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Your guide to Montego Bay
All About Montego Bay
Montego Bay, the second-largest city in Jamaica, is divided into downtown Montego Bay, a colorful, bustling neighborhood surrounding Sam Sharpe Square, and the tourist strip of Gloucester Avenue, which is lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, and reggae bars. Each area has a distinct personality, allowing you to experience two sides of this lively city. Aside from city attractions, you can enjoy horseback riding on the beach, rafting along the tranquil Martha Brae River, and taking a day trip to Dunn’s River Falls, which cascades nearly 600 feet over limestone terraces before reaching the Caribbean Sea. Montego Bay is also rich in history: you can visit centuries-old buildings, including Greenwood Great House, which was once the home of a famous English poet.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Montego Bay?
Thanks to the warm Caribbean climate, Montego Bay is a great place to visit all year round. While the summers can be hot and humid, this is a great time to hang out at the beach. On August 1 — Emancipation Day in Jamaica — Montego Bay hosts Jerk Fest, with live reggae music, all-ages entertainment, and the chance to feast on everything jerked: chicken, pork, shrimp, and lobster.
The rain begins to pick up in the fall, but usually lasts less than an hour a day, leaving you plenty of time for fun in the sun. In November, the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival showcases the country’s leading jazz and blues musicians. During the winter, the rain lessens and the temperatures drop, giving you the perfect weather to enjoy outdoor activities. If you want to avoid the crowds, spring may be the best time to visit, as the weather is pleasant and the summer high season has yet to kick in.
What are the top things to do in Montego Bay?
Doctor’s Cave Beach
The cave that gave this beach its name was destroyed in a hurricane 90 years ago. Today, Doctor’s Cave Beach is a beautiful stretch of powder-white sand and aquamarine water right in the middle of Montego Bay, off Gloucester Avenue. In the 1920s, a British doctor took a dip in the warm turquoise water and declared it had restored him to good health, curing him of any ailments. Test it out for yourself by going for a swim.
Located 45 minutes from Montego Bay, this lagoon is home to millions of tiny bioluminescent organisms that, when disturbed by boats or swimmers, begin to glow. Take a kayak or boat trip along the lagoon after the sun has gone down, and perhaps even jump into the water to truly appreciate the beauty of this phenomenon. This event is best seen on overcast nights or when there is not a full moon, so you’ll need to check the calendar.
Martha Brae River Rafting
One of the best ways to explore the beautiful waterways of Jamaica is through river rafting. Rafting along the gentle blue-green Martha Brae River lets you immerse yourself in the island’s lush jungles. Trips start from the Rafters’ Village, where you can take a dip in the pool or have lunch in the picnic area, and slowly meander through the rainforest down the river on traditional bamboo floats.