Most visitors don’t leave Mobay empty-handed. Showcase after showcase unveils top-quality diamond jewelry, fine gold chains and bracelets, and an array of designer watches that redefine the meaning of time. Savvy shoppers save 25 to 50 percent off many items.
In the Rose Hall area, Half Moon Shopping Village is a relaxed and enjoyable “must-shop” venue. Dozens of duty- free and other shops and restaurants are joined by a post office, grocery store and bank.
Mobay’s finest duty-free merchants created the Shoppes at Rose Hall, a grand shopping, dining and entertainment experience. Downtown is the original City Centre, where visitors discover duty-free treasures including jewelry, perfume, crystal, leather, watches, Cuban and Jamaican cigars, Blue Mountain Coffee, rum cakes, liquor, linens and custom clothing made on site.
At Casa Montego Arcade purchase perfume, liquor, china, crystal, Cuban cigars, and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Fine Swiss watches and handcrafted jewelry are found at Swiss Stores. Purchase edible souvenirs from Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes and at Calypso Gelato on Reading Main Road.
Yahman Perfumes are sold island wide. Find them at Baywest Shopping Centre in Montego Bay. Pick up last minute gift items at the airport lounge. Jamaica farewell offers liquors and tobacco. Cigar Hut has Cuban Cigars. More duty-free shopping is at Bijoux Jewelry.
Everyone knows that Jamaica is famous for its pretty beaches, towering mountains and Blue Mountain Coffee. But an abundance of homegrown ingredients and diverse cultural influences have melded a truly remarkable unique cuisine.
Jamaicans are descendants of European colonists, African slaves and those cultures that came later – Irish, Indians, Germans, Chinese, Lebanese and Syrians. It can be said that the island’s cuisine is a product of this diverse cultural heritage. Visit any Jamaican kitchen to discover the sizzling flavors of spicy jerk, sweet tropical juices, the aroma of stable spices like allspice and nutmeg, intense curries and sumptuous desserts. Montego Bay’s restaurants run the gamut from fast food to white table cloth, fine candlelit dining. Most restaurants are found near and on the “Hip Strip”, the Rose Hall Area and not far from the heart of Mobay.
Hip Strip Eateries
Hometown favorite is The Pelican. Locals gather here for morning coffee, ackee and fired dumplings. Check the Brewery for local and international fare, and nightly entertainment. Enjoy verandah dining and the best local cuisine at The Native, or shoot some pool at Mobay Proper, know for its causal fare and relaxed atmosphere. Coral Cliff is the big spot for gaming and having fun. At Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, ride the 110-foot waterslide before chomping on a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Next door is Blue Beat jazz and blues bar, a favourite gathering spot for locals and visitors. The Groovy Grouper at Doctor’s Cave Beach, offers jerk, BBQ and native fish dishes. Pier 1 on the Waterfront is a long-time favorite, known for its great seafood, cool tropical drinks, amazing sunsets and party atmosphere. If you crave authentic jerk, stop by the Pork Pit. For casual dining, there is Burger King, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
East Side Eateries
The Vineyards at Coyaba is a comfortable setting for gourmet dining. For fine dining, the Sugar Mill at Half Moon offers contemporary Jamaican fare, live music, and romance while Jasmine’s at the Ritz Carlton offers a fusion of Jamaican and Asian cuisine. Royal Stocks English Pub and Akbar, with Indian and Thai cuisine, are found at half moon Village. For authentic local flavor, stop at Scotchie’s, beside the main road, for the best in lip-stinging spicy jerk pork, chicken, fish and sausage.
West Side Eateries
The Houseboat Grill, on Southern Cross Boulevard in the Freeport Area, sits on Bogue Lagoon and is known for its romantic dinners. Located on a hilltop in Fairfield, three miles west of Mobay, the elegant Day-O Plantation Restaurant offers the finest in Jamaican and international cuisine in a tropical setting. For a more casual fare, Jerky’s Bar and Grill in the Fairview Shopping Centre serves up spicy jerk, cool drinks, and Karaoke every Saturday. The Fairview Shopping Centre is also home to Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dominos Pizza, Wendy’s, Juicy Beef and Dragon Court Chinese Restaurant.
The peaceful Tainos, a gentle American Indian people and Jamaica’s early inhabitants, named the island Xaymaca, the land of “wood and water”. Many of Mobay’s things to see and do are designed for exactly the kind of playground that the Tainos had in mind.
Ride horseback in the mountains of bare-back into the sea – do one or do both. Swim in medicinal waters at a pristine beach or cruise the coast on a pirate ship or sleek catamaran. Raft serenely down a river. Jump in an inner tube and float down a refreshing stream. Take a safari. Trek through the thicket on a natural trail. Sample a slice of rural life in the mountains or enjoy touring a private estate. Explore the underwater world of a marine sanctuary. Catch a blue marlin fishing only a few miles from shore. Swing away on a champion golf course.
History and legend play a major role in area attractions. Visit classic Great Houses and see valuable antiques. Historical city tours bring Montego Bay’s tumultuous past to life.
The water at Doctor’s Cave Beach, just steps from the “Hip Strip”, is claimed to have curative powers from mineral springs. Snorkeling is great here. Montego Bay Marine Park is Jamaica’s first national park, declared in 1991 to conserve marine coastal resources. Park includes coral reefs, and other native animal and plant life. Diving, fishing and snorkeling opportunities abound. Have a blast on a river rafting excursion, available at Lethe, south of Montego Bay and Martha Brae, south of Falmouth.
Horseback riding into the sea and mountains are offered by Chukka Caribbean Adventures, also giving you other rough and ready treats like ATV and jeep safaris, mountain biking, river tubing and adventure hiking.
Historic Great Houses dot the landscape. The Kerr-Jarrett family has owned Barnett Estate since 1775. Tour the restored Bellfield Great House on property and get a glimpse of 18th century colonial living.
Take a hike or tour: The Accompong Maroon tour is southeast of Montego Bay at the base of Cockpit Country. Say hello to the villagers and see historic sites in the home of the Maroons (descendants of runaway slaves).
Get around easily by helicopter, car rental and taxi services available from a host of providers.
Montego Bay’s hospitality comes in many flavors; luxurious world class golf resorts, high-end villas, boutique properties, and quaint hillside accommodations. As a common thread, all have beautiful, intriguing views – of the sea, of a golf course, of flowering gardens, of action on the “Hip Strip”.
All-inclusive resorts offer multiple restaurants, unlimited drinks, and diverse entertainment, activities galore and other goodies wrapped in one package. Many like Coyaba Beach Resort & Club, Sandals Resorts, Sunset Beach Resort & Spa, Superclubs Breezes and Holiday Inn Sunspree are sprinkled along the beach. The sporting life can be found at luxurious golf and tennis digs.
With five championship courses in the area, Montego Bay may well indeed be the capital of golf in the Caribbean. Resorts where golfers can tee it up and indulge themselves in include Half Moon Golf, Tennis & Beach Club, Ritz Carlton Resort & Spa, Rose Hall Resort and Tryall Golf, Tennis & Beach Club. Hotels lining Gloucester Avenue, the “Hip Strip”, the vortex around which Mobay’s tourism whirls, make access easy to where the action is.
Altamont West Hotel, Coral Cliff Entertainment Resort, Doctors Cave Beach Hotel, The Gloucestershire Hotel and The Wexford Court Hotel are among good choices. These enchanting properties are the centre of dining and entertainment options on Gloucester Avenue and across from one of the nicest beaches on the island. Only minutes away from the “Hip Strip” and airport are quaint inns and guesthouses like Hotel Glorianna & Spa. A Jamaican girl reared in poverty, had her dream become a reality when Hotel Gloriana & Spa opened its doors in 1994.
The remarkable life story of hotel owner Eugennie Minto is told in the autobiography From Glory to Gloriana now also a motion picture. Nearby is secluded Palm View Guesthouse & Conference Centre, set among tropical gardens. Luxurious villas also dot the area landscape like those west of Mobay proper at Round Hill Hotel & Villas, and Tryall.