If you’re planning your next holiday, Jamaica is the place to go. It’s the liveliest, most compelling, and most fascinating English-speaking Caribbean island—and also one of the most beautiful.
Jamaica is the 3rd largest Caribbean island and has all you need for the ideal beach vacation—think the sea, sun, reggae, and fun, and you’ve got the perfect destination to help you relax and reinvent your life.
Although Jamaica’s weather is tropical, it may vary slightly. For the best possible experience, you definitely need to figure out the right time to visit the island. As such, here are some things to keep in mind when deciding on your best time to tour Jamaica.
Visiting Jamaica is always a blast, but the weather can be an important factor when it comes to deciding when to go. Below is a month-to-month summary of the weather you can expect during your vacation.
Beachgoers come to Jamaica at this time—especially for spring break in late March—as the temperatures are breezy and idyllic long after the hurricane season.
But if you hope to avoid crowds and save some cash, don’t plan your holiday for this time. If you want to visit during this period, book your accommodation at least 2-3 months in advance.
The weather may be a bit rainy, but the average temperatures are in the mid-70 to mid-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the mist, the beaches and golf courses are a little quiet, and restaurants offer deals to tour in the spring. Bear in mind that the hurricane season officially starts on the 1st of June.
This time of year falls within the hurricane season, so this is when flights and rooms are at their cheapest (Jamaica has in the past borne the brunt of the hurricane season towards the end of August and the beginning of September).
If you decide to come here in the summer, make sure to get travel insurance in case some inclement weather ruins your holiday plans. As this is the low season for Jamaica’s tourism, many hotels run with fewer employees. This is also when many construction projects are completed.
If these warnings don’t deter you, you’ll be met with less crowded restaurants, beaches, and golf courses. Pack some rain gear and an umbrella just in case.
The hurricane season fades away at this time, paving the way for sunny skies with average temperatures hovering around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. For the best experience, try to arrive before the mid-December parties begin (the prospect of rainy season often keeps prices low at most of Jamaica’s resorts).
While Jamaica will give you a unique luxury experience, you may want to try out a few original Jamaican experiences. Nothing can be as enriching as getting fully immersed in a few truly Jamaican cultural activities.
Nation in a Nation Festival
If love the beach, January to March is the best time to visit Jamaica. Visitors from all over the world flock to this island to enjoy the peace and quiet of its waters.
But January is also time for the festival known as Nation in a Nation. Each year, the rural Jamaican town Accompong marks the historic peace agreement signed between the Maroon slaves and the British. The locals celebrate this occasion on January 6 with singing, dancing, partying, storytelling, and the popular delicacy Jerk Chicken.
Jamaica Carnival is an explosion of music, dance, color, and food. It takes place in January to April in three major cities: Kingston, Ochoa Rios, and Montego Bay.
Enjoy the whole Jamaican experience as the island comes alive in the heart of its three main cities. From street parties to beach parties, Jamaica Carnival is an experience like no other. This could very well be your best time to visit Jamaica.
Bob Marley Week
The start of February welcomes Rastafarians and reggae fanatics to Kingston to celebrate the legacy of Bob Marley, Jamaica’s most famous musician. The week, known as Bob Marley’s Birthday Party, includes lectures, symposiums, a fashion show, exhibitions, karaoke contests, and many other events associated with Bob Marley.
Be sure to catch the “Redemption Live” show. It’s the closest thing to being in the presence of Bob Marley—a man whose beliefs and music so touched the whole of Jamaica.
If you’re in the mood for some maritime fun, Montego Bay is the best place to be on 31st March to 2nd April. Whether you’re taking part or simply watching the yachts skid past you from a vantage point, you’re in for an amazing few days of enjoyable entertainment throughout the Easter weekend.
Horticultural Society Flower Show
If you’re after an immersive local experience, you’ll get just that on Easter Monday in St. Elizabeth. Since 1963, Horticultural Society Flower Show (also affectionately called the “Flower Show”) has given tourists and locals alike an authentic Jamaican experience.
Try out some local delicacies, dancehall (popular Jamaican style of music), as well as some shopping, which should come in handy for the rest of your vacation.
St. Ann Kite Festival
The St. Ann Kite Festival is an annual event that takes place in Richmond, St. Ann on Easter Monday. If you want to participate, you’ll need nothing short of your A game.
This long-held international event is more about kite building and kite design and less about kite flying. A little bit of friendly rivalry is definitely welcome. In typical Jamaican style, the festival is brought to an end with live reggae music and food.
Kingston Curry Festival
The theme of Kingston Curry Festival is “Everything Curry” and it delivers just that. Food, art, and music are the highlight of the day. Showcasing top dishes from local restaurants and chefs, this festival also boasts several other common Jamaican cuisines as well as an artisan village. Make sure to come hungry!
Ocho Rios Jazz Festival
If you love parties, then Ocho Rios Jazz Festival is what the doctor ordered. This festival is organized in June to promote the first art form of America and classical black music. The event features performances from local Jamaican artists and artists from Jamaica’s other islands.
The lively performances of Jamaican artists can be enough to get you moving to the beats. Then again, the smooth rhythms will enrich your soul and get your imagination running wild.
The Reggae Sumfest
The Reggae Sumfest takes place in Montego Bay from 16th to 22nd July and is considered the biggest reggae concert in the world. Many highly acclaimed international and local artists perform at this event, including Damian Marley, Maxi Priest, and Beres Hammond.
A 6-night series of activities, which include a beach party with three major concerts, all-white blitz party, and sound system explosion make up an entire week of summer parties. Every evening comes with its own party theme, and entertainment is provided by some of the best reggae artists around the world.
Independence Day Celebrations
Late July and early August promise days of free, pure fun. The Independence and Emancipation Day festivities bring all Jamaicans closer, which means more music, parades, delicious food, and sweet drinks. From July 28 to August 6, you can let your hair down a bit.
Marlin tournaments are held in October and include the International Blue Marlin Tournament in Port Antonio and Jamaica International Fishing Tournament in Montego Bay.
Northern Jamaica’s waters are famous in the world of deep sea fishing. For more than four decades, both the Blue Marlin Tournament and Jamaica International Fishing Tournament have welcomed local and international fishermen to fish in the abundant waters.
To win a tournament, you’ll need to catch the largest Blue Marlin—a type of fish that travels through the Caribbean in September and October. Celebrations and parties make these competitions a heritage highlight.
National Heroes Day
Held throughout Jamaica, this public holiday takes place every 3rd Monday of October, commemorating the seven bona fide national heroes of Jamaica. The greater liberty and societal improvement in Jamaica is thanks to six courageous men and a woman. Besides these official heroes, National Heroes Day is the day to recognize and award modern day heroes.
This event is held throughout Jamaica in November. It’s a foodies’ paradise! More than 100 participating restaurants across the island will have you dying to get a taste of their mouth-watering culinary delights. Chefs will offer patrons their signature eats at discounts as high as 30%. If there ever was a perfect time to visit Jamaica, it’d probably be in November.
Visit Jamaica Today!
From daring hikes through green mountains to attractive sandy beaches, Jamaica boasts a range of unique experiences. Most importantly, it’s the ideal paradise to relax and have a drink. Sample authentic Jamaican delicacies coupled with the cool reggae beats and you’ve got a holiday that’s a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday living.
Remember, November to April is a great time to enjoy the splendor of Jamaica, with the sweet spot being November to mid-December. Fabulous weather, smaller crowds, and uninterrupted leisure time. Welcome to Jamaica, welcome to Paradise!
Haron Omaita is a freelance writer from Nakuru, Kenya, who specializes in ghostwriting, guest blogging, copywriting, proofreading, and editing. As a keen traveler and whole foods aficionado, he also contributes insightful travel and tourism articles to Better Wander. He’s mad about road trips, soccer, and reading.