The second-largest city in Jamaica, Montego Bay is known for its beaches and resort hotels. It’s also a popular cruise destination. Similar to Ocho Rios, the name of the city comes loosely from the translation of a Spanish word, manteca, which means “lard.” During the Spanish period, this port was known for exporting lard (and leather and beef). Today, you’re not likely to find much lard in the duty-free shops in this port, but you’ll find plenty to do while you’re in town. Because this port is close to another popular Jamaican port, Ocho Rios, you’ll get to take advantage of activities in both towns. Here are 5 things to check out in Montego Bay.
One of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean and probably one of the most photographed, these waterfalls flow almost 600 feet long and flow directly into the Caribbean Sea.
You can climb this natural wonder in about an hour or hour and a half (usually with the assistance of a local guide). After successfully climbing these amazing falls, you can spend the rest of the day relaxing in one of the lagoons or pools alongside the falls. Because this excursion is about an hour and a half from the cruise port, you may want to book this one directly with your cruise ship.
A different way to see Montego Bay, this excursion is for all levels of experience. Local stables will pair you with a horse that matches your experience, and then you’re off to check out ruins, historic estates and spectacular coastline views. After the first part of your ride, the saddles come off, and you ride your horse right into the Caribbean Sea. Take lots of pictures because this is an experience you’ll always want to remember.
If you’re seeking more adventure in Montego Bay, look no further. The Great River offers Grades I-IV rapids and different adventure options. The Grade I & II option is safe for children (4 and up) and offers the chance to experience the rainforest and glide down the river. For more excitement, the Grades III & IV offer waterfalls on the wild, untamed part of the river (you must be in good health and at least 12 to tame this river rapid adventure). Whitewater rafting is also available on the White River; this excursion offers you the chance to swim in the deeper sections of the river and takes you to the Caribbean Sea.
All-Inclusive Day Pass
Montego Bay is known for the luxurious and numerous resorts along its famous beaches. In fact, many of these resorts are built on the sites of sugar cane plantations of the past and still feature historic buildings on property. This is your chance to relax on the warm sand or by the pool of these picturesque resorts. For a reasonable price, you’ll have access to all the resort amenities (often including towel service and free wi-fi), and in most cases, “all-inclusive” means all you can drink. Some popular choices include Secrets and Sea Winds Resort.
Yes, river boarding. You’ve heard of surfing and paddle boarding; in Montego Bay, you’ve got river boarding. You get a board and you lie on it, riding the current. With a guide in small groups, you’ll literally “board” the river, experiencing the currents, twists, turns and falls of the river. You’ll go through seven sections of rapids on your tour, and your tour ends as the river drops you into the Caribbean Sea.
Know your limits and level of experience before you climb up a waterfall or jump on a whitewater rafting adventure.
Always bring plenty of sunscreen.
Be aware of your surroundings in ports with which you’re unfamiliar.