While Montego Bay is a destination that requires visitors to exercise safety precautions, this does not mean that you should alarmed, but rather be alert.
As long as you use your common sense, you shouldn’t have any problems during your visit to Montego Bay.
Read on for the essential guide to safety in Montego Bay.
Is It Safe to Go to Montego Bay?
Yes, it is safe to go to Montego Bay. Crime against tourists is rare in Montego Bay, except for some property-oriented opportunistic crime such as pickpocketing, bag-snatching, petty theft and scams.
That said, the risk of crime in Montego Bay is lower if you stick to the highly-populated tourist areas such as the Hip Strip, which are generally safe.
The worst that will happen to you in Montego Bay is that you’ll get approached by persistent and sometimes aggressive vendors selling all sorts of things. Just give them a polite but firm “no thank you” as you continue on your way.
Security guards do not allow vendors onto the beach in front of the hotels and resorts. Vendors are only allowed to walk along the high water line, but not to come up to guests unless you invite them. If you have a problem, just alert security.
However, should you decide to walk along the beach, you are likely to encounter the vendors. Although you may have to say “no thanks” a lot, no safety issue will arise.
Are the Resorts Safe in Montego Bay?
Yes. In fact, the safest places in Jamaica – and Montego Bay in particular, are the resorts.
Generally, all resorts are quite safe, as most crime occurs outside of these areas. In addition, there are resort police who regularly patrol the resort areas in Montego Bay.
Is It Safe to Leave Your Resort?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to leave your resort in Montego Bay. As long as you use your common sense, you should be fine outside the resort.
Here are some safety tips for leaving your Montego Bay resort:
- Go on excursions organized by reputable tour operators only.
- Ask the resort front desk to recommend a trustworthy driver whenever you need to hire a taxi.
- Leave your valuables at the resort, securely locked away inside your hotel room safe.
- Ensure that all personal belongings and travel documents are secure at all times.
- Avoid flashing cash, jewelry and other valuables.
- Protect your cell phone, as this is a popular item for theft.
- Always remain alert and aware of your surroundings.
Are the Montego Bay Beaches Safe?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to visit the beaches in Montego Bay. It is generally safe to walk the whole beach during the day.
It is also fine to walk short distances (such as to 1 or 2 properties) on the beach in well-lit, populated tourist areas at night. For instance, it’s fine to walk past populated bars and restaurants on the Hip Strip where there are other tourists out and about.
However, it is not recommended to take long walks on the beach after 10pm. That said, if there are other tourists out and about on the beach, it should be fine. Just err on the side of caution, and take an official taxi cab if you need to walk a distance of more than 10 minutes after 10pm.
With regards to swimming at the beach, be sure to observe these safety tips:
- Never leave your belongings unattended on the beach while swimming.
- When booking recreational beach activities, only use professional guides or tour operators.
- When renting water sports equipment, check to ensure that it is safe and in good working condition.
Can You Walk Around Montego Bay?
Montego Bay is perfectly safe to walk around during the day, especially in the touristy places such as the Hip Strip, where you can visit the beaches, shops, bars and restaurants. Although it is walkable, the Downtown area is very busy and congested, which can be a little intimidating for first time visitors.
It is also perfectly safe to walk around Montego Bay at night in touristy places such as the Hip Strip. There are tourist police who patrol this area at night, making it safe to stroll around as you check out the bars and nightclubs. The area is also well-lit and highly populated with other tourists out and about.
Is Montego Bay Safe at Night?
Dubbed the “party central” of Jamaica, Montego Bay boasts a vibrant nightlife. Every night, there are many bars and nightclubs open and outdoor parties taking place that showcase Jamaica’s world-famous music and dance culture.
That said, walking around, especially alone, after dark in Montego Bay is not recommended.
Be sure to take these extra safety precautions when out and about in Montego Bay at night:
- Avoid taking long walks in dark, poorly-lit or isolated areas.
- Avoid walking along the beach at night.
- Avoid walking around after 10pm. Instead, take an official taxi cab to and from your destination.
- Always maintain a high level of awareness and alertness at night.
- Do not resist if you are the victim of crime, as this may lead to the use of violence.
Is Montego Bay Dangerous in Any Way for Tourists?
Certain areas in Montego Bay are considered dangerous. Although it is highly unlikely that tourists would visit these communities, avoid them anyway as they are not safe.
These areas include:
- Hart Street
- Rose Heights
- Clavers Street
While crime against tourists in Montego Bay is relatively low, it does happen.
Most crimes targeting tourists in Montego Bay are property-oriented crimes of opportunity, such as pickpocketing, bag-snatching, petty theft and scams. Armed robberies involving tourists are rare, but can turn violent if the victim resists.