in the middle
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Montego Bay, or MoBay as it's called by the locals, is big, brash and proud of its high-spirited reputation. This is Jamaica's second largest city, and although its port and airport mean many travellers pass through, few make their way into the city proper.
Montego Bay's position on Jamaica's northern coast makes it an incredibly convenient arrival point if you want to enjoy the postcard perfect beaches at Ochos Rios, Runaway Bay and Lucea. You can also head inland for the lush jungles that line the island's interior. And if you're on a Caribbean cruise you may find Montego Bay port is your entry point for excursions in Jamaica. But unless you're determined to get to grips with the real Jamaica, few holidaymakers will find much reason to head into the city itself.
If you do want to get to know the city of Montego Bay then you'll discover a busy and noisy downtown which is a world apart from the neighbouring upmarket resorts. The sights of poverty and hectic pace can feel intimidating for first time visitors, but so long as you take proper precautions (don't flash your valuables, don't wander alone after dark, etc) you're unlikely to run into any danger, and instead you'll find that the Jamaican's infectious warmth, musical rhythms and comfort food are all very much still present.
As with anywhere, check the Foreign Office's latest travel advice before you set off.
As one of Jamaica's busiest airports, there are lots of cheap flights to Montego Bay available. It's especially popular with holiday makers headed to the Caribbean beaches as the airport, Sangster International Airport, is located on Montego Bay, with easy connections to other beautiful resorts like Ocho Rios or Negril.
If you're after direct Jamaica flights in 2017 or 2018, you can catch a plane heading straight for Montego Bay from five UK airports, although some routes only operate seasonally. If you can depart from London airports you will have the most choice as you can fly direct to Montego Bay with both Virgin Atlantic and TUI. TUI also flies regularly from Manchester to Montego Bay, and during the winter you can also fly direct with TUI from Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham.
If you're on a direct flight to Montego Bay it'll take about 10 hours to reach your destination. However if you're looking for cheaper Montego Bay flights, it offen pays to consider indirect routes. It will take longer as you'll spend time catching a connecting flight, but thanks to increased competition from airlines like American, Air Canada and Air France it can work out saving you lots of money.
If you are looking for a charter flight to Jamaica then you will almost certainly fly into Montego Bay. Charter flights operate from the main UK airports to Montego Bay so check London Gatwick or Manchester for the best availability with airlines such as Thomson and Thomas Cook Airlines. If you are very flexible, these airlines have some fantastic flight deals for last minute departures but only in low season. Like scheduled carriers, flights to Montego Bay with charters sell out quickly on high season dates.
A lack of integrated public transport in the city means it is best to book Montego Bay car hire before you travel so that you have a means of getting around. There are taxis and minibuses available if you are only going to be travelling on occasion, but those looking to make daily excursions will be better off with a rented car.
Montego Bay does have some beaches of its own, which boast the same incredible white sand and crystal seas of the exclusive resorts further along the coast. Doctor's Cave Beach is one of the best, but as such it can get busy in peak periods. You can go snorkelling to see the marine wildlife here or head to Cornwall Beach for similar activities once you have arrived on Montego Bay flights. If you're into your diving the nine square miles Montego Bay Marine Park are going to be of interest.
If you're looking for last minute souvenirs before your flight home, you'll find plenty of Bob Marley posters and Jerk sauces amid the teeming restaurants, shops and bars of Gloucester Avenue, or the Hip Strip as it is more commonly known. This oceanfront road is the most tourist-visited part of Montego Bay, and a good bet if you're looking for a hotel here.