Exploring Montego Bay
Montego Bay—MoBay to locals—is about a 20-minute ride west of Falmouth. It is Jamaica’s second-largest city and its No. 1 tourist destination. Within this commercial center, visitors have the option to lounge by the warm waters of the bay; hit a funky beach bar on the Hip Strip; tee off at a championship golf course; tour historical plantations; or get lost beneath the rainforest’s emerald-green canopy, which hides scores of plunging waterfalls.
Begin exploring the lively city in the cobblestoned Sam Sharpe Square, formerly called Charles Square. The name was changed in 1981 to commemorate one of Jamaica’s national heroes, Sam Sharpe, for his efforts in an 1831 rebellion in the name of freedom. On the corner of the square, a small brick and stone building known as The Cage was once used as an overnight jail for village misanthropes.
One of the grandest displays of architecture in MoBay is the St. James Parish Church. Built in 1775 and restored after a 1957 earthquake, the church is constructed of white limestone and features a lovely bell tower and an elaborate Palladian window behind the altar. Beach lovers can head to Montego Bay’s Doctor’s Cave Beach, one of the island’s most picturesque stretches of sand. The water here is said to be fed by mineral springs with natural healing powers, which caught the attention of wealthy travelers back in the 1940s. It’s the perfect place to relax, go for a swim, or snorkel in the crystal clear waters.
The hopping Gloucester Avenue, aptly named the Hip Strip, is a beachfront boulevard with Montego Bay’s most-happening shops, bars, and restaurants. For an authentic taste of Jamaica, order jerked pork, chicken, or sausage accompanied by a Red Stripe beer or a tropical concoction made with local Appleton Estate rum.
Cornwall Beach is another favorite spot on the Hip Strip, ideal for swimming, snorkeling, or just soaking up some sun. Join in beach games, learn local dance moves, or relax under an umbrella, while reggae and steel-pan-drum music plays in the background.
Saddle up for a ride through two of the oldest sugar plantations on the island, then head to Chukka Beach, where you’ll feel the rush as you ride into the Caribbean Sea atop your trusty steed.
Ascend the natural staircase of world famous Dunn’s River Falls for a waterfall climb. At Dolphin Cove, paddle in glass-bottom kayaks, brave the 250-foot waterslide, swim with stingrays, or soak up the sun.
Visit the white sands of Red Stripe Beach, 10 minutes from port. It offers total relaxation, where you can soak up the Caribbean sun or jump into warm Jamaican waters.
Discover an oceanfront paradise at Blue Waters Beach Club. Soak up the sun with an all-inclusive package. Party at the beach bar, dance to reggae music, swim, sunbathe, and more.
Take a safari in your own ATV buggy across the Richmond Property to see the old Sugar Factory’s chimney stack, a dry river bed, forests, and the countryside. Then, return to Chukka Cove for a dip in the private cove.
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