Montego Bay has seen its fair share of history, and it’s not surprising that so many people have been taken by its charms over the centuries. From its early Spanish colonization in the 1500s to a visit from Christopher Columbus that spurred the legendary explorer to dub the place “Golfo De Buen Tiempo” - or “Fair Weather Gulf” - people have long been lured in to Montego Bay and Jamaica in general. Today, Montego Bay is where cruise passengers get their taste of Jamaica, and it is fitting since this well situated city is bursting with fabulous attractions, restaurants and things to do.
Sightseeing & Things To Do
Jamaica is one country that you won’t be able to get out of your head – and Montego Bay makes for a very memorable port of call, indeed. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this festive, tropical location when your ship docks here. Get out there and see what Montego Bay has to offer; pick up a souvenir, nosh on some spicy and delicious Jamaican fare or simply bask in the warm glow of the sun on a pleasant beach.
Though you may be tempted to simply lie back and relax on the beach in Montego Bay – and who can blame you? - there are plenty of other things to do in this bustling little town. Try to make a point of stopping and seeing at least one of the following:
Doctor’s Cave Beach
If you must choose a single beach when visiting Montego Bay, Doctor’s Cave Beach is an excellent choice. It is a favorite spot for families, and the crystal clear water lends itself well to snorkeling and other adventures. Or, just lounge around and soak up some of the Jamaican sun.
The Croydon Plantation
The Croydon Plantation is like the Mount Vernon of Jamaica, as it is the birthplace of national Jamaican hero Samuel Sharpe. Pineapples and coffee are the main things that are produced here, and taking a tour is a great way to learn more about Montego Bay and Jamaica.
Take A Day Trip To Ocho Rios
Day trips and tours over to nearby Ocho Rios are immensely popular. There are many opportunities for outdoor fun and adventure at Ocho Rios, including the chance to get up close and personal with real live dolphins. Outdoors lovers will adore such a mini-tour.
Rose Hall Great House
Montego Bay is not lacking in stately old homes. It’s not surprising, then, that so many cruise ship passengers choose to tour at least one of them while stopped at this port of call. The Rose Hall Great House – built in 1760 – is a favorite due to its extravagance and rumors that it is haunted. Consider checking out one of the old homes here while visiting, as they open the door into a whole other world.
Montego Freeport is one of the best places to shop in Montego Bay. It is located near the pier, making it very convenient no matter where you are in the city. This marketplace boasts plenty of different items, and you can most likely get all of your shopping done here. This will free you up to pursue other things and to check out other attractions in and around Montego Bay – a definite win-win situation!
Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship
It is always fun to bring back a special memento from the exotic places you visit. One great idea in terms of souvenirs from Montego Bay is wood carvings. They are sold all over town, and since they are handcrafted they are truly unique.
Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine
One of the true joys of visiting Montego Bay is getting to experience and enjoy authentic Jamaican cuisine. If you’ve never tasted Jamaican fare before, you absolutely must try everything you can. However, if you only have limited time be sure to sample the local favorite, ackee and saltfish. This dish is so incredibly popular that it’s been named the national dish of Jamaica. It is a bit reminiscent of scrambled eggs and it absolutely divine. Otherwise, try out some curry goat or curried mutton for a taste of something a little different.
When, Where, and How
When To Go
Generally speaking, mid-December through mid-April is the most popular time of year for people to visit Jamaica and Montego Bay. This is largely to do with the fact that it is very cold elsewhere in the world during those months. However, it is also a fact that the weather is really at its best during that period of time.
Where You’re Docked
When visiting Montego Bay, cruise ships dock over at the cruise terminal at Freeport. This is only a couple of short miles away from the center of Montego Bay, and it is never a problem to hail a cab or find an alternative form of transportation to get over to where all of the action is.
Which Cruise Ships Go Here?
A huge number of the most popular cruise lines have itineraries that feature stops at Montego Bay. A few of the large cruise lines that stop in Montego Bay are Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Holland America. However, there are many other choices in terms of ships, dates, days at sea and in port when it comes to Montego Bay.