Jamaica is truly a Caribbean jet-setter’s paradise! It is conveniently located near the U.S., the third-largest island in the Caribbean, and home to the iconic and popular city of Montego Bay. Whether you’re planning your first or your next visit to the Caribbean, Montego Bay’s wide range of activities, luxurious accommodations, exhilarating tours, and cultural landmarks are sure to make every second of your family vacation enjoyable. Not to mention, the beautiful, sparkling beaches that are some of the best reasons to visit Montego Bay.
Doctor's Cave Beach is five miles of pure white sand that you simply must see for yourself while in Montego Bay. This beach is considered one of Jamaica’s most famous and the perfectly turquoise water is purported to have healing properties. Named after Dr. Alexander James McCatty who formerly owned the beach in the 1800s, Doctor's Cave Beach used to be accessible only through a cave on McCatty’s property.
Luckily for those wanting to experience this spectacular beach, Dr. McCatty donated the property to the public in 1906. Not long after that, its popularity was boosted thanks to a visiting British doctor, Sir Herbert Baker, who wrote an article about the water’s alleged curative properties.
Today, the beach operates as Doctor’s Cave Bathing Club (also known as Doctor's Cave Beach Club). While stunning, Doctor’s Cave Beach has more to offer than just powdery white sands and clear blue waters. We’ll tell you all about this beach, what it has to offer and why you should add it to your itinerary the next time you’re in Montego Bay.
There is no doubt that Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of the top beaches in Montego Bay, and for good reason! Find out what about this beach makes a visit there so worthwhile.
The waves of Doctor’s Cave Beach swash along the shore at the perfect tempo. That’s good news for those who want to give water sports a try, regardless of their skill level. You can have some fun in the sun with the two water trampolines on-site, and lifeguards are on duty during the day to give you peace of mind as you enjoy the water.
Who wouldn’t want to go snorkeling in Montego Bay, Jamaica? Doctor’s Cave Beach boasts a gorgeous, thriving reef just at the edges of the designated swimming area. This makes it a great spot for both beginners and experienced snorkelers. On this beautiful coral reef, you can encounter exotic sea life like stingrays, blue tangs, grunts, butterflyfish, and much more. If you don't have your own snorkeling gear, don’t worry! Snorkeling equipment can be rented from vendors conveniently located along the beach for about $6 USD.
Expert tip: If you want to experience undersea beauty without the cost of equipment rental, try staying at an all-inclusive family resort in Jamaica, like Beaches Ocho Rios and Beaches Negril. They offer free snorkeling equipment and professional scuba equipment at no additional cost. All members of your family aged 10 and older can even become PADI® Certified Divers while on vacation in a diver’s paradise! There’s also a dive program for kids younger than 10.
Doctor’s Cave Beach has all the conveniences you need for a great beach day. There is a small entry fee of $6 USD to enter, but all amenities within, such as clean bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms, are free of charge.
Whether you’re happy laying on a towel on the sand, or you desire a more luxurious beach experience, you’ll find what you need at Doctor’s Cave Beach! Nearby vendors offer beach equipment that can make your experience even more comfortable, such as chairs and umbrellas, for about $6 USD per day.
There is also a nearby beach bar and restaurant where you can acquire delicious tropical drinks and enjoy delectable Jamaican food in a picturesque setting.
Doctor's Cave Beach is located on Jamaica's Hip Strip – a vibrant stretch of resorts, lounges, boutique stores, and gift shops along Gloucester Avenue. As you traverse the strip, you’ll hear the lively beat of reggae music fill the air.
While the Hip Strip has several hot spots, some stops, like Margaritaville, are simply non-negotiable. Margaritaville, a huge tourist attraction that’s just a 4-minute walk from Doctor’s Cave Beach, is an exciting bar and restaurant that offers classic American fare and authentic Jamaican jerk dishes. Jerk is one of many irresistible foods and drinks you must try while in Jamaica. So, if you haven’t had it yet, there’s no better place than Margaritaville. Just remember the jerk may be spicy!
The Pelican Grill is another must-see destination that’s just a 6-minute walk from the famous beach. This family-owned diner serves local Jamaican food including ackee and codfish, callaloo, and bammy (a fried cassava flatbread soaked in milk or coconut milk). If you’re looking for a taste of home, or need to please a picky little palate, the diner also offers classic American breakfast items.
Expert tip: If you can’t get to Montego Bay fast enough, try making Jamaican Jerk chicken at home with this authentic Caribbean recipe!
Besides the idyllic Doctor’s Cave Beach, Montego Bay has other wonderful sites worth visiting. From shimmering waterfalls to verdant nature parks and more, Jamaica’s beautiful landscape will be all around you. Be sure to venture out and witness it for yourself.
The Montego Bay Marine Park is a 7-minute drive, or a 25-minute walk, from Doctor’s Cave Beach. The marine park allows you to explore over 6 square miles of protected ocean. Take your entire family on a snorkeling adventure and marvel at the vibrant coral reefs, lush mangroves, and seagrass beds you’ll find. Jamaica is great for snorkeling year-round, but the weather is optimal between March and May. As an alternative to snorkeling, you can also schedule an educational tour, go kayaking, or book a catamaran cruise if you want to explore the marine park in style.
Mayfield Falls looks like something out of a fairytale. The attraction comprises 21 individual cascades and is the perfect place to swim safely around, under, and behind waterfalls. Since it’s an hour’s drive away from Doctor’s Cave Beach, it would be a fantastic destination for a half or full-day trip. When you arrive, you’ll complete a one-hour trek up to the falls, and be rewarded with a refreshing dip in the naturally formed pools. Plus, Mayfield Falls is an excellent backdrop for vacation photos. Take a selfie and post it on social media! Your friends will be wowed by this slice of paradise on your feed.
Dunn’s River Falls is one of Jamaica’s most famous waterfalls and attracts millions of visitors every year! The 180-foot-tall wonder is located in Ocho Rios, just under a 1.5 hours’ drive from Doctor's Cave Beach. The waterfall, one of only a few travertine waterfalls in the entire world, is beloved for its serene beauty, fun activities, and convenient amenities. On and after the scenic 1.5-hour hike, you will have the chance to swim in and around the falls, as well as in natural pools in the area. You will love climbing the falls arm in arm with your family, and splashing the day away in this gorgeous setting.
Feel free to try out Dunn's River Falls Beach as well, try the mouthwatering food, and shop for souvenirs in the area. This site is very kid-friendly and includes parking, restrooms, and disability access.
Besides Montego Bay, we can list many other beautiful Jamaican cities worth visiting. Depending on how much of an adventure your family wants, you should consider visiting Falmouth, Ocho Rios, or Negril during your stay on the island. You’ll find something to love in each of these unique cities:
Ocho Rios - There are lots of reasons to visit Ocho Rios such as its historical sites, spectacular hiking trails, and popular landmarks including Dunn’s River Falls. This city is about two hours away from Montego Bay, but it is a must-see for nature lovers, thrill-seekers, and photographers.
Negril - On the western tip of Jamaica sits the beautiful beach town of Negril. It’s just under a two-hour drive from Montego Bay, and many people claim this city has the most beautiful sunsets in the world! If you’re vivacious and brave, you should explore the endless entertainment and nightlife, or engage in some bold water activities like cliff jumping. Even the less adventurous can find many reasons to visit Negril.
Expert tip: If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay on your Jamaican adventure, Beaches Negril offers 10 gourmet dining options, with unlimited food, drinks, and kid-friendly entertainment. From Beaches Negril, you can take a high-speed powerboat to Montego Bay and make stops at Doctor’s Cave Beach and Margaritaville!
There’s nothing your family won’t adore about Doctor’s Cave Beach, Montego Bay, and the surrounding areas. Swim in clear azure waters and lounge on powdery white sand. You’ll feel secure as your kids splash about on a picturesque beach under the watchful eye of lifeguards. The young and the young at heart will be excited by the colorful creatures of the reef and the beauty beneath the mangroves. Take a walk down the Montego Bay Hip-Strip where you’re bound to find food, drinks, and souvenirs to satisfy every member of your party.
Once you’ve thoroughly explored Montego Bay, move on to a new city! Staying at an all-inclusive family resort in Negril will give you a great home base and convenient options to explore the rest of the island. Your family will never forget taking part in exciting and unique experiences at Doctor’s Cave Beach and beyond. So ... what are you waiting for?