Located on the northwest coast of the Caribbean’s third largest island, Montego Bay knows it wins vacationers’ hearts year after year. A city with a turbulent history redeems with beautiful beaches, green golf course, and an array of clubs and shops, making for an ideal vacation. Montego Bay wins by a long shot as Jamaica’s most popular tourist destination. Whether it be strolling the hip-strip along Gloucester Avenue while in town or keeping close to the sand of Montego’s beaches, the city promises a colorful and lively vacation.
Stretching out on a long strip of white sand, Walter Fletcher Beach positions on the south end of Gloucester Avenue. It is one of the city’s most popular beaches and even holds the Aquasol Theme Park. Despite its name, Dead End Beach won’t leave visitors with a disappointment. Just north of Gloucester Avenue, the beach is a favorite among locals. The narrow sliver of sand lacks the crowds of Montego’s other beaches and holds jaw-dropping sunsets nightly. For more of the beach lounging, drink in hand experience, head to Doctor’s Cave Beach.
Getting even closer with the water, visitors can establish that relationship a little further at the Montego Bay Marine Park. Jamaica’s first national park was founded to protect coral reefs, shoreline mangroves and flora and fauna life. The marine park contains the mangroves of Bogue Lagoon. Visitors will be able to see egrets, pelicans, waterfowl and herons while in the park.
Montego Bay grew up around the sugar cane industry. Visitors can educate themselves on this industry first hand by visiting a plantation while in Montego. Barnett Estate has been owned and operated by the same family since 1755. One of Jamaica’s most preeminent families, their holdings once included much of the area of Montego Bay. Visitors can take in the sea of sugar can just south of the city. For a taste at how the sweet plantation managers lived, visitors can head back into Montego Bay and view Bellfield Great House. Built in 1735, the home exemplifies classic colonial living. It was a former home of a plantation manager.
Montego Bay hosts one of the finest churches on the entire island of Jamaica. St. James Parish Church was constructed between 1775 and 1782, set in the shape of a Greek cross. Many pop their heads in to admire the stunning interior, decorated in exquisite stained glass windows.
Wandering about town even more, travelers are bound to hit Sam Sharpe Square. The bustling and cobbled area houses many of Montego’s most important structures and monuments. The National Hero’s monument lies in this section of town, standing as an impressive bronze statue. Strollers will also find the Civic Center in the area. The copper dome stands out in the city. It was built on the site of the original ruined courthouse.
While spring breakers pound the nightclubs and bars, Montego Bay has more to offer. The thriving port is certainly the country’s most charged city, hosting beautiful beaches, sugar cane plantations, and surprisingly even impressive architecture. Get out of the bars and take a look around. Montego Bay holds views that rival the bottom of that bottle.