Last Minute Vacations To Montego Bay
Upon Christopher Columbus’s first visit to the island came in 1494, he named the bay Golfo de Buen Tiempo, or ‘Fair Weather Gulf’. It was later named ‘Montego Bay’ which is believed to have originated as a corruption of the Spanish word Manteca (‘lard’) due to the Spanish exportation of lard from its port. Montego Bay is the second largest city in Jamaica and is a tourist destination with duty free shopping and lovely beaches.
Getting There & Other Transportation
Having Jamaica’s largest airport, many airlines run non-stop flights to ‘MoBay’ connecting the island with the USA, UK, Germany and Canada. Once you land, the Montego Bay Transportation Company will set you up (upon arrival) with a car, train, bus or taxi to your destination. Many all-inclusive vacation packages include airport transit. Hotel Lounges (kiosks) are located inside the Ground Transportation Arrivals Hall. You will be greeted by MBJ’s Customer Service Reps who will direct you to your hotel or your specific ground transportation company. The following hotels are located at the Hotel Lounge: Sandals, Super Clubs, Half Moon, Couples Resorts, Holiday Inn, Sans Souci, and Ritz Carlton.
Hotels & Places to Stay
Staying at an all-inclusive resort is your best bet when visiting Montego Bay. The Bay’s greatest shorelines are snapped up by hotels and resorts. The Bay’s prize asset is a dazzling bay with miles of coral reef (a designated marine park). For a luxurious stay in Montego Bay, ’The Palmyra, A Solis Resort and Spa’ is set on 16 oceanfront acres and offers suites, penthouses and villas. You can enjoy 3 golf courses, 2 swimming pools and private white sand beaches. For a hotel stay with fewer frills, check out the ‘Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Montego Bay’ for a family friendly all-inclusive vacation.
Dining & Nightlife
The Montego Bay area offers some of the finest dining in Jamaica. However, if you’re watching your wallet, there are a few local delicacies that you must try. Mo Bay Street Meat is sold on Gloucester Ave and Kent Road (known as the ‘hip strip’), as the streets are lined with bars, food stands and shops. For a true taste of Jamaica, stop at a stand and order a lunch of jerk pork and wash it down with a Red Stripe beer. Here are some Montego Bay restaurants:
Day-O Plantation Restaurant
Originally a plantation home built in the 1920s, this restaurant has indoor/outdoor dining and is divided into two halves by a dance floor and a small stage. The owner performs as a one-man band as his wife and children run the dining room and kitchen. The meats are permeated with Jamaican spices. Try this restaurant for delicious international/Jamaican cuisine.
Located within the Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall Resort, this smaller boutique-y restaurant serves upscale international cuisine. Dining at the Jasmine restaurant is a great excuse to see this beautiful five-star hotel.
Located in the heart of the town and along Montego Bay’s ‘hip strip’, Nikkita’s serves up modern Jamaican cuisine and is known for its artful and posh-looking bar.
For a Montego Bay nightlife experience, hit the ‘hip strip’ in the city center and check out Marguerite’s Seafood by the sea, Margaritaville Sports Bar and Grill, Nikkita’s and Jamaica Bobsled Café.
Attractions & Things to Do
Montego Bay offers many excursion tours and cruises. For a half-day excursion, check out Croydon Plantation for a tour of the plantation, a taste of tropical fruits in season, and a barbecued chicken lunch.
An available day tour is the Hilton High Day Tour which showcases the rich sociology of plantation life in the Jamaican hinterlands. Breakfast and a buffet lunch of Jamaican food are included. During lunch, a local calypso band performs.
Day and evening cruises are offered aboard the Calico. The day cruises depart from Margaritaville on the Montego Bay waterfront at 10AM and returns at 1PM. The evening cruise, departing from the same location at 5PM has cocktails and wine served as you sail through the sunset.
Currency, Culture and Language
The official language is English; however, many Jamaicans speak Patois (a mixture of French, Spanish, English and African dialects).
US dollars are accepted in Jamaica, but the Jamaican Dollar is the country’s currency.
The ratio of JMD to USD is roughly 65:1.