Category: United States

Montego Bay, Jamaica

A- Overview:Jamaica’s cultural life is rich and varied, with its own unique music, art, and cuisine. Jamaica’s lush vegetation, scenic mountaintops, clear waterfalls, and pristine beaches are among the highlights of this magical island. Jamaica is the third largest, and certainly one of the brightest, stars in the Caribbean constellation.

Montego Bay (Mo Bay), along with Ocho Rios, are Jamaica’s north-coast pleasure capitals. The region’s appearance in numerous Beach Boys’ tunes is now ancient history, but the fabulous beaches and resorts continue to enchant visitors and residents alike. Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second largest city, after the capital of Kingston, in terms of population, but is the undisputed tourist capital of the island. The city is divided into three parts: the city center, the hotel area, and the surrounding hills with their picturesque villas. The city streets of Montego Bay are crowded and lively: full of crafts and culture. The architecture is a mix of wood frame houses, Georgian design, and modern office buildings. Not far from the city center are the deep water piers where enthusiastic passengers disembark daily from visiting cruise ships.

Montego Bay offers attractions that are both natural and manmade. The most famous of its beaches is the Doctor’s Cave beach. The beach is said to be fed by healing mineral springs, and it has some of the clearest and most sparkling water to be found at any beach in the world. Visitors will also want to tour the local rum-producing estates for a taste of Jamaica’s best. Just minutes away from the center of the city is the Barnett Estate Plantation, home of the oldest plantation family in Jamaica. The Belvedere Estate is also nearby. It encompasses thousands of acres, and is still in operation. An evening on the Great River is an experience not to be missed. The evening boat rides along the river’s torch-lit banks are spectacular.

Montego Bay’s world-famous beaches attract thousands every year. Some seek solitude in a phenomenal setting; others are attracted to the feeling of romance and excitement that pulses through the island’s air. The sun shines on Montego Bay, inviting visitors to experience the vacation of a lifetime.

B- City Information:
Population: 2.5 million

Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time

Highest Point: 7,402 feet (Blue Mountain Peak)

Lowest Point: sea level (Caribbean Sea)

Language: English

Government: Independent. Member of the British Commonwealth of Nations

Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean archipelago are part of a mountain range, which in prehistoric times probably formed a land bridge between what is now Mexico and Venezuela. The island is about the size of Connecticut. It is 146 miles long and from 22-58 miles wide.

Many years ago, volcanoes thrust up from the ocean floor, forming Jamaica’s mountains, which reach up to 7,402 feet in height. The mountains, located in an east-to-west line in central Jamaica, contain more than 120 rivers and many waterfalls, as well as thermal springs. In the high mountains of the east, the landscape features semitropical rainforest and copses of mist-covered pines. The mountains are bordered on the north and east by a narrow coastal plain fringed with beaches. The flat, arid southern coastline reminds visitors of African savanna or Indian plains, whereas the moist, fertile North Coast slopes steeply from hills down to excellent beaches. Much of Jamaica is underlaid by limestone, so the landscape is dotted with dozens of caves that store large reservoirs of naturally filtered drinking water.

Average Temperatures:

Month
High
Low

January
86F
67F

February
86F
67F

March
86F
68F

April
87F
70F

May
87F
72F

June
89F
74F

July
90F
73F

August
90F
73F

September
89F
73F

October
88F
73F

November
87F
71F

December
87F
67F

When to Visit:

The weather is perfect all year, and Jamaica is more and more a year-round destination. There is, however, a high season running roughly from mid-December through mid-April. Hotels charge their highest prices during this peak winter period, when visitors fleeing cold north winds crowd the island.

Reservations should be made 2 to 3 months in advance for trips during the winter. At some hotels and resorts it is necessary to book a year ahead for Christmas holidays or February.

Along the seashore, in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, the island is naturally air-conditioned by northeasterly trade winds, and temperature variations are slight. Coastal readings average between 71°F and 88°F year-round. The island has two rainy seasons: May; and October – November.

The Hurricane Season: The hurricane season, officially lasts from June 1 to November, but satellite weather forecasts generally give adequate warning several days in advance so that precautions can be taken. If you’re heading to Jamaica during the hurricane season, you can call your local branch of the National Weather Service (listed in your phone directory under the U.S. Department of Commerce) for a weather forecast or check The Weather Channel online.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day Jan. 1

Ash Wednesday

Good Friday

Easter Sunday and Easter Monday

National Labour Day (late May)

Independence Day (a Monday in early August)

National Heroes Day (3rd Monday in October).

Christmas Day and Boxing Day Dec. 25 and 26

A Word of Caution: Travelers to Jamaica should be aware that despite the widespread presence of ganja or marijuana, its use is illegal in Jamaica. Drug-sniffing dogs are employed at all airports, drug laws are strictly enforced, and penalties can include imprisonment.

Arriving:

There are two international airports on Jamaica:

Donald Sangster in Montego Bay (tel. 876/952-3124) and

Norman Manley in Kingston (tel. 876/924-8452

The most popular flights are from New York and Miami. Remember to reconfirm all flights no later than 72 hours before departure. Flying time from Miami is 1 1/4 hours; from Los Angeles, 5 1/2 hours; from Atlanta, 2 1/2 hours; from Dallas, 3 hours; from Chicago and New York, 3 1/2 hours; and from Toronto, 4 hours.

Cruise Ships
Most cruise ships heading for Jamaica travel at night, arriving the next morning at the day’s port of call, perhaps Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. In port, passengers can go ashore for sightseeing, shopping, and a local meal. Prices vary widely.

Currency: Jamaica has its own dollar, which is far less valuable than the U.S. dollar. In all monetary exchanges, determine which dollar unit is being quoted in the price, Jamaican or US.

All the major resorts and first-class restaurants quote prices in U.S. dollars, so many visitors can go through their entire trip without converting their currency into Jamaican dollars. Its still a good idea to carry some Jamaican dollars: For some transactions, such as a drink of coconut water from a roadside vendor, prices are only quoted in Jamaican dollars.

If you have Jamaican dollars left over at the end of your trip, you’ll need to show exchange receipts from a bank or other official bureau for the local dollars you purchased. This is a rather cumbersome process. Exchange only the amount of Jamaican money you think you’ll actually need.

Getting Around
Jamaica is a large island without a highly developed public transportation system. If you plan to stay in the general area of your hotel or resort, a car is not necessary. If you plan to explore the island, a rental car is a wise choice. Rental rates are high. Be sure to deal only with agencies whose names are known in the US. Rentals are available at both airports.

Driving in Jamaica — Drive on the left side of the road. Gas is measured by the imperial gallon (a British unit of measurement that’s about 25% more than a U.S. gal.); most stations don’t accept credit cards. Your valid driver’s license from home is acceptable for short-term visits to Jamaica.

A coastal route designated by an “A” plus a number encircles Jamaica. It’s well marked and easy to follow. More complicated are secondary roads, urban streets, and feeder roads, whose markings sometimes are infuriatingly unclear. Recognizing this problem, the Jamaica Tourist Board has issued one of the best maps of the island, the Discover Jamaica road map. It contains a detailed overview of the entire island, as well as blowups of Kingston, Montego Bay, Negril, Mandeville, Spanish Town, Port Antonio, and Ocho Rios; there’s also a very useful street index to Kingston. Get it from any Jamaica Tourist Board office or car-rental agency.

Mileage Information: Subject to road conditions, driving time from Montego Bay to Negril (about 52 miles) is 1 1/2 hours; between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios (67 miles), 1 1/2 hours; between Ocho Rios and Port Antonio (66 miles), 2 1/2 hours; between Ocho Rios and Kingston (54 miles), 2 hours; between Kingston and Mandeville (61 miles), 1 1/2 hours; and between Kingston and Port Antonio (61 miles), 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Taxis can be flagged down on the street or summoned by phone. Rates are per car-not per passenger-and 25% is added to the metered rate between midnight and 5am. JUTA cabs are supposed to have meters, but most of them are not in working order. Agree on the price of the trip before booking. Cab fares should be posted inside the taxi; if you don’t see them, you have the right to request a copy from the driver. A 10% to 12% tip is usually added. Avoid pirate or unlicensed taxis. Not only are they not metered-they are illegal and rarely carry insurance.

By Moped & Motorcycle
The front desk of your hotel can usually arrange the rental of a moped or motorcycle.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Regions of Jamaica
Montego Bay: This is the number-one destination for all of Jamaica, appealing to the widest possible range of visitors. “Mo Bay,” as it’s known, has the best golf in the West Indies, and four of the largest resorts on the island; and duty-free shopping as well. This is about as far from rural Jamaica as you can get: The tourist dollar drives its economy. But it also boasts several attractions in its environs, including former great houses of plantations, decaying old towns such as Falmouth, and daylong adventures into remote Maroon Country.

Negril: Situated near Jamaica’s relatively arid western tip, Negril’s Seven Mile Beach is one of the longest uninterrupted stretches of sand in the Caribbean. That beach, its laidback lifestyle, and its wild parties are the main attractions in Negril.

The South Coast: The little-visited South Coast, lying east of Negril along the A2 (the road to Kingston), is undiscovered Jamaica, although it is becoming better known all the time. In contrast to the island’s lush, tropical image, this area is dry and arid. Hotels are few and far between, and they are frequently small, family run establishments. The chief draw is Treasure Beach, tucked away on the secluded coast.

Mandeville: Located in south-central Jamaica, Mandeville is the country’s highest-altitude town and is built in a style strongly influenced by the British. It is now the center of the island’s noted coffee cultivation; a sense of slow-paced colonial charm remains a trademark of the town.

The North Coast: This region’s primary natural attractions include its steeply sloping terrain, the setting for panoramic public gardens and dramatic waterfalls. Set on a deep-water harbor easily able to accommodate cruise ships, Ocho Rios boasts a dense concentration of resort hotels and other vacation spots. Its surrounding area contains a number of Jamaica’s premier attractions, including Dunn’s River Falls. What the area offers in abundance, are some of the grandest resorts in the Caribbean

Runaway Bay: Directly west of Ocho Rios is the satellite town of Runaway Bay, which boasts a handful of resorts opening onto some good beaches and has the distinct advantage of not being as populated by tourists as Ocho Rios.

Port Antonio: The hub of eastern Jamaica, Port Antonio still basks in nostalgia. Frequently photographed for its Victorian/Caribbean architecture, it offers a change of pace from Negril, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay. Beaches such as San San are among the most alluring in the country, and this is also a base for exploring some of the major attractions in Jamaica’s eastern region, including rafting on the Rio Grande River.

Kingston & Spanish Town: Located on the southeast coast, Kingston is Jamaica’s capital, largest city, and principal port. It is a cosmopolitan city with approximately 750,000 residents in its metropolitan area and serves as the country’s economic, cultural, and government center. Residents proudly call it the world’s reggae capital, as well. Twenty minutes west of Kingston by car is Spanish Town, a slow-paced village containing the Cathedral of St. James.

Port Royal: once an infamous hideout for pirates and renegades.

The Blue Mountains: A land of soaring peaks and deep valleys with luxuriant vegetation, the Blue Mountain range rises to the north of Kingston. Mountain roads wind and dip, and are in bad repair. Tours from Kingston are a safer bet. You can book tours throughout this region of coffee plantations and rum factories. Maintained by the government, the prime part of the mountain range is the 192-acre Blue Mountain-John Crow Mountain National Park.

Attractions

Appleton Express
Book with your hotel tour desk or 876-952-3692
Hours: 8:30 am-4 pm, Tuesday through Thursday
Admission charged

The Appleton Express is an air-conditioned bus that travels from Mo Bay to the Appleton Rum Distillery on the south side of the island. (If you traveled to Jamaica a decade ago, you may remember that the Appleton Express was formerly a train that took day-trippers across the island.

There is a tour of the distillery, and every visitor gets a complimentary bottle; children get soft drinks. The tour also makes a stop at Ipswich Caves.

Plantations & Great Houses

Barnett Estate
Granville Main Road
876-952-2382, fax 876-952-6342
Open daily
Admission charged

“Barnett” and “Jarrett” are names well known on the island. Still among Jamaica’s most powerful families, the Barnetts and Jarretts were plantation owners and have owned land for many generations. Today, a visit to the Barnett Estate offers a look back at the past to the days when this land grew everything from sugarcane to coconuts. You can take a one-hour horseback tour of the estate or a guided tour by a costumed docent. This plantation tour is one of the island’s best.

Belfield Great House
876-952-1709
Hours: daily, 10-5
Admission charged

This restored historic house is open to visitors, with guided tours available before or after dinner. Located on the 3,000-acre Barnett Estate near Montego Bay, the site is also home to the Belfield 1797 restaurant, operated by Elegant Resorts International.

Belvedere Estate
Chester Castle
876-956-7310 in Montego Bay
876-957-4171 in Negril
Hours: 10-4, Monday-Saturday
Admission charged

Look back at the plantation days with this heritage tour. Belvedere was one of the first estates to be burned during the 1831 Christmas Rebellion, so today most of the sites on the plantation are ruins or reconstructed. The uprising brought about the end of slavery in 1838.

Tours include a look at the ruins of the great house, dating back to the early 1800s, the ruins of a sugar factory, a horse-drawn sugar mill and herb garden. Belvedere is staffed by many craftspeople in period costume. Visitors can watch a blacksmith at work, see a bakery using a clay oven, talk with an herbalist in a wattle and daub house and see a canoe-maker carving the trunk of a cottonwood tree. Also on site is the Trash House Restaurant and Bar (where the sugarcane trash was once stored). Lunch is served daily and visitors can picnic on the grounds.

Inaccessible Cinammon Hill
Cinammon Hill on the North Coast Highway is presently the home of country singer Johnny Cash, who spends quite a bit of time on the island and has done charitable work in Jamaica. Cinammon Hill, located near Greenwood Great House, was the birthplace of Edward Moulton Barrett, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s father.

Croydon In The Mountains
Located 20 miles into the interior near the town of Catadupa
in St. James (take B6 out of town)
Hours: 8:30-5:30 daily; tours from 10:30-3:30
876-979-8267
Admission charged

This 132-acre working pineapple and coffee plantation offers half-day estate tours. The property was the birthplace of Samuel Sharpe, a national hero on this island. Sharpe led a slave rebellion in 1831 that helped bring about the abolition of slavery. You can learn about the preparation of coffee, honey, pineapples and more.

Greenwood Great House
North Coast Hwy., 15 miles east of Montego Bay
876-953-1077
Hours: 9-6 daily
Admission charged

This was once the home of the Barrett family (as in Elizabeth Barrett Browning). Tours include a look at the finery enjoyed by the plantation families. Like Rose Hall (below), Greenwood is a reminder of the turbulent period in Jamaica’s history when wealthy plantation owners lived in luxury thanks to the profits of the slave labor used to power sugar plantations.

Rose Hall
North Coast Highway
876-953-2323
Hours: 9-6 daily
Admission charged

Rose Hall is the best-known great house in the country and is an easy afternoon visit from Montego Bay. This was once the home of the notorious Annie Palmer, better known as the White Witch. Guided tours take you to the ballroom, dining room, and Annie’s bedroom and grave. The gift shop displays photographs of what many believe are ghostly apparitions in the bedrooms of Rose Hall.

The White Witch
As the story goes, Annie was born in 1802 in England to an English mother and Irish father. At the age of 10, her family moved to Haiti, and soon her parents died of yellow fever. Annie was adopted by a Haitian voodoo priestess and became skilled in the practice of voodoo. Annie moved to Jamaica, married, and built Rose Hall, an enormous plantation spanning 6,600 acres with over 2,000 slaves. According to legend, Annie murdered several of her husbands and her slave lovers. To learn more about the tales of Rose Hall, read the novel, The White Witch of Rose Hall, which you’ll find in gift shops around the island.

Bob Marley Experience
Half Moon Shopping Village
North Coast Highway
Hours: 10-6 daily
Free

This new attraction features a 68-seat theater where you can watch a documentary on the life and works of reggae great Bob Marley. The film runs several times daily. The largest part of the attraction is a huge shop filled with Marley memorabilia – CDs, books, T-shirts. The shop claims to have the largest collection of Marley gifts in the Caribbean.

Golf

Montego Bay has the best collection of golf courses in Jamaica; most take full advantage of the city’s location, offering gorgeous views of the sea and hills. Fees include golf cart and clubs. Caddies are mandatory and will cost an additional fee.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Montego Bay Marine Park
(876)952-5619
Jamaica’s first national park, protects the beautiful reef fish, corals, turtles and other marine creatures and their spectacular “underwater rainforest” habitats of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves.

Sailing Trips
White Sands P.O.
Montego Bay
(876) 940-4465
Go sailing with Calico pirate style on the blue waters of Mo-Bay, aboard an old wooden sailing ship. A Day trip includes snorkeling, lunch and drinks. Sunset Cruises are also available.

Croydon in the Mountains
25 miles from Montego Bay
(876) 979-8267
This working plantation offers to visitors a wealth of knowledge and history about Jamaican life in the rural areas. There are interesting insights in coffee cultivation and processing. Samples of exotic fresh fruit, fruit juices and fruit drinks are available. Unusual fruits like: Carambola, Oneca, Otahiti apples and Passion fruit are available during season.

AguaSol Theme Park
is a one of a kind beach park located at the Walter Fletcher Beach on Montego Bay’s “Hip Strip”. AguaSol features a large white sand beach, MoBay 500, a new go-cart racing course, Kiddies snack bar, Voyage Sports Bar and Grill, 42 large screen satellite television sets, Coordinated beach activities, Games, Table tennis, Water sports, a gift shop, and a discotheque at night.

Barnett Estates
Granville Main Rd
876-952-2382
The Barnett Estates showcases a captivating tour that is led by guides in period costume. The guides are unique in that they recite period poetry and sing period songs. The Estate is still active and grows coconut, mango, and sugarcane on most of its 3,000 acres. Samples are offered to those who join the optional plantation tour by horseback.

Maroon Village Tour
32 Church Street, Montego Bay – Jamaica
876- 979-0308
All day excursions are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to Cockpit Country, the mountain home of the Maroons, runaway slaves who defeated the British to gain their independence. This tour provides a fascinating historical, educational and cultural journey! Buffet lunch and beverages are served.

Doctor’s Cave Beach Bathing Club
White Sands Beach P.O.
Montego Bay – Jamaica
876-952-2566
The most well-known and famous beach in Montego Bay is the Doctor’s Cave Beach Bathing Club. Visitors can enjoy the brilliant waters and smooth beaches.

James Bond Beach
(876) 975-3663
This beach was named after the James Bond movie” Dr No”. It is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Ian Fleming, the author of the 007 legend, is said to have come here regularly for a swim. The beach also features many restaurants and bars. Glass bottom boats, kayaks, wave runners and snorkeling facilities can also be found here.

MoBay UnderSea Tours
Casa Blanca Hotel, Gloucester Ave
(876) 940-2493
Explore Montego Bay’s marine sanctuary aboard the most advanced vessel of its kind. Panoramic underwater view of the marine environment, colorful coral reefs, exotic tropical fish and other sea life. Air-conditioned cabin holds 53 passengers, live and educational narration by marine experts.

Rocky Point Riding Stables
Montego Bay – Jamaica
876- 953-2286
At Rocky Point Riding Stables visitors can enjoy a variety of equestrian activities, from riding lessons to adventurous trail rides.

Rose Hall Beach Club
(876) 953-3506
White sand, picnic areas, hammocks, bars, dining pavilion, kitchens, gift shop, a stage, showers, changing rooms and other amenities, CPR trained Lifeguards and staff. A place one dreams of. Relax, swim, sail, water-ski, jet-ski, many watersports equipment and beach games. Frozen tropical delights, sumptuous food and all-inclusive picnics!

E- Events & Entertainment:
Annual Events

January

Accompong Maroon Festival, St. Elizabeth. Annual celebration of Maroons of Western Jamaica, with traditional singing and dancing, feasts, ceremonies, blowing of the abeng (cow’s horn), playing of Maroon drums. 876/952-4546. January 6.

Jamaica Sprint Triathlon, Negril. Hundreds participate in a three-part competition joining swimming, cycling, and running in one sweat-inducing endurance test. Contact the Jamaica Tourist Board. Late January.

February

Tribute to Bob Marley-Symposium in Music, Ocho Rios. Seminars for students of music. 876/926-5726. First week in February.

Bob Marley Birthday Bash, Montego Bay. An annual concert that celebrates a local star. 876/978-2991. February 6.

Reggae Summerfest, Ocho Rios. Annual reggae bash, featuring top reggae stars. Call 876/960-1904 for dates.

March

Montego Bay Yacht Club’s Easter Regatta. Annual sailing event of several races staged along the North Coast over a 6-day period around Easter. ( 876/979-8038). (March or April)

April

Carnival in Jamaica, Kingston, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay. Weeklong series of fetes, concerts, and street parades. Contact local tourist offices. First week of April.

June

Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. International performers play alongside Jamaican jazz artists; other events include barbecues. 888/637-8111 or 876/927-3544 (www.ochoriosjazz.com). Second week in June.

National Dance Theatre Company’s Season of Dance, Kingston. Traditional and modern dance, as well as notable singers. 876/926-6129. June through August.

August

Reggae Sunfest, Catherine Hall, Montego Bay. Annual 5-day music festival. 876/952-0889 (www.reggaesumfest.com). First week of August.

September

September

Falmouth Blue Marlin Tournament, Montego Bay. Very popular locally. 876/954-5934. Late September.

October

Port Antonio International Fishing Tournament. One of the oldest and most prestigious sport fishing events in the Caribbean, with participants from Europe and North America. 876/927-0145. Mid-October

November

Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, Montego Bay. Series of concerts at Rose Hall Great House. 876/952-4425. Third week of November.

December

Motor Sports Championship Series, Dover Raceway, St. Ann. Prestigious championship event. 876/960-3860. Early December.

Montgomery, Alabama

A- Overview:
Located on the Alabama River in the center of the state, Montgomery is a thriving city with an impressive amount of history and distinctly southern style of living. The city is filled with culture and history, but the passage of time is gracefully slow and easy, in the southern style.

Montgomery is a cosmopolitan city. From its famous Shakespeare festival to its symphony orchestra to the F. Scott Fitzgerald Museum, there are activities of substance that are culturally significant. Visitors should check with the Arts Council before coming so they can plan ahead as to which of the many activities they will try to attend.

In the 1860s, Montgomery was part of the Confederacy and the first Confederate White House still stands. Montgomery is justifiably proud of its history, and the many aspects of that history have united to form a strong cultural identity. Montgomery’s Confederate Trail Itinerary covers a fascinating route from the State Capitol, past many buildings connected with that time in history, ending at the Confederate prison and cemetery.

Montgomery’s is one of a few state capitol buildings designated a National Historic Landmark. Known as the birthplace of the Confederacy and of the Civil Rights movement, The Alabama State Capitol is where Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as President of the Confederate States of America and where the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights March ended with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering a moving speech from the bottom of its steps. The historic Senate and House of Representatives Chambers, the old Supreme Court Chambers and several official offices have all been restored to their Civil War-era and turn-of-the-century appearances.

The Hank Williams Memorial honors the country singer, who is perhaps best known for his ballad, “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” The memorial is downtown in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex . Weekdays, the W.A. Gayle Planetarium on Forest Ave., presents sky shows and science programs.

Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in Montgomery from 1954 to 1960, and there is a monument to the Civil Rights movement. Completed in 1989, the Civil Rights Memorial stands in the front plaza of the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., as a monument to those who died in the struggle for racial equality. The memorial features the top of a circular marble table covered with a thin sheet of flowing water and is inscribed with dates of key events and names of people involved in the civil rights movement

In Old Alabama Town, costumed interpreters guide visitors through life in the 19th and early 20th centuries in a fascinating 4-block “town.” There is the opportunity to over 40 buildings from schoolhouses to cotton gins and experience life as an Alabamian in the state’s infancy.

Maxwell Air Force Base, where the Wright Brothers’ Flight School once stood, is the site of the Air University, the Air Force’s center of professional military education. Trolleys travel through the downtown area, providing transportation to Montgomery government buildings, historical sites, the Riverfront Amphitheatre and Riverwalk Stadium, home to the Class AA Montgomery Biscuits. The trolleys run continually from 9-6, Monday through Saturday for ease of transportation in reaching the city attractions.

Montgomery offers several parks in which to enjoy a family picnic. Chief among these is Blount Cultural Park, with its 300 acres of hills, lakes, and culture. Then take a walk to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts or the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Shakespeare Gardens.

The highlight of the year in Montgomery is Jubilee CityFest which takes place during Memorial Day Weekend. CityFest appeals to a diverse crowd by offering the best of just about every genre of music including pop, country, alternative, zydeco, blues, jazz, folk, gospel, oldies and classic rock. Other Jubilee CityFest attractions include KidsFest, ArtFest, Symphony Pops Concert, Jubilee Run, “Thunder Over The River” fireworks and a Sunrise Celebration Service. It is easy to see why Montgomery is such a popular vacation destination at any time of year!

B- City Information:
Population: 201,568

Elevation: 250 feet above sea level

Land Area: 155.4 square miles

Location: Located in the central part of Alabama at the intersection of Interstates 65 and 85

Time Zone: Central Time Zone (when it’s noon in Montgomery, it’s 1pm in New York City and 10am in Los Angeles). Montgomery observes Daylight Saving Time from April – October

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
46.4
50.2
57.6
64.0
72.0
78.6
81.5
80.9
76.0
65.2
56.0
48.8

High temperature (°F)
57.4
62.1
70.2
77.1
84.2
90.2
92.4
91.9
87.4
78.5
68.5
60.1

Low temperature (°F)
35.3
38.3
45.1
50.9
59.8
67.0
70.6
69.8
64.6
52.1
43.4
37.5

Precipitation (in)
5.0
5.3
6.0
4.3
4.0
4.2
4.8
3.5
3.8
2.6
4.2
4.8

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precip.
11
9
10
8
8
9
12
9
8
6
8
10

Wind speed (mph)
7.7
8.2
8.3
7.3
6.1
5.8
5.7
5.2
5.9
5.7
6.5
7.1

Morning humidity (%)
82
80
82
86
88
88
90
91
89
89
87
84

Afternoon humidity (%)
64
60
57
57
60
60
64
64
62
58
60
64

Sunshine (%)
47
52
59
65
63
62
61
63
62
64
55
49

Local Seasons:

As both a major business city as well as a tourist destination, Montgomery has something of interest taking place virtually every day of the year. With a moderate climate year-round, anytime is a good time for a visit. Summer temperatures peak in the mid 90’s F during the day, with the evenings dropping to a more comfortable 70 F. It is often cloudy and rainy during this time so be prepared. Spring and fall bring cooler temperatures and more sunshine. This is an ideal time to take advantage of the many outdoor activities available. Winters are mild with little or no snow.

How to Get There:

By Air

Montgomery Regional Airport

4445 Selma Highway
Montgomery, AL 36108

334-281-5040

The airport is conveniently located 15 minutes from downtown on U.S. Hwy. 80 W. It is served by a few of the regional airlines as well as charter services.

By Car

Montgomery is easy to reach as two interstate highways, I-65 and I-85, intersect within the City. Additional highways serving Montgomery are U.S. 31, 80, 82, 231 and 331, and are all connected by a four-lane perimeter road encompassing the City.

By Train

Amtrak

950 West South Boulevard
Montgomery, AL 36105

800-USA-RAIL

By Bus

Greyhound

950 W South Blvd.
Montgomery, AL 36105

334-286-0953

How to Get Around:

When visiting the downtown area, the Lightning Route Trolley System transports visitors to attractions throughout the area for a small fee. Rental cars are also available.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day: Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and Robert E. Lee’s Birthday: 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day: 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Confederate Memorial Day: 4th Monday in April

Memorial Day: last Mon. in May

Jefferson Davis’s birthday: 1st Monday in June

Independence Day: July 4

Labor Day: 1st Mon. in Sept.

Columbus Day: 2nd Monday in October

Thanksgiving Day: 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve: Dec. 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
General Richard Montgomery Riverboat
334-834-9862
This gracious, old-fashioned riverboat still plies the river just as similar boats did in the past. Visitors will enjoy a little history and a great ride in the “Montgomery”.

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
454 Dexter Ave
334-263-3970
Guests can visit the beautiful Baptist church where Martin Luther King, Jr. ministered from 1954 to 1960. The church offers some information on King, and his life and ministry.

Old Alabama Town
301 Columbus St.
334-240-4500
Frequent tours visit more than 40 restored Alabama structures. Visitors can learn about life in Montgomery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Montgomery Zoo
329 Vandiver Blvd.
334-265-2637
This zoo, which calls itself “the most exciting zoo in the Southeast,” boasts 500 animals representing over 150 species. Featured exhibits include Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms.

First White House of the Confederacy
644 Washington Ave
334-261-4624
This house was built in 1835 and served as the White House of the Confederacy for several months in 1861. Confederate President Jefferson Davis lived here until Richmond became the new Confederate capital.

Alabama Archives and History Museum
624 Washington Ave
334-261-4361
Visitors to the archives can view a vast collection of historical documents and information about Alabama. The museum also offers exhibits on Native Americans, Civil War battles, and features a hands-on gallery.

Alabama War Memorial
334-262-6638
This war memorial honors the citizens of Alabama who have died in the defense of their state and country. This is a “must see” for those interested in southern and American history.

Alabama Science Center
244 Dexter Ave
334-832-3902
This center has more than 50 exhibits designed to educate and entertain, and is a favorite with Montgomery teachers and students.

Governor’s Mansion
1142 S. Perry St.
334-834-3022
This mansion has been the home for Alabama’s governors since the 1950’s. The mansion itself was built in 1907 and is a wonderful example of Southern Colonial architecture.

Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum
334-263-1440
The garden and museum cover 17 acres of beautiful land. Fountains, pools and statuary help make this one of the loveliest spots in Montgomery.

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
One Museum Dr
334-244-5700
This museum has a renowned collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Southern regional art is featured, as are some interactive exhibits for children.

Pike Pioneer Museum
248 US Hwy 231 North
Troy, AL
334-566-3597
Located on 15 acres of land, this museum focuses on pioneer life in the early 19th century featuring exhibits on households, farming and even printing.

Alabama State Capitol
State Capitol Bldg
334-261-2900
Alabama’s state capitol building is more than 140 years old. It has been completely renovated and houses remarkable historical and cultural collections.

Civil Rights Memorial
400 Washington Ave
334-264-0286
Dedicated in 1989, this memorial was designed by the architect who created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial’s impact on visitors is strikingly powerful and beautiful.

Family Fun

Old Alabama Town
301 Columbus St.
334-240-4500
Frequent tours visit more than 40 restored Alabama structures. Visitors can learn about life in Montgomery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Montgomery Zoo
329 Vandiver Blvd.
334-265-2637
This zoo, which calls itself “the most exciting zoo in the Southeast,” boasts 500 animals representing over 150 species. Featured exhibits include Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms.

First White House of the Confederacy
644 Washington Ave
334-261-4624
This house was built in 1835 and served as the White House of the Confederacy for several months in 1861. Confederate President Jefferson Davis lived here until Richmond became the new Confederate capital.

Alabama Archives and History Museum
624 Washington Ave
334-261-4361
Visitors to the archives can view a vast collection of historical documents and information about Alabama. The museum also offers exhibits on Native Americans, Civil War battles, and features a hands-on gallery.

Alabama War Memorial
334-262-6638
This war memorial honors the citizens of Alabama who have died in the defense of their state and country. This is a “must see” for those interested in southern and American history.

Alabama Science Center
244 Dexter Ave
334-832-3902
This center has more than 50 exhibits designed to educate and entertain, and is a favorite with Montgomery teachers and students.

Governor’s Mansion
1142 S. Perry St.
334-834-3022
This mansion has been the home for Alabama’s governors since the 1950’s. The mansion itself was built in 1907 and is a wonderful example of Southern Colonial architecture.

Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum
334-263-1440

The garden and museum cover 17 acres of beautiful land. Fountains, pools and statuary help make this one of the loveliest spots in Montgomery.

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
One Museum Dr
334-244-5700
This museum has a renowned collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Southern regional art is featured, as are some interactive exhibits for children.

Pike Pioneer Museum
248 US Hwy 231 North
Troy, AL
334-566-3597
Located on 15 acres of land, this museum focuses on pioneer life in the early 19th century featuring exhibits on households, farming and even printing.

Alabama State Capitol
State Capitol Building
334-261-2900
Alabama’s state capitol building is more than 140 years old. It has been completely renovated and houses remarkable historical and cultural collections.

Civil Rights Memorial
400 Washington Ave
334-264-0286
Dedicated in 1989, this memorial was designed by the architect who created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial’s impact on visitors is strikingly powerful and beautiful.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Old Alabama Town
301 Columbus St.
334-240-4500
Frequent tours visit more than 40 restored Alabama structures. Visitors can learn about life in Montgomery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Montgomery Zoo
329 Vandiver Blvd.
334-265-2637
This zoo, which calls itself “the most exciting zoo in the Southeast,” boasts 500 animals representing over 150 species. Featured exhibits include Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms.

First White House of the Confederacy
644 Washington Ave
334-261-4624
This house was built in 1835 and served as the White House of the Confederacy for several months in 1861. Confederate President Jefferson Davis lived here until Richmond became the new Confederate capital.

Alabama Archives and History Museum
624 Washington Ave
334-261-4361
Visitors to the archives can view a vast collection of historical documents and information about Alabama. The museum also offers exhibits on Native Americans, Civil War battles, and features a hands-on gallery.

Alabama War Memorial
PO Box 1069
334-262-6638
This war memorial honors the citizens of Alabama who have died in the defense of their state and country. This is a “must see” for those interested in southern and American history.

Alabama Science Center
244 Dexter Ave
334-832-3902
This center has more than 50 exhibits designed to educate and entertain, and is a favorite with Montgomery teachers and students.

Governor’s Mansion
1142 S. Perry St.
334-834-3022
This mansion has been the home for Alabama’s governors since the 1950’s. The mansion itself was built in 1907 and is a wonderful example of Southern Colonial architecture.

Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum
PO Box 60011
334-263-1440
The garden and museum cover 17 acres of beautiful land. Fountains, pools and statuary help make this one of the loveliest spots in Montgomery.

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
One Museum Dr
334-244-5700
This museum has a renowned collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Southern regional art is featured, as are some interactive exhibits for children.

Pike Pioneer Museum
248 US Hwy 231 North
Troy, AL
334-566-3597
Located on 15 acres of land, this museum focuses on pioneer life in the early 19th century featuring exhibits on households, farming and even printing.

Alabama State Capitol
State Capitol Bldg
334-261-2900
Alabama’s state capitol building is more than 140 years old. It has been completely renovated and houses remarkable historical and cultural collections.

Civil Rights Memorial
400 Washington Ave
334-264-0286
Dedicated in 1989, this memorial was designed by the architect who created the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial’s impact on visitors is strikingly powerful and beautiful.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events & Entertainment

January

Alabama Junior Miss Pageant

Held in January

Location: Garrett Coliseum

334-244-9066

Call for additional information

Every January, Montgomery College-Bound high school girls compete for scholarships and gain personal development.

Hank Williams Anniversary Memorial

Held on January 1

Location: Oakwood Cemetery Annex

334-262-3600

Call for additional information

Admission Free

Every year on January 1st, fans of the late Hank Williams gather for a Memorial Service at his gravesite in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex near downtown Montgomery and the Hank Williams Museum.

Annual History Symposium

Held in January

Location: Museum of Fine Arts

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

Join Old Alabama Town every January for the annual history symposium. This event is sponsored by the Landmarks Foundation, in cooperation with the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

February

Black History Month at Old Alabama Town

Held every Thursday in February

Location: Old Alabama Town

888-240-1850

Call for additional information

Join Old Alabama Town as they celebrate Black History Month with special guided tours every Thursday in February.

March

Celebration of the Season

Held in March

Location: Davis Theatre

334-241-2800

Call for additional information

Join the Alabama Dance Theatre in March for their annual Celebration of the Season performance. Each year the dancers perform a different production.

SE Livestock Rodeo Exposition

Held in March

Location: Garrett Coliseum

334-265-1867

Call for additional information

One of the largest rodeos east of the Mississippi features livestock shows, cattle events, rodeo performances, wagon train, and PRCA with top cowboys and cowgirls from across the nation.

May

Jubilee City Fest

Held over Memorial Day Weekend

Location: Montgomery

334-834-7220

Call for additional information

Taking place each year during Memorial Day Weekend, Jubilee City Fest appeals to a diverse crowd by offering the best entertainment available. Whatever genre of music is your preference; there is something for everyone including pop, country, alternative, zydeco, blues, jazz, folk, gospel, oldies and classic rock. Other Jubilee City Fest attractions include Kids Fest, Artiest, Symphony Pops Concert, Jubilee Run, “Thunder Over The River” fireworks and the Sunrise Celebration Service.

July

July 4th Celebration

Held on July 4

Location: Old Alabama Town

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

Join the crowd at Old Alabama Town every July as they celebrate America’s independence. A special patriotic ceremony is held in front of Lucas Tavern. Boy Scouts post the colors of the flag, lead the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem and a children’s’ flag parade follows. Tour Montgomery’s historic village and have fun as visitors return to the adventurous pioneer days.

September

AJBF River Jam

Held in mid September

Location: Downtown Montgomery

334-263-2523

Call for additional information

Sponsored by the Alabama Jazz and Blues Federation, River Jam takes place downtown on an autumn night in September and gives Montgomerians a chance to hear top notch jazz, blues and zydeco bands and artists.

Alabama Highland Games

Held in September

Location: Blount Cultural Park

334-272-2174

Call for additional information

Events include live Scottish performances, a parade, an individual athletic competition and piping & drumming competitions.

Ballet and the Beast

Held in September

Location: Montgomery Zoo

334-409-0522

Call for additional information

Enjoy entertainment under the stars as The Montgomery Ballet and the Montgomery Zoo present their annual September performance of Ballet & the Beasts. Stroll the grounds of the City’s magnificent Zoo before taking a seat to enjoy the performance. After sunset, The Montgomery Ballet takes the stage to offer an exciting and enchanting evening.

Broadway under the Stars

Held in September

Location: Blount Cultural Park

334-240-4004

Call for additional information

Admission Free

Join the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra every September as they bring Broadway show tunes and pop classics to the Blount Cultural Park.

Storytelling Festival

Held in September

Location: Kiwanis Park

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

Join Old Alabama Town every September for the Storytelling Festival. Each year they bring in noted storytellers from around the state.

October

Alabama National Fair

Held in October

Location: Alabama Agricultural Center and Fairgrounds

334-272-6831

Call for additional information

The Fair brings high quality entertainment and provides concerts and stage shows. In addition to the concerts, there are many exhibits, food concessions and over 60 awesome rides in the carnival on the midway. The Fair is held at the Alabama Agricultural Center and Fairgrounds and is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery.

Festival in the Riverfront Park

Held the first Saturday in October

Location: Riverfront Park

334-241-2300

Call for additional information

Activities include over 100 exhibitors, a 5K run and 1 mile family fun run/walk, a young artist’s gallery for the kids, special performances for children, and lots of food.

Junior League’s Annual Holiday Market

Held in October

Location: Garrett Coliseum

334-288-8816

Call for additional information

Join the Junior League of Montgomery every October as they host Holiday Market and start the holiday shopping early. This three-day shopping extravaganza features a wide variety of specialty shops and attracts a large crowd of shoppers from Montgomery and the surrounding areas. Special events include the preview party and silent auction, live entertainment, children performances and pictures with Santa.

Montgomery Zoo Boo

Held in mid – late October

Location: Montgomery Zoo

334-240-4900

Call for additional information

Join the Montgomery Zoo two weeks prior to Halloween as it transforms into ghosts and goblins complete with a haunted hayride and train ride.

Tavern Fest

Held in October

Location: Lucas Tavern

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

Join Old Alabama Town every October as the celebrate Tavern Fest. Events include music and dancing. This event is centered around the 1818 Lucas Tavern located in the heart of downtown Montgomery. The historic landmark is the idea setting for a fall festival where attendees taste specialty brews, sample craft beers, listen to great music and dance in the streets.

November

ASU Turkey Day Classic

Held in late November

Location: Multiple Locations

334-229-4280

Call for additional information

Join Alabama State University as they host the Turkey Day Classic at Crampton Bowl against their biggest rival Tuskegee University. The day kicks off with a Turkey Day Classic Parade down Dexter Avenue.

Train & Doll Exhibit

Held November – December

Location: Old Alabama Town

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

This exhibit features trains & dolls from all over the world and from every time period.

December

Annual Glenn Miller Concert

Held in December

Location: Davis Theatre

334-953-2014

Call for additional information

Get ready to open the holiday season with the Annual Glenn Miller Holiday Concert.

Montgomery Holiday Lights

Held in December

Location: Montgomery Zoo

334-240-4900

Call for additional information

Join the Montgomery Zoo every December as the Zoo transforms into a Wintery Wonderland. Thousands of holiday lights illuminate the zoo in shapes of animals and Christmas themes. Hop aboard the train for a magical ride through the festive zoo.

Montgomery Holiday Parade

Held the first Saturday in December

Location: Court Square

334-240-4738

Call for additional information

The Holiday Parade begins at 5:30 pm. Immediately following the parade, the Mayor lights the city’s Christmas tree at Court Square Fountain. Floats in the parade include local school groups, local dance/gymnastic groups, civic organizations and local high school & college bands.

Train & Doll Exhibit

Held November – December

Location: Old Alabama Town

334-240-4500

Call for additional information

This exhibit features trains & dolls from all over the world and from every time period.

Entertainment:

Alabama Dance Theatre

1018 Madison Avenue

Montgomery, AL 36104

334-241-2590

Call for performance schedule and additional information

Alabama Dance Theatre is an eclectic dance company performing classical and contemporary works. ADT performs two major productions each year at the Davis Theatre: “Mistletoe”, a holiday favorite and “A Celebration of the Season”, an annual spring performance.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival

1 Festival Drive
Montgomery, AL 36117

800-841-4ASF

Call for performance schedule and additional information

This internationally acclaimed theatre is one of the ten largest Shakespeare Festivals in the world, presenting world-class contemporary and classic productions and educational programs throughout the entire year. Alabama’s Shakespeare Festival is one of the American theatres invited to fly the flag of England’s Royal Shakespeare Company.

Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts

251 Montgomery Street

Montgomery, AL 36104

334-241-9567

Call for performance schedule and additional information

Completely restored 1930s fine arts palace and affiliated with Troy State University Montgomery, the subscriber series is comprised of touring productions from Broadway shows to concerts.

Faulkner University Dinner Theatre

5345 Atlanta Highway

Montgomery, AL 36109

334-386-7190

Call for additional information

Enjoy Broadway-style family entertainment in an elegant setting.

Montgomery Ballet

6009 E. Shirley Lane

Montgomery, AL 36117

334-409-0522

Call for performance schedule and additional information

Montgomery’s professional ballet company and school featuring classic performances throughout the year.

Montgomery Symphony

301 N. Hull Street

Montgomery, AL 36104

334-240-4004

Call for performance schedule and additional information

The Montgomery Symphony performs ten concerts each season and mounts a variety of educational programs.

The Capri Theatre

1045 E. Fairview Ave.

Montgomery, AL 36106

334-262-4858

Call for performance schedule and additional information

The Capri Theatre was built in 1941 as The Clover and was Montgomery’s first neighborhood theatre. It was remodeled and renamed The Capri in 1963. Today it shows independent films and award-winning classics.

Sports:

Montgomery Biscuits

Double A Baseball

Games played at Riverwalk Stadium

Season runs April – August

334-323-2255

Take in an exciting game of Double A baseball at the official home for the Montgomery Biscuits. Bring a picnic and blanket and view the game from the stadium’s picnic area. Every seat provides visitors with a wonderful view of the game courtesy of a state-of-the-art LED screen that’s capable of even showing instant replays. Children can frolic in the stadium’s playground and in the off season there are plenty of activities going on at this fun-filled stadium.

Montgomery Motorsports Park

2600 N. Belt Drive
Montgomery, AL 36110

Drag Racing

334-260-9660

Call for schedule and additional information

A NHRA sanctioned dragway that offers year-round drag racing including “Street Wars” on Friday evenings, which gives everyone a chance to be a race-car driver.

Victoryland Greyhound Racing

I-85 at Exit 22
Shorter, Alabama 36075

Dog Racing

334-727-0540

Call for schedule and additional information

Enjoy the thrill of racing excitement from the climate controlled clubhouse or the front row view of the grandstand or try your luck at a game of live Bingo or one of over 1,000 video bingo machines.

Southeaster Livestock Exposition Rodeo

Held every March

Held at the Garrett Coliseum

1555 Federal Dr.

Montgomery, AL 36107

334-265-1867

Call for additional information

Every March, rodeo stars from across the country converge on the Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery for one of the most exciting rodeos held.

Nassau, Bahamas

A- Overview:
The Islands of the Bahamas are among the most beautiful places on earth to visit. The water ranges from pale aqua to deep sapphire, the spectrum changing hourly as the sun shines brightly in a cloudless sky. Nassau, the country’s capital, is a bustling town on New Providence Island with shops, nightclubs, glamorous casinos, and posh hotels. Even in Nassau, though, there are quiet byways and shady lanes where you can step away from the activity of the main tourist areas. Visitors have many options. They can pause in their shopping at any time to wander past old colonial buildings that are full of fascinating island history. Nights can be spent watching a perfect sunset, dining on elegant French or local cuisine in a hotel restaurant, and then taking in a show, dancing, or visiting one of the island’s casinos.
Nassau’s sheltered harbor bustles with the familiar cruise ship hubbub and the excitement of fishing excursions coming and going, while a block away, broad, palm lined Bay Street is alive with commercial activity. The shopping in Nassau is first rate, as fine imported goods and local crafts compete for attention right next to each other. The historical sights are centered around the downtown area. This area has been renovated and rejuvenated in recent years, adding to its beauty and attractiveness. Amidst the historic landmarks, chic cigar bars, fancy restaurants, art galleries, suave clubs, and trendy coffeehouses are popping up everywhere.

No visit to Nassau would be complete without a trip to nearby Paradise Island. This strip of land off Nassau’s northern coast is truly a world class playground. Its casinos and beaches are the first choice for many tourists. The recently completed Atlantis casino and super-resort has attracted even more visitors. The water is a clear blue, and the sand on the beaches is perfectly white on Paradise Island. Inside, the casinos offer every game imaginable, as well as dozens of shows and attractions.

The Islands of the Bahamas–with exquisite golden and pink sunsets, pristine beaches, lush tropical landscapes, and year round sunshine–couldn’t have sprung from the sea in more perfect form for 21st century vacationers. Nassau is the crown jewel of the islands. The town has become even more beautiful of late, and its amazing beaches, significant historic landmarks, and world class resort casinos continue to attract thousands upon thousands of tourists each year.

B- City Information:
Country:
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Capital:
Nassau

Time:
Eastern Standard Time is used on all islands. April to October is Eastern Daylight Time, in conjunction with US summer hours.

Currency:
The legal tender is the Bahamian dollar (B$1), which is equivalent in value to the US dollar. Most of the times, you can either pay in US Dollars or Bahamian Dollars.

Weather:
The Bahamas consist of more than 700 islands and cays, many of which are not inhabitated. The islands cover an area of 100,000 square miles of Atlantic Ocean, located between Hispaniola and South Florida.
Bahama welcomes its visitors with an ideal climate avaeraging 80-90 degrees F in the summer and 70 – 80 degrees F during the winter month. Water temperatures in the Bahamas are never below 72 degrees F.

Rainy season is between May and September, but showers generally come and go very quickly.

Average Temperatures:

Month Temp (F) Humidity (%) Rain/month (inches)
January 62/77 78 (%) 1.86
April 66/82 74 (%) 2.12
July 75/90 77 (%) 6.21
October 71/86 80 2.23

Custom Regulations:

Upon entering The Bahamas, everyone must fill out and sign an Immigration form, keeping a portion of the card in hand until departing. Adults are allowed to bring a maximum of 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes or one pound of tobacco, one quart of spirits, and a variety of personal effects. Purchases up to a value of one hundred dollars are permitted by all arriving passengers.

When departing, all visitors (over 6 years old)are required to pay a $15.00 departure tax ($18.00 from Grand Bahama); Departures to the US must go through US Customs pre-clearance. you may bring home up to US$600 worth of duty-free merchandise. The next $l,000 is taxed at 10%. Gifts valued up to $50 may be mailed home duty-free. One litre of wine, liqueur or liquor and five cartons of cigarettes can be taken duty-free.

Banking Hours:
Banks in Nassauare opened from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday
and 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Please note that banking hours vary throughout the Islands.

Electricity:
Electricity is normally 120 volts AC. American appliances are fully compatible.

Tipping:
Waiters and Tab drivers receive 15% according to quality of service. Bellboys and porters usually receive $1 per bag. Some establishments include the gratuity in their bills.

Getting Around:
Driving in the Bahamas is influenced by the British, so cars drive on the left. Visitors can drive using their home license for up to three months and may also apply for an international driver’s license. Pedestrians please be careful and remember to look to your right before crossing streets.

Taxi’s are located at the international airports, major hotels and downtown Nassau.
Meter Cabs: Davis Street, Nassau – 242-323-5111
Bahamas Taxi Cab Union: Nassau Street – 242-323-4555

Buses run throughout the day normally until dusk every 30 minutes.. Buses to the Cable beach area leave from Navy Lion Road North depot. Buses to the Eastern area leave from Frederick Street North depot. Buses to the malls leave from Marlbourgh Street East.

Medical Services:
Princess Margaret Hospital – 242-322-2861
Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre – 242-324-6881
Doctor’s Hospital – 242-322-8411
C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Fort Fincastle and the Water Tower
Top of Elizabeth Ave. hill, south of Shirley St
Fort Fincastle is located atop the Queen’s Staircase. The structure was completed in 1793 and it served as a lookout post for looters trying to sneak in through the harbor. It later served as a lighthouse. The fort’s 126-ft-tall water tower is recorded as being the highest point on the island
Fort Charlotte
Fort Charlotte is the largest fort in the Bahamas. It was built in 1788 and features a traditional moat and dungeons. It also boasts one of the best views of Nassau.

Crystal Cay
Tel: (242) 328-1036
The Crystal Cay Marine Park is notably one of the world’s finest underwater parks. The park was built around an existing reef, and visitors can explore exhibits both above and below the surface.

Botanical Gardens
Tel: (242) 323-5975
Chippingham
off West Bay St
Enjoy lushfull gardens with more than 600 tropical species.

Paintings by Amos Ferguson
2nd floor of the Pompey Museum
Bay Street, Nassau
(242) 326-2566/8
Sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, a permanent Art Exhibition spotlights paintings of internationally acclaimed Bahamian artist Amos Ferguson. Ferguson’s “primitive” paintings are grouped by four main themes: history, religion, nature and folklore. Museum Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Mon. – Fri.; 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on alternate Sats. Closed on Sun. and holidays. Location: 2nd floor of the Pompey Museum, Bay Street, Nassau. Donation.

Junkanoo Expo
(242) 356-2731
Open daily 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
A new attraction at Nassau’s waterfront. The first Museum of it’s kind showcasing large, colorful, intricately deigned artistic creations from recently passed Junkanoo parades, held annually on December 26th and New Year’s Day. The Expo complex also includes a souvenir boutique, with Junkanoo paintings and a variety of Junkanoo craft.

Bahamas Historical Society Museum Pompey Museum
Elizabeth Avenue and Shirley Street, Nassau
(242) 326-2566/8
An ongoing exhibition, displaying A RESERVOIR OF HISTORY, comprising a collection and preservation of historic, anthropological and archaeological Bahamian artifacts. Hours: Weekdays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m; Sat. 10:00 a.m.- Noon. Closed Sun. and holidays. Tours available. Admission fee.

Balcony House
(242) 322-2193, The original design of this wooden house was a transplant of late 18th century southeast American architecture. The present design and furnishings, recently restored between 1992 and 1993, have sought to recapture the ambience of this historic period. Admission: Free, however donations are welcome. Tours are provided. Hours: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily, except Thursdays. Closed Thur. & holidays.

Changing of the Guards Ceremony
Government House Grounds
Baillou Hill Road
five minutes from downtown Nassau
(242) 322-2020
A fortnightly tradition of pomp and pageantry marking the changing of the Guard at Government House, the residence of the Governor General, personal representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The internationally renowned Royal Bahamas Police Force Band proudly performs. Time: 10:00 a.m.

The Retreat
(242) 393-1317
Here at the 11-acre home of The Bahamas National Trust, environmentalists and nature lovers can enjoy and tour this natural haven of native flora. Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Mon. – Fri. Tours: Commence at 11:45 a.m., for half an hour, Tue., Wed. & Thur.

Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
Exuma Islands
This park, inaugurated in 1958, is the first of its kind anywhere on the planet. It comprises 176 square miles of outstanding anchorages and a stunning marine environment. It was the Caribbean’s first marine fishery reserve. Many a worldly yachtsperson will tell you that the Exumas are the world’s most picturesque yachting grounds.

Inagua National Park
Great Inagua Island
This park on Great Inagua island is internationally famous as the site of the world’s largest colony of wild West Indian flamingos. In Bahamian dialect these birds are called “fillymingos” and/or “flamingas”.

Island World Adventures Ltd
Tel: (242) 394-8960/61, evenings 357-7782
Private charter and offshore excursions throughout The Bahamas. Daily excursions to Exuma Island. Explore and snorkel around private islands, feed stingrays, sharks, barracudas and experience the beauty of the Bahama waters.

Glass Bottom Boat Tours
Sunshine Tours
Tel: (242) 363-4051
Sightseeing and glass bottom boat excursions. Enjoy a great underwater adventure!

Ardastra Gardens and Zoo
This is the place to come to see flamingoes, the national bird as well as many other wild animals. Great place for the whole family.

Cable Beach
Cable Beach is a famous beach on the island of New Providence where you’ll find a wide range of activities, and every service will be at your fingertips. Water-skiing, windsurfing, diving, fishing, sailing, parasailing, seaside restaurants, beach bars, local entertainment–if you can think of it, you’ll probably find it there.

Dolphin Encounters
Tel: (242) 363-5066
Swim and dive with bottle-nosed dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island.

Hartley’s Underwater Walk
Tel: (242) 393-8234
Walk along the ocean bottom with expert guides without getting your hair wet by donning a Hartley’s helmet. This unique invention lets you enjoy undersea beauty while staying dry. You can even keep your glasses on! Children over 5 and non-swimmers welcome.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Ardastra Gardens and Zoo
This is the place to come to see flamingoes, the national bird as well as many other wild animals. Great place for the whole family.

Dolphin Encounters
Tel: (242) 363-5066
Swim and dive with bottle-nosed dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island.

Hartley’s Underwater Walk
PO Box SS-5244
Tel: (242) 393-8234
Walk along the ocean bottom with expert guides with out getting your hair wet by donning a Hartley’s helmet. This unique invention lets you enjoy undersea beauty while staying dry. You can even keep your glasses on! Children over 5 and non-swimmers welcome.

Crystal Cay
Tel: (242) 328-1036
The Crystal Cay Marine Park is notably one of the world’s finest underwater parks. The park was built around an existing reef, and visitors can explore an array of exhibits both above and below the surface.

Pirates Of Nassau Museum
Marlborough& George Streets
242-356-3759
Ahoy Matey! Embark on this pirate ship and come face to face with Captain Teach. Captain Teach and his fearsome crew will guide the whole family through an interactive and historical age of piracy. The thrilling atmosphere is contagious, and it is here where visitors have the opportunity to become pirates for a day!

E- Events & Entertainment:
Bird Walk
The first Saturday in every month at 8:00 a.m.
Rand Nature Centre
Grand Bahama Island
(242) 352-5438
Birdwatching enthusiasts can enjoy a walk through this bird sanctuary.

Central Bank Art Exhibition
Each month, during January – April
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m, Mon. – Fri.
Central Bank Gallery
Trinity Place & Frederick Street
Downtown Nassau
(242) 327-7562
view varied artwork displayed by different Bahamian artists

Native “King & Knights” Show
Nassau Beach Hotel, Cable Beach
Show Times: Tue.-Sat.: 8:30 p.m. (& 10:30 p.m. depending upon attendance)
Sun. & Mon.: 8:30 p.m. show only
(242) 327-5321
For exciting indigenous entertainment in Nassau, visit our native King & Knights Show, offering fire-dancing and limbo-dancing.

New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade
January 1
On Bay Street, downtown Nassau
starting at 1:00 a.m.
(242) 394-0445
Junkanoo, a kaleidoscope of sound and spectacle (a bit of Mardi Gras, Mummer’s Parade and ancient African tribal ritual) takes place. Prize-giving is at 8:00 a.m. The parade is a repeat of the Boxing Day Parade, held December 26 past. On this occasion, costumes and themes are different from Boxing Day.

Annual New Year’s Sailing Regatta
January 1-2
Montagu Bay
(242) 394-0445
Thirty to 40 locally built sailing sloops, ranging from 17′ to 28′, converge off Montagu Bay in a battle for championship. A continuation from the Christmas Regatta held December 25 & 26, 1997. Organised by the Bahamas Boat Owners Association. A spectator boat is available for a close-up view of races.

The Polar Bear Swim
January 1, from 12:30 p.m
Beach behind Rock ‘N’ Roll Cafe
Cable Beach
(242) 322-6504
Each New Year’s, a fun time, with beach party and a customary (snowbirds) swim in the sea amongst giant ice cubes (Brrrr!).

Dundas Repertory Season
January 26 – May 30
(242) 393-3728
Plays, executed by Bahamian artists, are held at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, Mackey Street, Nassau.

Spring Breack Season
February 28 – April 10
(242) 322-7500, ext. 4350
A season of festivities for vacationing college and high school students. Exciting beach parties, sports meets and musical entertainment are some of the highlights of a packed Spring Break calendar. For further details, contact the Social Hostess or front desk of your hotel. Activities are also arranged on Grand Bahama Island and the other major Islands Of The Bahamas.

Cricket Season
March – November
Haynes Oval
West Bay Street
(242) 325-6396 or (242) 326-4720 (evening)
Cricket matches are played every Sat. & Sun. during Cricket Season at Nassau. Games begin at 12:00 Noon.

Rugby Season
end of September – end of April
(242) 328-7888 or (242) 326-8000
Winton Rugby Field
off Prince Charles Drive, Nassau
Rugby matches are played during the Rugby Season. Don’t miss out on a game loved by the Bahamians.

Boxing Day
December 27 (Official date is December 26)
A public holiday. The day is a traditional English holiday started centuries ago when leftover Christmas goodies were boxed by nobility and landlords and given to servants and tenants.

Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade
December 27 (Tentative)
On Bay Street, downtown Nassau
(242) 394-0445
During the early morning hours (starting at 1:00 a.m.)
Junkanoo is a kaleidoscope of sound and spectacle (a bit of Mardi Gras, Mummer’s Parade and ancient African tribal ritual). Revellers, dressed in colorful costumes of crepe paper, parade through the streets to the sounds of cowbells, goatskin drums, whistles and many other homemade instruments. Prize-giving is at 8 a.m. The parade is repeated on New Year’s Day, January 1.