Best kept secret
More than two years after the $1.3-billion Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay was opened to the public, many people still haven’t visited. They’re missing out. It’s the perfect place to spend the day lounging in the sunny resort city. It prides itself on being Jamaica’s only free-access beach park so there’s no entry fee for general use. It’s also available for booking if you have an event.
Strategically located on the Howard Cooke and Jimmy Cliff boulevards, the beach park is easy to get to whether you’re on foot or driving. There are ample parking spaces on the property starting from $200 per hour for cars and $400 for buses, plus there are additional spaces at a paid parking lot off Howard Cooke Boulevard.
Officially opened in May 2021, Harmony Beach Park is managed by the State-run Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and we recently caught up with Communication Officer Latoya Chambers who provided a quick update on how it’s been going since then.
She said the facility offers a one-of-a-kind experience in Montego Bay.
“The idyllic oasis offers a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle with its safe and welcoming environment for people of all ages,” Chambers told the Jamaica Observer’s LetsTravelCaribbean.com.
The 16-acre property boasts lush green spaces, a beautiful white sand beach, and a 600-metre jogging trail made from rubberised material that’s perfect for fitness lovers. The park is dotted with benches and low ledges where you can sit a while. Or you may opt to spread a towel on a section of the green area and seek out the shade of a tree. There is also a basketball court where friends can shoot some hoops and catch up, along with a complete play area for children to run around.
There is something for everyone to do once they enter the gates of Harmony Beach Park. If you like to be a bit adventurous when you’re in the water, there is a huge inflatable obstacle course a few strokes from the sand. Just rent a life vest and you’re ready to go explore. Don’t worry; lifeguards are strategically positioned to keep a watchful eye on everyone.
Nature lovers will be pleased to know that the park is also home to several species of plants that are endemic to Jamaica. These have been planted throughout the grounds, adding to the overall aesthetic of the facility, and in keeping with the push for an environmentally sustainable park.
There are adequate outdoor showers, rest rooms, two changing facilities and lockers for rent so guests utilising the beach can slip in and out of their beachwear with ease and in comfort, safe in the knowledge that their belongings are secure.
Do you need to cool down on a hot day? Check out the ice cream shop located on property. It’s an easy way to break the ice on a first date. It’s also a favourite with parents who indulge their children in a Sunday treat and leisurely stroll around the park.
Hungry after a few hours of swimming and lolling on the beach? There are restaurants and shops a few steps away from the white sand. Whether you are grabbing a juicy beef burger from Suzie’s Beach Grill or a jerked leg and thigh meal from Fyah Side Jerk, Harmony Beach Park is the place to be.
As Chambers explained, it is “an excellent destination for a range of events, from family picnics to larger gatherings like the Jamaica Family Fest. It offers a space for communities to come together and enjoy their time”.
For example, on the last Sunday of each month it’s the venue for MoBay Reggae Nights, a showcase of local food, culture and entertainment.
Those interested in booking the park for events may send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. There are a host of areas to choose from, including the majestic Grand Plaza.
“The costs will vary based on the areas needed for the event and whether parking will be required,” Chambers explained.
It’s safe to say that, for those in the know, Harmony Beach Park has become ‘the’ place to be.
Opening Hours: Daily
Park: 6 am to 10 pm
Beach: 9 am to 5 pm