Montego Bay is the capital of St. James Parish and the second largest city in Jamaica by area and the third by population (after Kingston and Spanish Town)
It is a tourist destination with duty free shopping, cruise line terminal and the beaches. The city is backed by picturesque low mountains. Christopher Columbus, when he first visited the island in 1494, named the bay Golfo de Buen Tiempo ('Fair Weather Gulf') The name "Montego Bay" is believed to have originated as a corruption of the Spanish word manteca ("lard"), allegedly because during the Spanish period it was the port where lard, leather, and beef were exported. Jamaica was a colony of Spain from 1511 until 1655, when Oliver Cromwell's Caribbean expedition, the Western Design, drove the Spanish from the island.
During the epoch of slavery, from the mid-17th century until 1834, and well into the 20th century, the town functioned primarily as a sugar port. The island's last major slave revolt, the Christmas Rebellion or Baptist War (1831–1832) took place in the area around Montego Bay; the leader of the revolt, Samuel Sharpe, was hanged there in 1832. In 1975, Sharpe was proclaimed a national hero of Jamaica, and the main square of the town was renamed in his honour.
In 1980, Montego Bay was proclaimed a city by act of parliament, but this has not meant that it has acquired any form of autonomy as it continues to be an integral part of St. James Parish.
Today, Montego Bay is known for its large regional hospital (Cornwall Regional Hospital), port facilities, second homes for numerous upper class Jamaicans from Kingston as well as Americans and Europeans, fine restaurants, and shopping opportunities. The coastland near Montego Bay is occupied by numerous tourist resorts, most newly built, some occupying the grounds of old sugar cane plantations with some of the original buildings and mill-works still standing. The most famous of these are the White Witch's Rose Hall and Tryall, both of which now feature world-class golf courses.
The infrastructure of the city is going through a series of explosive modernizations which once completed aim to make Montego Bay a top destination in the Caribbean. Tel (020) 7387 1211 or complete the enquiry form below