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Montego Bay, known as Jamaica's riviera area, is located on the north west coast of the island and is the main tourist destination. The Caribbean town is regularly visited by millions of visitors every year. The locals know it as Mobay and it has the best selection of hotels in Jamaica. There is everything here from exclusive seaside apartments to cheap bed and breakfast accommodation.
Amongst the many reasons to come to Montego Bay are its exclusive beaches and world famous golf courses. The area has a 10 mile shoreline, aquamarine lagoons and coral reefs, all backed by lush green rolling hills where farmers grow bananas and sugar cane.
The first European to come here was Christopher Columbus in 1494 and now Montego Bay is the island's second city. It is, however, a visitor's first choice as the beaches are perfect and there is a huge variety of recreations from music festivals to bird watching or bamboo rafting to golfing.
The visitor can witness working plantations that used to be the grand estates of the sugar barons. Tennis is played here or tourists can snorkel, scuba dive or sail. The Montego Bay Marine Park covers over fifteen square kilometres of seabed with stunning corals, fish and other marine life. There is so much do here that nobody can ever be bored.
Adjacent to the city is the Montego Bay Marine Park. This area protects the island's best corals and marine resources. Although open to everyone, the park is set out in zones which restrict various activities. For example fishing and watersports are only allowed in certain areas thus conserving natural habitats. At Pier One Marina there is a resource centre with information about tours and ecological presentations. Some private companies operate undersea tours of the coral reefs.
Bob Marley, Jamaica's reggae superstar, lived in Kingston but Montego Bay is also proud to acknowledge his fame. The Bob Marley Experience is a memorabilia store with theatre at the Half Moon Shopping Village. From 9am to 6pm daily, on the hour, a documentary is shown on Marley's music and life. This is completely free and is well worth seeing.
Doctor's Cave Beach is the most famous beach on the Bay, so called because the only access used to be via a cave. A hurricane in 1932 destroyed the cave but there is still a bathing club on the beach which has become legendary. The water here is crystal clear and the water temperature is permanently around 25 degrees. It is claimed that the water has healing qualities and this popular beach now has a smart complex of showers and changing rooms as well as gift shops and the Groovy Grouper Beach Bar.
One of the island's most popular attractions is The Rose Hall Great House. The horror legend tells of the beautiful Annie Palmer who was murdered in the 1830s after having used voodoo magic to get rid of her three husbands. During an uprising by slaves on the estate Annie was killed after a fight with a slave girl. After her death the house fell into disrepair but has subsequently been restored. Annie was said to be a white witch and visitors can see the dungeon where she is said to have tortured victims of slavery.