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Montego Bay

To outsiders, Montego Bay presents a glitzy facade of Ironshore (the suburb containing the city's largest share of upscale resorts), expansive golfing grounds, white sand beaches and cerulean waters. There is, however, a much less glamorous side to the place, one that often escapes the touristic eye downtown Montego Bay, with all the bustle and grit that comes along with a living city of over 100,000 residents. Head to the Hip Strip, as Gloucester Ave is known to tourists, and you'll find MoBay's famous Margaritaville, frequented by international revelers, along with multiple souvenir shops and eateries serving up jerk meats straight off the grill, Jamaican style. Venture outside of upscale resorts and you'll have no trouble mingling with locals, who exude an enigmatic joie de vivre.

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Montego Bay travel guide

  • To outsiders, Montego Bay presents a glitzy facade of Ironshore (the suburb containing the city's largest share of upscale resorts), expansive golfing grounds, white sand beaches and cerulean waters. There is, however, a much less glamorous side to the place, one that often escapes the touristic eye downtown Montego Bay, with all the bustle and grit that comes along with a living city of over 100,000 residents. Head to the Hip Strip, as Gloucester Ave is known to tourists, and you'll find MoBay's famous Margaritaville, frequented by international revelers, along with multiple souvenir shops and eateries serving up jerk meats straight off the grill, Jamaican style. Venture outside of upscale resorts and you'll have no trouble mingling with locals, who exude an enigmatic joie de vivre.

  • To outsiders, Montego Bay presents a glitzy facade of Ironshore (the suburb containing the city's largest share of upscale resorts), expansive golfing grounds, white sand beaches and cerulean waters. There is, however, a much less glamorous side to the place, one that often escapes the touristic eye downtown Montego Bay, with all the bustle and grit that comes along with a living city of over 100,000 residents.

    Head to the Hip Strip, as Gloucester Ave is known to tourists, and you'll find MoBay's famous Margaritaville, frequented by international revelers, along with multiple souvenir shops and eateries serving up jerk meats straight off the grill, Jamaican style. Venture outside of upscale resorts and you'll have no trouble mingling with locals, who exude an enigmatic joie de vivre.

  • White sand beaches and crystal-clear waters are an excellent attraction in and of themselves, but there are plenty of excursions available to those who wish to explore the surrounding areas.

  • Being a known destination for swanky resorts, Montego Bay has no shortage of restaurants, serving both elevated Jamaican fare and international specialties. The ackee plant prominently features as a dish ingredient, along with seafood offerings from local waters: saltfish (cod), snapper, and even lobster. Meat, naturally, rules them all, with the staples of chicken and pork complemented by goat and oxtail.

    Houseboat Grill

    Arguably the finest dining the city has to offer can be enjoyed at the floating Houseboat Grill in the Bogue Lagoon. Select a lobster of your choice from the display and have it cooked right then and there, or choose from the appetizing menu featuring a lobster & beef surf 'n' turf, pork and beef tenderloins, Jamaican smoked chicken, and more.

    The Sugar Mill

    One of the finest dining establishments on the island prides itself on telling the story of Jamaican cuisine from shore to shore, seafood to oxtail. It is an upscale affair located on premises of the (in)famous Rose Hall. A wide selection of rum is served, including a rare 50-year aged variety (Appleton Estate).

    Marguerite's

    It's a real treat to have yourself a seafood dinner at the splendid Marguerite's, one that a very special night calls for. Start with drinks at sunset at the on-site bar, and continue on to the sea-front dining area, where fresh catch is served polished to perfection, cooked "creative Caribbean" style.

  • Jerked meat is ubiquitous in Montego Bay as much as the rest of Jamaica, deliciously juicy chunks of chicken and pork (and on occasion, shrimp and fish) served up at street-side stands and at "jerk centers" - casual eateries with jerked meats as their specialty. Side orders often include deep-fried bammy (flatbread), festival fritters, rice and peas.

    Scotchies

    The popular Scotchies is a casual affair with ample outdoor seating, an excellent pit stop for famed Jamaican jerk chicken, meat, or fish. Order the "festival" fritters to accompany the meal and go easy on the jerk sauce, which may be a little too spicty to the unprepared palate.

    Pork Pit

    This unassuming shack isn't to be overlooked - that magnetic aroma you might have sensed walking down Hip Strip is most likely coming straight from here. The choices are plain but fabulous jerked chicken, pork, or shrimp, with the typical sides of "festival", rice and peas, and a further few.

    Juici Patties

    Juici Patties seem to have become a hit with both locals and visitors, and for good reason - a pattie this juicy is truly hard to come by. The hot pocket types include ones with beef, chicken, lobster, and a veggie variation.

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