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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.


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.


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

Average °C 282727272829303030292928
Minimum °C 232222232425262626252524
Maximum °C 323131313232333333333332
Sunshine (hours) 888899899977
Rain (cm) 432321055612159

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Sandals Royal Caribbean in Jamaica to add 12 more Overwater Bungalows

The popularity of the brand new overwater bungalows at Sandals Royal Caribbean resort in Montego Bay has been so great that Sandals Resorts has announced plans to construct a further 12 to keep up with demand. The first five unique bungalows with glass floors in Jamaica have not yet opened to the public, and will be the first of their kind in the Caribbean. The resort will add 12 more that are scheduled to open in February, 2017.

World Travel Awards Gala Ceremony names Jamaica as Caribbean's Leading Destination

Jamaica was honoured with the title of the Caribbean's Leading Destination at the regional World travel Awards Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony 2016. The tropical island was awarded at the annual ceremony which this year took place at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Jamaica. The Caribbean's Leading Beach Destination award went to Turks and Caicos, and Antigua and Barbuda scooped the award for Caribbean's Most Romantic Destination.

Karisma Hotels & Resorts prepares to break ground for three new hotels in Jamaica in January, 2017

Karisma Hotels & Resorts has announced it will break ground for the construction of three new hotels in Jamaica in January, 2017. The project is part of a multi-million dollar hotel development in Llandovery, St Ann, and the three hotels will provide 1,800 guest rooms in total. The resort development will include ten hotels when completed, offering 5,000 rooms for visitors.