Vacations to Montego Bay

Are you thinking of vacations to Montego Bay? Let WestJet Vacations bring you there. Montego Bay is sun-splashed and down-to-earth, and has great attractions like Cornwall Beach, Half Moon Equestrian Center and Sam Sharpe Square that are sure to keep you busy. We know how hard it can be to plan an escape, no matter how big or small, which is why we’ve worked hard to take the stress out of planning by offering safe and comfortable package deals. Start your journey to Mo Bay by browsing the packages below to find a trip that’s right for you.

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Montego Bay Overview

When visitors think of Jamaica, it's often the talcum powder sand, palm trees and turquoise water of Montego Bay that springs to mind. As the second largest city of this Caribbean island, few tourists will venture far from the Ironshore resorts in search of the "real Jamaica," but in fully embracing the island life, visitors will gain a new appreciation for this unique destination.

Commonly referred to as MoBay, this slice of paradise is peppered with colonial sights and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, guaranteed to have your family talking for years to come. Eco tours, zipline adventures, river cruises and guided horseback rides? there's much more to Montego Bay than merely sipping from a coconut on a sunny day (though also highly recommended). Weigh your options, sample the local culture and find your rhythm, whatever that Caribbean beat may be.

Beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica

What to do during the day?

With 365 miles of perfect coastline, Jamaica's abundance of beaches is one of the main reasons so many tourists flock to the island. And Montego Bay is proud to own its fair share of that seashore, laying claim to the stunning Doctor's Cave, Walter Fletcher and Rose Hall beach, home to many of the luxury resorts.

While enjoying the Caribbean ocean, visitors will likely be tempted into trying one of the many adrenaline-inducing watersports, some elating sportsfishing or even submerging beneath the waves for a scuba diving adventure. For a truly heart pumping experience, you may want to visit the famous Dead End Beach, where it's possible to watch aircraft descend close to the sand and touch down upon the runway nearby.

Away from the beaches, downtown Montego Bay is where you can find postcard-perfect colonial architecture, which demonstrates Jamaica's cultural history as a Spanish and, later, British outpost. Marvel at the stately Rose Hall estate, survey the fruit vendors or sample some locally-made patties from hole-in-the-wall vendors.

Beachfront Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica

What to do at night?

On the whole, travellers who come to Montego Bay and stay in one of the mega-resorts, generally remain on-site in the evenings to enjoy the all-inclusive offerings. Still, that's not to say entertainment can't be found beyond Ironshore, like Montego Bay's so-called "Hip Strip" on Gloucester Avenue. Here visitors can wade through the crowds to experience a variety of bars, clubs and restaurants, where the food is satiating and the alcohol free-flowing. Even the ever-familiar Margaritaville bar and restaurant gets the MoBay treatment, touting a 120ft waterslide, which winds its way from the rooftop terrace into the warm Caribbean below.

Nearby on the "Hip Strip" sits the popular Pier One bar and restaurant, occupying an impressive portion of waterfront real estate in addition to a pier that juts into the ocean. On Friday nights the venue hosts its popular "Pier Pressure" ladies night, where drinks are discounted and throngs of locals descend to celebrate the beginning of the weekend.

Going to the chapel?

A wedding in Jamaica's Montego Bay presents a backdrop of beautiful beaches and scenery, making it a destination few budding brides can resist. Couple that with an extensive menu of wedding packages from some of the world's top resorts and it's easy to see how Montego Bay can be the best place to begin the rest of your lives. Even more enticing is the fact that many resorts offer complimentary weddings, like at Hilton Rose Hall and Spa, where a free package includes a coordinator, bottle of champagne, cake and even witnesses if required. Likewise, guests staying seven nights at a Secrets resort -- Secrets St. James or Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay can rest assured that every detail will be taking care of in their complimentary wedding package, right down to ironing of the couple's wedding day attire.

Boat Dock in Montego Bay, Jamaica

What else is nearby?

As the tourism capital of Jamaica, Montego Bay offers a multitude of activities away from the central resort area, enticing visitors to venture farther afield and enjoy what the island has to offer. Dunn's River Falls is one of the most famous sights, attracting thousands of tourists each year who visit to witness the 180ft high terrace that resemble giant stairs. Many operators run daily tours to the falls, the journey of which takes approximately an hour and a half from Montego Bay.

Alongside Jamaica's natural beauty, visitors to Montego Bay may also be curious to learn more about one of the country's most famous residents: the late, great Bob Marley. Born, raised and laid to rest in the unassuming mountain village of Nine Mile, countless fans make the pilgrimage to visit Marley's hometown for tours of the very house in which he grew up. Guided excursions of this area can provide an intriguing insight into Marley's upbringing and ways in which Jamaica inspired some of his most popular songs.

Dock in Montego Bay, Jamaica

What to eat?

It's inexcusable to visit Montego Bay and not sample Jamaican jerk food. Tender and flavourful with a kick of heat, this style of cooking native to Jamaica sees meat marinated with a mixture of jerk spices allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers being a main feature and then slowly cooked over wood or charcoal. At Scotchies restaurant, chefs specialize in truly traditional jerk, roasted over the green wood of the pimento tree to encourage an even smokier flavour.

Another Jamaican food specialty is the simple beef patty -- tender pockets of pastry dough, filled with beef and onions in a spice gravy. Popular as a fast food item among locals, Juici Patties is a well-established franchise that has become the leading seller of these Jamaican-style hot pockets, growing to more than 50 locations across the island including one in downtown MoBay.

Where to stay?

Low budget:

Reasonably priced accommodation is easy to find in Montego Bay with a number of independent guest houses and hotels offering low rates. At the Palm View Guest House and Conference Centre, guests can enjoy an outdoor pool and close proximity to Doctor's Cave Beach and Dead End Beach from just $86 a night. Likewise the nearby Grandiosa Hotel can take advantage of the spa tub, complimentary wi-fi and free roundtrip airport shuttle for $119 per night.

Mid-range:

In the mid-range price bracket, hotel choices expand further to include more luxurious resorts, fully-equipped to cater to every weary traveller's whim. A private beach offers the ultimate location to while away the hours at the Coyaba Beach Resort (from $314 a night) before heading to the pool area for a refreshment at the poolside bar. For a more energetic holiday, families will be inclined to choose the All-Inclusive Sunset Beach Resort Waterpark and Spa (from $386 per night), where guests receive free admission to the on-site waterpark.

High end:

Is money no object in planning your perfect vacation? Join the privileged few who can enjoy the pinnacle of opulence at Montego Bay's deluxe five star resorts, like the All Inclusive Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall(from $661 per night), where guests can opt for rooms that include butler service or a private swim-out patio area. Meanwhile, at the ultra-sophisticated Sandals Royal Caribbean (from $595 per night), guests can take advantage of the seclusion provided by the resort's own private island just off the coast of Mahoe Bay.

When to go?

Jamaica enjoys sunshine and consistently warm temperatures all year round. Temperatures fluctuate little, thus discouraging a tourism low season, though hotel rates are more likely to drop between the months of September and November. March spring break can be a busy week as students flock to the Jamaican shores, while in Montego Bay, the biggest parties take place for Bob Marley's Birthday Bash (February 6), the Ochos Rios Jazz Festival (June) and Reggae Sumfest (July).

Getting around?

While getting around Montego Bay is relatively easy by foot, for those wanting to take a taxi it's worth bearing in mind the three different types: Red Plate, Tours and non-licensed private vehicles. It's not recommended to take the latter of these three options, but official Red Plate taxis can be identified by their red license plates containing two letters and four digits in white. Always be sure to negotiate a price at the beginning of the journey -- as fares aren't metered -- and ask your hotel reception for help in determining a reasonable cost. Travelling with a Tour Taxi company like Juta Tours (regulated by the Jamaican tourism board) can be a more reliable and sometimes cost-efficient mode of transport.

Weather

Temperatures in Montego Bay rarely fluctuate throughout the year thanks to the warm Caribbean climate. Lows of 21°C and highs of 32°C are custom from January to December, though there can be slight fluctuations in rain levels as the wet season descends between May and October. Fortunately, Jamaica rarely experiences hurricanes, but rainfall can still exceed 200mm during some of the wetter months.

Currency

The official currency of Montego Bay, Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar (sign: J$; code: JMD), the exchange of which is approximately $J90 per $1 Canadian dollar. Jamaican dollars can be purchased at most international banks, Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport or at the majority of resorts in the area. Likewise, most hotels, restaurants and tour operators will accept traveller's checks and credit cards, but always inform your bank of any travel plans before departure.

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