Served by its own very nearby airport (the Caribbean's biggest and busiest), the third largest city in Jamaica (as well as the English-speaking Caribbean, with a population of around 110,000), MoBay has since the 1960s been an anchor of Jamaica's tourism industry, and one of the island's most visited spots, as well as a very popular cruise port of call. Located in the island's northwest, the city's main draw remains the gorgeous, white-sand beaches with tranquil, aquamarine waters fringed by lush palm trees and lined with various hotels and resorts from modest to ultra-luxe. Top strands include Doctor's Cave Beach (below) along Gloucester Avenue (the name coming from a cave once used by a physician to treat respiratory ailments); Dump Up Beach, downtown and especially popular with locals; and Montego Beach, about a mile from downtown.
MoBay is also brimming with life and culture. Its backbone is Gloucester Avenue, aka the "Hip Strip," lined with shops, art galleries, handicraft markets, eateries including those serving classic jerk chicken, and various entertainment venues. Downtonw's Sam Sharpe Square (below, named after a 19th-century slave who was a hero in Jamaica's struggle for independence) is another hub, home to a cobblestone plaza with a sculptural monument to Sharpe and his fellow freedom fighters, a number of colonial-era buildings, and the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, with exhibitions on Jamaican history. Outside downtown, one major must-visit is Rose Hall, an 18th-century Georgian plantation house restored as a museum of the estate's notorious slave history.
The surrounding countryside and slightly beyond also offer numerous excursion and adventure options, including rafting and tubing on the Great River and the Martha Brae River; several world-class golf courses such as Half Moon and Cinnamon Hill; Bunker's Hill, where you can learn about the heritage of the Taino (the island's precolonial inhabitants) and the maroons (runaway slaves); ziplines; birdwatching; hiking; the historic 18th-century Georgian town of Falmouth; 40 minutes away; the rum-making Appleton Estate (two hours south), and the terraced, 180-foot-high Dunn's River Falls (below), which visitors can climb an hour and a half away in Ocho Rios.
Entry documents: for citizens of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States - as well as many other countries - just a valid passport s required for stays of less than 90 days. For a complete list of entry requirements, consult the Jamaican government's immigration website.
Weather: MoBay and Jamaica in general are a year-round destination; just keep in mind that May to November is the wet season, with more likelihood of rain (as well as coinciding with hurricane season in the fall), while the dry season is December to April. Average temperatures are fairly stable, ranging from 72⁰ to 85⁰ Fahrenheit (29-⁰ Celsius) in January to 77-91⁰ F (25-33⁰C) in August.
Currency: At the time of this writing, the U.S. dollar is worth 154 Jamaican dollars (JMD), while the Canadian dollar trades at 114, the British pound at 192, and the euro at 171.