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1st time. Best area to stay?

Level Contributor
178 posts
4 reviews
12 helpful votes
1st time. Best area to stay?

I have never been to Jamaica. We like to snorkel and am asking for advice what area to stay? Also, is it necessary to go all-inclusive or are there many restaurants to visit?

Jackson, Michigan
Level Contributor
6,156 posts
13 reviews
69 helpful votes
1. Re: 1st time. Best area to stay?

It is not necessary to go all inclusive there are many restaurants in most areas. Negril, Montego Bay, Ochos Rios, and Runaway Bay are the most popular tourist areas of the island. For snorkeling I personally prefer the Mo Bay area but I'm sure they all have good spots. Negril has the longest beach. Mo Bay is the biggest city of the three. Ochos Rios is a major cruise ship port. Runaway Bay is the up and coming spot. The area has nice beaches.

Level Contributor
20,770 posts
24 reviews
186 helpful votes
2. Re: 1st time. Best area to stay?

this is an old post from Jamerican:

Posted on: 5:21 pm,January 19, 2009 Save

Negril is probably the best for first time visitors. It is a small tourist town, although it has grown quite a bit. There is a fairly large beach there and many bar/restaurants.

Runaway Bay has become much more popular in the last 5 or so years. It is not quite a developed as Negril but is fast becoming very popular. They also have pretty good beaches there.

Montego Bay is most likely the airport you'll be flying into. It is a decent sized city. There aren't a lot of big beaches there. There is quite a bit of available shopping and many excursions in the area. Next to Ochi it is the second most popular cruise ship stop on the island.

Ocho Rios is the most popular cruise ship port in Jamaica. Because of this there is a lot of vendors. I don't really go to Ochi all that much to comment a whole lot more. It is very close to the world famous Dunns River Falls and there are some great all inclusive resorts there as there are in the other three mentioned locations.

Hope this helps.

My 2 cents: Montego Bay is a City. The second largest on the island. It has rocky and man made beaches but does have nightlife off the resorts.

Ochi is a cruise ship port but is close to some well known tours and such.

Runaway Bay again is north coast but is quieter than Ochi and MB but still located fairly close to excursions etc.

Negril is where the soft white sugar sand is for miles and also has the cliff area.


Negril imo also has more live entertainment, more food/bar and accommodation options. It's also tourist based.


3. Re: 1st time. Best area to stay?

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