Montego Bay is the second largest city in Jamaica (with a population of 82,000) and the largest tourist center on the island. The beaches around the city are lined with hotels and all-inclusive resorts and the city offers great shopping opportunities and some of Jamaica's best dining experiences.
Sightseeing highlights of Montego Bay and its surroundings include:
- Rose Hall Great House - a beautifully restored house, legendary home of the infamous Annie Palmer, the "White Witch" of Jamaica;
- Greenwood Great House - filled with antiques, paintings, rare books, and furniture from the 1800s, the house is considered one of the finest and best restored of the former plantation homes;
- Gloucester Avenue - boasts restaurants, art galleries and duty free shopping;
- Falmouth - 8th century port town, this is worth a quick walking tour to see the historical buildings;
- Discovery Bay - site of Columbus' landing in 1494, with the Columbus Park which is an open-air museum containing a wide range of historical artifacts and information on the area.
For travelers spending their vacations in Jamaica, Montego Bay offers also entertainment options like reggae music festivals, golf courses, beautiful coral reefs, deep sea fishing or yachting. The city is served by Sangster International Airport and has a modern cruise ship pier with shuttle buses transportation into downtown.
The town of Ocho Rios, with a population of 16,000 is situated in the central part of the north coast of the island and was once a fishing village, transformed in the mid 1980s into the cruise capital of Jamaica, now attracting thousands of tourists on their cruise vacations.
Ocho Rios is full of markets, shops, restaurants and discos and in its central point features a small bay sheltered by lush mountains and protected by reefs. Most vacationers and cruise passengers spend their time on excursions made into the surrounding countryside - a region of waterfalls and tropical gardens with abundant indigenous plants, flowers and trees.
There are many resorts that stretch for several miles east and west of Ocho Rios, providing accommodation and entertainment. River rafting, canoeing and other water sports and are amongst the favorite activities of the vacationers.
One of the sightseeing attractions is Dunns River Falls - a 183m (600 ft) - tall waterfall that drops right down to the beach. It's one of
of Jamaica's best-known and most photographed natural attractions and one of
the most visited waterfalls in the world.
Ocho Rios central location, 108km/67mi east of Montego Bay and 87k/54mi north of Kingston, makes this town and its fine hotels and neighboring resorts a good base for day trips and exploring other parts of the island.
Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains National Park
This unspoiled nature preserve covers the eastern end of the island, between Kingston on the south shore and Port Antonio on the north. The park features mountain vistas, waterfalls, lush rain forests and exotic plants and animals. The area of nearly 80,000ha/ 200,000ac that comprises about 6% of Jamaica’s total landmass,
is divided into three sections: Portland Gap which includes Stony Hill and the Hills of St Andrew, Hollywell and Annotto Bay and Portland and Millbank which include the John Crow Mountains. The park is also home to island's highest point, Blue Mountain Peak, at 2,256m / 7,402ft above sea level.
The forests have more than 800 species of endemic plants, the world’s second largest butterfly, homerus swallowtail, 200 species of resident and migrant birds and is one of the largest migratory bird habitats in the Caribbean.
For nature lovers who go for vacations to Jamaica, the park is a true paradise. The best times to visit to hike many of the scenic routes is from December to April, during the dry period.