Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jamaica moves to the rhythms of reggae. The second you dock in bustling Montego Bay on the northern side of the island nation, you’ll be greeted by the strumming of “One Love,” and chances are you’ll be humming it for days afterward. The picturesque mountain interior sets the island apart from its neighbors. Don’t forget to pick up some Blue Mountain coffee before reembarking.
What We Love
Giving Back: Once a week, Island Routes (a local family-owned outfitter) hosts interactive excursions to local schools. Guests can bring books and other supplies to island children.
Cliff Diving: Join the locals for a heart-pumping swan dive off Negril’s famous waterside cliffs. The water’s a lot warmer than you think. Most jumpers conclude the outing with fruity cocktails at Rick’s Cafe.
Best Known For
Dunn’s River Falls: Trekking up the 600-foot crystalline waterfalls is certainly a must-do for any first-timer. It take about an hour to an hour and a half. Be forewarned: The popularity of the site means it's more crowded than not.
Cool Running: The famous underdogs of the 1988 Olympic Team spawned a super-fun bobsledding adventure at Magic Mountain. The gravity-powered ride transverses 3,280 feet down the side of a lush jungle mountain.
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Who It's Best For
Excursion Warriors: Sure, you can find gorgeous powdery beaches throughout the island, but Jamaica’s bread and butter is really the soft adventure market. Hiking, horseback riding, waterfall climbing, and mountain gondola rides get your heart rate up. Then many adventurers cool down afterward with tropical rum punches.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Not Picture Perfect: Unlike neighboring islands where you pull into quaint landscapes or the heart of shopping districts, MoBay has more of a commercial docking vibe.
Authenticate: Deserved or not, Jamaica has a reputation for taking unsuspecting visitors for a ride. Avoid overpaying for an excursion that may or may not be the real deal by booking ahead.
Jenna Mahoney is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Allure.