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Monday, December 20, 2010

What Is There to Do In Montego Bay, Jamaica?

(Also see What to Do In Jamaica and The Real Jamaica: 360-degree view!)
(Written back in April 2010; as Christmas draws near and I wish a little harder to have been spending it in the country with the BEST Christmas vibes on EARTH--JAMAICA--I remembered this little piece I wrote back when I was trying to keep the topics that interest me on separate blogs, and of course failed until I brought them all together here.  Editing this blog reminds me all over again why I would LOVE to live near the MoBay area!  Just BEAUTIFUL with fresh air, sea, sand, and friends!)
As it turns out, more than one would think.  The following list (in ALL CAPS & BOLD) is just off the top of my head, and exploring any of the options in depth will turn up several ways to enjoy yourself in the second major city in Jamaica after the capital, Kingston:
Why not DRIVE ALONG THE NORTH COAST from mobay to kgn?

BEACH is a tourist thing but it is also a local thing.

SHOPPING (see below for more info)
SIGHTSEEING (different areas/houses, historical sites, etc.) 
**For options here, try the Jamaica Tourist Board's recommendations for tours and contact them for reputable companies )
***Glistening Waters, a natural attraction apparently found in only 4 places in the world, one of them Jamaica. From 
[QUOTE]Glistening Waters is a cool natural attraction near Falmouth, about 20-40 minutes from Montego Bay depending on where you are staying. Our trip included pickup from our resort and a 35 minute boat ride out into the lagoon for $30 per person, the rep from Jamaica Tours quoted us a price of $51 but I believe that also included dinner. Admission if you get there on your own is $20.
There are several boats that hold about 30 people each and ours was packed, the best spot to sit in is on the side near the back so you can see the water turn a glowing shade of turquoise blue when the motion of the boat hits it. You can also see fish darting around the boat if you can look over the side.

Glistening Waters

The blue water is caused by microscopic organisms that live in a lagoon where the warm fresh water of the Martha Brae River meets the salt waters of the Caribbean that emit a phosphorescent light when the water is stirred up by the boat or by fish or by the humans that choose to go for a swim. Our guide, Jerry, told us it was one of four places in the world you could see this phenomenon, the others are Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Indonesia. I wish I had brought a swim suit as Jerry told us a swim in these waters would shave 10 years off the ladies and add three inches of bamboo to the men!
I think the best time to see this place is actually during a rain storm, I imagine the impact of the rain on the lagoon would make it sparkle like a million gemstones. Hopefully all the development around the lagoon, a new cruise pier for one of the mega 6,000 passenger ships near Falmouth and an enormous hotel, won't destroy this fascinating piece of nature.
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And other things to do in Mobay...don't forget to check out nice places to eat, both listed here and by word of mouth.  

Jerk Pork from Scotchie's in MoBay
Scotchies...more reviews here

Houseboat Grill
Freeport Road
Montego Bay
Tel: 876 979 8845

Dhana Car Rentals, coincidentally, is where I rent from since I started driving myself around instead of waiting on family and friends.
[QUOTE]Things to do in Montego Bay
Montego Bay has a number of unique attractions to enjoy. Dhana Car Rental and Tours, Ltd. can help you experience these sites by renting a car. Reserve online now or call toll free for more information 1-866-276-1884. We have rates as low as US$175 per week, plus taxes and insurance. Click here to find out why Dhana's rates are so low.
Montego Bay offers a great deal to photographers, adventurers or those afflicted by curiosity or inability to sit on a beach for long periods. These people should contact their hotel tour desk or rent a car, or bike and with a copy of Focus on Jamaica firmly in hand, sally forth to discover this exotic land. There are so many things to do to that one visit to Jamaica is not enough.
Shopping in Montego Bay
Part of the pleasure of a vacation is buying souvenirs or simply splurging out on something you have always wanted. Jamaica offers the necessary temptations.
City Centre Plaza in Montego Bay is a plaza devoted almost entirely to in-bond stores but you will find others in the Holiday Village and Half Moon Shopping Village, in larger hotels and at Montego Bay Plaza on the waterfront. Be sure to bargain in these stores - it is expected.
The main Crafts Market is on Harbour Street in town 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.

Art Galleries in Montego Bay
A visit to Lester Art Gallery in the hills above Reading can also be a tour in itself or can be combined with visits to other places of interest. The Gallery is devoted to works of Polish sea captain and painter the late Michael Leszczynski, who anglicised his name to Lester and is famous for the work of his Jamaica period. The gallery is at his former home and studio which he built in the 1950s on a cliff side at the village of Belmont. The house has stunning views. Call 605-1299 and arrange a visit. In the same area are Rocklands Bird Sanctuary and Mountain Valley River Rafting.

Mountain Valley River Rafting

Aquasol Theme Park
Situated on the dazzling white sand Walter Fletcher beach, this theme park offers enough entertainment to keep you busy all day. It has a go-kart track with 10 Honda bumper carts and water sports such as kayaking, parasailing, banana boating and glass bottom boating in addition to trampolines, wave runners, beach volleyball and two professional tennis courts. The Voyage sport's bar and restaurant not only serves excellent food, there are 42 big-screen TV's for sporting events, pool tables, slot machines and many other games. 979-9447


Montego Bay Underseas Tours
The "Coral See" looks a bit like a submarine but it is really a boat with an air conditioned underwater viewing compartment six feet under the surface where you can sit in comfort and watch the wonders of the Montego Bay Marine Park. Coral, hundreds of different fish, turtles, and sting rays are all displayed for your enjoyment. 940-4465.

Belvedere Estate
Belvedere is a family-owned estate set on one thousand acres of land just minutes away from Montego Bay. It was one of the first sugar cane plantations in Jamaica and is still a working estate. The owner, Mr. Pat McGann, has opened it to the public so that all can share the natural beauty of its rivers and waterfalls, its ruins and exotic plants and birds. 952-6001

Bird Sanctuary
A visit to Rocklands Feeding Station in Anchovy, only minutes away from Montego Bay, is a must for all bird lovers and bird watchers. Feeding time is four o'clock.

Bob Marley Experience and Theatre
Situated in the Half Moon Shopping Village. Shows every hour on the hour are a touching tribute to Bob Marley. This tastefully produced documentary film is a must for all lovers of his music and for those who have never had the pleasure of watching Bob Marley in concert. The adjoining shop has the largest selection of Bob Marley T-shirts in the world. 953-3946.
Caribbean Showplace
This entertainment Centre at Ironshore offers a games room, two restaurants and a "state of the art" nightclub with two bars cater to every taste.
Chukka Blue Adventure Tours
Situated at Blue Hole, Sandy Bay, this company offers a horseback-riding tour through an ancient sugar estate. The tour meanders for two and a half hours through the picturesque Jamaican landscape and finishes with a dip in the sea (horse and all). First class horses, and equipment as well as experienced guides ensure a memorable experience for all.

They also offer an exciting bike tour through the cool hills of Hanover down to the beach.
Yet another tour is aptly named the Heritage Tour. Safari jeeps meander deep into the Jamaican countryside, taking in the occasional great house on the way. 817-3624
Coral Cliff Gaming/ Entertainment Lounge
A flashing neon sign is the GO signal for the "Hip Strip's" best seven nights of live entertainment. From live jazz to fabulous fashion shows, cabaret or vintage reggae, it is exciting, entertaining and exhilarating. Coral Cliff, Montego Bay's gaming lounge, is a haven for conservative and adventurous players alike. Slots range in denomination from US$0.50 to US$5.00 for jackpots as big as your dreams. 952-4130
Tryall Golf Club
The Tryall resort sits in a beautiful 2,200 acre estate with sweeping vistas down to the incredibly blue Caribbean sea. The 72 par 18 hole golf course here is world-famous. Call 956-5660.
Rose Hall Beach Club
They call themselves the water sports capital of Jamaica and with great reason. Name any water sport and they have it — waterskiing, wave runners, para sailing, kayaking, diving, fishing, snorkeling, hydrospeeding. The list goes on. If you are a water sports fan or would like to learn any of the above. this place is a must. The club now offers family and corporate memberships at very reasonable prices. 680-0969
Rose Hall Great House
This is without doubt the most celebrated Great House in Jamaica. It was once the home of the notoriously wicked Annie Palmer, the White Witch of Rose Hall, who murdered three husbands and terrorized her slaves. U.S. entrepreneurs, John and Michele Rollins, restored it to its original glory, complete with furnishings from the same time period. Charming Jamaican hostesses will chill your blood with tales of the evil Annie. A refreshing walk in the beautiful gardens will restore your equilibrium — or should you need stronger sustenance you can find it in Annie's Pub in the dungeon of the Great House. 953-2323

Tours To Cuba
Vacation Outlet and Tropical Tours can add a Latin flavour to your holiday with a side trip to Cuba which lies a mere 90 miles from Jamaica's north coast. Day or weekend trips are on offer. Tour historic Havana, dance to the rhythms of salsa. Call Vacation Outlet at 971-3859 or Tropical Tours at 952-0400


Water Sports
Companies like Cool Aqua Sun Sports (680-0969), North Coast Marine Sports (953-9266), Captain's Watersports & Dive Centre (952-5860), offer expert services. Call for weather and visibility conditions.[/QUOTE]
**Someone else responded to the question with an actual site to check out regarding watersports and other sport-themed activities, thanks to a member of DancehallReggae for the link: 

***For example, Island Black Pearl Nightclub

More on the nightlife in Mobay from I just learned something...did not know we had a casino on the island!
[QUOTE]Traveling to Jamaica can be an exciting and unforgettable time for tourists all over the globe. Jamaica hosts many interesting destinations, but it is possible that none can rival Montego Bay, endearingly called Mobay by the locals and diehard tourists.
The area most worth mentioning is definitely the Hip Strip, an area that never sleeps, running approximately a mile and a half along the coastal roadway. Hotels, nightclubs and restaurants can be found at every turn.
The most prominent and well-known nightclub in all of Montego Bay is Margharitaville, located right in the heart of the Hip Strip on Gloucester Avenue. It sits beautifully on a cliff looking out into the Caribbean Sea and is a very convenient nightspot for tourists in particular because there are special buses that will drop off and pick up patrons who are staying at the resorts.

Margaritaville MoBay

This nightclub draws a very mixed crowd of tourist, locals, teens and people of all sexual persuasions. Age is irrelevant here and patrons from age 16 to 65 can be seen drinking and dancing right next to each other at any given time.
There are three levels to this nightclub. The first level is music and dancing with lots of drink specials at the bar, the second level is designated for live shows and on the third level patrons are welcome to indulge in a tropical Jacuzzi experience.
Also on Gloucester Avenue and directly across the street from Margharitaville is Coral Cliff. Coral Cliff is the only casino on the entire island and is open 24 hours. There is a constant barrage of free drinks of rum punch, rum and coke and sodas while you play. This is one of the few restaurants open all day and all night and every night there are live shows.
Inside of Coral Cliff is the Rum Jungle, a nightclub decorated with towering waterfalls and tall trees right inside the bar. On any given night a visitor will find a variety of live shows including full-scale Broadway-like shows, cabaret acts and reggae and calypso bands. Each night presents a different theme. Wednesdays for example, are their Pirates of the Caribbean night featuring over 100 international and domestic rums, and from 6 to 9pm all drinks are half priced.

There are also plenty of local nightspots to visit in Montego Bay. The Brewery is a bar and nightclub open only on weekends. After-hours, this restaurant turns into a club and the party extends outside. The Voyage is another local hotspot that sits inside the Aguasol Theme Park. Beach parties, theme nights and live music can be enjoyed every night.

The Brewery
The Coyaba Hotel welcomes non-guests to come and listen to live jazz and every Saturday night native shows are performed for tourists. The Tropigala Night Club located inside the Caribbean Showplace, open from 8pm every night until very late hosts cabaret shows during the week and international performers mostly on the weekends.
Finally, one of the top nightspots in all of Montego Bay is definitely the Doctor’s Cave Beach. This is a 24-hour nightclub in which the bar and the dance area extend itself outside to the beach. There are live performances quite often that include calypso and reggae bands from Trinidad, Antigua and other close by islands.

Keep in mind that the all-inclusive hotels and resorts all have their own nightclubs and bars as well. For instance, Breezes all-inclusive resort has 4 bars with entertainment that range anywhere from sing along shows, steel bands, karaoke, and toga and pajama parties.

Montego Bay is overrun with a huge selection of nightspots for everyone’s tastes. Whether a visitor desires nights dancing under the moonlit skies, a quiet establishment featuring great food and drinks, or a traditional club jammed with the hottest music and beautiful happy people, Mobay is the Caribbean’s top choice.
As with any city, tourist should practice caution when in Montego Bay as crime against tourist can be a problem. But with a healthy dose of common sense, a trip to Mobay can be the vacation of a lifetime with a breathtaking and continuous nightlife to remember always[/QUOTE]
And speaking of places to eat, Pier 1, which is also a top nightclub in MoBay:

REGGAE SUMFEST (2010 saw Usher, Chris Brown, Elephant Man, Bounty Killer, and D'Angel on stage, among other stars and superstars)!  More information on SumFest from The Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaica Information Service's Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture here!

And last but definitely not least, hanging out with yuh peoples SOCIALIZING over a nice view.  It's not just about what you're doing and where you're going, but who you're with throughout the experience!

From a November 29, 2010 Jamaica Gleaner article.
Cornwall Regional Hospital is in Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica


Island Trader said...

Hi, have actually started a blog looking at my search for property back home in Jamaica, don't know if you want to have a look

Eloquence, Inc. said...

Hi Island Trader, nice blog! Keep in touch I will want to buy a house there myself in a few years!

Falmouth Community said...

You have inspired me to do a similar blog post about things to do in Falmouth. Thanks.

Eloquence, Inc. said...

Falmouth that's a great idea...didn't you guys also get a nice big port there now that can take cruise ships?

I love the MoBay area and would love to live there if I could move back home!

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