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A practical guide to Jamaica

National holidays and celebrations

If you're not sure when is the best time to go to Jamaica, ask one of our travel advisers. We'll make sure you make the most of your time, whether you're looking for a Reggae festival, or just a bit of peace and quiet.

Besides the usual Christian holidays at Easter and Christmas, Jamaica enjoys several national holidays and key events throughout the year:

  • New Years' Day: 1st January.
  • Polo Season: From January to August.
  • Accompong Maroon Festival: 6th January. Commemorates the birthday of the national hero, Captain Cudjoe.
  • High Mountain Coffee 10k: January. A popular annual road race.
  • Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival: January or February.
  • Bob Marley Birthday Celebrations: 5th February.
  • Jamaica Fat Tyre Festival: February. Week-long mountain biking extravaganza.
  • Fi Wi Sinting: February. Celebrates African history and Jamaican traditions.
  • Labour Day: 23 May.
  • Emancipation Day: 1st August.
  • Independence Day: 6th August.
  • National Heroes Day: 18th October.

Eating Out

Jamaica's cuisine is popular across the world and has been influenced by the many cultures and cuisines that have converged here, including Spanish, African, Indian, Chinese and British.

Most hotels have Jamaican themed restaurants where you can sample local fare. For authentic dining, we love Jamaica's local restaurants where specialities such as 'callaloo' (fried dumplings), curry goat, ackee and salt fish are some of our favourites.

The 'Jerk spiced' flavouring used in meat and fish, is particularly popular with international visitors but we also recommend trying the lesser known 'Pickapeppa Sauch' and stopping at local street vendors for delicious pasties and roast breadfruit.

Money

The currency in Jamaica is called 'dollar' (JMD).

  • US dollars are also widely accepted in tourist areas, particularly in all inclusive resorts.
  • Local vendors tend to offer better value for your money if you pay in Jamaican dollars.
  • We advise converting the majority of your money into US dollars and a smaller amount into Jamaican dollars. If exchanging British pounds into US dollars, do so from home for the best conversion rate.
  • We recommend converting your money into Jamaican Dollars on arrival to the island at a Cambio exchange for the best rates.

Weather

Jamaica has a humid, tropical climate with warm to hot temperatures all year round but the weather is usually cooler in central areas.

  • Jamaica's coast enjoys the cooling effect of trade winds, known locally as "doctor's breeze" in the day, and "undertaker's breeze" in the evening.
  • Temperatures in Jamaica stay constant throughout the year, oscillating between 25°C and 30°C in the lowlands and 15°C to 22°C at higher elevations.
  • Rainy season runs between May and November or December, with heaviest rains in September and October.
  • Lying in the Atlantic Hurricane belt, Jamaica's hurricane season runs between 1st June to 30th November with August and September being the peak months.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 282727272829303030292928
Minimum °C 232222232425262626252524
Maximum °C 323131313232333333333332
Sunshine (hours) 888899899977
Rain (cm) 432321055612159

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Grand Lido Negril clothing-optional from Blue Diamond Resorts will open soon

Blue Diamond Resorts is opening the Grand Lido Negril in February, a clothing-optional, all-inclusive resort. The Jamaican resort will feature 26 luxury suites, each with ocean views. Though guests at Grand Lido will have access to the services of neighbouring Royalton Negril and Hideaway at Royalton Negril, the resort’s developers have made seclusion a priority, giving guests privacy as well as luxury.

Sandals Resorts to launch more Over-the-Water suites and bungalows at its Caribbean resorts

Sandals Resorts has announced that, following the success of the launch of the first-ever Over-the-Water Villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, they will be developing additional Over-the-Water Suites at new locations through the region. The accommodation will be added to various Luxury Included resorts in 2017 and 2018, and Sandals Royal Caribbean will receive a further 12 Over-the-Water Bungalows in March, 2017.

Zoetry Montego Bay hotel in Jamaica to open in time for Christmas

AMResorts has announced that it will open the brand new Zoetry Montego Bay hotel in Jamaica on 23rd December, 2016. The all-inclusive resort will be located directly on a private white sand beach, and it will have 49 suites, as well as facilities including a spa, three restaurants, a fitness centre, a juice bar, a swimming pool, and a romantic wedding gazebo.