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Things to do in Montego Bay

Things to do in  Montego Bay

Welcome to Montego Bay

Perched on Jamaica’s northeast coast on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, Montego Bay is a magnet for travelers seeking rest and relaxation near the water. All-inclusive resorts abut the rough and tumble downtown of ‘Mo’Bay,’ filled with jerk joints, souvenir shops, and British colonial architecture. The white sand beaches and turquoise waters are the main draws, offering boundless opportunities for snorkeling, parasailing, and cruising on a catamaran. And Jamaica’s scenic North Coast Highway runs through Montego Bay, providing an artery for striking out on popular day tours to Dunn’s River Falls, Ocho Rios, or Negril.

Top 15 attractions in Montego Bay

Dunn's River Falls

Dunn's River Falls is a spectacular White River waterfall near Ocho Rios in Jamaica, where cold mountain water cascades 1,000 feet (300 meters) down naturally terraced steps. Those interested in geology will be fascinated with the way the world-famous falls renew themselves via regular deposits of calcium carbonate and sodium, while movie buffs will recognize them from films such as Dr. No and Cocktail.More

Martha Brae River

Winding 20 miles (32 kilometers) through Jamaica’s tropical inland rain forests, the turquoise Martha Brae River is an essential stop for nature lovers traveling in this Caribbean country. Visit for a quick rafting trip or take advantage of its privileged position close to other natural attractions and diverse wildlife during your Jamaica vacation.More

Club Mobay Departure Lounge

Start your Montego Bay vacation as soon as you get off the plane at Club Mobay, and then linger in island vibes until the minute you board your flight back home. This luxury lounge in Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport combines professional services with Jamaican hospitality, making your airport experience part of your vacation.More

Rose Hall Great House

The Rose Hall Great House is a grand estate built in the late 18th century in Montego Bay, Jamaica. One of the area’s most popular historic attractions, the Georgian mansion is the centerpiece of a 650-acre (263-hectare) plantation that is most notable for its famous occupant, Annie Palmer—better known as the White Witch of Rose Hall.More

Greenwood Great House

Take a walk through a unique piece of history with a tour of the magnificent hilltop Greenwood Great House. A national landmark, the house was built in the late 1700s by Richard Barrett, a cousin of poet Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, whose family was among Jamaica’s original colonial settlers.More

Doctor's Cave Beach

Set along Montego Bay’s famous Hip Strip stretch along Gloucester Avenue, Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Jamaica’s west coast. A jumping-off point to the pristine 15-acre (6-hectare) Montego Bay Marine Park, the beach offers easy and direct access to fun water-based activities.More

Hip Strip (Gloucester Avenue)

Buzzing with activity and music day and night, the Hip Strip is the beating heart of Montego Bay. This stretch of Gloucester Avenue—between Aquasol Theme Park and the airport—is the epicenter of tourism entertainment, where the town’s most popular shops, nightclubs, restaurants, bars, and beach hangouts pulsate with fun-seeking travelers.More

YS Falls

YS Falls comprises seven waterfalls on the YS River, located in St. Elizabeth Parish on the lush south coast of Jamaica. Often overshadowed by Dunn’s River Falls, YS is worth a visit for its more secluded location and the promise of a less-crowded experience of Jamaica’s natural beauty.More

Rio Bueno

Reportedly the place where Christopher Columbus first set foot on Jamaican soil, Rio Bueno is a small village east of Montego Bay. People come to the area to take part in water sports on the river.More

Good Hope Estate

Once Jamaica’s largest sugar plantation, the resplendent Good Hope Estate offers a unique and historic view into 18th-century life on the island. Visitors can enjoy horse-drawn carriage tours, an adventure park with ziplines, river tubing, ATV rides, and an exotic bird aviary. Overnight guests enjoy luxurious, colonial-era stone cottages.More

Sam Sharpe Square

Named after the abolitionist hero who encouraged a nonviolent end to slavery, Sam Sharpe Square in downtown Montego Bay now serves as a point of interest to learn about Jamaica’s rich history, or simply to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere and some people-watching.More

Rocklands Bird Sanctuary

Home to thousands of native and migrant birds, the family-owned Rocklands Bird Sanctuary in the hills of Montego Bay is a haven for feathered friends and a memorable way to spend a few hours. Set within a garden paradise, the sanctuary is a peaceful setting where a spectacular array of birds allow visitors to feed them by hand.More

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon

Falmouth’s Luminous Lagoon is one of only a handful of places in the world where the phenomenon of bioluminescence occurs. For a magical experience for all ages, take a nighttime swim to see the brilliant phosphorescent blue lights shimmer when the slightest movement stirs the water.More

Blue Mountains

The highest peak, the longest range, the best coffee—Jamaica’s Blue Mountains rightfully claim a handful of superlatives. The mountain range spans 28 miles (45 kilometers) across the rugged eastern portion of Jamaica and offers views of the island’s north and south coasts, and on a clear day, even all the way across the Caribbean Sea to Cuba.More

Harbour Street Craft Market

A popular stop for visitors, Montego Bay's craft market stretches for several blocks along Harbour Street and lets shoppers interact with the local artisans who run the narrow network of stalls. Come to pick up handmade Jamaican crafts, including custom woodworking, colorful paintings, and beads.More
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Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Montego Bay

How to Spend 2 Days in Montego Bay

Top activities in Montego Bay

Club Mobay: Sangster Airport VIP Lounge, Concierge Service, and Fast-Track Entry
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Dunn's River Falls Climb plus Ziplines, ATV, Horse Ride & Swim from Montego Bay
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Triple Action pack Combo (Blue Hole, Horse back riding and river tubing)
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All about Montego Bay

When to visit

Like all of Jamaica, Montego Bay is most popular from December to April, when visitors enjoy average temperatures of 82°F (28°C) to 85°F (29°C) and gentle breezes. Given these idyllic conditions, it’s no surprise the sands get busy in winter and early spring. January’s Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and the island’s Carnival celebrations are also big draws. For fewer crowds, visit in spring (April through June), when it gets a little bit rainy, or in November, when the summer’s tropical hurricanes have tailed off.

Getting around

There is no official public bus network in Montego Bay, so tourists use hotel courtesy shuttles and private cabs. Before jumping in a cab, however, make sure it has the red license plates issued to government-endorsed vehicles. You can also rent a car, but be ready for the frenetic traffic and bumpy roads. Alternatively, you can book guided tours or give the local route taxis a go; these cheap (often crowded) minibuses pick up and drop off along all main routes.

Traveler tips

If you’re looking for a quick bite, skip MoBay’s fast-food chains and head to a local legend: the Pork Pit. It may be rough and ready, but this rickety, bright yellow shack sitting on Gloucester Avenue opposite Walter Fletcher Beach is famous for its super-unctuous barbecued jerk chicken. Order your meat at the smoky pit, take a seat at a picnic table in the shade of a giant cotton tree, and enjoy your meal with a cold beer for a moment of bliss.

People Also Ask

What is Montego Bay known for?

Jamaica’s top tourist destination, Montego Bay—MoBay to locals—boasts white-sand beaches, vibrant shopping and nightlife, golf courses, and near-permanent sunshine. Particular attractions include Doctor’s Cave beach with its gin-clear seas; the gingerbread-style houses of its resort center; and the Martha Brae River and Rose Hall estate house.

What is there to do in Montego Bay, Jamaica?

Montego Bay has a little bit of everything, including beach lounging, watersports, cruises, golf, horseback rides, forest ziplines, Martha Brae River rafting, and trips to waterfalls or the Rose Hall estate. By night, stroll the resort’s cobblestoned center, eat at buzzy restaurants, sip beach cocktails, and hit the “Hip Strip” nightspots.

How many days do you need in Montego Bay?

Cruise passengers usually get a day in MoBay, as Montego Bay is known, but one or two weeks is better to experience its beaches and activities. Explore the downtown craft market, ride a river raft or rainforest ATV, or take excursions to the supposedly haunted Rose Hall or Dunn’s River Falls.

Are there waterfalls in Montego Bay?

No. But two idyllic waterfalls are about a 90 minutes’ drive from Montego Bay. Most famous is Dunn’s River Falls on Jamaica’s north coast, where you can climb terraced cascades and swim in crystal lagoons. To the south is YS Falls, a series of seven tropical falls, also with natural pools.

Is it safe to walk around Montego Bay?

Yes and no. It's safe to walk in tourist areas during daylight or stroll with others after dark—providing you’re vigilant. Unfortunately, crime rates are high in some of Montego Bay’s central neighborhoods, so it's best to avoid them. Wherever you are, especially along the “Hip Strip,” leave valuables at your hotel.

Is Montego Bay expensive?

No. Jamaica is pretty affordable, and Montego Bay is only pricey if you stay at its upscale hotels and insist on expensive things. To vacation on a budget, stay at an all-inclusive resort and dine at beach shacks, where dinner can be as little as US $5 to $10 per person.


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