If you are planning your vacation and wanted to know the best time to visit Jamaica, well, the best time is anytime.
Seeing that Jamaica has a tropical climate, you can expect to always experience temperatures between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit (21-32 degrees Celsius) throughout the year, which makes it a top-rated vacation locale.
While Jamaica is the perfect spot for sun, sand and sea, there is still the possibility of rainy days and yes, even hurricanes (rare).
This in-depth guide will look at best time to travel to Jamaica, giving a look at the island’s weather and climate, rainy/hurricane season, as well as a breakdown of what to expect month-by-month.
With all of that out of the way, let’s get started.
Climate and Weather in Jamaica: Is Everyday a Beach Day?
If you are in the vacation research or planning stage and trying to figure out the best time to travel to Jamaica, the climate and weather is often one of the most important factors you ought to consider.
So what should you expect as it relates to the weather and climate in Jamaica? The first thing is that we do not have seasons. The island has a more tropical climate and at most, we have a rainy season (this corresponds with the hurricane season).
Like most tropical destinations, the climate is hot and humid! (not every month). Expect average temperatures around 80 degrees F (26 degrees C).
While there is this pervasive heat during some months, for the most part, it is offset by a nice “island breeze” that is constantly flowing throughout the island.
The climate and weather in Jamaica is pretty nice (This is one of the reasons it is a top vacation spot). For the most part, you are going to have really amazing days and very rarely are you going to be stuck in a hotel due to bad weather.
Peak Travel Season in Jamaica: When Do People Flock the Island?
Jamaica is a vacation paradise, with over 4 million tourists visiting annually.
During the winter you will find that the island receives a significant increase in visitors, mainly from North America and Europe.
Jamaica’s peak travel period (Winter Travel Season) starts December 15th and ends April 16th. The low season extends from mid-April to mid-December
Knowing when is the peak season is important, especially when trying to figure out the best time to visit Jamaica, as depending on the month you decide to travel, it could have a significant impact on your budget with regards to airfare and accommodation.
During Jamaica’s high travel season, everything becomes more expensive. Expect airlines and hotels to charge the highest rates during this period.
Aside from everything being pricey, you also run the risk of having the popular hotels, villas and guesthouses being booked out early. This is why planning ahead is essential, especially if you are thinking about visiting the island during the high season.
Smart travelers take advantage of the low season, as this is when countless deals can be had. Money saved on accommodation and airfare could be pocketed or used to experience many of the different attractions the island has to offer.
The Rainy Season in Jamaica: Should I Pack a Raincoat or a Raft?
The months of May, August, September and October are when Jamaica experiences the most amount of rain.
During the rainy season, you can expect downpours to last for about an hour or so. You will often find that the sun pops right out after rain showers, like as if nothing happened. This does not apply if there is a system or storm over the island.
Some parishes along the coast, especially Portland (Port Antonio), will experience higher than usual rainfall compared to the rest of the island.
The South Coast parishes of the island, like St. Elizabeth (Treasure Beach), are often drier and will generally have less rain, even during the rainy period.
Hurricane Season in Jamaica: Will You Be Blown Away on Vacation?
Jamaica does experience hurricanes and while it is rare, there is still a possibility of it happening.
The official hurricane season in Jamaica begins June 1 and ends November 30 and this is the period when Jamaica receives the most rainfall.
While the hurricane season begins June 1, Jamaica experiences little to no storms during the months of June and July.
The months of September and October are not only the wettest, but the threat of hurricanes hitting the island are at their highest in these two months.
While there has couple of hurricane near-misses over the years, the island has only experienced a couple of direct hits since 1988.
The threat of a hurricane hitting the island is low, but It is important to know the months when hurricanes are active. This not only helps with planning your vacation, you can also get an idea as to when the rains descent on the island and what you should expect during this time.
Holidays in Jamaica: Will the Island be Busy?
Another thing that should be of note are the Jamaican public holidays.
Globally, some popular vacation locations become very crowded and busy during the holidays, is this is the same in Jamaica?
For the most part, you will see an increase in the number of local residents at the beaches, rivers and waterfalls on some public holidays. It isn’t overwhelming, but like you, we also love to enjoy the beauty of the island, especially when we get a day off.
Specific holiday periods like Easter, Emancipation/Independence Day and Christmas will see a slight bump in hotel/resort stays, as everyone generally gets more time off and some head to the popular resort towns to enjoy the host of parties being held during this period.
The places won’t be jam packed (except Dream Weekend in Negril), so booking your trip during the holidays should be no problem.
The Absolute Best Time to Travel to Jamaica?
If you want the ideal best time to visit Jamaica, many would say it is between November to mid-December.
Why November? Well, the climate changes and the weather is almost perfect. You will see a significant decline in the amount rain as the hurricane season ends and the weather cools off with temperatures around the mid-70s to the high 80s.
Because it is still the low season, expect resort and airplane tickets to be at an all-time low. Many deals abound and the resorts are not jam packed.
Ideal Time for a Jamaican Vacation: Mid-November to Mid-December
- Temperate weather, not overly hot and humid
- End of the rainy season, mostly sunny skies throughout the month
- Hotel and Resort prices are low, good deals available
- Affordable airfares available
- No overly-crowded resorts
Planning to Visit Jamaica? A Month by Month Breakdown
Each month in Jamaica offers something different and as we mentioned at the start of the article, anytime is really the best time to visit.
While we know everyone has different dates in mind to visit the island, I decided to give you all a quick snapshot as to what you can expect during each month in Jamaica.
January is the height of the tourist season in Jamaica. You will find that a lot of people are escaping winter temperatures, so the hotels are often fully booked and flight prices are extremely high during this period.
You can expect cooler weather during the month, with the average temperature being 79 degrees F (26 degrees C).
For those visiting from the colder countries, the weather is perfect as it isn’t humid and the heat isn’t scorching hot. The temperature for many is just right.
Key Events in January:
Rebel Salute is an annual music festival held in Jamaica, which focuses mainly on conscious and roots music.
It is one of the island’s biggest musical festivals and people come from all around the world to experience the amazing artistes that have helped defined Reggae/Dancehall music across the globe.
February is the coldest month on the island (I use cold very loosely) and with the tail-end of winter systems from North America hitting the island, you can expect to experience average temperatures of 79 degrees F (26 degrees C).
While the beaches will be perfect, you will often find the rivers and waterfalls to be colder than usual in February.
It is still the high season on the island during this month and airfare along with hotel rates will still be high. If planning on travelling during this time, it is extremely important to plan ahead.
Key Events in February
Bob Marley Week: During the first week of February a variety of events are held to commemorate the life and music of the world-renowned, Bob Marley.
Enjoy a variety of events, lectures and special concerts, all paying tribute to the Legend, Bob Marley, who helped to push Jamaican music and culture to the world.
The weather is excellent and amazing in March. You can expect clear skies, and temperatures averaging just under 79 degrees F (26 degrees C).
March sees an influx of vacationing college students as they flock to the island to enjoy their Spring Break.
While you can expect a lot of partying students looking to enjoy their time off in places like Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril, it is not a wild scene like some of the other Spring Break locations like Cancun or Miami Beach
Key Events in March
Carnival Events: The Carnival season kicks into full swing with a host of fetes and parties in the lead up to the big final Carnival in April.
With multiple events taking place in Kingston weekly, it is a good time to learn the newest carnival songs, enjoy high-energy parties and live performance
The peak tourist season in Jamaica ends in April and through the middle of the month is where you will start to see some really great deals pop up.
You can expect to see a bit more activity at the hotels by local visitors when the country celebrates two public holidays, Good Friday/Easter Monday.
There is also an increase in people visiting the island closer to the end of the month, as they fly in to partake in Jamaica Carnival. While there is a bump in visitors, you will find that they are generally concentrated in Kingston.
The average monthly temperature is 81 degrees F (27.4 degrees C).
Key Events in April
Jamaica Carinval: With a carryover of weekly carnival events from March, the carnival vibe intensifies as there is a big momentum push up to the end of the month when the finale, Jamaica Carnival Road march, takes place.
Enjoy a variety of fetes, breakfast parties, concerts and more during the month. If you are a Carnival fan, this period is a must!
When May rolls around, you can expect to see a slow rise in temperatures, as the summer heat is just around the corner.
The average temperature for the month is around 82 degrees F (28 degrees C).
Because it is the end of the high season, you will see some really amazing resort and flight deals. You also won’t have to battle with the crowds as most hotels will have visitors, but won’t be as crowded as the high season.
Key Events in May
The biennial Calabash International Literary Festival takes place in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth.
Experience a world-class literary festival, which encompasses three days of readings, music and other forms of storytelling.
In June, there is an increase in the heat and humidity on the island as the temperature begins to crank up. While there is a rise in the temperature, the island still experiences a “cool island breeze” so you won’t feel like you are stuck in an oven.
With an average temperature of 84 degrees F (29 degrees C), the month of June delivers perfect beach weather. It is really one of the best times to enjoy sun, sea, sand and relaxation.
June is also the start of the hurricane season, but it should be noted that the probability of a hurricane is extremely low during this month.
Great hotel deals are to be had during this period as most resorts are empty, perfect travel time for the budget vacationer.
Key Events in June
With the Jamaican “summer” season around the corner, be prepared for a variety of parties and events to take place.
Whatever your vibe, you should be able to find anything that suits what you are looking for.
Like June, July is scorching hot with the island experiencing average temperature of 84 degrees F (29 degrees C). You should also expect a bit of rain throughout the month, but not much.
In July, schools are out, expect to the beaches to be full of activity and there is an increase in the amount of parties around the island as the “summer is here”.
You can still get good hotel deals, as most hotels are still empty. Airfares might bump up a bit, as a lot of Jamaicans who live overseas, return home to enjoy the summer festivities.
Key Events in July
The month of July ushers in the greatest reggae Festival in the world, Reggae Sumfest.
This annual festival, held in Montego Bay, delivers 6 nights of non-stop energy. Come out and see top-notch performances from highly regarded local and international reggae acts.
The heat and humidity persists in August, with average temperatures hovering around 84 degrees F (29 degrees C). This makes going to the beach, river or a waterfall a must!
It is hurricane season and while hurricanes are rare (but they do happen) in August, you can expect an increase in rainy days, as there are more tropical weather systems floating around at the time.
August is the month where Jamaica celebrates 2 public holidays, Emancipation Day (August 1st) and Independence Day (August 6th). You will often find that the hotels will see an uptick in local guests, especially in Negril as this is when the annual Dream Weekend takes place during that time.
After Independence Day is over with, expect to see some really great deals pop up. This is the height of the low season, and you can expect prices for resorts and hotels to be at really low prices. This time is great for budget vacationers.
Key Events in August
With the Jamaican “Summer” in full swing, mark your calendars for the annual Dream Weekend.
During Jamaica’s independence weekend, locals and visitors from across the globe descend on Negril, for a week of non-stop partying.
September is one of the quietest months of the year, with fewer visitors, kids are gone back to school and the residents who live overseas have left the island.
As this is low season, there are tons of resort and flight deals.
The temperatures won’t be as boiling like the months of July and August, but it will still be hot. Jamaica experiences an average temperature around 84 degrees F (29 degrees C) during this month.
September is also the peak of the hurricane season and with that, expect higher rainfall, especially if there is a system over the island.
If there is rain, the downpour usually doesn’t last very long and after 1-2 hours or even minutes, the sun is back out and everything is back up and running without skipping a beat.
Key Events in September:
With the kids gone back to school and the official “summer” period over, Jamaica downgrades into a little low period events wise. However, aside from the countless parties that never end, you can still enjoy something a bit different with the annual Port Antonio Inernational Marlin Tournament .
Fun, excitement and non-stop fishing as anglers from across the world compete to see who can catch the biggest marlin.
October brings the rain and it is the wettest month in Jamaica.
Because it is the tail end of the heightened period of the hurricane season, you can expect a lot of rain on most of the days. The rain could last for a couple of hours or just a few minutes and you can expect that there won’t be continuous rain from morning to night, unless there is a tropical storm or system over the island.
Hurricanes do happen in October, but as stated, having one directly hit the island is rare. Many resorts offer Hurricane Protection guarantees, so when booking, it is important to find out if your hotel does.
Even though it is rainy, you can still have a good time in October. Great hotel deals are available, so many people take advantage of the low prices.
Key Events in October:
National Heroes Day weekend. There is always something happening in Jamaica and the month of October is no different. There are a plethora of parties to choose from, especially with the National Heroes Day holiday smack dab in the middle of the month.
Many consider November as one of those months that is perfect to visit Jamaica.
The hurricane season is winding down, there isn’t much rain and the days become a bit cooler. You will find that temperatures average around 81 degrees F (27 degrees C), making it that “jus right” tropical weather.
November is the perfect time for a vacation, as it is still the low period, so you will find that hotels rates are at rock bottom prices and the majority of them are not overly crowded.
If you are someone who likes temperate weather, no crowds, amazing deals and the chance to save some money, then November props up itself as the perfect month to travel to Jamaica.
Key Events in November:
If you are a foodie, then November is a great time to enjoy Restaurant Week.
Restaurant Week is held every November and it is a chance for foodies to enjoy deeply discounted prices at some of the islands most popular restaurants.
Enjoy eating diverse restaurants, from cheap to fine dining. This is truly a foodie’s paradise.
December is one of the busiest times of the year for tourists in Jamaica and it is also one of the most exciting months to be on the island.
The start of the Winter Tourist Season begins in mid-December and low hotel and airlines prices are available till then, after that the prices sky-rocket.
Once the high-season begins, expect to pay premium prices for travel and room. It is important to book early during this period, as there is an increase in demand and you will find that most of the popular resorts to sell out quickly.
With average temperatures of 80 degrees F (26 degrees C) you will find that it is perfect weather for those trying to escape the cold. It is still warm and for the most part cool, but not brutally hot and humid like the heat of the summer.
The island comes alive in December and there is just a different vibe and energy that permeates Jamaica during that time. The island is festive and you will find so many events, parties and activities taking place across the island.
There is a reason tourists and overseas residents fly to the island during this month. They want to experience that December vibe, the magic, the atmosphere and Christmas breeze.
Key Events in December:
There are just so many things happening in Jamaica during the month of December, it is too much to single out just one key event.
Parties abound, many different Christmas events and activities are taking place, there really is just so much to do.
This is the time for you to understand why December is the favorite month for Jamaicans and you get a full understanding as to why “Christmas Nice!”
The Bottom Line
There’s no wrong time to visit Jamaica! You can enjoy hot weather and sunshine throughout the year, even during the rainy months.
The time you go Is really dependent on you.
If you are someone who wants to save a buck or two and you do not care for crowds, then it is ideal to travel during the low period.
Savings can be had during the high period; you just have to plan ahead to ensure you are maximizing possible savings. While the hotels might be crowded and the rates on the high side, you will definitely be guaranteed amazing weather.
You have to know the absolute best time to plan a vacation to Jamaica, stick with mid- November to mid-December as you get excellent weather, low-crowds, cheap rates and the ideal vacation that you are looking for.