Runaway Bay, Jamaica Travel Guide

Runaway Bay Summary

Pros

  • 80-90 degrees F (27-32 degrees C) beach weather year-round
  • Excellent scuba diving
  • 18-hole golf course The Club at Runaway Bay
  • Two miles from Green Grotto Caves, a popular natural attraction
  • One hour north of Bob Barley's Mausoleum at Nine Mile
  • Tap water is safe to drink
  • Lots of marijuana, everywhere -- though it's technically illegal (be careful)

Cons

  • Remote location -- 30 minutes from the nightlife in Ocho Rios, one hour from Montego Bay
  • Nothing outside of the resort areas is within walking distance
  • Little lush natural beauty
  • Prevalent drug culture (mostly pot and cocaine)
  • Criminalized homosexuality (between men) and local hostility toward LGBT individuals
  • Slight chance of hurricanes from June 1 to November 30

What It's Like

Most travelers to Jamaica want to stay at one of two types of destinations: a convenient megaresort area with big tourist attractions (Montego Bay and Ocho Rios), or a laid-back, off-the-beaten path tropical haven (Negril, Port Antonio, and the South Coast). Runaway Bay, located an hour west of Montego Bay and 30 minutes east of Ocho Rios, is neither. This growing resort area is too small to offer the same activities and attractions as a major megaresort destination, and it lacks the lush, natural beauty and charm of Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, or Negril. (Perhaps the name Runaway Bay is telling: This is a place that people leave. Competing legends assert that the area was either an escape route for runaway slaves, or the spot where the Spanish departed after losing to the British.) Still, it is home to a few worthwhile resorts, and a smattering of attractions: the Green Grotto Caves, an 18-hole golf course, and excellent scuba diving sites (including a shallow water shipwreck). But the "town" of Runaway Bay, comprised of a few banks and shopping centers, is a few minutes' drive from most resorts and not the kind of place most tourists would want to visit.

Where to Stay

Most resorts in Runaway Bay are located along a busy one-lane highway; it's not a good idea to try to walk anywhere outside the resorts. You're best off staying at either the Royal DeCameron Club Caribbean -- an affordable, low-key all-inclusive popular with families -- or the massive, beautifully landscaped Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica megaresort.  

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Facts

Languages:

English

Airports:

Sangster Int'l (MBJ) (2-hour, $80 cab ride)

Negril Airport (NEG) (domestic only)

Norman Manley Int'l (KIN)

Time Zone:

View Current Time

Peak:

Dec. 15-April 15

Off-Peak:

Sept. 15-Dec. 15

Hurricanes:

June 1-Nov. 30

Vaccines:

No

Currency:

Jamaican Dollars

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