Things to do in Montego Bay: Best excursions, attractions, golf courses, beach, shopping
A well visited island that's known around the world, Jamaica plays hosts to several different seaside towns that provide lots of different activities for vacationers to take part in. One of these such towns is Montego Bay. Here you'll find excursions, beautiful beaches, shopping opportunities, attractions and a few golf courses. Though it should be noted that not all of these features are located right in Montego Bay. Like most of Jamaica's attractions, many of the things to do are found just outside of town, making for some great little trips.
If you're visiting for a long weekend, you'll find that a stay in Montego Bay is near perfect, as there are lots of half day activities you can join in on. If you're planning on staying a week or more, you'll still find plenty to do and see that will keep you busy the entire duration of your trip.
Best excursions of Montego Bay and surrounding area
Montego Bay itself may not be very large, but it is surrounded by both ocean and jungle, making for some pretty neat excursions both on land and in the sea. If you wanted to, you could venture on a bunch of excursions one after the other, or you can spread them out if you're staying in Montego Bay for a week or longer.
Braco Stables Horseback Ride n' Swim
A great experience for all ages, horseback riding is taken to the next level with a ride through the ocean, as well as a ride on land. First you'll start off touring the countryside before heading onto the beach to then swimming bareback with your horse. During the entire tour your guide will narrate everything that you are seeing, proving you with some new information about Jamaica.
This is a great tour that you can take throughout the year, making it ideal for both short weekend vacations and those that are a bit longer. The stables are conveniently located as well and are situated only an hour away from the Montego Bay Freeport pier.
- Adult: $70
- Child: $70
Zipline Adventure Tours
Referred to as the longest zipline in all of the Caribbean, this tour consists of 5 different ziplines in varying lengths. The shortest zipline is 250 feet and the longest comes in at 1,600 feet. There are lots of different ziplines in Jamaica to partake in, but this one is situated in a private gated community located along the Great River. During your adventure, your tour guide will educate you about the local farming community, the Jamaica hills and the Great River, making this adventure one for learning as well.
In addition to ziplining, you'll also take part in an exciting off-road adventure in a 6-wheel drive Pinzgauers. These military troop transport vehicles will be your ride for the Flavors of Jamaica eco tour which is also included.
- Adult: $90
- Child: $90
Chukka's Zip, Tube & ATV Quad Safari
If you love the idea of nonstop action for an entire day, then this tour is perfect for you. First you'll start off with a river tube experience along the Great River. During this trip you'll get to enjoy the fun of the river while learning about the local flora and fauna. After that you'll jump into a canopy tour where you'll zipline down 3 different ziplines in the jungle. The tour ends with an exciting ATV ride in the backcounty.
One of the reasons this particular tour is so popular is the fact that they'll pick you up and drop you off right at your hotel or resort lobby, making transportation to and from the last thing you'll have to worry about. The tour starts at 10am as well, giving you plenty of time to enjoy a relaxing morning and breakfast before your day of thrills.
- Adult: $184.36
- Child: $130.90
Best attractions in and around Montego Bay
In addition to a plethora of different tours to choose from, you'll also find a small number of attractions to visit. Most attractions in the area are great for kids as well, making Montego Bay a great family vacation destination.
Rocklands Bird Sanctuary
Great for those who love bird watching and learning as much as possible about the local bird species, along with a few others, the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary is a great family attraction. Though it will only take a few hours to explore, you'll still find a lot to see, and it's a good idea to bring your camera along with you.
That's because not only will you get to see some pretty impressive birds, but you'll also get the chance to feed them. A particular favorite is when the hummingbirds land on your fingers in order to drink. This is an afternoon attraction, giving you plenty of time to explore a beach in the morning or evening.
- Adult: $20
- Child: $20
Aqua Sol Theme Park
If you're traveling to Montego Bay with your family in tow, then it would be a real shame if you didn't get the chance to venture over to Aqua Sol Theme Park. This park is great for children of all ages with various watersports, go-kart racing and a sand beach to explore. There are tons of different things to do including paddling on a banana boat, jet skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing and a ride on a glass bottom boat. If you love the beach and just want to relax for a few minutes inbetween each activity, you can do that with one of the park's many lounge chairs that have been placed right by the water.
Land activities include go-kart racing, volleyball and tennis. If you visit during the evening or early night you'll find live music. There is also a sports bar on-site making it so that you don't have to leave to find lunch.
- Adult: $28 and up
- Child: $28 and up
Dunn's River Falls (day trip)
Often referred to as the most popular attraction in all of Jamaica, Dunn's River Falls is a great destination for those who love the idea of combining nature and fun together. During this day tour, you'll first take an hour and a half trip along the Golden Coast to Ocho Rios. Once you've reach Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, you'll follow a stairway to the base of the falls. You can either choose to hangout at the bottom of the falls or you can opt for a climb up the falls. If you do climb the falls you'll want to note that the tour includes photographers who will document your climb for you, this way you don't have to worry about taking and breaking your camera along the way.
After your time at the falls is complete you'll then be guided on a brief tour of the Ocho Rios countryside where you'll drive through Fern Gully- a rainforest thriving with life. The tour then ends with a shopping trip before heading back to your Montego Bay hotel.
- Adult: $57
- Child: $42
Best golf courses in the Montego Bay region
You may find this as a surprise, but there is a big tourism industry in Jamaica that surrounds the game of golf. In fact, golf is one of the main reasons people decide to visit the island. With golf courses that offer views of the ocean and beyond, it's easy to see why Jamaica has, over the years, become a pretty popular golfing destination.
Cinnamon Hill Golf Course
This 18 golf course is a great choice for those who would like to squeeze in a day of golfing before their trip ends. This particular golf course adds in beautiful views and is located on what used to be a large sugar plantation. As you're golfing you'll come across graveyards and ruins of old homes including that of Annie Palmer, once known as the ‘White Witch of Rose Hall'. Though most of the course is fairly open, it does venture into the lower elevations of the Blue Mountains, providing views of some pretty dense forest.
- Adult: $99-$179
- Child: $99-$179
Half Moon Golf Club
Another 18 hole course, the Half Moon Golf Club is beautifully designed with palm tress throughout, adding to the island charm. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr, this golf course is great for both newbies and those who have been playing for years. A fun fact about this particular chose that allows it to stand out from others is that several different official PGA tournaments have been held here, making it popular the world over. In addition to the course, visitors will find a pro shop, a clubhouse and a bar. There is also a shuttle that drops you off and picks you up, making transportation to and from very easy.
- Adult: varying
- Child: varying
Best beach in Montego Bay
Jamaica is well known around the world for its clear tropical waters and Montego Bay is no exception. Here you'll find miles of white sand beach backed with swaying palm trees, restaurants and cute little shops. One walk on one of Montego Bay's beaches and you'll instantly understand why Jamaica is known for having some of the best beaches in the entire Caribbean. Below is the best beach in the area.
A large beach offering about 2 acres of sand to enjoy, Cornwall Beach is both popular with adults, children, locals and visitors. Here you'll find lots to do with snorkeling gear for rent, a gift shop, a bar and a restaurant. If you're looking to just relax, you'll find that the beach offers umbrellas and lounge chairs. If you rather keep moving you'll find beach volleyball and some great off the beach snorkeling.
If you're traveling to Jamaica for your wedding and are currently looking for a venue, the entire beach is available for wedding services, making it a great destination for the romantically inclined as well. Beach hours range from 8am to 6pm and there is no charge to visit.
- Adult: free
- Child: free
Best shopping in Montego Bay
Because Montego Bay is a popular port for cruises, you'll find lots of great stores and shops to walk through. Some of them are a bit on the expensive side, but most will find little souvenirs and trinkets within their budget.
An extremely popular attraction with cruise ship passengers, Harbour Street offers pretty much everything you could think of from wood carving to cigars. Here you'll find a rather large selection of duty free shops, making this a great place to buy gifts for yourself and friends and family back home. The market itself is open air, making it vulnerable to summer rainstorms. Even with that said, it's still extremely popular during the rainy season as most just wait for the rain to pass before beginning their shopping trip.
- Adult: free
- Child: free
A bit different from Harbour Street, Gloucester Avenue is home to art galleries, cafes and various shops. It's also known as the ‘hip' place to be and a must see for any visitor to the island. In all, there are about 60 different shops to enjoy alongside 35 bars and restaurants. One of the more popular restaurants is the famed Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. Because there is so much to see here, you could easily spend a whole day shopping and dining, and many do. In fact, it's a good idea to plan a whole day out as you may run into time issues if you plan a tour during your shopping day.
If you do happen to spend the day enjoying a tour or two, you could always just plan on visiting Gloucester Avenue during the night as there is always some type of event going on. These usually include theme nights on one of the local beaches that back up to the avenue.
- Adult: free
- Child: free