5 Ways to Play In Montego Bay
PHOTO: The beautiful Hyatt Ziva in Montego Bay. (Courtesy Brian Major)
The Beach Boys mentioned Montego in their hit song “Kokomo” and you’ve probably been singing it for years, but except for a mention in a hit classic you probably don’t know much about this Jamaican City and the things to do and places to see.
Let Playa Resorts, with its Hotel Ziva and Hotel Zilaria properties, be home base to see Montego Bay.
This is the second largest city in Jamaica and the capital of St. James Parish on Jamaica’s north coast. It’s a major cruise ship port that has several serene, white sand beaches and beautiful views, making it the perfect destination for tourists who want to relax and take it all in.
Enjoy some of the city’s history at Old Fort, where today there is a crafts market and you can pick up a few handmade Jamaican treats to bring home with you. Fort Montego is where you can see the remains of a British fort built to protect the town from attack, and used to keep away the pirates and the naval forces of the Spanish and the French.
Definitely check out the Rose Hall tour, a majestic Jamaican house that was built in 1770 by John Palmer and his wife. It is believed that John did not know that his young wife possessed “black magic” powers and she not only did away with John, but with two more husbands and many lovers. Known as “The White Witch of Rose Hall,” some tourists say they’ve seen the wife passing through the Great House. Listen while you’re there because Johnny Cash wrote the “Ballad of Annee Palmer” and some say you can still hear it while roaming the halls.
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You can’t go to Montego Bay without enjoying the beautiful Jamaican waters. Walter Fletcher Beach is perfect for those who want to swim or snorkel and families can enjoy the Aquasol Theme Park where everyone can also drive go-karts, Jet Ski and play tennis. There are banana-boat rides, kayaking, pedal boats, glass bottom-boat excursions, beach volleyball and so much more.
Doctor Cave’s Beach sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s a former sanatorium that was created in 1880. Dr. Alexander James McCatty allowed friends to enter the beach through the cave so they could swim there. In the early 1900s, he donated the property to the community. It is said that Dr. Herbert Barker visited the beach and thought the waters were curative, which has since made it a bustling tourist community and it’s located along the Hip Strip.
Speaking of the Hip Strip, spend some time on Montego Bay's Gloucester Avenue, because here you can buy jewelry and clothing and sample the vendors’ tasty treats, especially jerk cuisine.
If you want to get a close-up look at the Rastafarian religion and culture, then take a tour of the Rastafari Indigenous Village. It is located on the Montego River, and when you arrive you’ll hear the drumming and chanting as well as learn about their ways of cooking and treating the sick. There is also a play to purchase handmade jewelry and clothes.
More by Lisa Iannucci
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