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Jamaica’s second city is a tourism hub that receives the bulk of holidaymakers. This bustling city, located on a lovely big bay, serves as good springboard for the surrounding countryside of the country’s northwest.
Better known as MoBay, the city gives off an initial impression of calamity with its crazy one way streets, run down suburbs and endless hustlers, however it has some lovely beaches and hosts many resort hotels. These are generally clustered along Cornwalls and Doctor’s Cave beaches north of the center. Many of the bars and discos specifically catering for visitors are located here.
Jamaica has a history of colonization, dating back 400 years, and the legacy of this are the fine old buildings located around Church street. Sam Sharpe Square is a popular meeting point that has witnessed plenty of political activity during the country’s recent past.
If you have a car you can head to the yacht club, on a spit of land in the south of the bay. A visit to Barnett estate, among the cane fields south of the city is an insightful peek into the industry on which Jamaica’s past fortunes rested.
To escape the clichéd tourism attractions and seek out the true character of Jamaica, head northeast into the rolling hills of the cockpit country. Here you’ll find delightful rural villages among banana plantations, where time seems to slow down to ‘Jamaica time mon’. Reggae fans make their way to the little hamlet of Nine Mile, birth and burial place of the legendary Bob Marley.
If you’ve come for the beach then follow everyone else to Negril beach, west of Montego Bay. Be cautious on the windy road (Jamaican drivers have a reckless reputation) but its worth stopping at some of the delightful fishing villages along the way. Lucea isa one example where you can admire the simple lifestyle of the locals. Negril’s four-kilometer long beach is a strip of activity packed with hotels, bungalows and bars to suit all tastes and budgets.
Jamaicans love to party, and all tourism areas have frequent ‘Jump Up’s’ (street parties), where rum punch flows copiously and reggae blasts out from live bands. By day Negril offers a myriad of water sport activities, by night you can stroll along the beach and select from dozens of lively or quiet places.
Montego International Airport is a busy regional hub with many flights to North American cities, frequent arrivals from Europe and good local connections.