Doctor's Cave Beach Club
, Montego Bay
Montego Bay is the capital of St. James Parish and the second largest city in Jamaica by area and the fourth by population .It is a tourist destination with duty free shopping, cruise line terminal and the beaches...
(also known as Doctor's Cave Bathing Club) has been one of the most famous beaches in Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...
for nearly a century.
It is noted for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and near-white sand. Its sheltered location provides calm waters encouraging even the most diffident swimmers to practice safely.
Dr. Alexander James McCatty had founded a sanatorium in Montego Bay in 1880. He allowed his friends, including several doctors, to bathe at his small beach, which was entered through a cave. In 1906 he donated the property to the community, and the private members club was formed, which continues to this day.
In the 1920s, Sir Herbert Barker
Sir Herbert Atkinson Barker was an English manipulative surgeon. He developed a highly successful technique, specialising in knee and other damaged joints both in the top sportsmen and the general public. He advocated the avoidance of surgery. However, his methods were never formally approved by...
, an English osteopath, visited the beach and was impressed by the curative powers of the waters. He wrote an article which helped the beach become well known and gradually hotels were built nearby so that tourists could enjoy the beach.
To mark the centenary of the club a 15 feet (4.6 m) bronze statue, Balance
, by Basil Watson was unveiled on 18 November 2006. It features a woman being balanced above a man with their arms at full stretch.
The beach has a broad swath of very clean, near-white sand some 200 m long. It is fringed by trees, and has numerous facilities: bar, restaurant, well-appointed changing rooms and showers. For members there are several club rooms.
As well as for members, the beach is open to the public (entry J$450/US$5.00). Chairs, umbrellas, and snorkel gear are available for rent (J$450/US$5.00 each). The beach can get crowded in season, but out of season its peace is only disturbed by the chant of holidaymakers undergoing organised games in the adjacent Breezes Hotel property some 200 m away.
The beach is part of the protected Montego Bay Marine Park, which has many species to be seen on coral reefs which can be viewed by snorkellers, probably using local boats to access the best locations.