Free Things to Do in Montego Bay
THE 10 BEST Free Things to Do in Montego Bay
Best Free Things to Do in Montego Bay
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Points of Interest & Landmarks • Churches & Cathedrals
Speciality & Gift Shops
What travelers are saying
- The experience was awesome, friendly staff in all stores... The food from the restaurant was good.
The cigar store has all types of rums reasonable priced. The best part was a live performance from various reggae artist like Ras I etc.
Its great shopping experience.Written January 23, 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- The Hip Strip is a name given to a primarily tourist commercial and entertainment zone in Montego Bay. While there is no official beginning or end to this, it is commonly heled to be the area on Gloucester Avenue from the Old Hospital Park north to the Royal Decameron Montego Bay. Here the commercial area of Gloucester becomes decidedly less upscale until it ends at Sunset Boulevard.
The area is to the north of the downtown core and as I said is primarily for tourists especially those from the larger resorts and/or cruise ships. This is apparent by the number of reserved parking spots for their vans located on both sides of the avenue beside certain stores, restaurants and other attractions.
There are plenty of souvenir shops here including a few high-end ones and some jewelers stores advertising various duty free items. Others have specials on duty free alcohol and tobacco products including a couple that specialize in Cuban Cigars, obviously mainly aimed at visitors from the United States.
For those who prefer another product to smoke, a recent addition is several cannabis or weed dispensaries and one lounge where presumably one can sit and indulge in some degree of comfort and tranquility.
There are several restaurants serving local cuisine and a few North American staples such as Starbucks and Burger King. At the southern end are what could be considered the twin pillars where the main part of the strip commences, the multi story Montego Bay Margaritaville Restaurant and Bar and across the street the Coral Cliff Gaming and entertainment Centre.
The former has some spectacular views of the bay from it’s patio as well as a water slide and moored trampoline for the more adventurous. As can be expected it is one of the major night spots of the strip when the sun goes down. The later contains an amusement arcade on the ground floor and a casino above that.
At the opposite end of the strip is Usain Bolts Tracks and Records a restaurant and sports bar with its own gift shop.
When the shops close the nightly party begins. In addition to Jimmy Buffets namesake chain establishment, there are several other clubs, bars and lounges all with an easy walk of each other, offering a variety of live music and other entertainment.
Aside from the tourists coming from the larger resorts at the edge of town there are several resorts on the strip itself. Fronting on the water’s edge with their own private beaches are the S Hotel Jamaica, The Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach and the Royal Decameron Montego Bay. Farther north and not part of the strip itself but still within walking distance is the Sea Garden Beach Resort and a few smaller hotels. On the opposite side of the Avenue are still more hotels and resorts including the Deja Resort.
These don’t have direct access to their own beaches but for them the Doctors Cave Beach is available. This is a private beach with an entry fee and beach loungers and umbrellas available for rent. Guests at the Deja have free admission as part of their room rate. The entrance to Doctor’s Cave Beach is located near the Starbucks.
In addition to the official stores and shops , whose owner operators can be shall we say very persuasive in their efforts to get you in, there are the unofficial vendors. They mainly offer either a service, taxi tours or a product, ganja.
Unlike the ones farther north or south of the “official” strip area, they are a bit more subtle in their efforts to reach out to you, dud to the heavy and very visible police presence. They’re still there and combined with the souvenir shops and their sales pitches had a few guests at our resort calling the Hip Strip the “gauntlet” as in being forces to walk the gauntlet and what it entailed.
This police presence and the heavy crowds both day and night would suggest that the area is reasonably safe for visitors. Obviously some degree of common sense is needed especially after an evening of partying at one of the clubs. There are plenty of official taxis about to get one home safely.Written March 28, 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Sam Sharpe Square, originally called Charles Square was renamed in 1976 by the Jamaican Government to posthumously honour Samuel Sharpe. It is in downtown Montego Bay at the corner of market and St. James Streets in front of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.
Samuel Sharpe (1801- 1832) was born in slavery on a local plantation. He became a Baptist Minister and local advocate for Emancipation. In 1832 he was one of the key figures of the Baptist War or Christmas Rebellion. Initially a peaceful anti slavery protest it soon devolved in the largest slave revolt in Jamaica’s history involving more than 60,000 slaves.
The revolt was put down and Sharpe was executed for his role in it, hanged in 1832 in the square that would later bear his name. This failed revolt however would lead to the Slavery Abolition Act by the British Parliament in 1833 and the abolishment of slavery throughout the British Empire in 1838. In 1975 the Jamaican Government posthumously proclaimed Samuel Sharpe a national hero with the title of the Right Excellent Samuel Sharpe.
The square is a lively location easily reached by foot, car or taxi and included in almost all tours of Montego Bay. As noted, it is in front of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, originally the Courthouse building built in 1803 and destroyed by fire in 1968. It was rebuilt and opened as a museum.
The square itself contains a series of life sized statues depicting Samuel Sharpe speaking to slaves as well as signage explaining who he was and the importance of the site. Further exhibits are inside the museum. There is also a magnificent water fountain donated by Captain J. Kerr a local plantation owner.
To the side of the square is a small brick building referred to as “the Cage.” This single room building was used as a gaol to hold drunken sailors, vagrants and slaves who had failed to leave the town limits and return to their plantations by curfew.
As it is in centre of the city there are numerous restaurants around as well as shopping venues. There is no admission to the square itself although the entry fee to the nearby museum is $500.00 Jamaican Dollars. Visitors should take some precautions as the square itself borders on a busy roundabout.Written March 26, 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- We’ve walked over to this plaza twice while staying at sandals Royal Caribbean and done our souvenir shopping. The grocery store is nice if you like jerk seasoning or sauce and the other little shops have a great variety at much better prices then the resorts. Yes, the people can be a little pushy with trying to get you to purchase but it’s not unsafe.Written October 29, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- After a nice afternoon of church and then touring in Montego Bay we enjoyed the craft store. The people are very pleasant even if you do not buy. Yes there is pressure but in the end the is "respect" as they call it.Written October 16, 2018This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- We got a Taxi from our resort to the Hip Strip. When he dropped us off he said the price included a visit into the gift shop where we would get special offers and discounts. Take no notice this is just a scam. We then did a walk around the locals shopping area which is really difficult as you get pestered non stop by the locals and many people begging for money. One chap said wait there and then crossed us over the road we said thank you - he said never mind thank you just give us some dollars.Written June 13, 2018This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- One of the more interesting finds one comes across while wandering the streets of Montego Bay is Saint James Parish Church. Located in the downtown, only a few minutes walk from Sam Sharpe Square the church is both a local landmark and building of historical interest.
Construction commenced in 1775 and was completed seven years later in 1782 when the first service was conducted here. Services continue every Sunday morning for those so inclined. They are rather early though starting at 7:30am.
The massive stone walls of the church are typical of the time, when such places not only served as places of worship but also as those of sanctuary. Inside it is surprisingly cool. The first thing one notices is the magnificent pews and alter all hand carved of deep dark mahogany and the impressive stain glass window behind the alter which catches the sun.
To the left of the alter is a carved portrait of Mrs. Rose Palmer carved in 1794 by John Bacon. Mrs. Palmer was the mistress of Rose Hall plantation located to the north east of the present-day city and one of the churches parishioners. She is buried in the garden to the north of the church as are several other plantation owners.
Rose Palmer should not be confused with another local Annie Palmer also known as the White Witch who was the wife of the great nephew of Rose. She was according to local legend responsible for the murders of three of her spouses and several slaves before being murdered herself. It is rumoured her ghost still haunts Rose Hall Manor.
Aside from scheduled services the church is usually open to visitors. We visited it twice in the week we were there. The first time the massive wooden doors were open and we received a brief but informative tour. Sadly when I returned later in the week to take more pictures, it was closed and a local advised me the Priest was away on an errand but would return shortly.
Just north of the church and its graveyard is another small burial ground. A local advised me this is the old military burial grounds where British troops who passed away while garrisoning the town wee interred. During my second visit, workman were enclosing the grounds in chain link fence but hopefully there is still some access.
In this field is a simple high wooden cross with the names of locals who fell during the First and Second World Wars. As part of the British Empire many Jamaicans volunteered to serve during these conflicts and many did so with courage and distinction. Sadly, as in all conflicts not all returned home. As in all Commonwealth Nations Remembrance services are held here every November 11th by local government officials, military, veterans and local citizens.Written March 29, 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- This fairly new shopping centre is home to the newest branch of Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records. Perched on the busy as we call it "Hip Strip" makes an ideal location for up and coming related tourism businesses. It is on the side of the beach yet away from the beach. It is a clean environment without much hassle and in time will become a prime commercial spot. Currently it houses courier, entertainment and inbond shops with a car rental office. It sure is a place great potential.Written May 3, 2018This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- We saw the sign out on the road saying there was a Jamaican restaurant so we turned in to check it out. There are a lot of vacant stores. We couldn't find the restaurant and it looked a little scary so we left. Later we made reservations for massage and the massage place turned out to be on the bay side of the shopping center and very lovely but I never would have found it if Claudette hadn't come out to the parking lot to greet us.Written January 4, 2018This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Went here to check out some souvenirs, they had ok prices, but the alcohol and cigars seemed to be overpriced. The staff was pleasant. The selection was very good. We managed to get what we needed.Written February 22, 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- This a warning not about the centre as not a lot there.The warning is about the Taxis.
we arrived on a cruise and was told to take a taxi to town,we walked out to the taxi rank and was directed to a mini bus,I asked the guide if this was for town and was told yes man.Once the bus was full we moved off and was told by the guide her name was a long one so call her K and the driver was nicknamed pony tail.before we had travelled out of site of the ship she was trying to sell extra trip but most of the bus wanted the beach and about 6 of us wanted the town.She tried to tell us that she was not allowed to take us there by the tourist board and she went straight to the beach and said this is were we all got off and there was shops down the road.I said we wished to see the town and we had a stand up argument.when she realised that we was not getting off we were taken to the town centre.The reason that she wanted all passengers in one spot was so she could sell a extra trip when they returned ,which she did selling a r/t trip via a view for 20 dollars instead of 7.The con being that on a full bus even those that do not want to go will pay,Its one of the oldest con in the book.We walked back to the ship after being told by a town taxi the fare was 2000 dollars.O well one place not to go back to.Written January 10, 2017This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- The experience was fantastic. Girish was a pleasure to work with and the watch was perfect. As an authorized dealer for JLC the value and service were impeccable.
I would recommend them without hesitation.Written March 7, 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- This is the "go to" place for jewelry and watches. The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. They have great brands and their prices are fair. They put a customer under no pressure to buy and only want to sell you something they feel suits the customer. They are honest and the inventory is some of the best. If you buy from them you can count on service even several years after the purchase. My wife had a battery changed on a watch we purchased from them over ten years ago - no problem and no charge. They were genuinely happy to provide the replacement battery. I don't know of any shop that beats that serviceWritten November 24, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- I would like to tell you what a great experience I had with one of the stores at the port in Falmouth. I bought a Philip Stein watchband from Jewels & Time, and it was my fault entirely for purchasing the wrong size. I contacted the store through their website when I got back to Florida and they have been absolutely wonderful! The manager, Prem Mahtani, contacted me and was able to fix my situation to my full satisfaction. He was great, and I hope by writing this review you will consider shopping at the store in Falmouth. I could not be happier or more satisfied with the service provided!Written August 19, 2019This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- This is a great place to visit if you're looking for souvenirs but do NOT pay the price you're originally told.
They will accept a more reasonable counter offer.Written August 7, 2019This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.