Boat Trips

The number of party-boat tours in Montego Bay is stupefyingly diverse. Most companies charge US$70 to US$80 for three-hour party cruises with open bars, and US$50 to US$60 for sunset and dinner cruises. You can also charter yachts for private group sailing trips from the Montego Bay Yacht Club at Montego Freeport.

Diving

MoBay offers a few good dive sites. For advanced divers, the Point/Basket Reef north of the airport has a good wall dive due to the fish, sharks, rays and dense coral that are fed by crystal-clear waters scoured by currents. The wall here starts at 20m and drops to at least 90m. Airport Reef, off the southwestern edge of the airport, is considered by some to be the best site on the island, with masses of coral canyons, caves and tunnels, and a DC-3 wreck that’s become a multicolored mansion for masses of fish.

Besides boasting the sort of name you’d rightly expect in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Widowmakers Cave is an incredible tunnel filled with sponges, barracuda and schools of smaller fish. This is a site for experienced divers, who can navigate through the 21.3m (70ft) passage and out the top of its chimney. Chub Reef, a 12.2m (40ft) dive site located just to the northeast of the city, is named for the preponderance of Bermuda chub, rather than any physical squatness. Rose Hall Reef, about 10km east of the city, is a shallow reef more suitable for less-experienced divers. The main attraction is the Fairy Castle, a pretty coral pillar as fantastic as its name suggests.

With all this said, don’t dive here expecting top-rate macrodiving (ie lots of big fish). There are mantas, nurse sharks and the like in these waters, but most divers report seeing nothing larger than barracuda, reef fish and rock lobsters.

Most dive centers also offer snorkeling trips and provide multiple levels of PADI certification.

Fishing

The waters off Jamaica’s north coast offer spectacular game fishing. Deep-water game fish like blue marlin, sailfish, wahoo, kingfish and yellowfin tuna use the abyss known as Marlin Alley as a migratory freeway (June and August are peak months for marlin). The Montego Bay Marlin Tournament is held in late September; contact the Montego Bay Yacht Club.

Charters can be booked through hotels, or you can contact Howard Martin at Deep Drop Fishing Charters, usually based at the yacht club.