Negril versus Montego Bay: Two Remarkable Places to Choose from in Jamaica


Jamaica is a small island nation in the Caribbean region, with Cuba to its south and Haiti to its north. Jamaica is known for its majestic mountains, virgin rainforests, white long beaches, and amazing coral reefs. It is said to be the home of reggae music and is the birthplace of famous singer Bob Marley.

Two of the most famous places in the country is Montego Bay and Negril. Montego Bay is packed with all-inclusive resorts rich in British colonial architecture. Meanwhile, Negril boasts of beautiful beaches that are abundant in marine biodiversity, hence, diving and snorkeling are popular in the area.

Montego Bay vs. Negril, which area should you pay a visit on your Caribbean tour if you could only choose one?

Let us compare the difference between the two towns and look at the pros and cons of both areas.

Negril versus Montego Bay: Two Remarkable Places to Choose from in Jamaica

Montego Bay


Montego Bay is located on the north coast of Jamaica and is the capital of Saint James Parish. It is a major port that welcomes cruise ships all year round. The area is bustling with beach resorts and golf courses outside the main commercial center.

Popular beaches include Doctor’s Cave Beach and Walter Fletcher Beach which is home to an amusement park. Montego Bay has marine Park which has coral conservation area for snorkeling and diving.

Montego Bay is said to be the most popular among tourists and has the most number of resorts and hotels in all of Jamaica. It is also just a few miles from the Sangster International Airport.


  • Close to the Airport and is just 15 minutes away from most hotels and resorts.
  • It has a good number of golf courses ideal for the golf aficionado.
  • It is in between Negril and Ocho Rios, giving you a good starting point to explore to explore different attractions on the island.
  • Accessible to Ocho Rios, Negril, and South Coast through various modes of transportation.
  • An abundance of nearby attractions such as Rose Hall Great house, Luminous Lagoon, Rafting at Martha Brae and Ras Natango Gallery.
  • Great options for hotel accommodations at different price points.
  • Home to the best fine-dining restaurants in Jamaica.• An electric nightlife with a cool island vibe.
  • Big reggae events such as Reggae Sumfest.
  • Clubs, casinos, and other nightlife on the Hip Strip.
  • River rafting on the River Lethe and Martha Brae River.
  • Most hotels offer all-inclusive rates for all price points.
  • Modern, well-equipped hospital available.


  • Most hotels in the area are isolated and exclusive.
  • Restaurants and bars are not walking distance.
  • You would have to take private transport to go around.
  • Quite expensive.
  • Activities are largely dependent per hotels and resorts
  • The town has a relatively high crime rate which includes crimes like prostitution and occasional gang-related violence
  • Little or no public transportation in the area (mostly unmetered taxis).
  • Most hotels have small, rocky patches of beach.



Negril is a town on the western side of Jamaica. It is most popular for its mile long white sand beaches on shallow bays with pristine and clear waters. The most famous beach is the Seven Mile beach, true to its name, it is a stretch of sand and turquoise waters. The part overlooking the Long Bay is beaming with bars, restaurants, and resorts, both local and international with all inclusive rates.

The Long Bay connects to a lagoon which is coral reef protected area is a good destination for snorkeling and scuba-diving.

The area and its activities predominantly focus on the beach. If all you want to do is lie on the sand and take a dip on the beach for the majority of your vacation this might be the best place to visit in Jamaica.

You will only have access to the beach if you as long as you won’t stay at the west end area.

Negril is a bit farther from to famous attractions on the island compared to Montego Bay. Traveling from Negril to other tourist sites will involve a day trip. Negril has numerous bed and breakfast hotels, villas, and non-all inclusive hotels. The nearest airport is the Sangster International airport. The drive to Negril from the airport is approximately 90 minutes.


  • Excellent, affordable restaurants and food stands.
  • Most of the hotels are in the beach area or on the cliff area.
  • Entertainment revolves around the beach.
  • Seven Mile Beach, one of the softest and longest beaches in Jamaica.
  • Numerous beach activities in the area.• Good diving and snorkeling sites.
  • Laid back casual beach vibe.
  • Live beach-side reggae at Alfred's, Roots Bamboo, and Bourbon Beach.
  • Quite cheaper than Montego Bay.
  • Most Beautiful sunset in Jamaica.
  • Cliff diving on the West End.
  • Safe, cheap, and convenient public transportation.


  • A bit farther from the airport.
  • $80/person drive from Montego Bay International Airport can take up to two hours
  • Not a good starting point if you want to explore the whole island.
  • Only one mediocre golf course nearby.
  • Roads are bumpy, potholed, and sometimes narrow.
  • No hospital, just a minor emergency medical clinic.
  • Prevalent drug culture (mostly pot and cocaine).
  • Homosexuality is prohibited (between men) and local hostility toward LGBT individuals.
  • Sex tourism is prevalent.

Negril puts much focus on the beach and its activities revolve around its coastline. The town though is not a good starting point if you plan to explore other tourist spots in the whole island.

Montego Bay, on the other hand, is a haven for all-inclusive hotel deals that has both affordable and expensive rates. Yet because of the focus on hotels and exclusive deals, it will be difficult for you to visit one place to other without having to spend extra on transportation.

Negril and Montego Bay are both beautiful places to visit in Jamaica. Both have its pros and cons and choosing between the two destinations will depend on what you will be looking for in your vacation.

Have you found this article to be of great help for your next travel destination? Comment below if it is. Don’t forget to share it also with your friends.

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