The north coast of Jamaica is the island's popular riviera area, and at the centre of this resort paradise is Montego Bay, known affectionately as 'MoBay' to locals and regular visitors. The area has a sparkling 10-mile (16km) shoreline, fronted by coral reefs and aquamarine lagoons, backed by green hills shrouded in sugar cane, banana palms and lush tropical vegetation.
Christopher Columbus was the first European tourist to step ashore at Montego Bay in 1494. The Spanish settlement was founded in 1510. It has grown into Jamaica's second biggest city, but is first choice for holidaymakers. The beaches in the area are picture-perfect, while there is also bird watching, music festivals, horse riding trails, golfing and floating down the river on a bamboo raft.
The Montego Bay area also has a fascinating historical background, not all of it pleasant, which lives on in the legends and stories surrounding the few remaining great plantation houses belonging to dynastic families that grew rich from slave labour in past centuries. Several of these are open to the public.