and members of high society from all over the world. Other beaches in town are Walter Fletcher, near Gloucester Avenue, and Cornwall Beach, right next to Doctor’s Cave Beach.
But Montego Bay offers a great many activities aside from its beaches:
You can visit art galleries such as the Bay Gallery and the Gallery of West Indian Art. It is also worth your while to visit some of the emblematic buildings such as St. James Parish Church, erected between 1775 and 1782, and Rose Hall Great House, a 19th century mansion that has been fully restored. Legend has it that it was once inhabited by a white witch.
You can also have some fun with your family at the Aquasol Theme Park. Besides enjoying the incredible beach you’ll also find water slides, jet skis, banana boats, wave runners and restaurants and bars.
If golf is what floats your boat, there are five excellent 18-hole golf courses strategically located in beautiful settings along the coast.
You can also take an excursion to the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, an ideal place for bird and nature lovers; the Falmouth Luminous Lagoon, one of Jamaica’s wonders, or go on a tour of the rivers in the area such as the Great River or the Martha Brae. You can also go fishing in the sea by taking one of the fully-equipped fishing boats at the harbor.
Montego Bay has what is known as a ‘submarine rain forest’ the Montego Bay Marine Park, an environmental reserve covering an area of around 15.3 sq. km. It is advisable to take a ride on a boat with a panoramic glass floor that will let you observe the sea floor in the bay area; you can also explore it by going scuba diving.
There is a large variety of restaurants, ranging from those that offer spicy chicken and pork dishes to those serving more elegant dishes right by the sea.
Montego Bay provides myriad possibilities of fun and entertainment, alongside the peace and quiet of its beautiful beaches.
“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts has three 5-star vacation complexes in MontegoBay: the Hotel IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Beach, the IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Rose Hall (adults only) and the Hotel IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites. These luxury accommodations provide guests with an exquisite food offer, a complete entertainment for the whole family and facilities with everything you need to fully enjoy your vacation in Jamaica.”