Montego Bay is known as Jamaica's second city, but it is the island's tourism capital and arguably one of the Caribbean’s leading resort destinations. The vibrant seaside city has been the playground of the world's rich and famous as well as every day tourists who arrive daily via air and sea. Easily accessible, Montego Bay boasts a first class international airport as well as modern port visited by many cruise lines.
The award winning Sangster International Airport is a major hub for the Caribbean with direct and charter flights from many cities across North America, Europe and South America. The IAM Private Jet Centre is also located in Jamaica's second city complete with a fast-track Immigration and Customs service and also provides meeting rooms for business travellers to Jamaica.
This Jamaican resort city boasts a wide selection of accommodation for visitors to the island, including well-established 5-star luxury resorts, newer all-inclusive hotels, intimate bed and breakfast inns and private villas. Transportation is easy to find in the urban centre and there is lots of access from other parts of the island as well, including the Knutsford Express luxury bus service and Inter island flights. an unmatched array of amenities and attractions making Montego Bay a vibrant holiday centre.
Don’t try and compare Montego Bay to anywhere else in the world. Enjoy its noisy, lively Caribbean charm as a uniquely Jamaican experience. The city centre still boasts several cobbled streets framed by last-century gingerbread architecture along with sleek modern structures, while the main highway into town and beyond is a broad landscaped smooth thoroughfare. City streets are crowded, colourful and lively and Jamaicans flock in to visit markets, shops and banks. Guests from hotels and cruise ships make their way to in-bond shops and craft markets. Charter buses line the street by the cruise ship pier waiting to whisk all those disembarking to enjoy and explore all the many tours, activities and attractions the island has to offer.
Sam Sharpe Square, can be viewed roughly as the centre of the town along with the Cage, formerly a jail for runaway slaves, and the ruins of the Courthouse, built in 1804 and destroyed by fire some decades ago. Follow the Heritage Trails to discover more about the rich and vibrant history of the Jamaican people.
On the western side of the harbour, Freeport has been developed on what were once the mangrove swamps of the Bogue Islands. Here are the deep water piers which serve as cruise port of call and where freight is unloaded. This is also the site of the Montego Bay Free Zone, which employs a great number of Montegonians in the manufacture of such things as T-shirts and sportswear, all for export. Jamaica Digiport International, a hi-tech telecommunications centre, is also at Montego Freeport.
Montego Bay was a sugar and banana town but the sugar factories have closed down and bananas are now shipped out from Kingston and Port Antonio. The visual depicted in so many older paintings of women carrying bananas on their heads and singing the Tallyman song while carrying out their back-breaking work, is a thing of the past but the history is still there to be explored in art galleries and the great houses which are plentiful in the area.
Montego Bay's original claim to fame as a vacation destination was the renowned white-sand Doctor's Cave Beach which attracted celebrities and socialites from all over the world. The beach is said to be fed by healing mineral springs and it certainly boasts the most uncommonly clear and sparkling water.
In recent years, other beach clubs have been developed in the area, each with its own special character. The Aquasol Beach Park is closest to town on Gloucester Avenue. Cornwall Beach is just a little beyond Doctor's Cave, Tropical Beach and Rose Hall Beach lie further out of town.
The days can be spent here exploring all the area has to offer both naturally with rivers, waterfalls and the beaches, along with the stamp of Jamaicans over generations from historic sites to playgrounds filled with activities. The nights also offer a variety of entertainment, with gaming lounges, the non-stop party at Margaritaville and fun local bars like Blue Beats and Pier 1. Delicious cuisine is everywhere from staple spots like Pelican Bar & Grill and the Pork Pit on the Hip Strip to Evelyn’s at Dead End Road and Mystic Thai in Whitter Village.
Montego Bay simply can’t all be absorbed in one visit. Like many destinations in the world, each time you return you’ll have the chance to explore more that the city has on its menu and you’ll fall deeper under its spell.