Holidays in Montego Bay
Detail & Description
Montego Bay in 2 days
The exclusive Mahoe Bay, in the north of Jamaica, lies just a few kilometers away from Montego Bay. Its idyllic location makes it the perfect place not only to relax on its beaches by crystal clear seas, but also to discover some of the region's highlights, and enjoy the wide range of activities and sports available and the excellent golf courses in the area.
In order to get into the Jamaican atmosphere, you could start your day by visiting the Sam Sharpe Memorial, in the main square of Montego Bay, with a statue of this 19th-century leader of the slave rebellion. Take a stroll around the square and you will also see The Cage, a former lock-up for slaves; and walk from the square towards the seafront and you will have the opportunity to wander round the local craft market. If you have time, do not miss the Bob Marley Experience and Theater, a center dedicated to this musician, a true national hero in Jamaica, where you can find out everything about his life and about reggae.
In the afternoon, experience the island's natural environment. If you are looking for something romantic and relaxing, go to Martha Brae River and enjoy the amazing experience of lying on a bamboo raft and drifting down the river; if it's hot, don't forget your bathing suit and your guide will be happy to show you the places where you can go swimming. If you body needs something more exciting, you can go to the Montego Bay marina and hire the equipment you need to go diving in these crystalline Caribbean waters. If you have never tried diving or snorkeling, you can get an instructor to go with you and help you explore the sea plants and animals in the area. If going underwater is just not for you, but you fancy seeing coral reefs, shipwrecks and exotic fish, there are glass-hulled boats in which you can sit down and relax while you admire the underwater marvels here.
To finish you day, your RIU Hotel in Montego Bay offers all the flavors and rhythms of Jamaica with an impressive variety of dishes and a great evening entertainment program.
On your second day in Montego Bay, you can take a tour that will give you a closer look at Jamaican culture and traditions. There are many options you can choose from, depending on your interests and tastes.
However, since you are in Jamaica, your first choice should be a visit to the Rastafarian Indigenous Village, where you can learn about this community's music and food, as well as their spectacular jumps into the sea and the boats they use to go fishing. On the way, there is a lovely walk through the forest that leads you to your destination.
If you love a mystery, don't miss the Rose Hall Great House, an impressive relic of colonial times that presided over a vast plantation. The place is noted for the legend of a white witch from the 18th century who once practiced voodoo.
Another suggestion, this time for animal lovers, is a visit to the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, just a half-hour drive by car or bus. This place is home to over 200 bird species, many with striking colors. You will be able to feed some of them with your own hands.
Our last suggestion is for those who would like to find out about one of the country's main economic resources: fruit plantations. The Croydon Plantation welcomes visitors and shows them how pineapples go from the tree to the table, and how each part of this fruit is used. On your way to the plantation you will spot a number of villages where you can observe the local way of life, away from those areas more frequented by tourists.
In the evening, we recommend one of the most beautiful sights that nature can offer by night: the Glistening Waters, a stunning lagoon home to a rare phosphorescent microbe that, when moved, creates a unique display of light. So, when these organisms are disturbed by the movement of boats, fish or your own body (if you decide to go swimming here), the water glows. This phenomenon is said to occur only in four places in the world, and Jamaica's is considered to be the finest.
Mahoe Bay beach
Protected by a reef, this beach is perfect for swimming and practising water sports such as sailing or windsurfing. Since this is one of the most exclusive parts of the north coast of Jamaica, the beach is fairly quiet and never overcrowded.
The Riu Montego Bay hotel is situated in front of the beach in a privileged position.
Delightful excursions are available on the Martha Brae River and Great River, 40 minutes from Mahoe Bay:
Martha Brae: Beautiful trip down a 5-km. stretch of river, amidst lush vegetation. The guides are experts on the river and will show you the best places to bathe in its transparent waters.
Great River: This trip starts in the quiet village of Lethe and takes you through picturesque farmland and orchards.
There is a host of excursions that will help you discover the surrounding area. One of the most highly recommended ones goes from the Rose Hall estate to the nearby mountains. Another one takes you along some of the heavenly beaches in this area, where you will end up in the water with your horse.
This is a lovely experience for beginners, as the treks are not very difficult. Pony treks are also organised for youngsters.
Diving and snorkelling
Some of the best immersion points of the island are off the coast of Montego Bay:
Airport Reef: Considered the island's best diving spot. This is an enormous coral reef with a great variety of tropical fish. The place is unique for its large number of caves and tunnels. You can also swim amongst the wreckage of a DC3.
Montego Bay and Bogue Lagoon National Marine Park: Nature sanctuary with an abundance of turtles, barracudas, crabs and lobsters. There are also birds, such as herons, pelicans and woodpeckers.
The Point: Spectacular wall of coral 70 m. deep. The area is striking for its colonies of manta rays and sharks.
Party-cruises and dinner-cruises
These cruises enable you to have fun and discover the coast at the same time. Most of them have an open bar, good music and even offer the opportunity to snorkel. There are also evening cruises, with dinner included and a quieter atmosphere.
The best courses in the area lie just a few kilometres from the Riu Montego Bay hotel:
Tryall Golf Club: Considered the best course in the Caribbean, running between palms and fruit trees. The course affords spectacular views of the sea and mountains nearby.
Half Moon Golf Club: Another course with a world-famous reputation. It combines the difficulty of its holes with beautiful scenery set between mountains and the sea.
White Witch Golf Club: A winding course running between the lush, green hills of the Rose Hall plantation. Holes 16 and 18 offer magnificent sea views.
Montego Bay is in the middle of the migratory route of several highly-prized species such as marlins and yellowfin tuna. There is also an abundance of dolphins and a local variety of mackerel called wahoo.
Peppers stuffed with crab: Speciality from the west coast of Jamaica. A delicacy worth trying.
Meat with curry and coconut milk: Chicken, pork and kid dishes with coconut milk and curry sauces abound. This delicious way of preparing meat is reminiscent of Indian food.
Rum: Nowhere in the Caribbean is there a greater variety of rum than in Jamaica. You will find all kinds of rum, from smooth whites to extremely expensive, amber-coloured ones.
Riu Pacha: Located in the hotel Riu Montego Bay, this world-famous discotheque combines local rhythms with international music. Good atmosphere and partying guaranteed.
"Sumfest" Reggae Festival: Jamaica's most famous festival. Held in July in Montego Bay, with the participation of at least 50 of the best reggae artists of the day. Four days of good music, with concerts on the beach and partying in the very heart of the town, in Gloucester Avenue.
Half Moon Shopping Village: Select, pleasant shopping centre where you will find a broad selection of international clothes and other articles. 3 km. from Mahoe Bay.
Gloucester Avenue in Montego Bay: Lively street in the centre of Montego Bay where you will find all kinds of local souvenirs: rum, cigars or T-shirts.
Craft: Harbour and Fort Montego markets, both in Montego Bay, have a good selection of Jamaican craft goods.
Recommended in Montego Bay
- Rafting excursions
- Horse riding
- Diving and snorkelling
- Party-cruises and dinner-cruises
- Going out
The best of Montego Bay
Witness bioluminescence: the dense schools of plankton present in the bay give off a glow at the slightest stimulus or movement.
The picturesque, busy historic centre of the town contains several treasures that are worth seeing:
Church Street: The town's most picturesque street, with plenty of atmosphere and several extremely interesting buildings: the National Housing Trust, in Georgian style, and the Town House, with its façade covered in bougainvilleas.
Saint James Parish Church: Possibly Jamaica's most impressive church. Its beautiful stained-glass window and the sculptures by John Bacon, the most important 18th-century British sculptor, are outstanding. The church is in Church Street.
Sam Sharpe Square: Beautiful square with plenty of atmosphere, dedicated to national hero Sam Sharpe. At the southern end there is a bronze statue dedicated to Sharpe.
Burchell Church: Sam Sharpe is buried in this beautiful brick church.
In this bay, which is just a few minutes from Falmouth, you can see a wonderful sight: bioluminescence. Schools of plankton give off a glow as a result of any stimulus or movement. The concentration of plankton is so high in these waters that they light up when you swirl them with your hand or when a fish moves.
Night excursions depart from the bay to enable you to observe this wonderful phenomenon.
Rose Hall Mansion
Jamaica's most famous colonial mansion is a good example of 18th-century colonial architecture. Outstanding features are a large staircase and the large doors, both made of local mahogany. The mansion overlooks Mahoe Bay and the surrounding area, offering magnificent views 10km from Mahoe Bay.
Inhospitable, mysterious region of the interior. Although most of this area has no roads, there are a few accessible places worth visiting:
Windsor Caves: Formed by the springs that flow into Martha Brae River, these impressive calcareous rock caves are home to an important colony of bats. Nightfall, when these animals leave the caves to hunt, is quite an impressive spectacle.
Albert Town: Departure point for discovering the small hamlets of Cockpit County and the fauna of the surrounding region: endemic birds, the Jamaican boa and numerous species of amphibians.
Interesting Georgian-style town. Its history is marked by slavery and the sugar cane plantations. The weight of history bears down on you when you walk along its streets, amongst buildings formerly used for the slave trade.
The town is fairly lively, especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which are market days. It lies 30km from Mahoe Bay.