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.
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.
Sangster Int'l (MBJ) (2-hour, $80 cab ride)
Negril Airport (NEG) (domestic only)
Dec. 15-April 15
Sept. 15-Dec. 15
June 1-Nov. 30