Montego Bay vs. Negril vs. Ocho Rios (Which is Better)?

When it comes to comparing Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios, Negril is definitely the best destination. That said, each of the three popular Jamaican tourist spots has its own strong points, which should be carefully considered when deciding on where to go.
Montego Bay vs. Negril vs. Ocho Rios
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If your plan is to enjoy all that an all-inclusive resort has to offer without leaving the grounds, then it really doesn’t matter as all three destinations offer great choices. But for travelers looking to sightsee beyond their hotel, it would help to know the type of a vacation you want, type of hotel, and your budget, in order to choose the right option.

Planning to visit Jamaica but aren’t sure where to go? Can’t decide between beach-favorite Negril, resort-laden Ocho Rios or upscale Montego Bay? Read on for the ultimate guide to the best place to stay in Jamaica.

Which is Better – Negril or Montego Bay?

Negril is better than Montego Bay. Negril has the best beaches in Jamaica, many attractions, activities, and a nice mix of all-inclusive and self-catering resorts. On the other hand, Montego Bay is a busy port city for which tourism is secondary. Although the nightlife is amazing, it has the least attractive beaches on the island and is more expensive than Negril.

What is the Difference between Montego Bay and Negril?

Montego Bay and Negril are two entirely different tourist destinations. The main difference between the two is that while Montego Bay is city with a port, Negril is a small beach town.

Each place has its pros and cons, which should be carefully considered when deciding on where to go.

Ultimately, your choice between Montego Bay and Negril will depend on your vacation needs. Here are some pointers to help you decide:

  • Montego Bay is regarded as the tourist capital of Jamaica. It boasts the largest concentration of hotels, and is close to the airport – just a 15 minute drive away. On the other hand, Negril is 90 minutes away from the airport.
  • Because most of the hotels in Montego Bay are isolated, visitors cannot walk to a restaurant or bar nearby. You will need to pay for transportation to take you around. On the other hand, most hotels in Negril are found on the beach or cliff-side, with many restaurants and bars nearby. You can easily walk along the beach to check out the various bars and restaurants.
  • Negril has a more casual and laid back beach vibe. It’s a great place to be for travelers interested in beach activities. On the other hand, the activities available in Montego Bay are largely dependent on the hotel you choose to stay at.
  • For beach connoisseurs, Negril has far better beaches than Montego Bay. In fact, Negril has the best beaches in Jamaica, period! Montego Bay beaches tend to be rocky with lots of seaweed.
  • Many beaches in Montego Bay are private/ pay-to-enter. As such, you cannot walk along a long stretch of beach as everything is specific to the resort. On the other hand, Negril is a small town that offers miles of walkable beach with beautiful cliffs, restaurants, bars and live music venues.
  • If your plan is to see a lot of the island, then Montego Bay is a better base. This is because you will be 2 hours from Ocho Rios and the South Coast Attractions, as well as within 40 minutes of most of the Falmouth attractions.
  • Negril is more casual with a laid-back vibe and perfect for relaxing; while Montego Bay is best for partying.
  • Most hotels in Montego Bay are luxurious and expensive, which makes Montego Bay more expensive than Negril. On the other hand, Negril offers more diverse accommodation options to suit every budget, from big resorts to small boutique hotels.

Negril or Montego Bay for Party?

Definitely Montego Bay. With the exception of its hedonist scene, Negril is more of a destination for honeymoons, couples’ retreats and family vacations. On the other hand, Montego Bay has a reputation of being “party central.” In fact, the biggest and wildest party locations in Jamaica are found on the Hip Strip in Montego Bay.

Should I Go to Negril or Montego Bay?

It depends on your travel style. If you’re not planning to leave the resort, then it doesn’t really matter where you choose to stay. But if you want to do more things off the resort, then Negril is a better choice than Montego Bay.

Negril is smaller, more laid back and tourist-oriented. On the other hand, Montego Bay is a city, therefore it’s bigger and busier. Each has its strong points. Negril has a long, beautiful beach and spectacular sunsets, while Montego Bay has a great nightlife and better shopping.

Negril or Montego Bay for Families?

Definitely Negril. If visiting Jamaica with children, choose Negril because it has the best beaches and more family-friendly activities. Unlike Montego Bay which is a busy city, Negril is a smaller, more laid-back town which would be ideal for kids of all ages.

Which is better – Negril or Ocho Rios?

Each has its strong points. Negril is a small, laid-back town with the best beaches, beautiful cliffs, many small, charming hotels and restaurants. On the other hand, Ocho Rios is a large cruise port city with lovely mountain scenery.

If you just want to relax and enjoy the beaches and nightlife, go to Negril. But if you want more adventurous activities and great shopping, go to Ocho Rios.

Is Ocho Rios or Negril Closer to the Airport in Montego Bay?

Negril is closer to the airport in Montego Bay. The actual distance from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay to Negril is 80.7km, while to Ocho Rios is 96.9km.

If traveling by road from Montego Bay airport, it will take 1.5 hours to Negril and almost 2 hours to Ocho Rios. Of course, travel times will vary depending on traffic.

Should I Go to Negril or Ocho Rios?

If you plan to spend your entire time in the resort, you can just pick whichever resort you like better, based on your personal preferences. But if you plan to be out and about, you should definitely go to Ocho Rios.

Between the two cities, Ocho Rios is the more “all-round” destination. Visitors can enjoy nice beaches, many excursions, restaurants, a better nightlife and a wider shopping experience. Moreover, Ocho Rios is more upbeat, while Negril has a more laid back vibe.

What is the Difference between Negril and Ocho Rios?

Negril and Ocho Rios are two very different tourist destinations. The main difference between the two is that while Ocho Rios is a cruise port city, Negril is a small beach town.

Each place has its pros and cons, which should be carefully considered when deciding on where to go.

Ultimately, your choice between Negril and Ocho Rios will depend on your vacation needs. Here are some factors to help you decide:

  • In Ocho Rios, the hotels are a bit separated from the town. Unless cruise ships have docked in the port, you will rarely see tourists in town. On the other hand, it is common to see tourists in Negril walking along the beaches or the West End road. Restaurants, bars and live music venues are normally full of tourists and locals.
  • Ocho Rios has the most tourist attractions in close proximity to each other, with most being a mere 15-20 minutes away. Because Negril does not have many attractions close by, you will have to travel between 0.5 and 2 hours to reach the closest attractions.
  • Negril has longer and prettier beaches where you can go for a stroll or a morning jog. Ocho Rios does not have long stretches of walkable beachfront.
  • Negril is more casual with a laid-back beach vibe that’s perfect for relaxing, while Ocho Rios has more of a city vibe.
  • In Ocho Rios, things are more centered on the resorts, with few bars and entertainment off the grounds. But in Negril, there’s plenty of action to enjoy outside your hotel.

Negril or Ocho Rios for Party?

Definitely Negril. The beachfront at Negril is where the action goes on until the break of dawn in many bars, clubs and live music venues. That said, Ocho Rios has its own thriving nightlife scene, with bars and nightclubs that mostly come alive when cruise ships dock in the port.

Negril or Ocho Rios for Families?

If traveling with kids to Jamaica, Negril is a better choice than Ocho Rios. This is because Negril has the best beaches and offers more family-friendly activities. On the other hand, Ocho Rios often gets crowded with cruise ships tourists, and is therefore generally better suited for adult travelers.

Which is Better – Montego Bay or Ocho Rios?

Ocho Rios is the better option between the two. Ocho Rios has so many excursions to ensure you never get bored. It’s just a short drive to most of the fun-filled attractions and activities, and its beaches are better than those of Montego Bay. That said, nightlife options are better in Montego Bay.

What is the Difference between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios?

Montego Bay and Ocho Rios are two different tourist destinations. The main difference between the two is that while Montego Bay is city with a port, Ocho Rios is an actual cruise port town.

Each place has its pros and cons, which should be carefully considered when deciding on where to go.

Ultimately, your choice between Negril and Montego Bay will depend on your vacation needs. Here are some pointers to help you decide:

  • Montego Bay is closer to the airport, with most hotels being about a mere 15 minutes’ drive away. In order to get to Ocho Rios, you will most likely arrive via the Montego Bay airport.
  • If you want to see the major attractions of Jamaica, Ocho Rios is your best bet. Most hotels in Ocho Rios are around 15 minutes away from popular sites such as Dunn’s River Falls, Mystic Mountain and Dolphin Cove.
  • Perhaps the most compelling reason to choose Montego Bay would be its proximity to Negril, which has the best beaches in Jamaica. From Montego Bay, you can go on a day trip to a resort in Negril and have an amazing day lounging on the beach and swimming in the turquoise waters.
  • For family vacations, Ocho Rios is a better choice, with several child-friendly attractions. On the other hand, Montego Bay offers plenty of activities for adults. For instance, avid golfers will have the best golf vacation in Montego Bay, which boasts 4 championship golf courses, all in close proximity to each other.
  • Montego Bay has a far more city-like vibe, with everything fast and busy. On the other hand, Ocho Rios feels more rustic and untouched, thereby providing a more tranquil vacation option for travelers who wish to explore nature.

Should I Go to Montego Bay or Ocho Rios?

It depends on your travel style. If you prefer an atmosphere that is less touristy, then Ocho Rios is the better option. However, if you want to access all the typical tourist activities, Montego Bay would be the right choice.

That said, if you’re not planning to leave the resort, then it doesn’t really matter where you choose to stay. But if you want to do more things away from your hotel, then Ocho Rios is a better choice than Montego Bay.

Montego Bay or Ocho Rios for Party?

If you want to party in Jamaica, you’re better of going to Montego Bay rather than Ocho Rios. Dubbed “party central,” Montego Bay hosts the biggest and wildest parties in Jamaica on its “Hip Strip,” where many people go to enjoy loud music, drinking and dancing all night long at various music venues.

Montego Bay or Ocho Rios for Families?

Definitely Ocho Rios. In Ocho Rios, your Jamaican family vacation will be filled lots of fun activities to do with the kids. Unlike Montego Bay which is a busy city, Ocho Rios is more calm, lush and tropical, with better beaches and many family-friendly activities.

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