Terminal Drop-Off Charge

A £5 charge now applies to vehicles dropping off passengers at the designated drop-off zones, located directly outside the terminals. Discounts and exemptions will apply. Free drop-off will be available at the Long Stay car parks.

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  • Overview

    The north coast of Jamaica is the island's popular riviera area, and at the centre of this resort paradise is Montego Bay, known affectionately as 'MoBay' to locals and regular visitors. The area has a sparkling 10-mile (16km) shoreline, fronted by coral reefs and aquamarine lagoons, backed by green hills shrouded in sugar cane, banana palms and lush tropical vegetation.

    Christopher Columbus was the first European tourist to step ashore at Montego Bay in 1494. The Spanish settlement was founded in 1510. It has grown into Jamaica's second biggest city, but is first choice for holidaymakers. The beaches in the area are picture-perfect, while there is also bird watching, music festivals, horse riding trails, golfing and floating down the river on a bamboo raft.

    The Montego Bay area also has a fascinating historical background, not all of it pleasant, which lives on in the legends and stories surrounding the few remaining great plantation houses belonging to dynastic families that grew rich from slave labour in past centuries. Several of these are open to the public.

    Doctors Cave Beach

    The story of Montego Bay's most famous beach began in 1906, when a group of doctors decided to found a bathing club on a beach property donated for the purpose by Dr Alexander James McCatty. Access to the small beach at the time was through a cave - hence the name. The cave was destroyed in 1932 in a fierce hurricane, but the bathing club has lived on and the beach has become legendary. The water is warm and crystal clear, with its waters believed to have curative powers. Today, access to the beach is controlled through a smart entrance way and a complex of changing rooms, showers and a beach bar.

    Doctors Cave Beach Doctors Cave Beach User:Op. Deo
    Rose Hall

    Legend has it that plantation-owner Annie Palmer was murdered at the Rose Hall Great House in 1831, but not before she had rid herself of three husbands - allegedly by using voodoo magic. Palmer was killed during a slave uprising on the estate, brought about by her battle with a slave for the love of the estate supervisor. She is now known as the 'White Witch of Rose Hall'. The house, originally built in 1780, was abandoned for many years but has now been restored. A gift shop and pub are in operation in the dungeon, where the white witch is said to have imprisoned and tortured victims. The story endures powerfully in the local imagination and makes exploring this wonderful house quite spooky, especially on a night time candlelit tour.

    Address: Rose Hall Highway
    Website: www.rosehall.com
    Rose Hall Rose Hall Sarah Ackerman
    Montego Bay Marine Park

    The Montego Bay Marine Park protects some of Jamaica's best coral reefs and marine resources, divided into zones where different activities are allowed or restricted. The park's resource centre is found at Pier One Marina on the waterfront in downtown Montego Bay, providing information about the park and ecological presentations. Private operators also run undersea submersible tours of the reefs, while the marine park offers wonderful scuba diving and snorkelling. A really fun way to explore is to swim or snorkel out from Doctor's Cave Beach or Sunset Beach. This should only be attempted by experienced swimmers, who should have either a diver's flag or a bright life vest.

    Address: Marine Park Resource Centre and Headquarters, Pier One, Howard Cooke Blvd
    Montego Bay Montego Bay Jerrad Miller

    The old Georgian port of Falmouth makes for an interesting visit. The centre of the town is Water Square, which features a market full of little craft stalls that dates from 1895. Also of interest are plantation mansions as well as St Peter's Anglican Church and the William Knibb Memorial Church, a chapel built in memory of Jamaica's enthusiastic Baptist abolitionist. Besides the cultural attractions there are lovely beaches to roam and laze on. For the adventurous, there are river rapids and canopy jungle tours to be enjoyed just outside of the town. The famous Jamaican attractions of Dunn's River Falls and Dolphin Cove are also good excursions to combine with a trip to Falmouth.

    Falmouth Falmouth Derek Hatfield
    Croydon in the Mountains

    A slave who led the Christmas Rebellion of 1831, Samuel Sharpe is a national hero and was instrumental in the emancipation of Jamaica. He was born on this Croydon coffee and pineapple plantation, with guided tours a must. Visitors gain some interesting insights into the history and processes of coffee and pineapple production, as well as the chance to savour some of Jamaica's exotic fruits. Transport to and from the main Montego Bay hotels and the Grand Palladium Resort in Hanover is provided by the plantation.

    Pineapples Pineapples Garry Knight
    Hip Strip

    The Hip Strip is undoubtedly Montego Bay's liveliest area, jam packed with sun-seeking visitors from dawn till dusk. It's full of wonderful local eateries and relaxed bars where reggae music is the only thing stored in the jukebox. Tourists looking to let loose and have a real rum-fuelled party should check out the wild local nightclubs. Strolling along the strip and experiencing the vibe is essential on a trip to Montego Bay, serving as the perfect place to trawl for souvenirs, enjoy a few cocktails and meet locals, many of whom are friendly and willing to dispense valuable advice about what you should see and do in Jamaica.

    Address: Gloucester Avenue
    Cocktails Cocktails Sarah Ackerman
    Greenwood Great House

    The Greenwood Great House was built between 1780 and 1800 and is generally regarded as the greatest of Jamaica's Great Houses. It was the residence of a notorious Richard Barrett, said to have presided over 33,600 hectares and 3,000 slaves. It stands as testament to both the grandeur and cruelty that the British brought to the Caribbean. Greenwood has not undergone extensive renovations, with a tour taking in the Barrett's original library, fine antique furniture and a collection of unusual musical instruments. Described as 'the finest antique museum in the Caribbean', an excursion to the Greenwood Great House is highly recommended for visitors to Montego Bay interested in the colonial history of the island.

    Frangipanis in the Greenwood Great House
garden Frangipanis in the Greenwood Great House garden Tatters
    Rocklands Bird Sanctuary

    Rocklands Bird Sanctuary offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with Jamaica's wide variety of colourful birdlife. Founded in 1954 by Lisa Salmon, the highlight of the trip is the opportunity to hand-feed hummingbirds - including the Doctor Bird, Jamaica's national bird - while relaxing in the shade on the patio. The sanctuary is lush and full of plants and flowers, so apart from the bird sighting opportunities it's a lovely place to wander off for a nature walk. The sanctuary is nearby Montego Bay but the roads are bad, so many prefer to travel with a tour and an experienced driver.

    Address: On the road to the village of Anchovy
    Yellow-faced Grassquit Yellow-faced Grassquit Tony Northrup

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    The tropical climate of Montego Bay ensures it's warm and sunny year-round, making it a great holiday destination. There is little seasonal variation in temperatures, with the average high being 91°F (33°C) and the lowest temperature generally only falling to 69°F (21°C). July and August are the hottest months and January through March are the coolest but the difference in temperature is minor.

    There are frequent rain showers in Montego Bay, but these are brief and the weather usually turns sunny again afterwards. The Jamaican rainy season runs from May to November, with the chance of hurricanes between June and November. The wettest months in Montego Bay are September and October.

    The most popular time to travel to Montego Bay - and the rest of the island - is in the dry season between mid-December and mid-April. But if you are travelling on a budget or want to avoid the crowds, it's a good idea to travel to Montego Bay in the wet season because it's cheaper and the short-lived rain showers don't generally put much of a dampener on a Jamaican holiday. It's always warm enough to swim in the lovely Caribbean waters of Montego Bay.

    Sangster International Airport
    Location: The airport is located two miles (3km) northeast of Montego Bay.
    Time: Local time is GMT - 5
    Transfer Between Terminals: Both the domestic and international terminals are located in one building and are within close proximity to each other.
    Getting to the city: Hotel Shuttles, taxis and Intra-island Airlines are located in the Ground Transportation Arrivals Hall outside the Customs area. Many hotels will organise airport shuttles for guests.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies at Sangster International Airport include Thrifty, Hertz, Budget, Avis and Island Car Rental.
    Airport Taxis: There are two taxi companies operating at Sangster International Airport: JUTA and JCAL. They can be booked at the Authorised Airport Taxi desk located just outside the Customs exit.
    Facilities: There are ATMs, currency exchange facilities, lost and found facilities, business lounges offering fax, photocopy and internet facilities, childcare amenities, police station, a smoking lounge, a tourist information service, a number of restaurants and beverage stands, and dozens of shops, including duty-free.
    Parking Parking is available for JMD 150 per hour, and JMD 600 for 3-24 hours.

    Many visitors have no desire to venture beyond the stunning white Caribbean beaches of Montego Bay: Doctor's Cave Beach is a great favourite; the Montego Bay Yacht Club is a wonderful location for cocktails or a romantic meal on the beach; and Cornwall Beach, Aquasol Beach and Sunset Beach are all popular choices. The Montego Bay Marine Park is a protected area ideal for scuba diving, snorkelling and any number of other ocean-based activities. Many of the beaches in Montego Bay are affiliated with resorts and have admission fees.

    Montego Bay has two worthy Jamaican Great Houses to explore. The Greenwood Great House, built between 1780 and 1800, and once home to about 3,000 slaves, is now arguably the greatest antique museum in the Caribbean. The other is Rose Hall, infamous for the wicked female mistress who is still said to haunt its passageways.

    There are many exciting excursions out of the city too, including tours of nearby plantations like Croydon in the Mountains and visits to historic villages like Falmouth. One of the most popular daytrips is a visit to the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, where you can hand feed hummingbirds.


    No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination