Montego Bay (or Mo’Bay, as it is generally called) is the capital of Jamaican tourism and market town for a large part of western Jamaica. Dating back to 1492, Montego Bay is Jamaica’s 2nd largest city and one of the most modern in the Caribbean. From Gloucester and Kent Avenues, there are brilliant views onto the clear Caribbean waters and the long reef protecting the bay. Most of the hotels are found on a strip of coastline about 2.4 kilometres (1.5 miles) long.
There are 3 main beaches: Doctor’s Cave Beach (so named because it was once owned by a Dr McCatty and had a cave that has since eroded away) which has stunning white sand, and where the exceptionally clear water is believed to be fed by mineral springs, Walter Fletcher Beach, nearest the centre and a short walk from the Upper Deck Hotel, and Cornwall Beach, which is a few yards from the local Tourist Board Office. A short way inland from the Bay is Rose Hall, a restored Great House on a sugar plantation.
Rocklands Feeding Station is home to some of the most exotic birds in the world, such as the orange quit, the mango hummingbird and the national bird of Jamaica, the Doctor Bird. It is possible for visitors to feed the birds at certain times of the day. Very popular is a motor coach ride through thick mountain forests into the interior, passing through coconut and banana plantations and Ipswich Caves (a series of deep limestone recesses) to the sugar estate of the famous Appleton Rum Factory and onwards to Catadupa, where shirts and dresses are made to measure.
Negril is 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Montego Bay and has a beach stretching for 11 kilometres (7 miles) which offers sailing, scuba diving, water skiing, deep sea fishing, parasailing and windsurfing. 1st coming to attention as an artists’ centre, and later as a focus of ‘alternative’ culture in the 1960's, it is becoming gradually more popular as a holiday destination which seems likely to preserve much of its original character, indeed, the law requires all buildings to be of modest proportions.
Along the street, commercial Jamaicans sell a variety of craft goods from the many shanty like shops in Negril. There is also a hectic nightlife in the several clubs that have, over the years, proliferated along the beach. Rick’s Café, located at West Point (which is as far west as Jamaica goes), is a favourite haunt both for Jamaicans and visitors and is famous as the place from which to watch the sun going down.