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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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Hideaway at Royalton Negril and Royalton Negril Resort and Spa opened in March

Two brand new Royalton branded resorts has opened in Negril in Jamaica at the end of March. The Royalton Negril Resort and Spa, a family-friendly resort, and the adults-only Hideaway at Royalton Negril, both are bringing a total of 573 rooms and an array of facilities to the tropical region.

Adults-only Breathless Montego Bay Resort and Spa officially opens in Jamaica

AMResorts has announced that Breathless Montego Bay Resort and Spa in Jamaica is now open to holidaymakers. The adults-only five-star resort opened at the end of February and caters for couples, singles, and honeymoons. The property is surrounded by the Montego Bay Marine Park, and has 150 suites, a beach club, five bars and lounges, and is the only hotel in Jamaica to have a rooftop bar and swimming pool.

Sandals Chairman to be honoured with first Lifetime Achievement Award

Gordon "Butch" Stewart, the Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, will receive the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award at the Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) 2017 in April. The event will be held in Miami and is regarded as the industry’s most important event for companies and individuals interested in investment in the Caribbean.