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Relaxing at the Bamboo Beach Club near Ocho Rios (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Relaxing at the Bamboo Beach Club near Ocho Rios (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

What Is the Best Time to Visit Jamaica? A Month-by-Month Guide

Relaxing at the Bamboo Beach Club near Ocho Rios (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Relaxing at the Bamboo Beach Club near Ocho Rios (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Contributor
Carolina Pirola

Last updated
Jun 11, 2024

While almost any Caribbean destination is perfect to explore any time of the year, what is the best time to visit Jamaica specifically? There are several seasonal and geographical factors worth considering before booking a cruise to Jamaica, like the impact of hurricane season, your preferred shore excursions and the specific regions of the island you plan to visit are all factors that will determine when to go.

This is why we constructed a month-by-month guide to help you pick the best time to visit Jamaica based on the weather, your plan and personal preferences. Read on to find out more on when you should cruise to Jamaica.

Jamaica Weather in January: No Rain and Mild Temperatures

View from resort outside of Montego Bay, Jamaica
View from resort outside of Montego Bay, Jamaica (Photo: Kyle Valenta)

While this is the coldest month of the year along with February, Jamaica weather in January is still lovely, particularly for those escaping colder regions in the U.S. With average daily highs of 82 degrees F, you can leave your heavy jackets at home and opt for a windbreaker and a couple of thin layers instead. You won’t need your umbrella either, as rainfall is minimal during this time of year.

January marks the peak of the tourist season, so expect crowds. We recommend booking shore excursions early, especially if you’re traveling with a group. On the plus side, everything will be up and running for cruise season, and you’ll have plenty of activities to choose from, from swimming and snorkeling to city bike tours.

Weather in Jamaica in February: The Coolest, Driest Month of the Year

This may be the coolest month of the year, but the weather in Jamaica in February is far from unpleasant. Daily temperatures rarely dip below 78 degrees F, and days are sunny, with low humidity levels and mostly clear skies.

February is the perfect month for hiking, horseback riding and ATV tours. Although you’ll need a hat and sunscreen, outdoor activities will be bearable, even in the late morning and early afternoon. Most visitors will be comfortable wearing just a T-shirt and shorts.

Jamaica Weather in March: Pleasant Temperatures and Some Wind

Hiking Jamaica's Dunn's River Falls (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Hiking Jamaica's Dunn's River Falls (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Low humidity, abundant sunshine and average daily temperatures around 86 degrees F make Jamaica weather in March ideal for outdoor activities, such as bamboo rafting, kayaking, and coffee and tea farm tours. For hikers, March is the best time of the year to visit Jamaica. The island is typically in full bloom by the middle of the month, and the heat remains tolerable.

Towards late March, the wind begins to pick up slightly, especially at higher elevations, but it rarely becomes uncomfortable. Beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the gentle breeze. Rain is also unlikely to cause any problems, but make sure your windbreaker is waterproof, just in case.

Although March is the tail end of the high season, the island is still bustling with visitors, especially if spring break falls within this month. Make sure you book activities well in advance, as Jamaica ranks among the most popular destinations, along with Cozumel and the Bahamas.

Weather in Jamaica in April: Afternoon Showers but Sunny and Warm

If you want to avoid the busiest months of the year while still enjoying pleasant temperatures and minimal rainfall, April is a great month to travel to Jamaica. Although it gets hotter by the day, the weather in Jamaica in April is still relatively mild, with average daily temperatures just below 90 degrees F. Rain comes in short showers in the afternoon, but they are unlikely to disrupt your plans.

The festival of Carnival, held a week after Easter, is one of Jamaica’s biggest celebrations, featuring parades, music and food on every street in major tourist areas such as Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. There will be plenty of opportunities to buy an outfit upon arrival, and shops display their most colorful, eye-catching items ahead of the festivities.

April is also the best time of the year to visit Jamaica for intermediate and advanced surfers. The wind typically picks up in this month, creating optimal wave conditions, particularly along the north coast. For beginners, the beach areas around Negril and Kingston are more sheltered from the wind.

Weather in Jamaica in May: Higher Temperatures and More Chances of Rain

Looking out over the Caribbean Sea (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Looking out over the Caribbean Sea (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

May is a good month for those who don’t mind a little bit of rain alongside their seven hours of sunshine per day. Rising temperatures are somewhat less comfortable than in previous months of the year, but the weather in Jamaica in May is perfect for those eager to spend their days swimming and sunbathing. Sea temperatures are pleasant at around 82 degrees F.

May marks the beginning of the shoulder season in Jamaica. Crowds start to thin out towards the end of April and don’t pick up again until after the end of hurricane season in November. Fewer crowds mean you won’t have to wait your turn to take a dip in the waterfalls or stand in line at Mystic Mountain for more than a few minutes.

Weather in Jamaica in June: Higher Chances of Rain, but Sunny and Warm

The weather in Jamaica in June is not as hot as later in the summer, but temperatures and humidity levels begin to rise as the month progresses. This is the first of the four hottest months of the year, with an average of 90 degrees F during the day, and lots of sun.

Although June also marks the beginning of hurricane season, storms are rare this time of year. Rain, however, is common, so pack a breathable rain jacket for the occasional downpour and be flexible about your plans. Research indoor activities, such as rum or estate tours, and museums. If you’re in or around Kingston, the Bob Marley Museum is a must.

Weather in Jamaica in July: Hot, Wet and Rainy

Beach excursions are a great way to cool off in Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Beach excursions are a great way to cool off in Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

July is, along with August, the hottest month of the year. Temperatures rarely drop below 90 degrees F, with humidity levels that can be as high as 79 percent. While this can make outdoor activities somewhat uncomfortable during the central hours of the day, the weather in Jamaica in July is ideal for water-based activities.

River rafting, tubing and swimming in the waterfalls are all top activities this month. Higher rainfall rates mean rivers carry lots of water, making for a fun, refreshing way to spend a few hours. Thanks to the rain, the island is also at its lushest this month -- ziplining and hiking are other great outdoor activities in July.

July is also the month of the famous Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay. Even if you don’t love reggae, this event is an excellent way to learn more about Jamaican culture. While most concerts take place in the evening, there are plenty of other activities during the day, including some for children.

Chances of a direct hurricane impact are slim this time of year, but you might get caught in strong downpours. Pack a light rain jacket or poncho along with your swimwear, and don’t forget your sunscreen. Even if it is overcast, the sun is still strong.

Weather in Jamaica in August: Hot with High Chances of Rainfall

While June marks the official start of hurricane season, it's not until mid- to late August that chances of tropical storms hitting Jamaica become more significant. This makes the beginning of the month a great time to visit the country. It's quieter and lusher than in the spring, and fewer visitors means you’ll get a better glimpse of local culture and lifestyle.

The weather in Jamaica in August is hot and humid, with lows that rarely drop below 72 degrees F, and daily highs in the low 90s. There’s likely to be some rain almost every day, but this doesn’t translate to overcast skies throughout the day. The mix of sun and clouds this month also make the heat somewhat more bearable.

This is a good month to hit the beach in the morning and late afternoon, but plan to spend time either indoors or in the shade after lunchtime. When the rain arrives, we recommend taking refuge in a bar or restaurant; showers typically only last a couple of hours at a time.

Weather in Jamaica in September: High Temperatures and Heavy Showers

Resort view in Montego Bay, Jamaica
Resort view in Montego Bay, Jamaica (Photo: Kyle Valenta)

Weather in Jamaica in September mirrors that of August, with high temperatures and increased chances of rain. However, it’s also the height of hurricane season, bringing with it unpredictable weather that can take a turn for the worse in a matter of hours.

Nevertheless, if you are lucky and get little to no rain during your visit, you can enjoy some quiet time at the beach and on trails. You’ll also have popular tourist activities, such as Rose Hall tours, coffee farm visits, catamaran excursions and rum tastings, all to yourself. The sea is nice and warm in September, and the waters are calm, ideal for swimming with the kids.

Cruise lines try to lure in visitors with great late summer cruise deals. If you are tempted by a particularly attractive cruise rate in September, make sure you fully understand your cruise line’s cancellation policy. It's also wise to get travel insurance. Our tip: Be flexible about your plans in case your itinerary changes.

Weather in Jamaica in October: The Height of Hurricane Season

October is prime time for hurricanes in Jamaica. While direct impacts are not guaranteed, tropical storms often prompt itinerary changes throughout the Caribbean, including Jamaica. While this may sound discouraging, those who can plan a last-minute cruise or are flexible about their itinerary will get great bang for their buck, as cruise lines offer great deals.

Our recommendations for September remain for October: Get travel insurance and familiarize yourself with your cruise line’s cancellation policy.

Aside from the possibility of getting caught in a severe storm (which typically lasts a couple of days), the weather in Jamaica in October is hot and humid, with many hours of sunlight and warm sea temperatures. Rain, however, may disrupt outdoor activities, so make sure to have alternative plans ready.

Weather in Jamaica in November: Chances of Storms Decrease as the Month Progresses

November is the tail end of the hurricane season in Jamaica, and chances of severe storms decrease towards the end of the month. Days are typically warm, with highs that average 88 degrees F, and lows in the mid- to high 70s, making the weather in Jamaica in November ideal for outdoor activities in the absence of rain.

Swimming in rivers and beaches, exploring the main tourist attractions, and enjoying live music and good food is a more relaxed experience this time of year, as the lull in visitor numbers continues through the end of the month.

Some independent tour operators will not return your money if there is a change in the cruise itinerary even if it’s due to severe weather. We recommend booking a ship-sponsored excursion instead if you plan to visit Jamaica in November.

Jamaica Weather in December: Little Rain and Pleasant Temperatures

Ocho Rios (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Ocho Rios (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

December is, to many cruisers, the best time to visit Jamaica. While the winter is in full swing in the U.S. and Europe, temperatures in the country remain stable at around 89 degrees F, making for a great end-of-year break. With typically very little rain, Jamaica weather in December is ideal for those craving some beach time.

This is also the best time of year to visit Jamaica if you are a beginner surfer. The wind is gentle, but the surf is good on both the north and the south coast. Other water-based activities are also great this month, including snorkeling and scuba diving around Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios.

The pleasant weather and the promise of beach time is enough to lure visitors throughout the month, but holiday cruises are particularly popular in Jamaica. Although you might have a hard time scoring a good deal, ringing in the New Year on a cruise is exciting and particularly festive. Adding to that perfect beach and outdoor weather makes for a winning combo.

What Is the Best Time to Visit Jamaica? The Winter

Jamaica’s stable tropical temperatures make it a great year-round destination, but the winter (December, January, February and March especially) is particularly appealing not only for those looking to take a break from the cold but also because it is the dry season with lower humidity levels, making the high temperatures feel more comfortable.

Although Jamaica experiences direct hits from hurricanes about once per decade, tropical storms are common. To avoid the risk of itinerary changes due to adverse weather, steer clear of the weeks between mid-August and late November.


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