You Are At: AllSands Home > Travel > Places > What to do in Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Runaway Bay is a long stretch of white sands situated on the north coast of Jamaica. History tells us that the bay got its name because it was the departure point for many runaway slaves after the last Spanish governor was defeated by the British.

The Bay has a string of small hotels which runs along the edge of the blue water that offer comprehensive activities and sports to keep its guests entertained. However, should you wish to venture out from your resort, you’ll find an island with much to offer.

The Runaway Caves are a great place for tourists to visit. The history behind the caves claims that the Spanish governor Ysassi hid there before making good his escape. The caves were first known to be used by the Arawak Indians and later became the haunt of pirates and smugglers, and then a place of refuge for slaves. The caves were discovered in 1838. Since it is very popular with tourists, the best time to go is either early morning or late afternoon.

The Green Grotto is a great underground vaulted chamber filled with eerie water. Your guide will take you for a trip around the grotto in a metal boat. The lake is populated with crayfish, mullet and eel, all blind. The lake is tidal and part salt – part freshwater. You’ll need a guide for the boat ride, but otherwise you can go alone.

If you’d like to ride in a glass-bottomed boat then the best place to do this is in Runaway Bay. Or if you’d prefer a closer look at the colourful corals and pretty fish many of the hotels hire snorkelling equipment. The marine life is abundant, with over 50 varieties of coral, sponge, sea urchins, starfish and fish like moonshine snapper, peacock flounders, small octopus, batfish and tangs. Guided tours are widely available, or if you’d like to go it alone many hotels have their own instructors, and you will need to have a short lesson before you go.

Runaway Bay has its own golf course of the same name. All Jamaican courses are professional and well watered and rarely overcrowded. You’ll need to be a professional with your own equipment for most courses, ask at your travel agent or ring the course direct for comprehensive details.

Water sports are everywhere so make sure you don’t leave without trying something you’ve never tried before. For the inexperienced try paragliding, where you are attached to a speedboat via a harness and are lifted up into the air as the boat picks up speed. From the views you can see far along the north coast.

If you love horse riding or have never tried it before then go to Chukka Cove, a good riding school and stables. You can go on a daylong guided tour along Runaway Bay and parts of the North Coast (payable locally).

If you love your food try Cardiff Hall, The Runaway H.E.A.R.T. Country Club. A break from the relaxed and laid back Jamaican experience, this is a highly professional restaurant that serves traditional Jamaican and international dishes. A meal here would cost in the region of J$220-J$560 (US $10-25).

Columbus Park, just a short journey from Runaway Bay heading to Montego Bay offers some interesting relics of early Jamaican history.

If you are holidaying in February in Runaway Bay don’t miss the annual Bob Marley Birthday Bash, a reggae concert in celebration of the singer. Normally held at Chukka Cove Polo Tournament, Runaway Bay.
For tickets for annual events contact the Jamaica Tourist Board in advance:
London: 11 Gloucester Place, London W1H 3PH Tel: (0171) 224 0505.
US: Atlanta: 300 West Wienca Road, Suite 100A, NE, Atlanta, Ga 30342. Tel: (404) 250 9991.
Chicago: 36 South Wabash Avenue, Suite 1210, Chicago, IL 60603; Tel: (312) 346 1546.
Los Angeles: 3400 Wiltshire Boulevard, Suite 1207, Los Angeles, Ca 90010; Tel. (213) 384 1123.
Miami: 1320 South Dixie Highway, Suite 1100, Coral Gables, Miami, Fl 33146; Tel. (305) 665 0557.
New York: 866 Second Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10017; Tel. (212) 688 7650.