One of Jamaica’s greatest allures is its idyllic tropical maritime climate. Coastal temperatures average a near-constant 26°C to 30°C year-round. Temperatures fall steadily with increasing altitude but even in the Blue Mountains average 18°C or more.
The annual rainfall averages 1980mm, but nationwide there are some considerable variations, with the east coast receiving considerably more rain than elsewhere on the island. Parts of the John Crow and Blue Mountains receive an average of 7620mm a year. By contrast, the south coast sees little rain and in places is semi-barren.
A ‘rainy season’ starts in May or June and extends through November or December, with the heaviest rains in September and October. Rain can fall at any time of year, however, and normally comes in short, heavy showers, often followed by sun.
Jamaica lies in the Caribbean ‘hurricane belt.’ Officially the hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30; August and September are peak months.
When to go
Jamaica is a year-round destination, though there are seasonal differences to consider. Weather-wise, temperature isn’t an important factor: winter is usually warm by day and mild to cool by night, and summer months are hot. The rainy season extends from May to November, with peaks in May, June, October and November. Rain usually falls for short periods (normally in the late afternoon), and it’s quite possible to enjoy sunshine for most of your visit during these months. However, note that in Portland parish, it can rain for days on end.
Tourism’s high, or ‘winter, ’ season runs from early-December to mid-April, when hotel prices are highest. Many hotels charge peak-season rates during Christmas and Easter.