A trip to the Caribbean comes with near perfect weather, and year-round temperatures from the mid-70s to high 80s. Jamaica is no exception. The best time to go to Jamaica is November until mid-December, when resort and flight deals are great and peak season hasn’t arrived yet. If you don’t mind the crowds, your best bet is to visit Jamaica from mid-December until April, when the weather is optimal for a beach vacation.
Picture: Everything you can possibly imagine is beachside at Beaches Negril — from lazy rivers to lively pools, from restaurants to swim-up bars.
With a population of about 2.9 million people, Jamaica has long established its presence on the world map being recognized for everything from athletics, music, and its aromatic Blue Mountain Coffee. With three major cities and 14 parishes, Jamaica attracts tons of tourists annually to hotspots like Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril.
By the end of this article, you will know just when to go to get exactly the sort of vacation experience you’re looking for.
Not sure which place to stay? Find the best areas to stay in Jamaica in our handy guide!
In this article on the Beaches blog:
Picture: If you're looking for a family beachfront getaway with an intimate private beach, a Pirates Island Waterpark, extra large accommodations, the only all-inclusive golf program for kids and near Jamaica's best attractions, Beaches Ocho Rios is for you.
Before booking your flight and all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, it helps to know more about the various seasons of traveling within the Caribbean. When flying between the seasons, here’s what you need to know:
High season travel in Jamaica typically begins mid-December and continues up until April of the following year. During this time, the island is a hub of activity and you’ll find loads of tourists flocking popular sites and beaches all bent on making the most of a vacation on an island with near perfect temperatures. Be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat and insect repellent for your trip during this time. Also, book your resort at least three months in advance to ensure that you’re able to stay at your preferred location. If you’re traveling to Jamaica for Christmas (lots of Americans do!), you might want to make that booking a year prior.
Don’t know what to pack? Read the complete packing list for Jamaica.
Low season in Jamaica continues from July until October. Low season travel can mean great deals on flights, resorts and even water sports. It is also much easier to get a seat at a dinner table of a popular restaurant without having to book it beforehand. Due to more appealing rates, low season travel is ideal for travelers on a budget.
The shoulder season falls in between peak season and low season and occurs from about Mid-April to July and November until mid-December. The weather is as sunny as the high season and rates are better throughout, so it is easier to strike a deal in your favor. You’ll also have more of the island to yourself, but there will still be enough going on to keep you occupied.
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What is Jamaica like in January? It’s around 82 - 84 °F in Jamaica in January (this is as ‘cold’ as it gets in Jamaica), with a low chance of rain. The ocean temperature is around 81 °F and the wind is calm. At night it’s around 70 - 73 °F.
What is Jamaica like in February? Much like January, in February it’s around 82 - 84 °F in Jamaica, paired with the lowest amount of rainfall. The ocean temperature is around 81 °F and the wind is calm. At night it’s around 70 - 73 °F.
What is Jamaica like in March? In March it’s around 84 °F in Jamaica, paired with a low amount of rainfall. The ocean temperature is around 81 °F and the wind is calm. At night it’s around 72 - 75 °F.
What is Jamaica like in April? April is at the end of peak season for Jamaica. The temperature is around 84 °F, paired with a low chance of rain. The ocean temperature is around 81 °F and the wind is calm. At night it’s around 72 - 75 °F. Expect multiple events to be happening around Easter, like Jamaica’s carnival, the International kite festival in St. Ann and Montego Bay’s Yacht Club Easter Regatta.
What is Jamaica like in May? May temperatures in Jamaica are around 86 °F, a slight increase from the cooler ‘winter’ months. The chance of rain increases slightly, and the ocean temperature is around 82 °F. Expect the wind to be calm and nighttime temperatures to be around 73 - 77 °F.
What is Jamaica like in June? In June, temperatures in Jamaica rise to a warm 88 °F. The chance of rain is equal to May and the ocean temperature is around 82 °F. Nighttime temperatures are around 75 - 79 °F. Make sure to attend Ocho Rios’ jazz festival!
What is Jamaica like in July? In July, Jamaica enters the low season and temperatures are as warm as it gets with 88 - 91 °F. The chance of rain is around the same level as May and June. The ocean temperature is around 82 °F. Nighttime temperatures are around 75 - 79 °F. Make sure to attend Reggae Summerfest!
What is Jamaica like in August? In August, much like July, the temperatures in Jamaica are as warm as it gets with 88 - 91 °F. The chance of rain is comparable to the months of May until July and the ocean temperature is around 84 °F. Nighttime temperatures are around 75 - 79 °F.
What is Jamaica like in September? The daytime temperatures in Jamaica in September are a bit lower than in July and August with 88 °F. The chance of rain increases slightly compared to previous months and the ocean temperature is around 84 °F. The wind is calm and nighttime temperatures are around 75 - 79 °F.
What is Jamaica like in October? In October, the temperatures in Jamaica further drop to a comfortable 86 - 88 °F. Expect tropical rainfall on some days, which often makes place for sunshine quickly. The ocean temperature is around 84 °F. The wind is calm and nighttime temperatures are around 75 - 79 °F. Make sure to check out the yachts at the yearly Marlin tournament in the first week of October.
What is Jamaica like in November? The temperature in Jamaica is around 84 °F in November and the chance of rainfall is lower than in October. The ocean temperature drops a few degrees and is around 82 °F. The wind is calm and nighttime temperatures are around 73 - 75 °F in this month. Make sure to sample some local cuisine during Restaurant Week.
What is Jamaica like in December and during the holidays? In December, Jamaica’s peak season starts, and the temperature is around 84 °F. The chance of rainfall decreased significantly, and the ocean temperature is around 82 °F. The wind is calm and nighttime temperatures are around 72 - 75 °F. Ideal circumstances for a tropical getaway and a spectacular NYE!
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Winter isn’t a term you’ll hear often when travelling in the Caribbean.
The region only recognizes two seasons, wet and dry, which mark the main differences in climate at various points in the year. The wet (or rainy) season is usually around July to October, and once that’s gone by, you’ll be left with the dry season which means more consistent weather and less tropical rainfall.
July is the warmest month in Jamaica, with a maximum temperature of 91°F. January is usually the ‘coldest’ with highs of 82°F.
Though Jamaica is a small island, you’ll notice slight differences in temperature in the various towns.
Picture: We know our islands intimately and are ready to let you in on all the secrets that paradise has to offer with our own hand-picked adventures.
The rainiest month in Jamaica is October, which is towards the end of the wet season. Booked your vacation in Jamaica this month? Don’t worry! Tropical rainfall will come, and it will go, leaving plenty of hours left in the day filled with sunshine and warm temperatures.
February and March are Jamaica’s driest months with the least amount of rainfall. These months fall smack in the middle of peak season.
Overall, there’ll be less rainfall in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, compared to Negril. This shouldn’t scare you away from this amazing beach paradise though!
This literary festival normally takes place around February, and was founded in 2001 by Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes and Justine Henzell – three people whose love for the arts inspired them to launch this biennial festival. It consists of three days of poetry, spoken word and music and visitors and locals are free to stop by, free of charge but are welcome to donate to the worthy cause. Several international authors have participated in the festival including Sir Derek Walcott, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, Kei Miller, Eleanor Catton, and others.
Jamaican carnival, also known as Bacchanal, happens in the space of a week, from Easter Sunday until the following weekend, which culminates the carnival season. This includes Jouvert, Kiddies Carnival, Socacize and Mas Camp which all take place before the “jump up” in Kingston.
Since 1963, this agricultural show has taken place in the parish of St. Elizabeth, in the town of Black River. It has been held every Easter Monday since its inception and is one of the biggest flower shows on the island, with a new theme celebrated every year.
This event is also called the St. Ann Kite Festival, because it is held in the parish of St. Ann (where Ocho Rios is located) every Easter Monday. The International Kite Festival is indeed a fun day for families; kite flying competitions are held throughout the day as well as a dancing and bun eating competition. By evening time, the stage transforms into a classical reggae show, and you’ll likely be stuffed beyond belief with authentic Jamaican eats by the time you’re ready to leave.
As Easter rolls around the corner, the Morgan Bay Yacht Club hosts their Easter Regatta along the North Coast of the island. It is usually held in April, preceded by the yacht club’s annual J-22 International Regatta and the Great Yacht Race.
This festival is a display of Jamaican talent, cuisine and culture. A variety of seafood such as crab and lobster is curried as well as other delicacies such as chicken, shrimp, goat and even fruits such as mangoes. Jamaican chefs are the culinary experts contributing to the festival held in May.
This festival is a few weeks of fun and exciting jazz shows, presentations, exhibitions and concerts which take place throughout the town of Ocho Rios and the capital of Kingston. The festival takes place in June and has been staged since 1991.
This summer festival which normally takes place in July, has been in existence for 27 years features a range of Jamaican and Caribbean artists. Past events have featured acts such as Chronix, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Romaine Virgo, Koffee and Spice. Throughout that week, several activities are held under different themes such as the All-White Blitz Party and A Sound System Explosion.
This deep-sea fishing tournament has been held yearly for the past 55 years. The tournament usually attracts 40-50 yachts and, in 2018 alone, more than 180 anglers came out to try their hand at catching the biggest Marlin in Jamaican waters. The competition is held in the first week of October.
This public holiday is celebrated yearly, on every third Monday of October. Activities throughout the day are held in memoriam of the seven national heroes of Jamaica, who contributed to the island’s freedom from slavery and to the general improvement of the social conditions of the land. These heroes are Marcus Garvey, Sir Alexander Bustmante, Samuel Sharpe, Paul Bogle, George William Gordon and Nanny of the Maroons, who is the sole heroine.
Restaurant Week is a 7-day period where residents and tourists are encouraged to head out and sample the dishes and cuisine prepared at the various restaurants on the island. This event caters to foodies and families and extends to over 100 restaurants in Jamaica. Restaurant week gets underway in November.
Picture: There's a magic to Jamaica that is as soul–stirring as a sunset and as innocent as a child's smile. Wherever you go in this enchanted paradise, you will find natural beauty so stunning, it will take your breath away.
The best time to go to Jamaica all depends on what you want to get out of your experience in this Caribbean island. Do you want a quiet experience where you can focus on taking in waterfalls like that of Dunn’s River Falls or relax on the exquisite Seven Mile Beach?
Or do you want to take in the vibrant culture of Jamaica, during carnival in April, or at a time of year filled with concerts and other exciting events like the annual Reggae Sum Fest in July?
With this handy guide, you’ll be able to determine the best time to visit Jamaica (with or without the family), so that you can book your trip, and head out on a vacation of a lifetime.