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Beaches in Montego Bay

Rose Hall Beach Club

If the packed public beaches are not your style, then the Rose Hall Beach Club will give you a relatively secluded option. The white-sand beaches and crystal waters are as good as any on the island, and beachgoers can enjoy the added luxury of a restaurant, two bars, and a covered pavilion to the beach's list of amenities.

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Sunset Beach

The Sunset Beach Resort & Spa is a value-priced all-inclusive on a white-sand beach 15 minutes from the Montego Bay Airport. Size is 420 guest rooms and suites. There is also a Swimsuit optional beach located on the far side of Sunset beach

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Walter Fletcher Beach

Protected from meddling winds, Walter Fletcher Beach provides the best swimming and snorkeling in Montego Bay. Centrally located near the city's main attractions, the beach does get somewhat crowded.

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Doctor's Cave Beach

You can't find a better beach destination in Montego Bay than Doctor's Cave Beach, and since everyone knows it, you may as well join the daily celebration on the sand. And there is plenty to celebrate. The beach is five miles long and is bordered by the city's best hotels and restaurants.

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Reviews on Beaches in Montego Bay Post a Review

Doctors cave was great. The beach has great amenities and services. The sand was amazing and the water was warm.

Jun 18, 2010
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Info on Montego Bay


Facts At A Glance
Area: 4,441sq miles, 146 miles long by 51 miles wide at widest point.
Population of Montego Bay: 2.6million, mostly of African descent, with a mix of other races including Europeans, a few Chinese and some 'Syrians' or 'Lebanese'
Capital: Kingston (pop.700,000), on one of world's largest natural harbours.
Government: Parliamentary democracy.
Currency: Jamaican Dollar or 'J' as it is known. Floats on international exchanges. Language: Officially English, spoken with West Indian accent. Around the island you will hear Jamaican patois, a Creolised version of English almost incomprehensible to British English speakers. Jamaicans speak in either or both depending on how they're feeling.
Departure Tax: Yes.
Geography: Third largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba and Hispaniola (shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Formed by volcanic activity that has since been capped with limestone. Highest mountain range, the Blue Mountains in the east, tops out at 7,402ft. Other ranges include John Crow Mountains in north-east, the Dry Harbour Mountains in the centre and the Santa Cruz Mountains in the south-west. As a generally mountainous country - nearly half of it is above 1,000ft - Jamaica seems a lot larger than it actually is.
Religion: Mostly Christian but many other creeds - Baptists, Methodists and Moravians and Pentecostalists. Also small Jewish, Hindu and Muslim communities. The most famous Jamaican religion is of course Rastafari. Other sects include pocomania and revivalism, not dissimilar to the voodoo of Haiti.
Time: Eastern Standard Time 5 hours behind GMT, 6 hours behind in summer.
Electricity: 110 volts on 50 cycles but some still work on the old 220 volts.
Emergencies: Police 119, Ambulance 011, Fire 110
Telephone: IDD code for Jamaica is 001 876, followed by a seven-figure number. If phoning locally use just the seven digits. For long-distance and mobiles prefix a 1 to the seven digits.
Business Hours: 8am-5pm Monday to Saturday, though many will close at lunchtime Saturdays. Banks are open daily 9am-2pm and remain open until 4pm on Fridays

When To Go to Jamaica
November-April and Jamaica can be very crowded then. The temperature is fairly stable year round, so it's really pleasant anytime. Winter coastal-area day temperatures are in the 70s-80sF/23-32C. June-September is usually in the 80s-90sF/30-35C.
Nights tend to be 5-10F/3-5C degrees cooler everywhere. Temperatures in the hills and mountains are usually cooler than on the coasts by 5-10F/3-5C degrees.
The capital of jamaica is Kingston, on the southern side of the island, is drier, hotter and generally more uncomfortable than the northern shore. Always be prepared for rain showers in the Blue Mountains.
Hottest time is July-October, when the humidity, heat and hurricane risks are the highest. Most rain falls May and October but generally in short showers.

Random stuff
Rastafarianism, a religious and cultural movement that developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, had a great influence on the development of reggae. Many reggae lyrics espouse the Rastafarian religion and outlook. "Rastas" wear their hair in dreadlocks, use marijuana - locally called ganja or sinsemilla - extensively for rituals and worship the late Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I (also named Ras Tafari) as their messiah
Jamaica has at least 400 caves and more are still being discovered. Many of them have large (and harmless) bat colonies.
Singers Harry Belafonte and Grace Jones are Jamaican. The Banana Boat Song (Day-O), popularized by Belafonte, was written about Oracabessa, near Ocho Rios.
A cult film favorite, The Harder They Come (1973), helped bring reggae music to the attention of many outside Jamaica and made a star of singer Jimmy Cliff, who played the lead role. Shot on location in Kingston, the film provides an entertaining look at the Jamaican music business.
Booby Cay, a small island near Negril, was the film set for 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
The site where Columbus first landed on Jamaica can be visited - although which site is a matter of dispute. Some say it was Discovery Bay, others St. Ann's Bay. They're near each other on the North Shore, a short distance west of Ocho Rios.
The tomb of reggae singer Bob Marley is in the small village of Nine Miles just west of Ocho Rios.
Reggae Sunsplash, in late July or early August, has traditionally been Jamaica's main summer event. Top musicians and performers from all over the world go to Kingston to play for more than 200,000 fans.
The competing Reggae Sunfest, held in Montego Bay a few weeks later, has gained ground in recent years and has attracted some of the better musicians and DJs. Other big events include:
Jamaican Carnival, a huge costumed street parade and fete in Kingston with live bands playing soca or soca-reggae from Easter Monday through to the following Sunday.
The Pineapple Cup/Montego Bay Yacht Race in February - Miami to Montego Bay with festivities at the Montego Bay Yacht Club.
The Bob Marley Birthday Bash, a concert on February 6.
The Jamaica Polo Tournament Horse Show with top riders in March.
The Easter Craft Fair in Harmony Hall on Easter weekend.
Negril Carnival with a triathalon, float parade and concerts in May-June).
Ocho Rios Jazz Festival in May-June.
Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament from October to December - one of the Caribbean's most prestigious fishing events.
The Johnny Walker Golf Championship in Tryall in December.

Public Holidays: 1 Jan (New Year's Day), Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 23 May (Labor Day), 5 Aug (Independence Day), 21 Oct (National Heroes' Day), 1 Nov (All Saints' Day), 25 Dec (Christmas Day) and 26 Dec (Boxing Day).

Montego Bay
150miles/240km northwest of Kingston.
Mobay, as the locals call it, vies with Ocho Rios as the island's most visited resort town and is a major stop for cruise ships. It has a population of 70,000.

Montego Bay is recommended for its restaurants, nightlife, shopping and leisure activities. The beaches are not the best on the island, and water sports and fishing offshore are limited. The city is rather dirty, too. But the area does have several fine resorts and golf courses.

Sights include the 18th-century Cage (slave jail), Greenwood Great House (built by Elizabeth Barrett Browning's ancestors) and Rocklands Feeding Station, where visitors can hand-feed hummingbirds.

The Craft Market in Harbour Street, is fascinating and Rose Hall Tour is spooky - its beautiful mistress, Annie Palmer, was thought to be a voodoo witch who killed her husbands and lovers.

Shopping is good, especially the Gallery of West Indian Art, a store full of colorful wood carvings made by local artists.

If you want to see the countryside, take a raft or canoe trip on the Great River.
Sea pollution and reef destruction finally led to the creation of Montego Bay Marine Park, 6miles/10km of coastline policed and monitored for oil spills and illegal dumping.

Driving is on the left. Roundabouts at major intersections can be confusing. Yield to all traffic coming from your right. Local drivers are aggressive and freewheeling, with little regard for official speed limits. Roads are generally good but potholes lie in wait

Known fondly as MoBay, this city of 92,000 people is almost always crowded with shoppers and noisy with the sounds of reggae music wafting from the clubs. It's the rowdy tourist center of Jamaica.
Much of MoBay consists of modern structures built on land reclaimed from mangrove keys in the 1960s but there are some historic areas. You can easily explore on foot, if you can tolerate the aggressive vendors.

Dining in Montego Bay
All you could imagine from jerk seasoning with pimento, pepper and other spices developed by the African Maroons, curry, pita bread, and Chinese food galore plus local meals of rice and peas (actually red kidney beans cooked with coconut milk and white rice), yams, dasheen, sweet potato and boiled flour or cornmeal dumplings as side dishes.
Salted codfish, mackerel and herring are a legacy of slavery days. Salt fish and ackee, the island's traditional dish, combines salted cod with the unique ackee fruit, which tastes like slightly sweetened scrambled eggs. It's traditionally served with boiled green banana, johnnycakes (flour dumplings) and bammies (cassava cakes).
The two restaurant strips in Montego Bay are Gloucester Avenue on the waterfront and Queen's Drive on the hillside overlooking Montego Bay and the harbor.
Prices are generally moderate compared with much of the rest of the Caribbean, although lobster will lighten your wallet. Competition and the cost of rental cars and taxis have forced many restaurants to provide free transportation for dinner guests - you can request this service when you make your reservation.

Shopping in Montego Bay Jamaica
Shopping Hours: Mon-Wed 9am-5pm, Thurs 9am-1pm, Friday and Saturday 9am-5pm.
Anything from electronics to spices in the duty-free stores plus lots of Jamaican things like Blue Mountain coffee, sauces, spices, jams, jellies and herb teas. Many aggressive vendors along the way. This can be very intimidating if you're not familiar with Jamaica. If you aren't interested, a firm "No thank you' should suffice. Keep walking.
If you do see something you like, expect to bargain: It is a time-honored tradition, always conducted with humor and mutual respect.
Never pay the first asking price for anything. Prices are marked in either Jamaican or U.S. dollars. Always establish the currency up front.
Look for Jamaican rums, cigars and liqueurs at the stores in the cruise-ship terminal and the adjoining Montego Freeport Shopping Centre. Most of the shops there are branches of downtown stores.
Jamaican artists and craftspeople find expression through painting, sculpture, relief carvings, pottery, carved furniture, hand-turned wooden bowls, woven straw and banana-leaf items, cutwork embroidery, brilliant fabrics and clothing.

 Montego Bay


despite a large influx of visitors, Montego Bay retains its own identity. A thriving business-and-commercial center, it functions as the main market town for most of western Jamaica, supporting both cruise-ship tourism and a growing industrial center. Montego Bay  is even served by its own airport, Donald Sangster International.

Montego bay is the most cosmopolitan of Jamaican resorts, not as hedonistic as Negril but also not as crowded as Ocho Rios. As such, Montego remains the top of island resorts. The draw of Montego Bay is its deluxe hotels, such as the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon, Round Hill, and Tryall.

Getting Around in Montego Bay

Taxis are generally the way to get around, as there is no practical bus service in Montego Bay and no minivan shuttles except those maintained by hotels -- and they're usually reserved strictly for the use of registered guests. The best and most reliable of these communal vehicles have red-colored license plates whose numbers contain the letters "PP" (an abbreviation for "public passengers")

You can walk to most places within the center of Montego Bay itself, especially along Gloucester Avenue. In other cases, summon a licensed taxi. These have red license plates. A few of them have meters, but more often, government-sanctioned fares between most commonly requested destinations and points of departure are prominently posted inside each vehicle. If you want to hail a taxi to go somewhere outside of town, most of the cabs can be found along Gloucester Avenue.

For the adventurous, getting around by bike or motorcycle is another possibility, but  the country's narrow, potholed roads and many blind curves make transport by bicycle hazardous.

Jamaica provokes strong reactions. For some it is vibrant and compelling, for others it's relentless and too intense. People tend to love or hate it. Celebrities Noel Coward, Ian Fleming and Errol Flynn all loved it. One thing is for sure, Jamaica will never allow you to forget it. Lying in the western Caribbean, the island is 100 miles south of Cuba and about 500 miles from Florida and is the third biggest in the Caribbean.
Its foremost attractions are swimming, sunning, snorkeling, diving, partying, horseback riding, Red Stripe beer, beaches, mountains, world-class resorts, river rafting, hiking, tennis, golf, polo, reggae, fishing, great food, caves, beautiful scenery and historical sites
Travelers who appreciate water, scenery, food, music and dance will enjoy Jamaica. But the island isn't about immaculate surroundings. Poverty is widespread and highly visible.
A wealth of resources - bauxite, alumina, sugarcane, bananas, citrus, rum, allspice and coffee - have contributed to Jamaica's economy. Tourism has brought the greatest influx of foreign currency in recent years. It has more churches per square mile than anywhere else in world.

General Overview
If Jamaica were a religion, "no problem" would be its ritual chant, jerk chicken would be manna and views of lush, green mountains would replace stained glass. Baptisms would take place in a cool stream below a waterfall and Red Stripe beer would serve as holy water. That pretty much sums up the spiritual side of island life.
And all this has contributed to the materialistic sprawl of north-coast resorts, many of them all-inclusive developments whose affordable hotel-air packages have turned Jamaica into one of the most visited vacation spots in the Caribbean.
Montego Bay and Ocho Rios have also become popular stops for cruise ships, whose passengers flood the cities when the boats make their brief calls in port.
Unfortunately, such popularity can create situations that make visitors think "problem" as much as "no problem."
The throngs of vendors that solicit tourists in the coastal cities can be overwhelming and with the increase in tourism has come a worrisome upturn in crime.
Despite obstacles, you can find much to appreciate in Jamaica. Some of the Caribbean's loveliest white-sand beaches are found there. So are steep mountains, dense jungles, big cities and charming villages.
Archaeological evidence suggests that peaceful Arawak Indians settled in Jamaica as early as AD 1000. The island took its name from the Arawak word xaymaca, meaning "land of wood and water."
But the tranquillity was shattered almost from the day Columbus first sighted the island in 1494, on his second voyage to the New World. Ever since, Jamaican life has been a stormy mix of political, racial and economic divisions.
Although the Spaniards never fully settled the island, their influence was far reaching. They carried the diseases that annihilated the Indians, introduced citrus fruits, bananas, plantains, sugarcane - which dramatically changed the fortunes of the island in later years - cattle, pigs and horses. They also brought the first slaves from Africa.
The English invaded Jamaica in 1655 and had complete control of the island by 1660. They then used Jamaica as a base to threaten Spanish interests in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The primary means of doing this was to give free reign to buccaneers - pirates such as Henry Morgan - most of whom preyed on Spanish shipping and ports.
Port Royal became the premier headquarters of pirates in the Western Hemisphere. In 1692, it was destroyed by earthquake. Some called it punishment for the buccaneers' sinful ways.
During the late 1600s and 1700s, Jamaica experienced firsthand the continuing warfare between the European powers, including two attempted takeovers by forces hostile to England.
But the island remained in British hands and became a valuable colonial holding because of the great sugarcane plantations that thrived in the Jamaican climate.
Their profitability depended on slave labor. Slavery, in turn, played a central role in the political instability of the island. After the English first invaded in 1655, many of the fleeing Spanish freed their slaves.
These and their descendants - known as "Maroons" - established communities in the wild mountain interior of Jamaica. In time, they were joined by escaped slaves and engaged in sporadic attacks on plantations.
Skirmishes with British troops eventually escalated into two separate Maroon wars, both won by the English, which led to the eventual deportation of many Maroons.
During Tacky's Rebellion, a large slave revolt in 1760, hundreds of armed slaves attacked plantations and killed white slave owners. Another serious revolt in 1831 - and a growing anti-slavery movement in England - led to the end of slavery in Jamaica.
In the last century, labor unrest gave birth to the two political parties that still control Jamaican politics. Rivalries between the two groups have at times led to armed confrontations and bloodshed.
After gaining greater sovereignty in the 1950s, Jamaica won full independence from Britain in 1962, though it remains a member of the British Commonwealth. Today, Jamaica is technically a constitutional monarchy. A governor-general represents the British crown.
In practice, the head of the ruling party acts as prime minister and leads the nation. The Jamaican Parliament, the nation's legislative body, is made up of both elected members and those appointed by the principal political parties.


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