When you read in a brochure or advertising that your hotel is in "Montego Bay" be prepared to stay a few (or many) kilometers distant from town - Montego Bay is a common (and uggly) city taking proffit of a protected bay, with several beaches around it, and hotels spreading along almost 100 kilometers of coast.
To browse the beaches and have an idea of their quality, a car was needed, and... we didn't have it, so, we skipped Montego Bay beaches.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
MONTEGO BAY EXCURSIONS
There's plenty of things to do in and around MO Bay. I will highlight here some of the excursions available.
Dunn's River Falls:
Enjoy the scenery as you travel along Jamaica's north coast to OchoRios and then on to Dunn's River Falls, which has 600 feet of cascading falls. It's Jamaica's #1 attraction.
Black River Falls:
A scenic drive across the island, will take you to the wild and natural south coast. Take a boat ride along the Black River, Jamaica's longest river where you will explore mangrove swamps where you can see crocodiles and other native species in their natural habitat.
Swim with the Dolphins at Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios.
Shops at Rose Hall:
30 retail stores including boutiques, restaurants, souvenir shops, art & craft, duty-free, jewellery, watches and gifts. A free shuttle is available from Sunspree every hour on the hour starting at 10:00 a.m.
Bamboo Rafting Experience:
A uniquely Jamaican experience. An expert raftsman guides you down the river aboard your personal bamboo raft.
Luminous Lagoon Tour:
The Luminous Lagoon is one of Jamaica's natural wonders. The Lagoon, surrounded by mangroves, emits a phosphorescent light when the water is agitated. Take a boat ride on the Laggon and as the water is disturbed, you will see eerie light illuminating the waters below.
These are just some of the excursions available. See your travel representative or Hotel Information Desk for more details and prices.
Rocklands Bird Feeding Station
This place is out of Montego bay, so you need a car or taxi. A beautiful place where the hummingbirds keep going back for food. So you just seat and wait for them. They will eat from your hand. Amazing experience. (No fix price, but min. 10USD)Related to:
Richmond Hill Inn
The Richmond Hill Inn is located 500 feet above the city and offers fantastic views of the bay. It's a great place to have a picture made with your cruise ship in the background.
Because we were on an excursion from the cruise ship, we did not stay here, but management will let tourists come and use the facility for a $1 donation per person. In the 1700's the Inn was the property of the Dewars of scotch whisky fame.
Feel free to sit by the pool, roam the gardens, or enjoy a meal and libations in their terrace service area. Also feel free to pet the two german shepherds who lazily amble among the guests and visitors.
As with most places in Montego Bay, it was very affordable. We did not eat, but the menu had nothing above $8.00. Also, the drinks were very cheap as well. One round of nine drinks including beers, shots and mixed drinks was about $35 with tip.
If I was to have an extended stay in Montego Bay, I would definately stay here.
Downtown Montego Bay
We thought it a bit odd that we had been to Montego Bay four times and we had never actually seen any of the city but Sunset Beach is so far outside the center that it's not walkable and we really didn't have a reason to go there. But we decided to go on one of the shopping excursions so we could see a bit of the city and had our driver drop us there while everyone else was spending their money at the duty free stores.
The downtown area is bustling with people shopping and going about their business, even in the noon day heat. There are some interesting buildings as you walk along the main street (St. James I think), you can stop by Juici Patty or Stanley's for a patty, take a peek at one of the grocery stores or the outdoor fruit sellers. A lot more interesting than seeing yet another shop packed with tourist trinkets, that's for sure!
Picture 1-The Cage, used as a lockup for vagrants, drunks, runaways and plantation slaves who had not left town after the 3PM warning bell
Picture 2-local church
Picture 3-is she selling real dog tongue? And no mystery as to what love weed does
Picture 4-Scotch bonnets, don't underestimate their heat
Picture 5-house near the craft market
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.
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.
Kayaking on the Great River
We've done so many of the packaged tours from the resort or with a private guide that we had a little trouble finding something that we hadn't done but we did want to do at least one daytrip so we selected a kayaking trip on the Great River. After a 40 minute van ride through the country side, we were dropped at Chukka Tours' outpost on a section of the 57 mile long Great River where they launch several trips-tubing, kayaking and a canopy tour. Although there were quite a few people for the other two trips, we were on our own for the kayak trip, apparently everyone else was in the Jamaica spirit and didn't want to exert themselves too much, we saw the tubers as they were being pulled along the Great River drinking rum punch and they were clearly not even going to break a sweat.
This wasn't the greatest tour we've ever taken but it was enjoyable. One of our guides was a lot more affable than the other, his banter made the trip more enjoyable. We didn't really paddle all that far in our inflatable kayaks, much of the trip was stopping for photo ops, a short trip up to the orange groves to see some of the native flora and sample some of the very sweet oranges and a stop at the rope swing where you can take a dip in the River.
This wasn't a strenous tour at all and the water was not at all dangerous, a few mini rapids but otherwise very little current. If you've never been kayaking before, the guides would give you a briefing on how to do it. The tour pictures make it look much more exciting than it really was, maybe it is at different times of the year when the water levels are different. The only problem I had since I am used to more sturdy fiberglass kayaks was that I ended up turned around backwards a lot.
The guide had a water proof bag for my camera, the rest of our stuff was in a locker back at the base camp. We ended up waiting for the rest of the folks on the canopy tour for almost an hour, there's a gift shop, snacks and a bathroom for while you wait. Plus a herd of scrawny stray cats who are looking for scraps.
Zipline Adventur Tours
MOBAy is awesome especially if you want to try out an awesome excursion. Zipline adventure tours!
Their tour starts with a short safari ride up the mountain with an informative guide. Then your safety briefing. then a total of five traverses!! the first is 250ft, the next is 850 ft, and then a 900ft line. then you walk through a botanical garden and get to sample things that have been grown right there as well as sample a few liqueurs. then the fourth traverse is 750ft, and then a 250ft skybridge!! and last but certainly not least, is the longest zipline in the Caribbean, 1600ft!!!!
The sky-bridge is a cable and wood suspension bridge that is a safe walkway that takes you from the end of one traverse to the launch platform of the last one. It is just an extra feature they added so people can slow down for a moment and see the beauty of Jamaica!!!
The place is located in the small town of Lethe, which is just southwest of Anchovy and Montpelier
The price is around $89 US without transfer and around $103 US with transport from MoBay!
Those prices are estimated and may differ from different resort areas.
Their web site is zipline-tours.com and their phone # is 876-436-6296Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Dunn's falls. An experience you wont have anywhere else! one and a half hours away. You ascend the falls holding on to people on either side of you. this allows balance and support. Careful of hurting your ankle. Wear plastic water shoes which are snug fitting. They tell you not to take your camera unless you want to get it wet! Leave all your belongings in the coach. Only wear your swimsuit.
croydon Estates. Coach tour which takes 1 and a half hours to get to. Plantation tour. See beautiful tropical fruit trees including banana, pineapple, noni, cotton etc. Coffee also grown here. Had a barbecue lunch. Perhaps that is where I got the parasite?
Trip with a taxi into Montego Bay. Saw the gallery of West Indian Art. You can buy reasonable art (not only from Jamaica) Walked along the hip strip. You have to pay to use Doctor's beach. Forgot to see San Sharpe square!
Rose Hall Great house. Annie Palmer (white witch of Rose Hall) Have tour of the house. Beautiful grounds. Saw Annie's grave. Also saw the Barret's graves (Elizabeth Barret Browning the poet's family) I wander if Takoo and Millicent are buried there too!Related to:
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
We always end up on a catamaran/snorkeling cruise whenever we go somewhere warm, sometimes they are pretty raucous with a lot of people getting drunk, sometimes they are more laidback with people just out for a sail. This was our 2nd time on the Tropical Dreamer and the trip was almost identical to the 1st trip.
Tropical Dreamer tends more towards the raucous, booze cruise atmosphere, the crew is lively and the drinks flow freely, all kinds of rum based drinks and the ever present Red Stripe beer. While they won't let you drink until after you snorkel, the snorkeling stop isn't very far away from the dock at Sandals where the boat leaves from. After about 30 minutes of snorkeling, they sail onto Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville where you can use the slide or bounce on the trampolines or buy drinks in pretty multicolored souvenir cups before sailing off again back to Sandals.
The snorkeling stop is pretty good, no really unusual fish but a pretty good variety of the usual suspects. The waves were pretty high for our journey back to Sandals, I was surprised that no one got sick. The crew gives foot massages to all the ladies and a little dance instruction at the end.
The cost per person for booking through the resort was $65US.
River rafting on the Great River
After four previous trips to Jamaica, we had exhausted most of the daytrip options but we hadn't been on the Great River, so we opted to do this day trip from the resort. The day started with a 20 minute drive to the start of the rafting trip, a mile and 1/2 trip down the Great River on a wooden raft with a guide eager to please and eager to remind you that tips are how he makes his living. He gives me a foot massage with what he says is lime (David declined the foot massage), treats us to coconut milk sipped out of freshly cut bamboo straws, picks brilliant pink and red flowers "for the lady" and gives us some berries and bamboo with instruction on how to make them into a necklace.
Afterward we are served a bbq chicken lunch followed by a demonstration of how to make a pina colada from scratch with fresh coconut and pineapple and a little rum. Then we are loaded onto a tram pulled by a tractor through the "plantation" to see how a variety of local fruits are grown-pineapples, mangoes, limes and bananas.
The banana demonstration is especially interesting, you learn how the banana plant is used after the fruit is harvested for a variety of products. See the travelogue below for some more pictures and information
Road Side Huts
Along the road you will find plenty of Jerk Huts where you can stop for a bite to eat and a cold beer. Make sure you ask the locals for the best ones. For example, we asked our Taxi Driver, Henrry, for the best one & it just happend to be across our Hotel, the Holiday Inn Sun Spree in Montego Bay.
I did not go here, but I hear this is a place where tourist like to hang out and party. One of the passengers on our boat that did visit Margaritaville was so drunk off her arse we had to help her find her cabin on the ship (lol)!Related to:
Jamaican Bobsled Team
Incredible, isn't it? A caribean country with an olimpic bobsled team!! It only could happen in Jamaica!!
If you want to know more about the Jamaican Bobsled Team you can go to their pub in Gloucester Avenue, in Mo'Bay, where you can drink, eat and of course buy official staff from the olimpic team.
There is an real bobsled there, so you can also take some pictures.
Margaritaville in Mo'Bay
The Mo'Bay Margaritaville is just near the sea, so it's a great place to drink some juices or some alcoholic drinks. It's quite expensive, but the place is great!!
The bar is provided by a slide which finishes in the sea, and there are many games like jumping beds, platforms, etc...
It's a great place to know other people, drink sth and have fun. What else could you ask? ;-)
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