Whether you're on the beach, floating downriver in a bamboo raft or looking for a bag of June plums and mangoes at a roadside stand, Jamaica's unique character stays with you at every turn. Open your eyes, embrace the reggae beat and remember to enjoy the slower pace of Montego Bay.
Make the effort to leave your hotel or resort and experience authentic Jamaican life. Walk the Hip Strip, a popular stroll packed with locals and travellers, along with a dense concentration of shops, restaurants and bars. This strip is popular day and night, but really gets hopping when the sun goes down.
Head to the city centre and Market Street on a Saturday for a busy produce market. It fills up with exotic goods, vendors, shoppers and drivers trying to navigate a maze of people. Here you'll find tons of products and animals like goats and donkeys. You should also explore one of the city's three craft markets.
Hire a guide to take you to the scenic countryside and stop to buy freshly picked mangos, papaya and avocados. Jamaica's warm climate means many types of fruit are grown here. Some are rarely found elsewhere, like ackee (Jamaica's national fruit), half a dozen varieties of berry-sized plums and other dietary staples.
Just don't leave Jamaica before indulging in street food and local treats. These include fresh coconut water, a pear-shaped, juicy Otaheiti apple and spicy jerk chicken or pork, served simply with soft white bread. The spicy wood smoke is enticing and you can usually spot the vendors' telltale giant black drums with clouds of smoke. Pimento wood makes the food taste and smell of pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and other spices.
For dinner in your hotel room, local supermarkets and strip malls offer the best prices for everyday items and groceries. Find hot sauces, Blue Mountain coffee and even Jamaica's famous rum, Appleton Estates – one of the country's main exports.