Jamaica’s top spot
Montego Bay are two words that have become synonymous with Caribbean paradise. If you’re seduced by bright blue skies, ice-white beaches, and miles of colourful coral reefs, you’re in the right place. And not only does Mo’ Bay, as it’s known, have some of the plushest hotels in Jamaica, but after Kingston it’s Jamaica’s second city, which means it’s bubbling with life, night and day.
Ribbon of beaches
In Mo’ Bay there’s a different beach for every day of the week. The real celebrity spot is Doctor’s Cave Beach, a 300-metre swathe of gently shelving sand, which has got watersports, coral reefs, and a 100-year-old bathing club. Next door is the less-crowded Cornwall Beach, a place known for its water toys and tasty fried fish. And if you’re looking for a family-friendly spot, at Walter Fletcher Beach you’ve got a go-kart track, tennis courts, and an aquatic theme park.
Running parallel to the oceanfront is Gloucester Avenue, rechristened Hip Strip by the city’s residents. By day, this 3-kilometre stretch of shops, chain restaurants and theme bars is teeming with street vendors and tanned holidaymakers, while at night it’s where people come to let their hair down. For a change of scene, Downtown, fanning out from the cobblestone Sam Sharpe Square, is worth exploring. Its pattie shops, CD vendors and historic landmarks like Gully Market are all part of the appeal.
Montego Bay Marine Park
Just off the coast of Montego Bay is the marine park – 9 square miles of luminous coral reefs and mangroves. Scuba centres can take you out to sites like Point Reef and the rainbow-coloured Window Maker. And non-divers can hop on catamaran cruises that stop off at reefs swarming with grouper fish, barracudas and stripy Sergeant Majors.