Montego Bay vs. Ocho Rios: Where to Spend Your Vacation?

Are you trying to figure out where to stay in Jamaica? We know it’s going to be a struggle as Jamaica is a beautiful country and one of the top tourist destinations. So obviously there are endless choices of resorts and hotels for every tourist.

But the top two contenders would be Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. These are the two most popular resort areas on the island. While they’re located within a short distance from each other, both places have their different personalities.

To help you narrow down your choices, let’s compare what these two places have to offer their visitors.

Montego Bay

Montego Bay or as the locals like to call it MoBay, is the second largest city in Jamaica. It’s best known for its high-energy city vibe and nightlife. But the place also has many sun-soaked beaches and parks where you can zipline or hike to the waterfalls.

In short, this is the place for people who are looking for an adrenaline rush on their Jamaican trip.

Popular Resorts/Hotels

  • Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay

  • Sandals (Adults-Only)

  • Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall

Popular Beaches

  • Doctor’s Cave Beach

  • Tropical Bliss

  • One Man Beach


Montego Bay has great nightlife and you will find many amazing nightclubs and bars along its main thoroughfare called the Hip Strip. It’s one of the most happening places in the city and tourists often hang out here until the wee hours of the morning.

Top Tourist Attractions

  • Explore Hip Strip

  • Doctor's Cave Beach

  • Jungle Ziplining Tours

  • Chukka Jungle Outpost at Montpelier

Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is more about the natural beauty of Jamaica. Here you can climb to the top of Mystic Mountain, swim with dolphins at Dolphin Cove, and cliff dive into the Cool Blue Hole. Yet you won’t have to worry about the accommodations as the town also has many luxury all-inclusive resorts for tourists.

So if you’d rather spend your Jamaican vacation with nature, this is the place for you!

Popular Resorts/Hotels

  • Sandals Ochi

  • Jamaica Inn

  • Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay (Adults-Only)

Popular Beaches

  • Mahogany Beach

  • Ocho Rios Bay Beach

  • Sugar Pot Beach


While the nightclubs in MoBay are catered to tourists, the bars and clubs in Ocho Rios tend to get both local and tourist crowds. The options are limited here but you get to experience more authentic Jamaican nightlife.