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When Should You Go To Jamaica?
The Best Time For Fun Excursions, Festivals & Discounted Rates

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jamaica_through_airplane_window_eat_well_explore_oftenWhen Should You go to Jamaica? | (Photo: eatwellexploreoften.com)

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Jamaica never stops. There is always something to do or somewhere to go. As a visitor, it might be difficult when deciding when you should visit. Hopefully, I can help you decide when is the perfect time to get on that plane.


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When should you go to Jamaica to experience the cultural festivals and events?

You're in luck if you're travelling to Jamaica to take in the local culture or music. You might experience a celebration or event without making plans to do so because Jamaica's calendar is jam-packed with them.

Between January and April is the best time to visit Jamaica for these festivities. Of course, other festivals are happening throughout the year, but there are several events during this period.

  • Rebel Salute (January)
  • The Accompong Maroon Festival (January 6th)
  • Jamaica African Dance Arts and Culture Festival (February)
  • Bob Marley Week (first week of February)
  • Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival (February/March)
  • Jamaica Rum Festival (February/March)
  • Bacchanal Jamaica Carnival (mid-February to April)
  • Trelawny Yam Festival (April)

When should you go to Jamaica for discounted rates?

Summer is considered the low season. Fewer people will be present at restaurants, resorts, and beaches during summer. Additionally, you can get luxury lodging at a reduced cost. This is the perfect time to grab a cocktail and enjoy a well-earned vacation on the beach.

If you are heading down to party, then the end of July into August is the best time to visit for many of the major stage shows and parties. However, the hurricane season also falls within this period. So, while Jamaica does not experience hurricanes often, the heavy rains may cause you to spend entire days indoors.

  • Calabash International Literary Festival (end of May)
  • Ocho Rios Jazz Festival (June)
  • Reggae Sumfest (mid-July)
  • Montego Bay Jerk Festival (August)

When should you go to Jamaica beach days and excursions?

Even though Jamaica's tropical environment is warm all year round, the dry season is considered to be between winter and spring. While showers are likely throughout the year, February tends to be the least rainy month with an average of only 15mm, or approximately 3 rainy days.

Nine hours a day of sunshine are the most throughout February to April. This is the perfect time to travel to Jamaica if you intend to explore the island. You can enjoy long beach days, day-long excursions and so much more.

Because the weather is so much calmer and more stable during this time, it is also perfect to go scuba diving and snorkeling. You may even catch a few nice waves if you want to go out surfing.

When to come to Jamaica for major celebrations?

Jamaica has quite a few holidays however if you want a true feel of how Jamaicans celebrate, the two most important holidays are "Emancipendence" and Christmas.

Emancipendence is the week from August 1st to 6th. The first Day is celebrated as Emancipation Day and Independence Day is on the 6th. Emancipation Day tends to be more reflective for Jamaicans and a little more lowkey but, Independence Day is usually packed with many celebratory events. The celebrations are spread out over the week leading up to August 6th.

On Independence Day, every town square, capital and city would have already been decorated with ribbons and banners from days, even weeks before, in the Jamaican colours of black, green and gold. Each town square usually has a day of fun activities, music, cultural showcase, rides and much more taking place., while the two major cities prepare for Independence Day Grand Gala in the evening.

In Kingston, the grand gala is held at the national stadium while in Montego Bay, it is held at Catherine Hall stadium. At the grand galas, huge floats displaying major aspects of our culture and history are on show as they head to their final locations. While some floats may showcase monuments or even statues of our National Heroes, some may be much more carefree with dancehall music pumping. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

Christmas in Jamaica starts early. From soon as November, the pepper lights and decorations are out, making the nighttime so much more beautiful. The streets get more crowded at night and the parties tend to last longer.

While Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are spent with families and friends, the “eves” are always pretty exciting. Christmas Eve is our Grand Market night and the roads are packed with people ready to have a good time, from the youngest of children to the oldest of adults. New Year’s Eve is another major night for parties. Most people get all dressed up to see the fireworks at midnight.

Other Major Events In Jamaica

  • Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament (October)
  • Port Royal Seafood Festival (third Monday in October)
  • The Jamaica Food and Drink Festival (November and December)
  • Christmas Grand Market (December)

Jamaica is great all year round, but planning your trip at a certain time may surely help you make the most of your vacation.

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References & Sources For When Should You Go To Jamaica?

  1. (2022) Tourbase. Available at: https://jamaicatourbase.com/travel-tips/best-time-to-visit-jamaica (Accessed: November 23, 2022).
  2. Jamaica weather (no date) Met Office. Available at: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/travel/holiday-weather/americas/caribbean/jamaica-weather#:~:text=Dry%20season%20 (Accessed: November 23, 2022).
  3. Morrow, K. (2020) Best time to visit Jamaica: Seasonality, weather & events: Sandals, Hello Paradise - The Official Sandals Resorts Travel & Lifestyle Blog. Hello Paradise - The Official Sandals Resorts Travel & Lifestyle Blog. Available at: https://www.sandals.com/blog/best-time-year-jamaica/#:~:text=The%20best%20time%20to%20visit,don%27t%20mind%20the%20crowds (Accessed: November 23, 2022).

When Should You Go To Jamaica? | Written: November 24, 2022

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