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Dear Travelling Dad (Part 3)

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

Hello Jacky @ Jamaica So Nice,

We are planning a trip to Jamaica soon; we plan on seeing multiple cities. We are a family of five with kids between 2 and 5 years old. My questions are:

1. What are nice places to stay in Kingston?

2. How would we get from Kingston to Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios?

3. How would you compare and contrast Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios?


Travelling Dad.

Dear Travelling Dad:

Good day. In answer to your question which I will do in three parts:

3. How would you compare and contrast Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios?

Jamaica has long been favored as a Caribbean vacation destination, known for beautiful beaches with a large variety of resorts and hotels. The main locations for tourists on the island are Montego Bay, Ochos Rios, and Negril, each with something a little unique to offer. Apart from the beaches, popular pass times on the island include golfing, scuba diving, hiking, horseback riding, and shopping.

Montego Bay

Montego Bay Excursion

Montego Bay Marine Park

Montego Bay is very much a resort town, a thriving cruise ship port and a hot spot for value-seeking tourists, with golf courses, restaurants, cafes, shops, galleries, and of course, hotels and resorts lining the beaches. This is a lively area with reggae music and all kinds of entertainment day and night. Montego Bay is home to some splendid colonial architecture and a few prominent historical sites. One of the biggest attractions in the area is the Rose Hall Great House, a former plantation with an accompanying legend. Some noteworthy buildings are the 1770s Court House, the restored Bellefield Great House and Gardens, which offers insight into the sugar plantation days, and the Burchell Memorial Church, built in 1824. Shoppers may want to stop by the craft market or take a stroll along Gloucester Avenue or Harbour Street.

Sun-soaked beaches, historic plantations, tropical gardens, and a lush countryside rippling with jungle peaks provide a peaceful escape from the urban grit of the downtown precinct. Divers and snorkelers can explore the protected waters of the Montego Bay Marine Park as well as reefs fringing the blonde-sand beaches. Other popular things to do include fishing, guided river rides on bamboo rafts, and ziplining through the jungle. A busy lineup of festivals, concerts, and sporting events adds to all the fun. The Montego Bay Yacht Club hosts the bi-annual Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race, and music lovers flock here each year for Reggae Sumfest.

Accommodation is abundant. Large resorts and all-inclusive hotels preside over the best patches of sand, and you'll find more guest rooms here than any other part of Jamaica. For first time visitors to Montego Bay, the best place to stay for seeing all the sights is along the main beach area near Doctor's Cave Beach and Gloucester Avenue, the "Hip Strip," with its art galleries, restaurants, and shops. For those seeking a little more seclusion, the stretches of beach northeast and south of town are home to most of the exclusive, upscale resorts.

The top 8 attractions in Montego Bay:

· Martha Brae River Rafting

· Doctor's Cave Beach

· Rose Hall Great House

· Dunn's River Falls & Nine Mile Day Trip

· Jungle Ziplining Tours

· Croydon in the Mountains

· Greenwood Great House

· Rocklands Bird Sanctuary

Ocho Rios

Dunn's River Falls, Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios Cruise Ship

The Ocho Rios area is the island’s major port of call for cruise ships. “Ochi,” as it’s called, is quieter than Montego Bay, though not as relaxed as Negril, and unlike other resort towns in Jamaica, the beaches here are not the focal point. Instead, Ocho Rios is known for its lovely waterfalls, luxuriant gardens, and lazy rivers. Ocho Rios is not your typical commercialized resort spot. It capitalizes on the natural beauty of Jamaica rather than man-made attractions and is more of an eco-tourism expedition than anything else. The biggest attraction in the area is Dunn’s River Falls, a great family outing. This is a series of waterfalls that can be climbed with a guide and has natural pools for swimming. The Coyaba River Garden and Museum offers a little history in a lovely garden setting, with Mahoe Waterfalls as a central feature. The most popular things to do center around these surrounding natural attractions include bobsled rides through the rain forest, river tubing, caving, dolphin encounters, and ziplining.

The area has also long been a playground for musicians and literati. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series, made his home near here at Oracabessa, and you can tour the hilltop retreat of Noel Coward, the famous playwright and composer. Not far from Ocho Rios, the village of Nine Mile is the birthplace and final resting place of reggae legend Bob Marley, and many music fans love to make a pilgrimage here on a day trip.

The top 8 attractions in Ocho Rios:

· Dunn's River Falls

· Bob Marley Nine Mile Tour

· Cool Runnings Catamarans

· Dolphin Cove

· Green Grotto Caves

· Margaritaville Ocho Rios

· Mystic Mountain

· Shaw Park Botanical Gardens


Cliffs, Negril

Sunset in Negril

At the western end of Jamaica is the laid-back town of Negril, which maintains the sleepy tropical charm that first attracted tourists in the 1960s. Negril with a fabulous stretch of beach, mega resorts, and small hotels and inns is much more laid-back than Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, but also offers plenty of alluring natural attractions, both inland and along the coast. Negril Beach is the area's main draw, with 7.5 miles/12km of soft white sand lining the coast as it meets the calm turquoise colored ocean, is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. It is also called Seven Mile beach. Those who want to venture off the beach can take a walk through the Royal Palm Preserve in the Great Morass, to see the towering Royal Palms, a variety of birds, and other wildlife.

Besides basking on its powdery shores, other fun things to do include exploring the coral reefs, soaking in therapeutic mineral springs and rain forest waterfalls, hand-feeding hummingbirds, and zooming through the jungle canopy on ziplines. After a day of relaxation and adventure, head to the famous Negril Cliffs, where tourists and locals alike gather to watch divers plunge from the limestone peaks as the fiery sun slides into the sea.

There are various guided tours available, many of which include bird watching, hiking and climbing. Depending on the time of year and location there may also be a festival taking place. The most popular is the Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay in July.

The top 8 attractions in Negril:

· Blue Hole Mineral Springs

· Kool Runnings Adventure Park

· Margaritaville, Negril

· Mayfield Falls

· Negril Hills Golf Club

· Negril Royal Palm Reserve

· Rick’s Café

· Rhodes Hall Plantation


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