Dangers & Annoyances
The well-policed Hip Strip (Gloucester Ave) is safe from criminals, but hustling may be an issue. There are aggressive hucksters in MoBay who will size you up and either try to charm or intimidate you out of a few bucks (or more) if they think you’re green. Walk with purpose wherever you go; if you look lost or confused, you’ll be an easier mark. That said, don’t be afraid to ask for directions (shopkeepers are usually helpful, especially downtown).
Once you get downtown, the main drag (Fort St) is generally fine, but don’t wander too far afield from it after dark; east of here, past Orange St, is a squatter neighborhood called Canterbury that’s best avoided. You'll also want to steer clear of Flankers near the airport and parts of the Mt Salem neighborhood.
Just across from the KFC that sits between the Hip Strip and downtown MoBay is a sparsely vegetated field fronting a bit of sand known, pretty accurately, as Dump-Up Beach. It is best to avoid this area at night.
Only ever use official taxis, identifiable by their red number plates and prescribed route emblazoned on the side of the car.
Embassies & Consulates
At Donald Sangster International Airport there’s a 24-hour money-exchange bureau and a branch of National Commercial Bank in the arrivals hall, but it doesn’t change at good rates. You’ll need local currency to take the bus into town, but taxis accept US dollars.
Better rates can be found on the main strip. Downtown, several bureaus can be found on St James St and Fort St; look for ‘cambio’ signs. Banks on Sam Sharpe Sq and in the Baywest Shopping Center all have 24-hour ATMs. Flanking the Doctor’s Cave Beach Club are ATMs operated by National Commercial Bank and Scotiabank. The cruise-ship terminal is served by a branch of National Commercial Bank in the Montego Freeport Shopping Centre.
Cambio King Currency exchange, northern end of the street.
FX Trader Currency exchange.
Jamaica Tourist Board In the arrivals hall at Donald Sangster International Airport.
Official Visitors Guide (www.montego-bay-jamaica.com) The most extensive online resource for MoBay and environs.
Visit Jamaica (www.visitjamaica.com) Entertainment and culture listings.