When most people think of Jamaica, they think of the beautiful beaches and the amazing weather. And they would be right! The island enjoys warm temperatures year-round, with only a slight dip in December and January. But what is the best time to visit Jamaica? When is the rainy season? What about hurricane season? When are festivals and special events?
This blog post will answer your questions about when to travel to Jamaica!
The best time to go to Jamaica
Jamaica is a great place to visit any time, but the best time to travel is from December to April. This is when the island experiences its dry season, with very little rainfall. However, this is also the busiest time of year for tourism, so accommodation and flights may be more expensive. If you want a cheaper trip, you can travel to Jamaica in the summer (June to November), but be aware that this is the island’s rainy season.
Hurricane season in Jamaica typically runs from June to November, so if you want to avoid any storms, it is best to visit during the dry season. However, hurricane activity can vary yearly, so it is always a good idea to check the forecast before you travel.
The best time to visit Jamaica is from December to April when the weather is dry and sunny. However, there are benefits to visiting during other times of the year. For example, consider traveling during summer if you want a cheaper trip. And if you want to avoid hurricane season, plan your trip for the dry season. Whatever time of year you decide to visit, Jamaica will surely give you a memorable experience.
Is Jamaica safe to visit? Find out here.
Sunbathing and relaxing are your reasons for visiting. No problem, an all-inclusive hotel will do. There are many great ones to choose from.
Whatever your interest, here is a guide to help you decide the best time to travel to Jamaica.
The best time to visit Jamaica for warm weather without the high humidity
It is always warm in Jamaica, even in winter. Yearly temperature ranges from 86°F (21°C) to 91°F (24°C). If you want to enjoy the warmth of the island, mid-December to Mid-April is the best time to visit.
There are fewer interruptions during your vacation because rainfall is low. As a result, the days are warm, but nights, especially in mountainous areas, are cold. A windbreaker or jacket is enough to keep you warm at night.
You will have a wonderful time visiting Jamaica during Christmas because the island is festive.
Traditional foods and drinks are in abundance.
The day before Christmas _ the Grand Market, is a unique experience. Shoppers crowd the streets of every major town. Music play on every corner and street parties last all night.
Best time to vacation in Jamaica without the crowd
Mid-April to May is the best time to visit Jamaica if you avoid tourist traffic. It is after spring break and before the start of the June to November hurricane season. Although the rainy season begins in May, you will get time to enjoy your stay. Do your outdoor activities early because it rains typically in the late afternoon.
Waiting in lines at the buffet forever to get a drink is a drag on your vacation. However, with fewer people, service is almost instant and the staff more friendly.
You don’t have to wake early to get a beach chair under the shade to relax all day. Hotels are below capacity, so there is enough for everyone.
Room prices are fantastic with sometimes up to fifty percent discount.
Use a travel agent to find great hotels and amazing deals. This is how they could help.
Best time to travel to Jamaica on a budget
June to November is the best time to travel to Jamaica on a budget. It is hurricane season, so fewer tourists travel to the island. Also, it is summer in North America and Europe, so no winter to escape.
Airline tickets are cheaper, and hotels offer discounts to attract visitors to their properties. Some resorts might use this period to do upgrades or repairs to their property, so sections might not be available.
Many last-minute deals are available; you can use them by booking closer to your travel. However, if you travel during Jamaica’s independence celebration, make reservations months in advance.
Jamaica’s emancipation is the first day in August, and independence is on the sixth. Parties on the North Coast start from the first until the sixth; Jamaicans from all over the island and diaspora and tourists travel to the North Coast to party for the entire week. Accommodation is expensive or hard to find if you book at the last minute.
Mid-July is another period where hotel prices also increase, and accommodation is hard to find. This is because of a one-week yearly music festival on the North Coast_ Reggae Sound Splash.
Public transport is cheap for budget travelers to get around the island. Learn how-to here.
The best time to visit Jamaica for festivals/parties
Jamaica is the entertainment capital of the Caribbean. If you want to experience parties and festivals in Jamaica, here is a great one. Jamaicans love to party, so there is always a party or Jamaica music show.
Holidays such as Easter, Independence & Emancipation, and Christmas are the most active.
Apart from parties and festivals, there are also plays. They are dramatic and humorous and highlight aspects of the island’s culture.
Jamaicans love to laugh and tell overly dramatic stories. The most mundane story told by a Jamaican will sound like a Hollywood blockbuster.
The theater scene is underdeveloped, so there are few consistent shows of high quality.
A popular production by Patrick Brown.
Christmas\New Year’s Eve is a great time to visit Jamaica
Everybody looks forward to Christmas, especially families. For some, it’s their only chance to spend time with their loved ones. Jamaicans love to visit relatives they haven’t seen all year.
Every town or district gets a facelift. The places seem cleaner and lighter during Christmas. Houses are clean, painted, and new curtains have been put up.
Females get their hair done and buy the latest fashion to attend many parties.
Traditional foods and drinks are in abundance.
The Celebrations start on Christmas Eve with Grand Market. Every major town’s street buzzes with shoppers ensuring they have everything for Christmas day. Music on every street corner and street parties that last the entire night.
Christmas/ New Year tradition in Jamaica
There can be no Jamaican Christmas without Christmas dinner. Food is in abundance at the table.
Parties are frequent, from Grand Market night to the New Year.
New Year’s Eve is special for religious folks; they normally spend the entire night at church singing and praying. However, some people will stay in church until twelve midnight and then go to parties.
It is a tradition for the new year to catch people at church, whether; they are Christians or not.
Sting is an excellent Dancehall show to catch
Sting is a one-night reggae show held on 26 December for over thirty years at Jam World in Portmore. Its Dancehall focus is used as a litmus test to determine who is the hottest dancehall artist.
You will enjoy this show if you are a fan of this genre (the younger version of Reggae). Trending artists have lyrical battles to decide the (baddest–Jamaican for best) DJ on the island, with the crowd of up to thirty-thousand people being the ultimate judge.
Sting’s crowd is unforgiving and will let a performer know when their performance is not up to par. Few boos and an unresponsive audience is early warning. Failure to take a cue and leave the stage can be detrimental. Glass bottles landing on the stage signal that an entertainer needs to leave immediately.
Rebel Salute is the best show for wholesome Reggae music.
Rebel Salute is a reggae festival held annually on 15 January. It started in 1994 to celebrate the birthday of reggae icon Tony Rebel. Thus the name Rebel Salute.
This festival started in Manchester, Jamaica but later Moved to Richmond Park Saints Anns after spending some years in St. Elizabeth. It was also a one-night event but expanded to two.
This is the biggest music festival on the island, which focuses on Roots Reggae.
They sell no meat or alcohol at this event, except for fish. So if you are a jerk pork or chicken lover or red stripe beer drinker, this is not the festival for you.
If you sacrifice meat and alcohol for a few hours, you will get wholesome Roots Reggae entertainment of the highest caliber. That is a worthwhile trade.
As with the Rastafarian religion, weed is in abundance at this festival. They got special permission to have the herb at this event in 2016. So patrons could indulge freely without interference from the police.
The venue is just 15 minutes outside Ochi, about an hour from Montego, and 1 1/2 from Kingston.
So guests can stay at resorts in Ochi or Montego Bay or travel from Kingston.
Jamaica Carnival season is the best time to visit Jamaica
Jamaica, the land of Reggae and Rasta. Few would associate Carnival with this island. People scantily dress in colorful costumes, gyrating on each other to soca music, on Kingston streets, which contradicts Rastafarian’s conservative image.
Although not accepted by the mainstream, Dancehall culture is not more risque than Carnival. Except for the music and colorful costumes, both exhibit identical behaviors.
Trinidad is undoubtedly the home of carnival, but Jamaica has adopted it. Only Trinidad now rivals the carnival scene in Jamaica.
Since it started in 1990, it has only gotten bigger. Unlike Dancehall, which caters mostly to the poorer class, some people perceive carnival as an uptown or middle-class event. However, this perception changes as a wider cross-section of the island gets involved.
Carnival season kicks off in Ocho Rios and ends in Kingston with a road march. Carnival preparation starts in late December with a series of fitness activities called SocaRobics. Road marches and popular parties start from mid to the end of April.
Best time to catch Calabash Jamaica literary festival
Calabash is a literary festival held every two years at Jakes Hotel in Treasure Beach, Saint Elizabeth. Best-selling Jamaican author Colin Channer teamed up with Justine Henzell and Kwame Dawes to start this festival in 2001.
Held over three days, this literary event exposes Jamaican talents among international writers and presenters. With the Caribbean sea as its backdrop and the rustic Jakes’s property, Calabash is like no other festival on earth.
Thousand of Jamaicans and visitors have partaken in this unique experience.
Calabash 2021 will be from May 28-30. This is the best time to visit Jamaica if you have soul cleansing and an authentic Jamaica experience. The famous Jacke’s property offers commotion at its villas and boutique. Eat locally grown organic food from Jack Sprat restaurant or chill at Lover’s Leap and enjoy the scenic view.
Portland Jerk Fest is the best food festival on the island
Portland, Jamaica, arguably the most beautiful parish on the island and the best jerk pork. Boston, Portland, is the best spot for this succulent delicacy, so it’s only fitting that the Portland Jerk Fest started there.
In 2001, the Boston community in Portland hosted the first Jerk Festival. It later moved to Folly Great House in the parish. This event is on the first Sunday of July. It is a family-oriented event where you can take the entire family for wholesome entertainment.
Portland Jerk Fest starts at 10 am and ends at 8 pm.
The staging of the Portland Jerk Fest is the best time to visit Jamaica if you want to taste the island’s signature cuisine, jerk chicken and pork. Also, you will enjoy one of the most beautiful parishes on the island. Visiting attractions such as Blue Hole and Nanny Falls should be on your to-do list.
You could stay at Great Huts, GeeJam, or the Trident Hotel. Of course, there is also the cheaper Airbnb alternative.
Celebrations and influential Jamaicans showcase their cooking skills in cooking for competitions. In addition, popular local entertainers perform live.
Reggae Sound Fest _ best time to experience Jamaica music
Reggae Sumfest started in 1993; it has run continuously for 27 years. Sumfest highlights Jamaica’s Indigenous music, which has influenced many international chart-toppers.
This festival showcases different aspects of the island’s music culture. The week-long festival starts with a beach party, a street dance, and a soundclash.
The original venue for Sumfest was Catherine Hall, but it later moved to Drax Hall in Saint Ann. This is a larger venue, so crowd control and traffic management are better.
They spread the festival over several nights to accommodate the different music categories. Each night draws a unique crowd.
Reggae Sumfest takes place in mid-July. If you are planning to attend this show, make reservations early. Rooms get expensive during this period, especially in the Ocho Rios area.
Like most things, the 2020 version went virtually. The two nights even streamed on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. According to organizers, the first night had 125000 live views on its official pages and over 500,000 live views on the second.
Dream weekend to best time to partake in the local party culture
Jamaicans love to party, and Dream Weekends offers the island’s best parties. This conglomerate merges the hottest parties held in Negril during the Jamaica Independence celebration.
Nine parties over five days showcase Jamaica’s Reggae and Dancehall culture. It’s highly energetic and features what’s hot on the Jamaica party scene. Patrons taste what makes Jamaica unique, from soundclash to stage shows and theme parties.
You can choose which time is best for you because it’s a day and night event. Day parties start at 9 am and end at 9 pm, while the night events are from 10 pm to 4 am.
Patrons can buy one armband that gives access to all parties or parties they want to attend. This festival is Jamaican-owned, so you get an authentic feel of Jamaican culture.
People come from all over the world to party in Negril.
If you are staying on the Negril hip strip, shuttle buses can take you from your hotel to the parties. In addition, bike taxis are also available in the Westmoreland culture.
Negril’s vibe differs from Montego Bay and Kingston, and the area is safe. Use precautions you would use in cities across the world. Covid causes the cancelation of Dream Weekend 2020.
Dream Weekend website, tickets, and updates
When is the best time to visit Jamaica?
It all depends on what you want to experience.
Get events, dates, things to do, places to stay, and travel protocols to Jamaica here.