I didn’t have high hopes for the Montego Bay Marine Park. Snorkeling was just SO good in Belize, and I knew Jamaica wasn’t known as a snorkeling destination. But Montego Bay surprised me! We had 2 really fun snorkeling excursions. While there were no nurse sharks or rays, there was a huge variety of fish everywhere and clear, warm waters. I’m beginning to wonder if Montego Bay doesn’t get many snorkelers because a) everyone is too drunk on the catamaran to actually snorkel, or b) everyone is too drunk at a resort and doesn’t go anywhere at all.
In any case, Montego Bay Marine Park was a short hop from our hotel and pretty close to the infamous Margaritaville. We were allowed plenty of time to snorkel off of the catamaran–we took the “Dreamer” Cat, and it was excellent. The staff was really professional, there was plenty of cold beer and bottled water, and they actually gave us a good chunk of extra time on the boat. Plus, there were probably about 25 people on the boat that sometimes squeezes 50 or so, so we had plenty of room to spread out. The staff spent plenty of time coaching the people who had never snorkeled before but let the rest of us head right into the water.
The coral in Montego Bay doesn’t look the healthiest and shows some definite wear and tear, but it doesn’t look like the deadest coral I’ve ever seen, either. There was plenty of fish life, but the closer you went to shore the worse the coral looked and the cloudier the water got…I hope that they work to protect their reef and repair that ecosystem as much as they can, because Jamaica has a tremendous amount of reef surrounding the entire island.
It wasn’t the cheapest ($75 per person, open bar, bottled water/soda, plus twinkies?!), but after using Scuba Caribe the following day, the Dreamer’s team definitely had their sh*t way more together. Plus, they get bonus points from me from actually raising the sail on the cat to get over to the Marine Park–that’s always fun. We left our hotel at 9:40 and didn’t return until 2pm. And…I didn’t use a motion sickness patch and I didn’t throw up! Double win.
Anyhow, here’s what Montego Bay Marine Park looks like. It’s absolutely worth a stop if you are looking for something active to do in Montego Bay and like to snorkel.