Montego Bay

Montego Bay from the air

Montego Bay, commonly referred to as MoBay, is the second largest city in the island nation Jamaica, a member of the British Commonwealth. Montego Bay is the capital of St. James Parish, one of the 14 parishes in Jamaica.

Understand

Christopher Columbus sailed into the bay in 1494 and named it "el Golfo de Buen Tiempo" or Fair Weather Bay. The first record of a Spanish settlement here shows it as Monterias. The Spaniards hunted the herds of wild hogs that used to roam the hills and produced and exported 'hog butter' or lard. The name Montego derives from the Spanish "manteca" meaning lard, and Montego Bay is shown on some ancient maps as Lard Bay.

Due in part to its location on the island's north shore, Montego Bay has long since earned the title of 'tourist capital of Jamaica.' It receives the bulk of international flights, and is home to Sangster International Airport, the larger of Jamaica's two main international airports. It is a tourist destination known for its duty-free shopping, cruise line terminal, and the sheltered Doctor's Cave beach with clear turquoise waters, which is one of the most famous beaches on the island.

Get in

By air

Montego Bay Sangster international airport is on the northwest part of the island. The airport is very close to the cruise ports at Montego Bay and Ochos Rios.

By sea

Montego Freeport, built in the 1960s on what was called the Bogue Islands, is the port of Montego Bay. The Montego Freeport terminal consists of five primary berths two of which are dedicated exclusively for cruise shipping. There is a telecommunications centre for cruise passengers (and crew), snack and refreshment stand.

Transportation is available from the terminal building, supervised by the Jamaica Tourist Board, which also maintains a visitor information booth. Montego Freeport is about 3km south of town. Taxis to downtown MoBay cost about US$10. Shuttle bus service from the cruise ship pier to downtown City Centre Shopping Mall for US $ 2.-per person each way.

Get around

Downtown Montego Bay

By foot

Gloucester Avenue-which is lined with tourist hotels, shops, and restaurants-has sidewalks on both sides and is best visited on foot. Aside from this road, walking may be considerably less safe.

By bus, taxi

Buses, minibuses and route taxis arrive and depart from the transportation station off Barnett St at the south end of St James St. There’s an inspector’s office (7AM-6PM) inside the gate where you can ask for the departure point of the bus you’re seeking.

Montego Bay Metro (952-5500; 19A Union St) introduced in 2000 a municipal bus service (around J$100). Montego Bay Metro now operates three routes: Greenwood to City Centre; Sandy Bay to City Centre; and Cambridge to City Centre.

Taxis are readily available, but as with all cities be aware that some drivers will be less honest or reliable than others. follow your instincts; never get into an unmarked car with someone who offers you a ride, and stick with taxi services you recognize. Your hotel can suggest trustworthy drivers. Reliable driver (as used by The Bird's Nest and Five Gable include Frankly (local phone 581 5712) and Smith (local phone 787 7889)

Another very common way of getting anywhere outside the vicinity of your hotel is by tour van. If you book a tour to the falls or the canopy, the driver will usually pick you up at your hotel. For more on tours, check the Do section below.

See

New Kingston,  +1 876-968-7529. Small but cozy. Family-oriented musicals in patois.

Do

Take a break from the sun and relax on the beach under a palm tree

Jamaican Taxi Tours,  +1 (876) 429-8664, e-mail: . Jamaican Taxi Tours provide professional and licensed drivers who can take you to the desired destination and sightseeing tour comfortably and safely. Our tours are ideal for every traveler, covering various interests such as archaeology, history, culture, religion and the best aspect of Jamaica in the most relaxing and exciting way.

Travel Around Jamaica Tours,  +1 (876) 287-2180, e-mail: . Travel Around Jamaica Tours is a Montego Bay, Jamaica based private airport transfer and tour company, which offers private airport transfers to all hotels, resorts and villas in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril. As well as private transfers to popular tourist destinations in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril.

Tours

All day, representatives from tour companies will stroll the beaches, offering parasailing, horseback riding, and a million other fun activities; if you're interested, keep your ears and eyes open for these guys, but remember to always play it safe and go with companies you recognize and trust. A lot can go wrong during these activities if the people in charge don't know what they're doing!

Buy

Eat

Most restaurants also serve drinks. Try a tropical drink or grab a cold Red Stripe in the signature brown bottle, then relax and take in the scenery!

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville

Drink

Sleep

Montego Bay

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

While Montego Bay is a relatively safe city, normal precautions should be observed. Stay in groups, and stick to tourist areas. The rural areas are especially dangerous.

Go next

By Air

You can get domestic flights to Kingston's second airport Tinson Pen.

A weekly international service to Santiago de Cuba is also available, costing approximately US$400 (June 2012) with Air Jamaica Shuttle

By Bus

The Montego Bay Bus station, in downtown Montego Bay has buses serving most of the larger cities throughout the country including but not limited to Black River,Ocho Rios, Spanish Town & Kingston.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, February 02, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.