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By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer
With Montego Bay being not just Jamaica’s second city, but also one of the island’s main tourism hubs, it is not surprising that it also has one of the busiest cruise ports on the island.
Some very well-known cruise lines such as Carnival, MSC, and NCL, as well as Viking and Cunard, frequently stop in Montego Bay. The Montego Bay Cruise Port is located in an area called Freeport. With 6 berths, the port can accommodate up to 4 cruise ships at once, though this happens very rarely. There is only one sizeable terminal building, which isn’t quite sophisticated but nonetheless provides all necessary services.
You will also find standard duty-free and gift stores, bathrooms, and a beverage stand. If you arrive at the Montego Bay Cruise Port and plan on exploring the city one of your best options is to get assistance from a Tourist Office booth at the port. This is also the best spot to inquire about the official taxi rates.
Walking is not a great option, it is around a 3-mile walk on a busy highway with nowhere to stop and catch a breather in between. Your best bet to get downtown is to simply grab a taxi. The taxi fare situation can be a bit tricky. Currently for locals, getting from Freeport to Downtown Montego Bay may cost just about $150 Jamaican dollars which is the equivalent of $1 USD. However, taxi drivers that park outside the cruise port terminal and caters specifically to tourist will charge around $5 USD. If you are going to a specific location besides downtown Montego Bay, for example, the Hip strip or Rose Hall, the prices will increase.
The Montego Bay Cruise Port is approximately a 15-minute drive, however, this can be much longer depending on the traffic which is usually intense during the evening hours.
The Closest Beach to the Montego Bay Cruise Port is the Harmony Beach Park. It is a new park, completely free, with beach access, food shops, a jogging trail, a basketball court and much more.
Once you get to Montego Bay, whether your cruise is docking just for a few hours or a full day or 2, there are some places you must visit.
You have not truly visited Montego Bay if you haven’t been on the Hipstrip. The actual name is Jimmy Cliff Boulevard named after our music icon but is commonly referred to as bottom road by the locals. If you are looking to experience the beaches, and the best restaurants and bars, clubs and chill spots in Montego Bay, this is the place to be. Try popular restaurants like Margaritaville and Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records, take a dip at the Doctor’s Cave Beach or have some fun at the Coral Cliff Gaming Lounge.
This is the city's centre and the highlight here is the Monument of our national hero, Sam
Sharpe. There is also a water fountain and a small museum and the square is a popular spot for hosting free events, so you might get there when it is a bit crowded. During the evening you will also find several food vendors, selling jerk chicken and pork, soup and Jamaican-style egg sandwiches.
If like many you are intrigued by the Rastafari Lifestyle, you can make this a cultural and learning experience. The Rastafari Indigenous Village is situated about 15 minutes from the cruise port. This cultural centre introduces you to the true Rastafarian traditions, enabling you to intimately connect with a fascinating group of individuals. Rastafarianism is a spiritual and political movement that emerged in the nation of Jamaica. You'll learn about their beliefs, way of life, and music here.
Golfing is another great option just a little bit further away from the Hip strip. Montego Bay's four championship golf courses, which are located roughly 20 to 30 minutes from your ship, make Jamaica the ideal destination for golf enthusiasts. Play exciting rounds of golf at the two courses of the renowned Rose Hall Estate, which also serves as a beautiful historical monument. There is also the White Witch Golf Course and the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course. The golf course at Half Moon, which lies nearby, has frequently been named among the best in the world.
However you choose to spend your time once you get to Montego Bay, you will be sure to have an amazing time. Not coming in on a cruise ship but still want to see these places? Let us know here and we will get you there.
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