Montego Bay is the second city in Jamaica and has always served as the tourism capital of the country. Montego Bay has often been nicknamed “The Republic” and “The Friendly City”, and continues to be an attractive destination for beach-goers and those who just want to enjoy some fun in the sun in beautiful Jamaica. The city is frequented by cruise passengers and international travelers flying in the island of Jamaica year round, and offers a wealth of activities for families, singles, couples and honeymooners alike. It’s also become one of the world’s leading beach wedding destinations, and you’ll find several unique sites and locales that can serve as the picture-perfect backdrop for a wedding or other special event in Montego Bay.
Montego Bay is home to several cultural attractions and historic sites that date back hundreds of years. You can explore historic houses and great mansions, visit cultural centers and learn about the area’s rich history, legends and cultural traditions. The legend and spirit of Bob Marley live on to this day, and you can also visit a theatre and attraction dedicated to this famous singer right in Montego Bay. Whether you want to spend your days relaxing on the beautiful sands, enjoying tropical drinks at a beachside café, or just spending time at one of the all-inclusive resorts on the island, Montego Bay offers a diverse range of activities and destinations for all types of travelers.
Montego Bay enjoys a rich and colorful past, and you can learn much about its beginnings by visiting some of the cultural museums and attractions around the island. Montego Bay is the capital of the Parish of St. James, and was first discovered by Columbus in May 1494. The Spanish began to settle in the area during the early 1500s, and they had named this area “Bahia de Mantega”, because of the large quantities of pigs’ lard that was being exported from the bay to the South American colonies. The British occupied Jamaica in 1655, and it was this time that many small parishes began to form in the area. St. James was among the second group of Parishes that were founded in the late 17th century, and Montego Bay became a small town in this parish in the 18th century.
This area continued to serve primarily as a trading port, and was even invaded by pirates at a certain period of time. Fort Montego was built on a bluff overlooking the bay, and underwent several renovations after some big battles during the late 19th century. Even though Montego Bay was never invaded, it is still considered to be a significant historical landmark in Jamaica. Today, the fort is within easy reach of several other unique attractions including the Aqua Sol Beach Theme Park, the Ambiente Art Gallery, and the Old Fort Crafts Market.
Whether you’re planning to stay on Montego Bay for a few days or several weeks, you’ll find plenty of unique destinations and natural wonders to explore throughout your visit. Montego Bay is a picture-perfect destination for a beach vacation and offers a wealth of historical attractions and cultural sites for all types of travelers.
Montego Bay Weather and Best Time to Visit
Peak tourist season in Montego Bay runs from the winter months to the middle of April. The busiest times of year on the island of Jamaica are in Christmas and Easter, so you will need to plan several months in advance if you want to secure the best flights and your ideal dates. Many people travel to Montego Bay and Jamaica during the winter months to enjoy the beautiful weather and get away from the cold climates elsewhere. If you do end up traveling here during the middle of summer, you may be able to find discounted rates on hotel and resort stays, and also cheaper flights from around the globe.
Montego Bay enjoys a fairly warm and tropical climate year round, with the average temperature staying the mid-80s throughout the year. There really aren’t any seasons in Jamaica, and the weather doesn’t change drastically from one day to the next. The temperatures are only slightly cooler around the coast and in the more mountainous regions. Rain is quite common here, but showers are usually fairly short and heavy. If you’re traveling during hurricane season, heck to make sure that a tropical storm or hurricane won’t be disrupting your travel plans.
Experience Montego Bay
Montego Bay is divided into three main areas. The city of Montego Bay is fairly crowded year round and this is where you’ll find most of the touristy hotspots and hotels, resorts, and other accommodations. The city streets are also home to several food and craft markets, stalls with local vendors, and a handful of shops. The hotel area is actually a 1.5-mile strip that runs from the city to the outlying areas. This is where you’ll find most of the larger hotels, resorts and other types of accommodations. If you venture further out to the hillside and beaches, you’ll find a handful of hotels, vacation rental properties and beach cottages.
If you’re interested in sampling some of the area’s culinary specialties, take a self-guided tour of some of the restaurants and eateries to enjoy traditional “jerk” chicken, coconut milk rice, freshly-pressed rum drinks and a handful of other local favorites. The food and cuisine in Montego Bay is exceptional, and you’ll find plenty of gourmet eateries and restaurants at some of the larger resorts and beachside venues.
If it’s your first time visiting Montego Bay, consider taking a guided tour of some of the sites and attractions so that you don’t miss out on some of the key venues that have shaped the area’s history. When you’re staying at a Montego Bay resort, you’ll enjoy easy access to numerous activities along the coast, and many properties also host their own lineup of music, entertainment and other special events throughout the year.
Home to some of the world's most popular all-inclusive resorts, Montego Bay is famous for its shimmering waters, beautiful beaches and casual, laid-back atmosphere. Relax near the shores with a tropical cocktail, enjoy a boat ride around the bay or hit the water parks for some fun in the sun.