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Your guide to Montego Bay
All About Montego Bay
Montego Bay is an idyllic Caribbean vacation spot with year-round blue skies, white sandy beaches, and a vibrant nightlife on Jamaica’s North Coast. The famous Doctor’s Cave Beach lies at the heart of the city and features a historic bathing club overlooking a 300-metre stretch of sand with calm emerald waters patrolled by lifeguards. You can try parasailing and jet skiing or go snorkelling with colourful reefs to explore. Next door is the quiet Cornwall Beach with loungers for soaking up the sun, and Walter Fletcher Beach nearby is great fun, with a go-kart track and an aquatic park with blow-up slides.
Along the oceanfront is Gloucester Avenue, a two-mile strip of shops and restaurants with authentic jerk chicken. At night the strip is where you’ll find bars, reggae shows, and nightclubs where you can dance all night. Just off the coast is Montego Bay Marine Park, a protected area full of coral reefs and mangroves. A scuba diving or glass-bottom boat will take you to see swarms of tropical fish swimming around the reefs, including groupers, barracudas, and stripy sergeant majors.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Montego Bay?
Jamaica experiences a tropical climate with year-round warm weather. The most pleasant time to vacation in a rental house or villa in Montego Bay is from December to April, when the days are warm and sunny for enjoying the beach with little chance of rain. The famous jazz and blues festival occurs in January with seven days of concerts featuring top local and international musicians. May to November is the rainy season, when you’re likely to experience warm humidity and changeable conditions. You can expect regular short, sharp bursts of showers mixed in with plenty of sunshine.
In July, one of the most popular reggae events in the city features local and international acts, with dancing and culinary delights. If you’re a foodie, consider timing your visit during Jamaica’s Food and Drink Festival, with five days of celebrations. While not a common occurrence, Jamaica can experience hurricanes, with the official hurricane season running from June to November.
What are the top things to do in Montego Bay?
Martha Brae River
Head 30 minutes inland to Martha Brae River where you can take a traditional bamboo raft journey through beautiful jungle scenery. You’ll sit on top of a double-seat throne on the raft decorated with colourful flowers while a guide steers you along a three-mile stretch of the calm river. Bars and shops are available to stop at along the way. There’s even a zipline if you fancy whizzing across the river.
Montego Bay Cultural Centre
Visit the city’s cultural centre in Sam Sharpe Square to gain a fascinating insight into Jamaican culture and heritage. It is home to the National Museum West, which features Jamaica’s most prominent contemporary artists and includes paintings, sculptures, and photos. There’s a gift shop on-site where you can buy authentic Jamaican pieces crafted by locals, and the centre often holds events, including folk concerts.
You may want to visit the nearby town of Negril, home to Seven Mile Beach — regarded as one of the best beaches in the world. As the name suggests, this is a long stretch of beautiful white sand lined with palm trees and clear warm waters. For a spot of shopping, make your way to Norman Manley Boulevard, which is full of restaurants and reggae bars, as well as small stalls on the pavement selling crafts and jerk chicken.