Expat Exchange
Free MembershipSign In
Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay, Jamaica

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Feb 02, 2023

Summary: People often describe Montego Bay, Jamaica as a vibrant and beautiful city with a laid-back atmosphere. Expats love the warm and friendly locals, the stunning beaches, and the abundance of activities and attractions. The weather in Montego Bay is typically warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living for an expat is around $1,500 to $2,000 USD per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is typically around $500 to $700 USD per month, while a two bedroom apartment can range from $700 to $1,000 USD per month. The approximate population of Montego Bay is around 150,000 people.

PassportCard
PassportCard
PassportCard
PassportCard

What do I need to know about living in Montego Bay?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Montego Bay, they said:

"Before retiring in Montego Bay it is important to consider the cost of living, the local health care system, crime levels and safety, recreational activities and services available, transportation options, visa and taxation requirements, and the local weather and climate. It is also recommended to become familiar with the local culture and lifestyle, which is a vibrant and lively atmosphere perfect for those seeking a relaxed, beach-filled lifestyle. Additionally, it is important to research the location and amenities of potential neighborhoods in order to make sure that the area fits one's needs and expectations," explained one expat.

"Your first stop needs to be the PICA website. This is the immigration website and it will list the options available to you for residency. There’s more to it than just packing your bags and deciding you’re going to move to Jamaica… I do suggest however, that you come for three months, maybe extend it to six months, and actually live here. By that I mean, you’re gonna live like a local; not a tourist. There are two totally different things. You need to figure out how you’re going to find your lifestyle here… As you’re not gonna be able to work, unless your company has an office here and sponsors you for a work permit. Or, do you have enough money to start your own business. As for housing, buy or rent the best place you can afford… In a gated community. A high end gated community Ex: Freeport, Spring Garden, Spring Farm, Rose Hall, you don’t want to live in a typical Jamaican gated community that was built by developers.," said another person in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

What do I need to know before moving to Montego Bay?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Montego Bay, they said:

"-Montego Bay is a major tourist destination in Jamaica, located on the northwest of the island. -As with any new location, it is important to research the local laws, culture, and customs. -The official language of Jamaica is English, and the local currency is the Jamaican Dollar. -It's important to be aware of Montego Bay's tropical climate which is characterized by a hot and humid weather year-round. -Montego Bay is generally a safe city to live in, however, as in any other city, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take the necessary security precautions. -If you plan to work in Jamaica, you will need the appropriate work permits and visas. -You should research and budget for the cost of living in the area, as well as consider the cost of transportation when deciding where to live. -Finding housing in Montego Bay can be difficult, so planning ahead and researching the local rental market is essential," remarked another expat in Montego Bay.

"If you’re looking in MoBay you should check out Freeport, Spring Garden, Spring Farm, half Moon villas, Rose Hall, those would be the places to look if you are looking to purchase a home. They are all upscale gated communities," explained one expat living in Montego Bay.

Answer Question & View More Answers

Quickly and easily find trusted moving, insurance, relocation and other providers with Expat Exchange's Moving Planner. Select which of our trusted partners you would like to hear from and we'll do the rest.
Plan Your Move to Jamaica

Quickly and easily find trusted moving, insurance, relocation and other providers with Expat Exchange's Moving Planner. Select which of our trusted partners you would like to hear from and we'll do the rest.
Get Started Now

How do I find a place to live in Montego Bay?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"If you are looking for a place to live in Montego Bay, there are a few different options available. You can search for rental properties or condos online, or visit a local real estate agent to look at different properties in person. You can also look into short-term accommodations such as hotels and vacation rentals. If you are looking for a more permanent residence, you can contact local housing authorities or organizations that provide long-term housing options such as low-income housing and other services. Whatever your needs, you should be able to find something that suits you in Montego Bay," added another person living in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Montego Bay?

"Most expat homes and apartments in Montego Bay are typically situated in residential neighborhoods, with modern amenities and a variety of layouts and sizes. These dwellings tend to be stylish, comfortable, and well-equipped, ranging from smaller studios or one-bedroom flats to large family-sized homes. There is usually a mix of both furnished and unfurnished apartments available, with many offering views of the sea, mountains, or cityscape. Additionally, many of the buildings offer a range of services, such as on-site swimming pools, spas, gyms, and communal gardens," remarked another in Montego Bay.

"I am living in a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom furnished townhouse in a gated community. It's brand new and beautiful," explained one expat.

Answer this Question

What is the average cost of housing in Montego Bay?

If you are thinking about moving to Montego Bay, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The average cost of housing in Montego Bay varies depending on the type of accommodation and area. Generally, rentals in the city centre range from $500 for a one-bedroom apartment to upwards of $1,000 for larger accommodations with amenities. In the surrounding area, rentals are typically more affordable," said another person in Montego Bay.

"I am paying $1200 USD plus utilities here. Expensive for Jamaica however this same house would cost double in Canada," remarked another expat in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

How do I meet people in Montego Bay?

When we asked people living in Montego Bay about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Meeting people in Montego Bay can be quite easy. There are a variety of activities to take part in that can help to get to know the locals and create lasting friendships. For example, participating in sports and other activities hosted by local organizations such as Rotaract or Sands Sports Club. Additionally, Montego Bay is full of exciting and interesting nightlife, so visiting pubs and clubs is a great way to meet others who share similar interests. Finally, joining a local church or volunteering at a community organization can be an excellent way to build relationships and gain insight into the city’s culture," explained one expat living in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance in Jamaica

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

What should I bring when moving to Montego Bay?

People living in Montego Bay were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Essentials: Clothes, personal items, toiletries, cell phone and charger, laptop and charger, first aid items, medications, important documents, cash/credit cards, identification and passport. Kitchen Supplies: Dishes, cookware, utensils, common appliances, linens and towels. Home Décor/Furnishings: Bed, dresser, sofa, televisions and stand, rugs, curtains, lamps, and other items for personalizing your living space. Outdoor Supplies: Outdoor furniture, patio umbrellas and accessories, barbecue equipment, gardening tools, and beach items like chairs, towels, and umbrellas. Miscellaneous: Extension cords, tools, cleaning supplies, radio/stereo system, books and other recreational items," explained one expat living in Montego Bay.

"1. I wish I had gone to Dollarama and stocked up on spices and kitchen stuff. It pains me to spend $8-$10 on items I know I could get for free. 2. I brought a TV, but wish I had shipped both. Electronics are crazy expensive here. 3. Sheets, bedding, towels. I packed light so I didn't bring too much of anything. I had already read from others not to bring too much clothing and I'm glad I didn't," said another expat in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

Where should I setup a bank account in Montego Bay?

We asked expats in Montego Bay what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"There are several banks and financial institutions located in Montego Bay where you can open a bank account. Some of the popular banks are: National Commercial Bank Jamaica, Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica, First Caribbean International Bank Jamaica, Jamaica National Building Society, Scotia Investments (CI) Jamaica Limited, National Investment Bank of Jamaica, Victoria Mutual Building Society and Monexx Financial Services. In addition, there are also several credit unions in the city," said another expat in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

Will I be able to find a job in Montego Bay?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Montego Bay, they reponded:

"It is possible to find a job in Montego Bay, as the city is a major tourism and business centre. There are a variety of different types of jobs available in the city, ranging from hospitality and tourism, to financial services and professional services. Job seekers can look online or contact recruitment agencies in the area, who can help connect them with available positions. It is also possible to obtain jobs in the city through networking and referrals," said another person in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

What is life like in Montego Bay?

When we asked people living in Montego Bay what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in the area is more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of a big city. The pace of life is generally more laid-back and there is a greater sense of community here. The cost of living is significantly cheaper compared to other cities and towns in the country, making it a great place to live on a budget. There is plenty to do and explore as the area has a rich cultural and natural landscape, with lush forests, stunning beaches, majestic mountains and picturesque lakes. The weather is also generally pleasant year-round, with warm summer months and mild winters. Expats can easily integrate into the community, making friends and learning the local language in no time," explained one expat living in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

What do expats in Montego Bay appreciate most about the local culture?

"The expats in Montego Bay particularly appreciate the laid-back atmosphere of the local culture, with the beauty of the Jamaican landscape providing an idyllic backdrop for a peaceful, relaxed lifestyle. They also value the friendly, welcoming attitude of their new neighbors and the rich cultural heritage that defines the area. From lively music, to the spicy flavors of the local cuisine, to a plethora of historical sites, Montego Bay offers a unique experience and its inhabitants are proud to share it with newcomers. Furthermore, the year-round mild temperatures and reliable sunshine are highly appreciated by expats, who regularly partake in the many outdoor activities that Montego Bay offers," remarked another in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

What do expats find most challenging?

"Expats often find cultural differences, language barriers, adapting to a new lifestyle, making new friends, finding employment, and living in an unfamiliar environment to be the most challenging aspects of the expat experience. Additionally, the process of obtaining a work permit or residency visa can be difficult and time consuming," remarked another in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

Is there a lot of crime in Montego Bay?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"The level of crime in Montego Bay has increased significantly in the past few years and remains an issue in the city. While the most serious problems are concentrated in certain areas, it is important for visitors to take precautions, as petty theft and other crimes do occur and can be a serious problem for tourists. Tourists should be especially careful at night, and should be aware of their surroundings," explained one expat living in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Montego Bay accepting of differences?

"Montego Bay is known to be a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities. There is notable diversity among its population with both expats and locals representing many of Jamaica’s cultural backgrounds. Montego Bay is also known for being open minded and accepting of cultural and societal differences. People in Montego Bay are tolerant and accepting of visitors from all backgrounds and cultures, promoting an energetic and open atmosphere," remarked another expat in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

What are the schools in Montego Bay like?

"Schools in Montego Bay vary greatly in terms of quality, size, and prestige. Primary education is free and compulsory for children ages 5 to 12. Secondary schools are divided into technical-vocational, teacher-training, and general or preparatory types. Popular private schools include Covenant Christian Academy, Iona Preparatory School, and the International School Jamaica. Montego Bay also has several colleges and universities offering undergraduate and graduate programs, such as the Montego Bay Community College, the University of the West Indies, and the Northern Caribbean University," said another parent with children at in Montego Bay.

Answer this Question

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Contribute to Jamaica Network Contribute
Help others in Jamaica by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Jamaica.

PassportCard
PassportCard

Copyright 1997-2023 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal