Lucea's charm extends beyond its coastal white-sand beaches, private coves and picture-perfect sunsets, spreading into the tiny colonial town that serves host to a busy weekly Saturday market. Nestled between Montego Bay and Negril, Lucea is a pristine, tranquil pit stop spared - for now - from the relentless tourist crowds increasingly eyeing this uncharted Jamaican getaway.
Do & See
Fort Charlotte was built in 1746 to protect Jamaica's northwest from naval attacks. It was given the name "Fort Charlotte" in honor of King George III's marriage to queen Charlotte and enjoyed a reputation of being one of the best-kept forts in Jamaica.
The Court House
Lucea's most striking landmark is the Court House, a grand clock tower its signature aspect. It was dispatched to St. Lucia in 1817, but an error in delivery saw it landing in Lucea. The residents grew fond of it and refused to send it on to St. Lucia, keeping it a local landmark to this day.
Hanover Parish Church
The Hanover Parish Church was constructed in 1725 on the ruins of an older Spanish church. The church's steeple was taken down after it sustained serious damage from an earthquake in 1957. It is widely believed that an underground tunnel connects the church to Fort Charlotte.
MoBay, the nickname Montego Bay goes by locally, rose to prominence once a certain Sir Herbert Barker deemed swimming in a particular spot along its coastline to have exceptional health benefits. And while the curative effects of Doctor’s Cave waters remain up for debate, its striking aesthetic and promise of frolic certainly do not – MoBay remains a potent crowd-pleaser, accepting incomers on the daily, by the shipload.
Do & See
Doctor’s Cave Beach
The divine white-sand beach was once believed to be washed over by waters with strong curative properties. Today, over a century later, the possible medicinal effect has been eclipsed by its popularity with leisure vacationers, either idling in the sun or engaging in water sports (equipment available for hire).
Montego Bay Marine Park
The Montego Bay Marine Park emerged as part of the effort to protect and preserve the fragile flora and fauna of the area, damaged by human activity and pollution. Guides can be hired a few days in advance, to accompany visitors on activities like snorkelling and canoeing.
The Luminous Lagoon, just a short drive east of Montego Bay, is one of the few places in the world where the so-called "glistening waters" can be observed. At night, the waters of the lagoon light up with shining cerulean lights, forged by movement of rare microorganisms inhabiting its floor. Guided tours with a stop for bathing depart from the Glistening Waters Marina.