The V Travel Guide: Montego Bay, Jamaica

The V Travel Guide: Montego Bay, Jamaica

As you prepare for Reggae Sumfest this weekend, here are our favorite places to eat, stay, and more.

As you prepare for Reggae Sumfest this weekend, here are our favorite places to eat, stay, and more.

Text: Alex Frank

This weekend, the 25th edition of Reggae Sumfest--the Red Stripe-sponsored yearly event—comes to town and happens to be one of the largest and best reggae, dancehall festivals in the world. This year, the two-day lineup in Montego Bay is a who’s who of Jamaican music royalty, with performances from Mavado, Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Spice, and Bounty Killer.

There’s just as much to do outside the festival grounds—it is on the beautiful north coast of Jamaica, after all, and the second largest city in the country offers good food, beautiful views, and, of course, plenty of water to play in. Here are the spots you want to go.

Eat:

Scotchies

You cannot go to Jamaica and not eat the country’s unofficial national food, jerk chicken. And Scotchies is the best play in Montego bay for all things jerk (jerk pork is also delicious!). Scotchies is the absolute real deal, and they cook their meat over pimento tree wood. Try it with yam, sweet potato, rice and peas, or a local favorite, breadfruit.

The Sugar Mill

For a slightly more upscale option, try the Sugar Mill, set on the site of a former sugar plantation. The restaurant offers a gussied up take on Jamaican classics, like oxtail ravioli, green plantain rosti, and one of their specialties, crayfish bisque. They also have an incredible selection of rum, including the oldest rum available for sale, the 50-year-old Appleton Estate rum.

Stush in the Bush

Stush in the Bush is about a two hour drive east across the north coast from Montego Bay, but is worth it. The owners, a married couple Lisa and Chris, have set up a small restaurant on their 15-acre farm in the hills, and they serve sustainable, vegetarian food that is the definition of farm-to-table.

Where to Stay:

Round Hill Hotel and Villas

Round Hill is a Jamaican classic, built all the way back in 1953—John and Jackie Kennedy even honeymooned in one of their famous villas. The space is set on 30 acres, has a fully functioning spa, and the oceanfront rooms were designed by Ralph Lauren.

The Rockhouse Hotel

About an hour away from Montego Bay, high up in the hills overlooking the ocean, is the Rockhouse Hotel, probably the coolest place to stay in all of Jamaica. There’s an infinity pool and places to cliff dive, but the best part is as simple as the incredible location: While at the Rockhouse, you feel like you are right up on the side of cliff overlooking the cove.

Where to Explore:

Doctor’s Cave

Probably one of the most famous beaches in all of Jamaica, Doctor’s Cave is famous for its crystal clear turquoise waters and pristine white sand. The coral reef makes it a great place for snorkeling.

Martha Brae River

A chance to raft down a river is the reason to visit Martha Brae, where you ride on a bamboo  raft (with a trained captain, of course) through three miles of tree-canopied water.

Ocho Rios Blue Hole

The Blue Hole is as its name suggests: a bright blue patch of water hidden in the hills of Ocho Rios, near Montego Bay. If you’re brave, you can jump off one of the cliffs into the water (a guide will walk you through it!), or you can just relax and look at the incredible waterfalls.

Credits: cover photo via @stushinthebush

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