Montego Bay is a popular tourist destination. It’s the capital of Saint James Parish and is a hotspot for cruise ships with a port for docking. Whether you’re accessing Montego Bay from a ship or flying over for a week or two of a Jamaican vacation, there are plenty of things to do. If this is your first time visiting, we’ve prepared a guide to help you make the most of your time there. Here are the 20 best things to do in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
20. Take a horseback ride and swim in the Caribbean Ocean
Discover how warm the Caribbean waters are on a horseback ride on Jamaica’s north shore. The horseback ride starts on land taking established trails in the backcountry and takes you on a mounted tour of the historic sugar plantations, then brings you back to the beach. The horses are special trained for wading and swimming in the warm waters of the ocean. There are guides to help you enjoy one of the most memorable experiences of your life.
19. Take a Mystic Luminescent Lagoon Night Cruise in Jamaica
Montego Bay is the home of the world-famous bioluminescent lagoon. An evening cruise on the glowing waters of the lagoon starts at sunset with professional guides to take you through this natural wonder. You’ll be supplied with Jamaican rum punch which is included in the tour. It’s ideal for adults or the entire family. This special cruise offers pickup and dropoff from your hotels for one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life. You can even go for a dip in the glowing water under the watchful eye of your guide. The lagoon is teeming with millions of microorganisms that put off a flash of light when they are touched. This is a rare and safe phenomenon that makes for a unique experience.
18. Tour the Gallery for West Indian Art
The Gallery for West Indian Art was founded in the 1960s. It offers an interesting look at the art of Jamaica, Cuba, and Haiti. There are hundreds of displays and all of the displayed items are available for sale. Choose among the various sculptures, paintings, textiles, and even furniture depicting Caribbean culture. All purchases are packed and shipped to the address you provide for your convenience.
17. Visit Fort Montego
Fort Montego is a must-see for all first-time visitors to Montego Bay. This popular tourist attraction is an old British Fort that was built in the 18th century for helping to keep pirates in check in the Montego Bay area. The fort is a historic site displaying an old cannon and you can even find a store that sells ancient artillery and old cannons while learning about the rich and storied history of Jamaica.
16. Go to a Sandals Resort Beach Party on the cheap
The Sandals Beach Resort offers some of the best parties in all of Jamaica and you don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to attend. The access fee is just $5. It’s less than most cover charges. Enjoy partying on a secure beach with buffet-style dining, live music, inflatables to rent with dance-offs, fire-eating, and more. It’s a genuine rum beach party where you can swim, enjoy the beach, dance or enjoy the live entertainment while kicked back in a comfortable chair.
15. Tour the Barnett Plantation
The Barnett Plantation is n old sugar plantation that is one of the oldest in Jamaica. The area covers 10 acres of family-owned sugar crops. Tours are available for anyone interested in learning about the history of Barnett Plantation and you’re also welcome to explore the company on your own. You are free to go into the Great House that is located on the property, where you will find a sort of museum with tons of artifacts and learn more about the rich history of the site.
14. Go River Tubing at Montpelier
River tubing is big in Montego Bay and the surrounding areas. It’s similar to bamboo rafting, another popular Jamaican activity. You will meander down the river with a guide that points out interesting attractions. It’s perfectly safe as the tubes are all tied together to make sure that nobody drifts away. You’ll enjoy the interesting stories shared by the guides.
13. Spend an afternoon at the Aqua Sol Theme Park
The Aqua Sol Theme Park is one of the leading attractions in Montego Bay. It’s ideal for people of all ages. The Park is located on the beach and it offers a raft of activities including tours on a glass-bottom boat, pedal boat tours, banana boat rides, scuba diving lessons, guided dives, snorkeling, water trampolines, go-carts, kayak adventures, volleyball, table tennis, jet ski rides, and more.
12. Visit the Sam Sharpe Square
Sam Sharpe is one of Jamaica’s national heroes. The square honors his name as a central feature in the colonization of the island. Sharpe was a slave who became a Baptist deacon and advocated for passive resistance that led to the emancipation of slaves. He was hung for his efforts and became a martyr and national hero. There are plenty of street vendors inside the square and it’s a great place to learn more about the history of Montego Bay as well as for picking up a few cool souvenirs.
11. Tour St. Mary’s Anglican Church
St. Mary’s Anglican Church is a tall historic building at Montpelier Estate. THE estate was destroyed in 1831 by a fire but the church was built in 1847 on the site. It is a popular tourist attraction where you can learn yet more about the history of Montego Bay.
10. Visit Cornwall Beach
Cornwall Beach is one of the best beaches in Montego Bay if you want to avoid the densely packed crowds. Here you’ll find clear, calm, blue water with some of the most stunning views in the region. It’s a charming beach that isn’t as busy as most of the others, in peaceful locations with available restrooms, and you can even rent lockers, chairs, and umbrellas. It’s not far from The Hip Street where you can find other amenities.
9. Visit the Montego Bay Cultural Centre
The Montego Bay Cultural Centre offers tons of exhibits of ancient Jamaican arts and crafts. You will also find Rastafarian cultural displays and related topics. Learn all about Jamaica’s heritage by visiting both the gallery and museum that contains a variety of sculptures, paintings, and cultural artifacts.
8. Visit the Green Grotto Caves
The Green Grotto Caves is an experience that you won’t want to miss out on. The caves are a vital piece of Jamaican history as they served as a hiding place for Spanish soldiers as well as slaves. There are millions of bats living in the caves currently. Tours of the 1.5-mile caves where the popular James Bond film “Live and Let Die” was filmed.
7. Enjoy a round of golf at Cinnamon Hill
The Cinnamon Hill Golf Course offers various elevations to play exciting golf rounds. The course features 18 holes with amazing views of the mountainside and the sea. The course was designed by Hank Smedley and constructed in 1969 with a redesign in 2001 by Von Hagee and Baril. The coastal winds can b strong here, but sometimes that works in your favor.
6.Take a Swamp Safari Tour
Go on a swamp safari tour if you have an adventurous spirit. A safari truck takes you through swampy areas to view the rare birds, crocodiles, monkeys, snakes, and raccoons in their natural habitat. This is one of the most famous tours as the area was featured in the James Bond film “Live and Let Die” in 1972. The ride can get rough and rugged, so wear your boots and be prepared for an occasional jostle.
5. Spend time at the Animal Farm and Nature Reserve
The Animal Farm and Nature Reserve is another popular tourist attraction in Montego Bay. Guided tours are available that allow you to get out and interact with the animals at the preserve. There is a walk-in aviary where you can feed birds out of your hands. There are many animals to see at the Farm and when you do, you can enjoy a picnic in the lovely gardens and even use the outdoor cooking facilities.
4. Go snorkeling at Doctor Cave Beach
Doctor Cave Beach is the best place in Jamaica to go snorkeling. It was named in the 1920s after a British doctor announced that the waters in this area have healing and curative powers. This declaration brought people from all over the world and started a hot tourist industry with hotels built and resorts springing up around the area. It costs just $6 to get into Doctor’s Cave Beach where you’ll find changing rooms, rental spots, gift shops, and restaurants for a full day of fun in the sun.
3. Go Ziplining through the jungle
Ziplining is a big thing in Montego Bay. You can zip across the jungles to get the fullest possible experience and view of the surrounding areas. Experience the ultimate freedom with a good dose of adrenaline if you’re the adventurous type. The aerial views of the countryside are exhilarating. If you’re a daredevil this might be right up your alley
2. Tour the Ras Natango Gallery and Garden
The Ras Natango Gallery and Garden is a botanical garden and outdoor gallery that is located high in the mountains. The attraction provides educational tours along with an exploration of the gardens where you’ll find loverly birds and exotic plant species. The hummingbirds are in good supply. The attraction also offers art classes, souvenir shops, and plenty of places to grab lunch. Plan on spending several hours at Ras Natango because it’s a tour that could easily turn into an all-day event. You will enjoy it that much.
1. Visit the Abeokuta Paradise Nature Park
The Abeokuta Paradise Nature Park is another attraction that you won’t want to miss out on while you’re there. This is one of the best parks for the preservation of its natural surroundings situated on 13 acres of former plantation yard. It’s a historical site that has a history of housing African slaves. You’ll find the Great House still standing in these historic locations. There is a main pool and a kiddie pool, both of which are supplied with mineral water that contains therapeutic properties. If you have issues with your muscles, bones, or arthritis, the high concentrations of magnesium, chloride, calcium, iron, and other minerals found in the water are likely to bring sweet relief. It’s a lovely place to go to enjoy the beauties of nature and also treat yourself to a pool spa dip to soothe what ails you.