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tying the knot: marriage license requirements

Marriage Requirements for Jamaica

Residency Requirement: 24 hours
Necessary Documents: Certified copies of birth certificates that include father's name; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable)
Note: Application must be made 48 hours in advance of trip by calling the Ministry of National Security at (876) 906-4908.
For More Info: Jamaica Tourist Board, (800) 233-4582, or http://www.jamaicatravel.com

Caribbean: Jamaica - Montego Bay

Home to beautiful beaches and all-inclusive resorts, you'll want to come back again and again.

Kingston may be Jamaica's capital, but Montego Bay owns tourism and shopping. Ever since Sandals opened the first all-inclusive resort near the Montego Bay airport on the northwest coast of the island, "MoBay" has been the tropical destination for young honeymooners on a budget or strapped for time.

In a Word: Shopping

Browse for island crafts such as woodcarvings, paintings, straw bags, and silk batiks at the colorful crafts market, called the "bend down" (and pick things up) market. (Be forewarned: Sellers are insistent. Be polite and don't hesitate to haggle.) Gloucester Avenue has many galleries and duty-free shops, but be patient -- buy rum, Jamaica-born Tia Maria, and handmade Macanudo cigars at the airport on your way home to keep baggage light during your trip.

before you go: need-to-know info

  • Entry requirements: Passport or certified birth certificate and state-issued picture ID; return ticket
  • Language: English, patois (Jamaican Creole words)
  • Currency: Jamaican dollar (J$), US dollar
  • Flight time: 4 hrs from NYC, 7.5 hrs from LA, 6 hrs from Chicago
  • Hotel tax and service charge: 10% tax, service charge varies
  • Tipping: 10%-15% if not included
  • Getting around: Licensed JUTA taxi recommended
  • Inspiration: Listen to Bob Marley
  • Note: Always ask permission before taking a picture of a Rastafarian
  • More info: Jamaica Tourist Board, (800) 233-4582

Why We'd Go: 5 Features You'll Never Forget

  • Golf: MoBay is laden with picturesque, world-class golf greens, including links at Half Moon Golf Club, Tyrall Golf Club, Ironshore Golf and Country Club, and Wyndham Rose Hall Country Club.

  • River rafting: Take the slow, scenic route down the Martha Brae River on a long bamboo raft built for two. (The river was named after an Arawak Indian girl who used her supernatural powers to change the course of the water to drown her Spanish captors, and herself, and keep them from finding a local gold mine.) A guide perched at the front of the raft does all the work, allowing you and yours to sit back, snack, and soak up the sights.

  • Haunted houses: Tour the spooky Rose Hall Great House where Annie Palmer, who was known as the White Witch, brutally murdered three husbands and a plantation overseer who was her lover. Visitors claim that they can see reflections of the murderess in pictures they take of the dining room's chandelier and her bed's headboard.

  • Medicinal properties: Turn-of-the-(last)-century travelers visited the popular Doctor's Cave Beach because its waters were reputed to cure almost any ailment. For earthly remedies, visit the Maroons in Cockpit Country, 15 miles inland from MoBay. These descendents of fugitive slaves who won their independence from imperialistic England live in untaxed and practically ungoverned harmony, and are considered the island's greatest herbalists.

  • Island eats and nightlife: Savory food and hours of dancing will occupy your evenings.

When to Go: Montego Bay at its Best

  • Best weather: December to April. Rain (called "liquid sunshine") is common, especially in October.

  • Best prices: Mid-April to mid-December; exact dates vary by hotel. Hurricane season swirls from June to November (September is trickiest).

  • Festival highlights: Carnival, the highlight of the Jamaican year, is held every April; reggae lovers flock to the Reggae Sumfest every August.

Photo: The Jamaica Tourist Board

-- Lori Seto

See More: Caribbean + S. America , Caribbean + S. America