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Plan Your Montego Bay Holiday: Best of Montego Bay

Explore Montego Bay

While this Jamaican spring break favourite is great for party animals, it can also be surprisingly low-key. Montego Bay has excellent duty-free shopping, high-energy nightlife, and stunning beaches with clear, calm waters and bright white sand. You can browse the “Hip Strip” shops for handmade souvenirs, feed hummingbirds at Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, or chow down jerk chicken under a thatched roof. Water sports are another Montego Bay mainstay—the underwater crevices of Widowmaker’s Cave offer one of the best diving experiences on the island. If that sounds intimidating, opt instead to float serenely down the Martha Brae River on a bamboo raft, and let your troubles melt away under the sun.
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Essential Montego Bay

How to do Montego Bay in 2 days

Luminescent lagoons, catamaran cruises, and beachfront bites
Read on

A cruise guide to one day in Montego Bay

If you’ve booked a Caribbean cruise, chances are Montego Bay is on the itinerary. The colourful city—locally known as MoBay—straddles the northwestern coast and is one of Jamaica’s most popular areas. These recommendations will help you make the most of your time because there is a lot to see. Spoiler alert: Don’t miss the best jerk on the island.
Nasha Smith, Gros Islet, St. Lucia
  • Hip Strip
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    The Strip is MoBay’s buzzy main artery, dotted with restaurants, shops, bars, and clubs. One of the high points is its walkability. Meander along the wide ribbon of road and pick up a memento along the way. It’s also never too early to savour an authentic Jamaican beef patty from one of the stalls and wash it down with a Red Stripe beer.
  • Doctor's Cave Beach
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    It’s almost impossible to visit a Caribbean island without spending some time at the beach, and Doctor’s Cave is certainly worth the trip. The beach—with its shell-hued, powdery sand, and gin-clear water in various shades of blue—is believed to have healing properties. The folklore draws the crowds, so brace yourself. But there’s room for everyone, not to mention great snorkelling. Tip: Bring cash as there’s a small entry fee.
  • Montego Bay Cultural Center
    15
    I always try to maximise my time on short trips, and this stop does just that. The cultural centre sits on Sam Sharpe Square, a historical site named after one of Jamaica’s national heroes. It adds a contemporary layer to the island’s rich past, and the museum narrates the story of western Jamaica through artifacts, photographs, and displays. The pièce de résistance is an exhibition featuring works by Jamaican artists from Kingston’s National Gallery.
  • Martha Brae River
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    I’m not a swimmer, so, for me, this tranquil respite is the next best thing. During the hour-long tour, you’ll glide along a three-mile stretch of the jade-green Martha Brae River on a 30-foot-long bamboo raft. But don’t worry, you’ll be guided by a trained expert the whole time. As you pass under the canopy of trees, you’ll hear melodic birdsong. You can even have a go at poling the raft yourself, which makes for a stunning keepsake photo.
  • Pork Pit
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    For lunch, head to Pork Pit to experience the true essence of jerk. It’s an easy 15-minute stroll from Doctor’s Cave Beach. Look out for the bright yellow exterior or simply follow the aromatic scent wafting down the street. The menu features flavorful jerk chicken, pork, and seafood smoked over a wood-fired pit, as well as local staples like red beans and rice. I recommend the jerk chicken wings and pillowy dough festival, which lives in my head rent-free.
  • Scotchies
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    You can never have too much jerk, and there is no better place to grab a plate (or two) than this Jamaican institution. Scotchies is arguably the best jerk joint on the island. You’re guaranteed maximum flavour and generous portions. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there is a homemade fire sauce crafted from the Scotch Bonnet peppers that give the spot its name.