MONTEGO BAY

JAMAICA
Montego BAY Itinerary

Crystal clear waters, all-inklusives & Jamaican city life

Duration: at least 5 days

Budget: $ 75 per day

Stay:  Belleh23 or Raggamuffin

I was a little weary of Montego as it seems such a popular all-inclusive spot. However, the city quickly grew on me, and I was happy to return before my flight back to Germany. The airport is located just outside of downtown and right by the beach. The plane was touching the ground as the sun was setting.
I found Montego to be the perfect starting point for my trip to Jamaica. Its touristic infrastructure allows you to settle in quite quickly while downtown affords you glimpses into real Jamaican city life. Furthermore, as the island is relatively small, one can set out to do anything from MoBay.
For starters, let’s divide Montego Bay into roughly two areas: Gloucester Avenue, aka the “Hip Strip,” lined by beaches and bars and restaurants on the other. The “Hip Strip” is Montego’s main tourist area, and you can feel an American vibe.

  • Sight Seeing 40% 40%
  • Beaches 70% 70%
  • Day-Trips 95% 95%
  • Party 100% 100%

The rest of Montego Bay and downtown feel a lot more real and offer an authentic feeling to those of venture out. To experience the best of both worlds, I can only urge you to venture beyond the Hip Strip and get to know Mobay from an Airbnb in a more local neighborhood.
I loved my stay with Cerri and Jah B in Mount Salem. The vibe was so lovely and welcoming. Not only did I have a fantastic view over Mobay, but some of my favorite food sports, such as Tradishonal, were within walking distance.

Beaches in Montego Bay

Kingston is the world’s dancehall hub, and the famous parties attract dancers from around the world. So naturally, it’s easy to find a dancehall teacher to get your groove going!

Harmony beach

Coming from downtown, Harmony beach is the first beach you’ll pass. It’s a free public beach that was just recently opened. To my surprise, it’s pretty large and was always empty when I walked by in the mornings. Unfortunately, the beach is closed Mondays for maintenance.

 

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Beaches in Montego Bay

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Doctor’s Cove

This stunning beach’s supposedly healing waters have attracted visitors since its opening in 1906. Today, it’s Mobay’s most famous beach offering visitors all kinds of amenities. You’ll find the entrance next to Starbucks (which already says a lot). The Entrance fee is $6. While the beach feels almost like you have entered a hotel complex, the color of the water and the views of incoming and departing flights are unique.
Doctor’s Cove beach is also the perfect spot to spend your last day before heading to the airport as it’s close by and even offers showers.

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One Man Beach

If you want to hang out with locals and have a good time, the place to be. There’s also a beachfront soccer place.

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Dead End Beach

Dead End Beach is the famous beach where airplanes land right over your head, as the airport is right beside the beach! This relatively small stretch of beach located north of Gloucester Avenue is also known as Buccaneer beach. It’s a free public beach with no facilities. Located just a short walk from the more famous Doctor’s Cave Beach, Dead End Beach is a more relaxed place to watch the sunset.

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Montego's Gloucester ave, aka. "Hip Strip"

Mobay’s Hips Strip is the main party street in Montego Bay, with many bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. It’s also where you’ll find Jamaica’s largest duty-free shopping area. In addition, it is the center of tourism. It’s not my favorite spot as food and vibes are much better downtown, but you’ll find Island Strains Herb House there – my favorite place to spend sunsets in MoBay!

Downtown Montego Bay

Downtown Mobay isn’t exactly pretty and is a pretty gritty city. As I stayed in Mount Salem, my daily walk to the beaches took me along Chruch St., Mobay’s “most picturesque” street. You’ll find Mobay’s Townhouse, Gregorian-style structures, and some pretty churches there. While I found the beach areas of Mobay more touristic, I enjoyed my time downtown. The food is better, and it feels more like an actual Jamaican city with fewer tourists.

Sam Sharpe Square

The square was named after Jamaican National hero Samuel Sharp. Samuel Sharp led the Christmas rebellion in 1831. In the afternoon hours, you’ll find tasty street food around, and it’s a good spot for hanging out and observing the crazy hustle of the city. Close by, you’ll also find the National heros’ Monument.

Montego Bay Cultural Center

Southwest of Sam’ Sharpe Square, you’ll find Montego’s Cultural Center. Home to a history museum, a small art gallery, and (before covid) MoBay’s cultural events. The museum is especially interesting as it tells the story of Montego Bay from the Time of the Arawaks to the present day.

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Greenwood Great House

A visit to Greenwood Great House is a must-do for any history buff. This 18th-century plantation home was once owned by the famous pirate Henry Morgan.
Today, it’s a museum where you can learn about the area’s colonial past. Be sure to tour the grounds and see the beautiful bay views from the property. Greenwood Great House offers visitors a chance to explore Jamaica’s diverse history and culture, just a short distance from the bustling city center and overlooking the scenic Caribbean Sea. Whether you are interested in learning about old plantation life or exploring local artworks, Greenwood Great House has something for everyone. And if you want to relax and enjoy breathtaking views of the water and stunning mountain scenery, there are plenty of outdoor spaces where you can do just that.

Rose Hall Great House

If you’re looking for a truly unique and memorable experience in Montego Bay, be sure to check out Rose Hall Great House. Rose Hall Great House is another must-see for history lovers. This 18th-century plantation home is brimming with history. Rose Hall showcases beautiful historical architecture and offers tours of the property that take you through interesting landmarks like the slave cemetery and Annie Palmer’s private chambers. Whether you’re a local or just visiting for a day, Rose Hall is a must-see destination for anyone interested in iconic Jamaican history. This 18th-century plantation home was once owned by Annie Palmer, the so-called “White Witch of Rose Hall.” Today, it’s a museum where you can learn about the area’s dark past. Be sure to tour the grounds and see the beautiful bay views from the property.

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Green Grotto Caves

This 1.5 km-long cave system is famous for being the filming location for the James Bond movie Live and Let Die, but it also has a rich history. The caves were a hiding place for enslaved people and the Spanish in the 17th century and later served as a nightclub in the 1990s. Today, the caves are open for tourists and offer a moving glimpse into Jamaican history. Visitors can explore the cave system on their own or take a guided tour, and there is also a small museum on site.

Jamaican Food Tours

Are you looking for a delicious way to experience Montego Bay? Then check out one of the city’s food tours! You’ll get to try dishes from some of the area’s most famous restaurants and learn about Jamaican culture and history. You’ll also get to explore some of the city’s coolest neighborhoods. So what are you waiting for? Book a food tour today!

You’ll set off on your culinary adventure as soon as you meet with our guide and start driving around the area. You might try jerk chicken, one of Jamaica’s most common dishes- it tastes delicious! Alongside this tour, we will also teach about how cooking over a fire made sense for centuries but has since changed due to modernity; now, they use barrels filled with w/charcoal instead (and there are even stands where people sell their food). Whether dining at an authentic restaurant or roadside stand – everything smells & looks fantastic so enjoy every minute while learning more than just “What’re some good places nearby?

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Get ready to tavel Jamaica

Public Transport in Montego Bay

Route Taxis are the way to move around Jamaica. Official route taxis have a red license plate. In MoBay, you’ll see the route they are catering written on the doors. Route taxis are the cheapest and most flexible way to move around. Just be careful to enter/exit on the route. Otherwise, you’ll be charged as a charter taxi.
Public Bus: The bus stop is downtown. I couldn’t find a schedule. They seem to go more frequently than the Knutsford.
Knutsford: Leaving Moby Airport, Jamaica’s luxury bus connects more significant destinations. Be aware that the time stated refers to calculated driving time and not the actual time to reach a destination. Adding to the driving time are stops and bus switches which are not apparent when buying the ticket. Due to Covid, there are fewer buses than usual, and it is better to buy the ticket online.

Airport

Arriving at MoBay Sangster International is quite picturesque as the airport is located right by the beach. The airport is also only 10 minutes from the HipStrip, 15 to downtown, and 20 minutes up Mount Salem. Sangster International Airport is also small making it extra comfortable to move around.

Safety

As a female traveler, I felt safe. Obviously, there are some hustlers you’ll be fine with as long as you are friendly and walk with a purpose.
Montego’s SoZo’s
Zones of Special Operations were established about 10 years ago around Jamaica’s cities after crime escalated. You’ll notice the military around as soon as you enter a ZoSo. Salem is such a SoZo in MoBay. Be aware, but don’t let it scare you. Flankers, Canterbury, and the area around the dump up beach are best avoided at night, though.

Best time to travel Montego Bay:

Route Taxis are the way to move around Jamaica. Official route taxis have a red license plate.  In MoBay, you’ll see the route they are catering written on the doors. Route taxis are the cheapest and most flexible way to move around. Just be careful to enter/exit on the route. Otherwise, you’ll be charged as a charter taxi.

Public Bus: The stop for buses to basically anywhere leave is downtown. I couldn’t find a schedule. They seem to go more frequently than the Knutsford.

Knutsford: Leaving from from the downtown station, Jamaica’s luxury bus connects more significant destinations. Be aware that the time stated refers to calculated driving time and not the actual time to reach a destination. Adding to the driving time are stops and bus switches which are not apparent when buying the ticket. Due to Covid, there are fewer buses than usual, and it is better to buy the ticket online.

Tap water in Jamaica

Even though Jamaica is considered a third-world country, it provides the best water quality in the region. You are, therefore, safe to drink tap water. This is especially true in the cities. However, if it makes you feel uneasy, bring your Lifestraw pro. It will keep your drinks cold for 24 hrs, too!

Where to get money

Even though Jamaica is considered a third-world country, it provides the best water quality in the region. You are, therefore, safe to drink tap water. This is especially true in the cities. However, if it makes you feel uneasy, bring your Lifestraw pro. It will keep your drinks cold for 24 hrs, too!

Biggest challenge for the responsible traveler

Trash

Make sure to bring a foldable food container and cutlery with you! The amount of waste caused by food sold on the street is incredible.

Sunscreen

Protect Jamaica’s marine life and bring reef-friendly sunscreen!

The best place to stay

I can’t recommend staying in Mount Salem with Jah B and Cherri enough. They are wonderful people, have an inspiring spirit, and have many stories to tell. Not only did I feel very at home with my hosts, but also very much enjoyed the authentic neighborhood away from the hustle of the Hip Strip. Being away from the main tourist area also meant finding some authentic food just around the corner.

Marijuana or "the herb"

Marijuana is not entirely legal in Jamaica. Yet, it is decriminalized. Meaning it’s almost impossible to get in trouble for. Quality and price vary greatly. Get a prescription card (cost $10) from a legal pharmacy to make it legal. In MoBay Island Strains Herb House would be the place to go.

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Packing List Jamaica

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Eco-friendly stays in Jamaica

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Traveling Jamaica?

Jamaica Itinerary

Places to visit in Jamaica

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Is it still ok to book an AirBnb?!

Is it still ok to book an AirBnb?!

Overtourism has long become a buzzword. Cities, Islands, and entire countries are creaking under the weight of too many visitors. Locals’ lives change drastically as prices rise and an increasing amount of living space is allocated to accommodate tourists. Especially Airbnb has been the cause of uproar and anger for many locals suffering from over-tourism.

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