Mo-Bay, as the locals call it is considered to be the capital of Spring Break in Jamaica. At the turn of the century, over seventy-five hydrotherapy (water-cure) institutions were founded based on the use of warm waters and the warmth of the sun to restore health and vitality.
A section of Montego Bay, owned by a Dr. Alexander McCatty,was donated it to the town for development as a bathing club in 1906. The water at that time was only accessible only by descending through a small cave, hence the name "Doctor's Cave".
By 1908, Doctor's Cave with it's crystal clear water and constant temperature of between 78 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, 22 to 28 Celsius, was being advertised in New York. " Come South . . . to Montego Bay, the most beautiful spot in Jamaica. Here is situated the famous Doctor's Cave bathing place destined to be the favorite bathing resort of the Western Hemisphere. Leave the grim north, come south! Only four and a half days from New York."
The curative powers of the Doctor's Cave were promoted in England in the 1920's by a controversial but fashionable figure, Sir Herbert Barker. Mr. Barker, a famous British osteopath and manipulator was knighted for his ability to treat knee injuries and cartilage damage in famous athletes and social figures without the use of surgery.
As word spread, more Hotels were needed to handle the growing number of visitors to the Doctor's Cave Bathing Club. Montego Bay was on it's was to becoming an international tourist destination. During World War II, a landing strip was built in an adjacent mangrove swamp making the area accessible by air. Today, the island is a popular destination and Spring Break travel packages are offered by many tour operators.
Today, the cave is gone, but you can still restore your health and vitality at Doctor's Cave Beach , or at one of the other two beaches Cornwall, or Aqua Sol. All three beaches are all located along Gloucester Avenue, better known as the Hip Strip. Hotels, restaurants, shops and a newly rebuilt Coral Cliff casino, as well as the major clubs are all located along this strip.
If you want to skip the long lines and save money on cover fees, make sure you purchase a "Platinum Party Pass" from one of the tour operators. Doctors Cave Hotel and Margaritaville will knock your sandals off with crazy theme parties, contest and giveaways! Dance,dance, dance and when the sun comes up, hang by the pool, soak up the rays and enjoy the contests at Doctor's Cave Hotel, cruise down the winding water slide at Margaritaville or climb the 600-foot cascading waterfall of Dunn's River Falls.
The official currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar. The current Exchange Rate in Jamaica is fluctuating between 36 and 40 Jamaican dollars to 1 U.S. dollar. It is best not to exchange money at the airport; their rate tends to run low. The best exchange rates tend to be at the Cambio’s (located at various spots throughout Montego Bay and Negril), banks or hotels. Do not exchange all of your money when you get to Jamaica. It’s best to exchange it as needed; you will lose money converting Jamaican dollars back to U.S. dollars when you depart Jamaica.
Local transporation is by taxi, they are literally everywhere. Only the taxis with with red licence tags with white numbers have been approved Jamaican Tourist Board and also have the required insurance. Remember to always agree on a price in Jamaican Dollars before getting into the cab. Fares are aboout $1 or$2, per person. A cab ride from the Cliffs to the Beach will cost about $100 Jamaican ($2 U.S.) per person. Better prices can be negotiated with large groups. Remember to stick with the buddy system and do not ride alone.
Collect phone calls to home are $$$$, about $10 U.S. for every 3 minutes. Purchase a Jamaican Calling Card when you arrive. A 5-minute calling card usually costs about $200 Jamaicanthat is about one dollar U.S. per minute.There are also a few Cyber Café locations where you can email home.
There is no dress code in Jamaica. Unlike some SpringBreak destinations, shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops will work just fine 24 X 7.