As many as four cruise ships can dock at the pier in Montego Bay's Freeport zone, about 3 mi/5 km west of downtown. The city spreads east and north around the harbor from the Freeport zone past the town center and the tourist district. There's a tourist-information booth in the cruise-ship terminal, a telecommunications center (phone, Internet), a refreshment stand and many duty-free shops.
There's plenty of licensed transportation available. A taxi ride to the city center will cost about US$7. Walking from the terminal to town: It's a hot, shadeless 3-mi/5-km hike.
They have a Hot Spot Shuttle at the pier and for $17 day pass, you can hop on and off all day long between the shops, craft markets, bars, beaches, and restaurants.
Printable map to take along.
Watch a destination video.
Montego Bay is Jamaica's second city in size and importance, but
it is the island's tourism capital. It boasts the most hotel accommodation,
the most transport facilities and is, in fact, a cosmopolitan holiday
center, offering a wide choice of amenities.
Montego Bay is divided into three fairly distinct parts. There is the city itself with its crowded streets. There is the "hotel area" which is the mile-and-a-half strip running from the town, past the celebrated Doctor's Cave Beach and out to the Dead End Bar. Thirdly, there are the outlying hotels and villas on beach or hillside.
City streets are crowded, colorful and lively. Country folk flock in to visit markets, shops and banks. Guests from hotels and cruise ships make their way to in-bond shops and Crafts Markets. Housewives, office girls and market higglers promenade round bar-front discussion groups and sidewalk domino games.
Architecture is a mixture of last-century "gingerbread" wooden houses interspersed with modern buildings, many of which harmonize because Georgian facades never really went out of fashion.
Sam Sharpe Square, a pleasant cobble stoned hub of activity, is roughly the center of the town where stands the Cage, formerly a jail for runaway slaves, and the ruins of the Courthouse, built in 1804 and destroyed by fire some 20 years ago.
Doctor's Cave Beach is in MoBay $5 per person entry.
Don't be afraid to take Jamaican local buses. They are 10 times cheaper than tourist taxis. Don't let those (tourist) taxi drivers rip you off. Local taxis (called "route taxis") are an interesting way to get around and far cheaper than tourist taxis.
Car-rental fees in Jamaica include the cost of insurance. Driving in Jamaica is done on the left side of the road.
It pays to compare your cruise line tours here.
Typical excursions out of Montego Bay are tours of historic houses and plantations, a round of golf, overland treks by bus or on horseback, and forays to explore underwater mysteries in a semi submersible boat or through a snorkeling mask.
Dunn's River Falls is a famous waterfall near Ocho Rios.
Rose Hall Today Rose Hall, the Jewel of Montego Bay, abounds with award winning golf courses, five-star resorts, modern convention facilities, enchanting shopping opportunities and attractions to delight those who choose this piece of Jamaica.
City center, in true Jamaican tradition, is not the center of the city but it is the center of in-bond shopping where all the major in-bond stores are situated.
The main Crafts Market is on harbor Street close to Sam Sharpe Square, but there are two smaller ones in the hotel area, one next to Fantasy Hotel and another on Fort Street on the site of a 17th century fort. Bargaining is expected with crafts vendors.
There are a number of other shopping arcades in Montego Bay where the visitor can shop for souvenirs: St. James and Fantasy Plazas are situated in the hotel area and Montego Bay Plaza and Bay West Plaza are on the waterfront in town. Further a field lies the Montego Freeport Shopping center to the west of town and the Blue Diamond Plaza to the east.
Holiday Village, also to the east, in front of Holiday Inn, is the largest shopping center in Montego Bay, with an extensive selection of in-bond stores, souvenir and craft stores, all within easy walking distance. It also boasts an art gallery.
Half Moon Shopping Village, is a very luxurious shopping area, attached to the Half Moon Hotel.
approx 70 Jamaican dollars (JMD) equals 1 US$
Many Jamaican ATMs accept international bank cards.
Most Jamaicans speak Jamaican Creole, also known locally as Patois. English is widely spoken.
If in need of police, dial 119
Mon-Fri 0800-1600, Sat 0800-1300. Some shops close half day Wednesday in Kingston, and Thursday in the rest of the island.
New Year's Day - (1st January) or in case New Year falls on Sunday then the day after Year's Day.
National Labour Day - 23rd of May provided that if the 23rd day of May falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, Labour Day shall be kept on the Monday following.
Emancipation Day - August 1
Independence Day - August 6
National Heroes Day - third Monday in October
Christmas Day - December 25
Boxing Day - the day after Christmas Day or when Christmas Day falls on a Sunday then 26th and 27th of December
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