With its great beaches and balmy weather Jamaica is a popular year-round vacation spot. Nevertheless, it has distinct high and low seasons so it pays to plan for the weather in advance.
The best time to visit Jamaica will depend on other factors too, like what you want to do, where you want to stay and how much you want to spend. We’ve compiled a simple month-by-month guide to give you an idea of what to expect throughout the year.
The weather in Jamaica
Keeping warm is rarely a problem in Jamaica, with average daily temperatures among the highest in the Caribbean. Jamaica’s seawater temperatures stay warm all year too, so you can comfortably swim or snorkel whenever you go.
The high season in Jamaica is winter – officially, that’s between mid-December and mid-April. Visit during this time and you can expect warm sunny days and not much rain. However, prices are at their highest then so you may want to consider traveling during the shoulder season (roughly mid-April through July) when vacation prices drop but the weather is still good.
The summer months of July and August are hot and humid but still great for a beach-based vacation. And while September, October and November come with the risk of rain and storms, there’s usually still plenty of sunshine to go around.
When is the hurricane season in Jamaica?
Like most Caribbean islands, Jamaica has a hurricane season that officially starts on June 1st and lasts through November 30th. Don’t be alarmed though; even if you choose to visit at this time (and there are some great deals to be had) the chances of a hurricane hitting Jamaica during your visit are very slim.
In fact, the hurricane season can be one of the best times to visit Jamaica, especially during June, July and November which often see good weather without any storms.
Note that most storms occur during the autumn months, with storm activity peaking in early to mid September. If you’re traveling during hurricane season, especially during this peak period, you should strongly consider buying travel insurance that specifically offers hurricane coverage. Such insurance is easy to get hold of and will protect your investment should a storm prevent you from traveling.
We also recommend checking for weather updates from the USA’s National Hurricane Center before you go.
So, when is the best time to visit Jamaica?
There is no good or bad time to visit Jamaica as every season has its own advantages. Visit in July for a roasting-hot beach vacation, or in December for a much-needed winter escape with slightly cooler weather. September and October are the cheapest months to visit Jamaica and there’s always plenty to do, despite the chance of rain. The springtime is a good time too, offering sunny weather without big crowds of tourists.
Check out our month-by-month travel guide for a more in-depth look:
January may be one of the coolest months in Jamaica however it’s also one of the most popular times to visit. While rainfall is slightly higher than normal the island stays warm throughout the month with average daytime temperatures in the mid to high 70s (around 25c).
There are around 9 hours of sunshine per day and humidity is of little concern as conditions tend to stay airy and pleasant. The sea is warm too, so you can enjoy water-based activities like swimming and snorkeling.
If you’re visiting Jamaica in January be aware that it’s winter for many of those who live in northern climes so tourists will be flocking to the Caribbean to escape the cold. This high season runs from December until around mid-April so you should expect higher prices and more crowded facilities, especially around the cruise ports.
Note that while the days may be long and warm in January, it can become chilly at night, especially in the mountains.
You may experience a little rain in February but any showers are usually light and quickly followed by clear sunny skies. The sun shines for a good 9 hours a day throughout the month and the sea is beautifully warm making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling and water sports.
It’s slightly warmer in February than January and a busy month for those seeking winter sun, although you can avoid the worst of the crowds if you travel during school time rather than in the UK’s half term holiday which lasts a week.
February is a great month for getting out and about before the major heat hits. You can explore the beautiful scenery around Montego Bay, visit the Dunn’s River waterfall or enjoy a great range of outdoor activities like hiking, biking and horseback riding.
The second month is also the birthday of legendary reggae singer Bob Marley who was born in Jamaica; at this time the island celebrates his life and work with various events including the Bob Marley Birthday Bash. It’s also a great time to visit the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, or to pay respects at his burial site in Ocho Rios.
March is one of the best times to visit Jamaica as it offers a great combination of low rainfall and warm weather. You can expect highs in the low 80s and bath-like seawater temperatures.
Beach days are a good idea in March which boasts an average of 9 hours of sunshine per day. March is also a good month for outdoor pursuits as you’re unlikely to be hampered by any rain.
Be aware that throughout March and into mid-April it’s Spring Break for vacationing college and high school students. So if the idea of partying students doesn’t appeal to you, consider avoiding the main tourist areas.
If you’re visiting Jamaica in April you’ll find it less busy than in the preceding months, especially from mid-April after Easter and Spring Break.
The sun shines for a brilliant 10 hours a day during this ‘shoulder season’ month and daily temperatures are warm but not uncomfortably so. You should expect a little more rain as it heads towards the start of the wet season especially in the areas of Port Antonio and the northeast.
The Easter season is a fun time to visit Jamaica with plenty of events around the Easter weekend itself. If you wait until after Easter to travel though, you’ll be rewarded with lower rates for accommodation as well as far fewer tourists.
With the wet season edging into place throughout Jamaica, May sees more rain than in the preceding months. This shouldn’t deter you from going though as it’s still one of the best times to visit.
Each day sees an average of around 10 hours of sunshine so it’s good news for sun-seekers It may be the start of the low season in Jamaica however there are plenty of advantages to traveling at this time including lower fares, quieter facilities and a better chance to appreciate Jamaica’s laid-back way of life.
June marks the start of the official hurricane season in Jamaica but there’s little cause for concern as storms during June are rare.
In fact June is a great time to visit weather-wise as daily highs are warming up towards the hottest month of the year – July. The humidity is high through June, although there are refreshing rain showers in the afternoons and evenings which shouldn’t affect your vacation plans.
Despite the increasing heat Jamaica is very pleasant at this time of year with northeasterly trade winds keeping things cool along the coast.
The ‘hurricane’ tag may put some people off traveling in June, but the very best of Jamaica’s attractions remain undiminished in the off season – sea, sand, surf, and lots of sunshine.
July is the hottest month of the year in Jamaica and the beaches and resort pools tend to be packed at this time. The heat and humidity are both high, so if you don’t deal well with either then July may not be the best time for you to visit.
The average daily high in July is a roasting 84F although even this can creep even higher on some days. There isn’t much respite from the heat during the evening hours either with temperatures only dipping down to the 70s.
The sun really has his hat on in July with a whopping 11 hours of sunshine each day. Rain could make an appearance too, but any showers are likely to be a welcome break from the heat.
Some of Jamaica’s best festivals happen in July, including the Reggae Sumfest which takes place every year in Montego Bay.
Much like July, the weather in August is very hot making it a great month to visit for a beach vacation. On the downside there’s a good chance of rain in August and high season prices kick in during the UK’s school holidays, which last from mid-July until September.
Daytime highs are in the high 80s through August and sea temperatures are very warm too which is good news for swimmers and water sports enthusiasts.
There are some exciting events to keep you entertained in August including the MoBay Jerk Festival and the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival.
If you’re visiting Jamaica in September be aware that it’s the height of the hurricane season. Statistically though, the chance of a storm striking is low.
September marks the start of autumn on the island, however temperatures only drop a few degrees from the peak of summer.
There are likely to be more rainy days in September than in the preceding months, gearing up towards October which is the wettest month of the year. Despite that, the weather in September can be great making it an ideal time for an off-season getaway once the kids are back at school.
October is the wettest month of the year in Jamaica – you’re likely to see some rain on around half of the days. It could be a downpour that lasts for just a few minutes or it could be a continual rainfall for a few hours in the evening.
Despite the rain October can still be a good time to visit Jamaica as the showers mostly leave behind clear sunny skies. It’s still the low season too so you can expect lower prices, however they usually creep up during the UK’s half term week.
November is the last official month of the hurricane season. It’s also edging towards the busiest time of the year with visitors flocking in to the resorts and cruise ports in search of some winter sun.
Despite this officially being classed as winter, average daily temperatures still hover around the high 70s and the evenings stay warm too.
Rainy days are fewer now the wet season has abated and showers are lighter when they come. The sun continues to shine for a good 8 hours a day in November, and humidity is much lower than in the summer, which is good news for anyone who struggles with the heat.
November is one of the best times to visit Jamaica before the Christmas crowds arrive. You can take advantage of the duty-free shopping malls and stock up on Christmas gifts ahead of time. The Crafts Market in downtown Montego Bay is a great place to buy handmade souvenirs, or you can head to the Shoppes at Rose Hall for a more mainstream shopping experience.
The start of high season in Jamaica, December is an exciting time to visit the island. Christmas is on the horizon and school is out at the end of the month, so there are some fantastic vacation options to choose from.
Visit in early December and you’ll get great weather and lower prices than in the holidays. Go later in the month and you’ll get to spend Christmas and New Year on the beach.
There are plenty of fun family events happening throughout the festive season, whether you want to celebrate in a local church, kick back on the beach or party the night away at the Hip Strip in Montego Bay.
Daytime temperatures in December hover at around 79F making it a great time to go if you want pleasant conditions, as opposed to the oppressive heat of summer.
The best time to visit Jamaica for great villa deals
While prices for vacations tend to go up in the school holidays, you can still get some great deals if you book way in advance or look out for last-minute offers. You’ll be the first to know about our latest villa deals and money-saving tips if you subscribe to our mailing list.
Whether you want to rent a romantic retreat, a family home or a sprawling mansion in a private estate, there are some amazing places to stay in Jamaica. All of our villas are located in top destinations close to the beach and near to the local towns, golf courses and other facilities.
Wherever you decide to stay, you’ll benefit from amazing round-the-clock customer service plus access to a wide range of travel extras such as car hire, attraction tickets or help with arranging a special experience.
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