Jamaica’s first black millionaire George Stiebel built Devon House in the late 19th century. Stiebel was the son of a Jamaican housekeeper and a German Jew, who made his fortune after investing money made from shipping into a successful gold mine in Venezuela. Devon House is one of Montego Bay's most popular sights.
Jamaica – Been There

Montego Bay, with plenty of sun and a little extra spice

Photo by Alvaro Leiva

Jamaica – Been There Montego Bay, with plenty of sun and a little extra spice

Reggae’s sunny beat has helped attract the many thousands of holidaymakers who come to Jamaica every year.

Kiki Deere
Kiki Deere Travel Writer

Most stay on the northern coast, home to some of the best beaches. I set off early one morning for the famous Montego Bay, accompanied by Scooby, a Jamaican friend. We zigzag our way through woodlands and verdant back roads, hearing reggae blasting out of street sound systems every few kilometers. The road passes colorful fruit markets and shacks selling wooden carvings that recall African designs.

We stop off to stretch our legs and eat at a roadside hut selling skewers of meat roasted on a smoking barbecue grill. In Jamaica, chicken and pork are marinated in an exquisite hot spice mixture called jerk. The cook hands me my jerk pork on a paper plate with a plastic spoon. “There is extra spice in that,” he says, pointing at a battered plastic container that has been sitting in the sun for too long. The pork has a spicy tang and the meat melts in my mouth.

We continue along more bumpy roads, hearing music everywhere, to arrive at Montego Bay in the afternoon. It is a seaside resort popular with the package holiday trade, and has a very different feel to Kingston. Tourists walk the promenade scanning the menus of open-air restaurants from which come the sound of live bands that also cater to their tastes. The coast is lined with large resorts, many with swimming pools and world-class golf courses. Sadly, Jamaica’s reputation for crime means many tourists opt to stay within the safety of their resort gates.

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