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Introducing Montego Bay

Montego Bay has two distinct faces: there’s the smooth tourist countenance that grins contentedly from the pages of a thousand glossy Caribbean brochures; and there’s MoBay proper, a pretty gritty city, second only to Kingston in terms of status and chaos. Most of the big all-inclusive resorts are located well outside the urban core in the fancy suburb of Ironshore. Stay in the city, however, and you’re faced with an entirely different proposition – a riot of cacophonous car horns and bustling humanity that offers an unscripted and uncensored slice of Jamaican life, warts and all.

The Hip Strip (aka Gloucester Avenue), with its mid-range hotels and ubiquitous souvenir shops flogging Bob Marley t-shirts, acts as a kind of decompression chamber between MoBay’s two halves. You won’t find many hipsters here, but, in among the hustlers and smoky jerk restaurants, there’s a detectable Jamaican rhythm to the action on the street.