The Best Beaches & Fun Things to Do in Montego Bay Jamaica (St James Parish)
The parish of Saint James has many fine beaches, waterfalls, eco-tourist destinations, adventure excursions and other fun activities. Below are some of the fun things to do in Montego Bay Jamaica and the surrounding area, as well as some hidden gems. If you're interested in cultural activities and some of the historical buildings and sites in the area, click here.
If you're arriving in Montego Bay for the day via cruise ship, you may be interested in some of the tours and excursions we have listed throughout this page from our sponsors. Also remember that you will be very near to Trelawny Parish (Falmouth), Saint Ann Parish (Ocho Rios) and Hanover Parish (Lucea), so be sure to check those pages for more fun things to do while you're in Montego Bay!
Jamaica Bobsledding Tour from Montego Bay - $67.99
Where else in the world can you experience the thrill of bobsledding
without the icy conditions of a snowy mountain? For the adventure
of a lifetime in Jamaica, book yourself a seat on a bobsledding tour
from Montego Bay. Buckle up, hold on and get ready for a thrilling
ride through the Jamaican rainforest you won't want to miss!
- Aquasol Theme Park: Located at Walter Fletcher Beach (now called Aquasol), Aquasol Theme Park greets visitors with lots of activities and entertainment, including banana and pedal-boats, jet skis, wave runners, water trampolines, glass-bottom boat rides, snorkeling, parasailing, beach volleyball and underwater murals. It has a go-kart track with Honda bumper carts. The park also has tennis courts, lifeguards, a disco, restaurant and gift shop. Read the TripAdvisor reviews; people have mixed experiences here.
- Cinnamon Hill Golf Course at Rose Hall - This is a par-71 course designed by von Hagge and Baril, and is located next to the Rose Hall Resort & Country Club. The 18-hole course offers a variety of mountain, island and ocean views along with 7,000 yards of greens and tees to challenge players of all skill levels. They have friendly and professional service with reasonable green fees. The caddies are very knowledgeable. There are lots of hills, drops in elevation and undulating greens with 4 holes nearly on the beach; a stunning and challenging course!
- Cornwall Beach – This private white sand beach draws large crowds because of its central location near major hotels and restaurants. Find them between Doctor's Cave Beach and the Decameron Hotel. But don't let the crowds keep you away - this is an excellent destination for spending your day playing on the beach, or swimming in the cool blue sea. Although a little smaller than Doctors Cave Beach, you'll find umbrellas, lounge chairs, snorkel gear and lockers for rent, along with showers and fun beach activities like beach volleyball. Hours: 8am-6pm daily. Admission is currently US$6.00. On special days from 9am-3pm they have a beach party. Phone: 876.979.0102.
- Croydon Plantation - Twenty-four miles from Montego Bay in Catadupa you will find this gorgeous plantation that cultivates coffee beans and pineapple. Take a three-hour tour to get a first hand look at how the crops are grown, and see the magnificent grounds. This particular plantation is the winner of the National Champion Plantation (the highest agricultural award in all of Jamaica). Sample some of the pineapples and Blue Mountain coffee produced here. Honey is also produced here, and the tour includes a glass-protected hive that lets visitors view the bees' world up-close. Check out the videos at YouTube to get an idea of what the tour is like. It's very informative and makes a great day trip into the lush Jamaican countryside.
Croydon Plantation with Jamaican Lunch - $75.99
Come and experience a working Jamaican plantation! Croydon
Plantation is nestled in the foothills of the Catadupa Mountains
and you can sample the tropical fruits in season and enjoy a
delicious Jamaican buffet surrounded by the lush green mountains
of St. James. Book now for an unforgettable day in Jamaica!
- Dead End Beach - This is one of the few free public beaches in Montego Bay and can be a nice relaxing spot to kick back with your Red Stripes and hang out with some locals for the day (it's busier on weekends). Some call it Buccaneer Beach or Buck End. You can find it at the end of Kent Avenue. It's across the street from the Dead End Bar which opens in the afternoons. There are no facilities at Dead End Beach, but it's fun to watch the planes touch down on the Sangster International Airport runway which is right next door! Read a little more about Dead End Beach on my friend Kristi Keller's blog.
- Doctors Cave Bathing Club - When you need to cool off while in Montego Bay, this private beach on Gloucester Avenue in the middle of the “Hip Strip” is perfect; it is full of history and legend. Donated in the 1900s by a wealthy doctor, the Doctors Cave legend began in 1920 when an article was published about the healing powers of the water that laps its shores. People flocked here from around the world for its supposed curing powers. The cave was destroyed by a hurricane in 1932 but today the beach has many amenities, a clean, sandy shoreline and crystal clear water. Admission is currently US$6.00. There are restrooms, showers and changing areas, and a beach bar & grill. Beach chairs and umbrellas are also available for rental. If you're on a ship and want to enjoy a day at the beach, this may be your best bet in MoBay. Our tip? Enjoy Doctors Cave Beach when there are no cruise ships in port - it's far less crowded and more relaxed!
- Dressel Divers - Are you eager to dive or snorkel along the reefs of Montego Bay? Dressel Divers, a PADI 5-star dive center, is based at the Iberostar Rose Hall Resort and comes highly recommended. The staff is friendly and professional and they offer a good variety of dive excursions every day. Snorkel trips are also done at 10:30 AM and 03:15 PM daily.
- Half Moon Equestrian Centre: The centre is part of the Half Moon Resort at Rose Hall. This is Jamaica's premier horseback riding facility offering riding for all skill levels, beach rides, pony rides for the kids and lessons in basic dressage, jumping and polo. The grounds are beautiful, and the horses are clean and healthy. The beach ride is a thrill; there's nothing more memorable than riding through the sea on horseback! And kids will love the beginner's ride. Phone: 876.953.2286.
- Half Moon Golf Club: The club is part of the Half Moon Resort at Rose Hall. The championship par-72 course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and has been recently renovated. It has uniquely shaped greens, challenging holes and a spectacular view. Although a beautifully manicured course, it is not as challenging as some of the others on the island. However, it is excellent for beginning to intermediate golfers. Tee time reservation information is available on the website.
- Montego Bay Craft Market - The city's main craft market on Market Street is a kaleidoscope of color. The colors that dominate are yellow, blue, purple and green. You really cannot miss it. Purchase a wide range of straw and wooden souvenirs at the small shops. The selection also includes T-shirts, hats, dolls and other novelties. Sample some of the yummy and reasonably priced food offered here. It is a great way to try Jamaican dishes. Be prepared; if you purchase something from one vendor, the others will try to get your attention as well to share the joy of a sale. A polite “no thanks” usually does the trick!
- Montego Bay Marine Park – Located at Pier One Marina, Howard Cooke Boulevard, this park offers an educational adventure about the ocean and its inhabitants. This is Jamaica's first protective park, covering the entire waterfront in Montego Bay, and the very idea of it being completely underwater makes it a fascinating excursion for all age groups. It was established to preserve the natural resources of this underwater wonderland. Dozens of tropical fish, their environs and amazing coral reefs are protected under national law and there are programs and tours to learn about the species that live here. Head to the waterfront to find glass bottomed boat tours. Charter boats are also available from various operators along the beach to take you out to the fish feeding grounds and coral reef areas. Trips in a submersible boat are run from the park's headquarters. Although there is no official admission fee here, donations are thankfully received.
- Rafting on the Martha Brae - This is another of visitors' favorite things to do in Montego Bay Jamaica, but it's actually in the neighboring parish of Trelawny! Click the link to find out more about it there.
- Rastafari Indigenous Village - Visit a working village built with the nature’s gifts — trees, plants and herbs, the river — for some educational insight into the culture, philosophy and spirituality of Jamaica’s Rastas. All the villagers do not live at the location but work together here to showcase their lifestyle. There is drumming, dancing, craft making, Ital cooking, working in the healing herbal garden, planting in the organic garden. The village is in the Montego River Valley about 15 minutes from the town center. Tours are available Tuesday through Saturday and start at the restaurant at the Montego River Gardens, Porto Bello, with a guided walk on a trail across the river to the Village. You will also find a home-grown line of products including crafts, herbal goods, aromatherapy and other items to promote healthy living. Contact them in advance to book. Phone: 876.285.4752 or 876.410.1770.
- Reel E-Zee Sportfishing - Charter the well-equipped 39' "E-Zee" sportfishing boat to fish for marlin, tuna, sailfish and wahoo along the North Coast. If you have no desire to fish, you can just go along for the relaxing cruise and swim or snorkle! They also have a catamaran and trimaran available for private charters. Phone: 876.381.3229.
- Rocklands Bird Feeding Sanctuary – in Anchovy (off Anchovy Main Road, look for the signpost). This is a must if you are a bird lover! It’s the feeding place for many of Jamaica’s indigenous birds. You never know just how many species you may see because Jamaica has 252 and of these 24 are endemic, including the Doctor bird, Jamaica’s national bird, saffron finches, the Jamaican oriole and ground doves. They are about 35 minutes from Montego Bay, 1 1/2 hours from Falmouth, 2 1/2 hours from Ocho Rios, and are open from 10 am til sunset. Admission is US$20 per adult. Kids love the experience too. The road up is pretty bumpy but the trip, and the lovely view of Montego Bay from up there, is worth the trip.
- Rose Hall Great House - This is, hands down, one of the most popular things to do in Montego Bay Jamaica! Click the link to find out more about it on our "cultural and historic" page.
- Tryall Golf, Tennis and Beach Club – This is Jamaica's most prominent golfing hotel, located on the site of an enormous sugar plantation. The 18th-century Tryall Water Wheel, which still functions, can be viewed from the main road. It was restored following its destruction in the slave revolt of 1831. The former great house has been renovated into a luxurious hotel; some of the independent villas even have personal pools; you can imagine the prices. With meticulous greens and the most difficult course, this is a golfer's paradise. Ralph Plummer designed the course, and it incorporates a handful of natural hazards, such as the ocean itself, Flint River, as well as its antique waterwheel. This pricey course requires you to have a caddy, which is extra. The beach club is open to hotel guests and to those using the golf facilities. The views from this course are spectacular!
- White Witch Golf Course – This championship course is located on the grounds of a former sugar plantation which is now the Ritz Carlton Rose Hall. Named for the wicked "White Witch" of Rose Hall, this course is one of the most magnificent in the Caribbean. It was designed by Robert von Hagge, who incorporated the mountains and valleys into the par-71 course as well as sweeping views of the ocean from most of the holes. This newest course in Jamaica is set on 600 acres of lush countryside and is about 10 minutes (by car) from the resort.
- Zipline Adventure Tours - Scared of heights? No problem mon! Enjoy the views of rural Jamaica on the longest zipline in the Caribbean with the best reputation for safety and customer service. Located in the small mountain farming community of Lethe in Hanover Parish, they are about 30 minutes west of Montego Bay. They will arrange free transportation from most locations in MoBay. Click here for more information in our listing on the Hanover page.
Jamaica Sky Explorer and Optional Zipline Tour
from Montego Bay - $45.99
Soar high above the Jamaican rainforest for breathtaking views
of exotic Ocho Rios. There's no better way to experience the beauty
of Jamaica than from 700 feet (215 meters) above sea level in
a state-of-the-art chairlift!
Jamaica's Spirit of Reggae - the Bob Marley Experience
from Montego Bay - $86.99
When one thinks of Jamaica (mon), you can't help but think of the
King of Reggae, Bob Marley. Journey to the village of Nine Mile, where
Bob lived, loved and played. Learn about the Rastafarian religion he
practiced and made famous as well as seeing his final resting place.
A moving tribute to a great musician!
Jamaica Catamaran Cruise to Dunn's River Falls
from Ocho Rios or Montego Bay - $98.99
Cruise through the clear waters of the Caribbean aboard a spacious
catamaran and discover where Dunn's River Falls meets the sea.
Snorkel over spectacular coral reefs along the way, and sway to the
rhythms of Jamaican music while sipping a rum punch on your return to
Ocho Rios or Montego Bay. At Dunn's River Falls, you'll have ample
time to swim in the lagoons and climb the terraced rocks up the
stunning cascade, with help from your friendly guide.