If you’re visiting Montego Bay, your trip would be less than complete if you didn’t spend some time at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.
It’s one of the most popular attractions for tourists and locals in the city, and you can find it along the famous ‘Hip Strip,’ Gloucester Avenue, just minutes from the airport and close to a number of hotels. It’s also right next door to the Doctors Cave Bathing Club, a location I previously reviewed in another article.
In a bid to honour their commitment to give you “your best day ever,” Margaritaville in Montego Bay serves up some of the most delicious food, enticing mixed drinks, and entertainment that side of town.
That goes for whether you’re looking to hit the water, have fantasies of partying up a storm by the sea, or just want to lounge around not doing much but listening to some music and having a good time.
In other words, it’s a great place to let down your hair, and a number of celebrities have done just that, including Danny Glover, Tiger Woods, and Gabrielle Union to name a few.
What’s special about this Margaritaville (there are several others in Jamaica and across the Caribbean) is that it’s not just a restaurant and bar; it easily converts to party central at night when the nightclub comes alive. You can have a full blown fun experience, beginning from the time that you enter, up until when you leave.
In fact, you can spend an entire day and not get bored, as there is a lot to enjoy, from the fun waterslide to the non-stop music.
How to Enjoy a Day at Margaritaville in Montego Bay
It all depends on what you want to do and the time of day you’re visiting. The restaurant is open from 11 am and is ready to serve delightful snacks and lunch items such as mouthwatering hamburgers and seafood selections.
Much of the culinary treats are of North American origin, fused with the spices of the Caribbean for truly delectable treats. A few of the top picks from their menu include the Blackened Chicken Sandwich, Volcano Nachos, and (my personal favourite) Cheeseburger in Paradise. What’s more, you can get a platter combining three separate selections, or you can go for all three courses, but be warned, it’s a lot of food. Wash all that down with an ice cold Red Stripe Beer or other drink of your choice.
The prices can be a bit more on the expensive side for some items. But you’d expect that because of it’s location, the entertainment and the overall experience you get.
Apart from the food, you can enjoy the winding, 120ft waterslide, which takes you from the terrace at the top of the building before spitting you out into the Caribbean Sea. When I visited, the slide seemed to be one of the highlights for many tourists there. It’s not the scariest or longest around but it will sure give you a rush. Trust me, you’ll love it.
By the way, when you go to the building top, you will be treated to a dazzling view of the sea stretching out in front of you. It is the perfect place to dine, as long as there is no rain in the forecast that is.
In addition, you can double the fun on two water trampolines that seem to be just floating in the water, but don’t worry, they are anchored offshore. There are also certified lifeguards around, so you can swim and frolic without fear. If you’d rather stay out of the water, there is also a short pier where you can just soak up some sun.
In between all the fun you’ll be having you’re sure to get hungry and thirsty, but you don’t have to look too far for food and drinks. Inside the restaurant, you can catch up on various sporting events on the big screen TVs while you dine, or just nod your head to the musical selections. The staff at Margaritaville is quite friendly so it’s a pretty relaxing atmosphere. On some days, you might even get to meet the mascot of the house.
After the sun has set, Margaritaville in Montego Bay becomes a totally different entertainment monster. Some people refer to it as Club Ville; it’s one of the most fun nightclubs in Montego Bay.
This is where your dancing shoes are required and it becomes okay to let out your party animal. Be prepared to hear some of the latest reggae and dancehall tracks, mixed in with selections from top international artists. The variety will have you raving out in the club atmosphere in no time as the club deejays are really good.
What to Bring
Be sure to take along your swimsuit and a towel if you plan on enjoying the water slide, trampoline, or any other water-based activity. Otherwise, you will only need to take along a working camera, money, and an appetite for good food and fun. Please note that although it’s free to enter the restaurant, you can’t use the water slide and other attractions unless you have bought something.
Also, there is an entry fee for the nightclub (about US$10) and you will need money for drinks and food as well.
Take your sunscreen along as well if you intend to do a little sunbathing. If you’re traveling with kids, you can take them to Margaritaville during the day. However, that’s a no-no after dark due to the place becoming a nightclub – you will need a valid ID to show that you’re at least 18 years of age to gain entry.
You should also bear in mind that because Margaritaville is so popular, it will often be crowded. People passing by in boats regularly stop here, plus it’s one of the places cruise ship passengers will most likely check out when stopping over in Montego Bay. Nonetheless, the vibe is awesome and friendly.
Getting There Ocho Rios and Montego Bay
It is easy to get to Margaritaville once you have touched down in Montego Bay. Some hotel packages include taking you there, but you can also get there easily by taxi from anywhere in the city, or you can contact a tour company if you’re coming from another parish.
It is important to note that there is a Margaritaville in Negril and one in Ocho Rios, so you can check those out if you’re not close to Montego Bay and want the Margaritaville experience.
Whether it’s your first time visiting Montego Bay or your tenth, Margaritaville is one of the places you won’t regret adding to your travel calendar.