Jamaica holidays are more than just rum and Reggae; beneath her misty Blue Mountains you will find sandy beaches, waterfalls and tropical landscapes. After capturing Errol Flynn's heart in the '40s, it exploded onto the world scene. Here British, Spanish and African cultures create a 'feel-good' atmosphere, locally expressed as feeling 'irie'. Holidays to Jamaica are filled with reggae and ready smiles, this island is hard to resist.
Beaches: Whether you're looking for activity filled vibrant hot spots or simply somewhere secluded to lie, relax and soak up the sun Jamaica has various beautiful beaches for you to explore. In Ocho Rios two of the most popular beaches are Turtle beach and Mallard beach, both filled with plenty of activities and places to eat, ideal for those wanting a lively atmosphere. Not to be missed is Dunn's River beach located at the foot of the stunning Dunn's River Falls. In Negril beaches are slightly more laid back, beaches here are again a popular tourist spot with certain beaches allowing nude bathing. For visitors with children Montego Bay offers the best beaches because of its calmer waters.
Natural Wonders: Jamaica has various natural wonders well worth a visit. For both history and natural beauty head to Green Grotto Caves in Ocho Rios, featuring interconnecting passageways and chambers, stalactites and stalagmites, these limestone caves really are a sight to behold not to mention the fact they used to be the safe haven for runaway slaves in the 18th century. One of the most beautiful spots on the island however has to be Dunn's River Falls. This unique waterfall is without a doubt a sight of immense natural beauty and is a must visit, only a short ride away from Ocho Rios.
Sports & Activities: Jamaica has a diverse range of sports and activities on offer for those looking for a fun filled holiday. For the more adventurous pursuits there's ziplining through the jungle, trekking to the Blue Mountains or how about jumping aboard a bamboo raft and taking a leisurely ride down the Martha Brae River. For great marine life there are various snorkelling and diving sites or to see the true beauty of Jamaica's land a quad bike safari is a must. For shopping, cinemas, museums souvenirs and duty-free items head to Island Village in Ocho Rios and discover Jamaica's culture, splendour and creativity.
Cuisine: Jamaica is now notoriously known around the world for its speciality cuisine in particular Jerk meats (seasoned meat cooked on a barbecue) as well as its national dish ackee and salt fish. Jamaican food has been influenced over the years by various different cultures and habitants of the island bringing with them different spices and styles of cooking. Other popular dishes include curry goat, fried dumplings, rice and peas and a popular choice well worth a try is the Jamaican Patty, which is seasoned meat, fish or vegetable enclosed in a flaky pastry infused with turmeric.
Music: Music is a key part of Jamaican culture and expression, from the laid back reggae rhythms to the more upbeat tunes of Dancehall. Jamaica subsequently has a fantastic night vibe. Head for James Street in Ocho Rios, for bars and discos galore, or Island Village, home of Margaritaville, where a 100-ft long waterslide plunges over the bar into a freshwater pool. In Negril, open-air reggae concerts are staged nightly in peak season or hit the bars and discos of the West End.
When to go
Temperature Range: 17°C - 32°C
Most popular: Mid December - mid April
Best value: End May, June, September, October and November
Best weather: December - April
Direct flights: British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Thomson
Indirect flights: British Airways and American Airlines
Visa information: None for British citizens
Health information: Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid recommended.
Time Difference: GMT -5 hours
When To Go
Travelling to Jamaica during the off peak season of May to November may results in the price of accommodation being reduced by up to 40%, however if you are looking for a good deal probably best to avoid the school holiday months of July and August as you will notice air fares can increase during these months due to high demand.
Best Time to Go
Jamaica is best visited during the slightly cooler drier months of December to April. During these months the island will be slightly busier meaning there is usually more on offer in terms of tours and excursions, and there is generally more of a buzzing atmosphere. Temperatures during these months will range from 26-28°C with a night time temperature of around 17°C.
Most people chose to visit Jamaica during the European and American winter holiday months of mid December to mid April in order to escape the cooler climate back home. Hotels will often operate at their optimum during these months making it a great time to go to Jamaica to socialise and meet people from around the world. It can get quite cool during the evenings during these months so is worth packing a light cardigan or jumper!
The months of June through to September are usually the hottest in Jamaica, temperatures during these months will usually range from 28-32°C. As this is also part of Jamaica's rainy season you will usually experience short sharp showers during these months which will result in increased humidity but will generally reduce temperatures slightly offering well needed relief from the heat.
The tropical climate in Jamaica means it's always warm, the sun generally shines most of the time with an average yearly temperature of around 27-30°C. Generally the constant sea breeze takes the edge off the heat however because Jamaica is quite a large island with varied terrain heat and humidity can vary depending on where you are situated. Rainy season is usually from May to June and September to November with October historically being the wettest. Hurricane season runs from July to October.
Jamaica Travel Information
Etiquette and Customs
The legal drinking and smoking age in Jamaica is 18 years, but this is not always readily enforced.
Marijuana, although readily available, is in fact illegal in Jamaica. Anyone found in possession of, or found trafficking illegal drugs could face imprisonment in local prisons and or severe fines.
Beachwear should be kept for the beach and you should avoid wearing overly revealing clothing if visiting towns or public areas.
It is illegal to wear camouflage clothing in Jamaica as this is reserved for the military.
You should avoid wearing expensive jewellery as this could draw attention to you and may make you vulnerable to criminals.
Homosexuality is still a big taboo in Jamaica. Same sex couples can sometimes be responded to in an aggressive or negative manner.
Gratuities in Jamaica are often included in the bill so tipping is not always necessary, if dining out and gratuity is not included in the bill we would recommend 10-20% depending on service. Most all inclusive hotels do not allow tipping so please check beforehand, if permitted we would recommend $1-2USD per bag for bell boys and $1-2USD per day for maids.
There are three main carriers offering flights to Jamaica from the UK with a fourth going via the United States.
Direct Carriers: Direct carriers from the UK are British Airways twice a week and Virgin Atlantic also twice a week from London Gatwick to Montego Bay. Thomson also offers a direct charter service to Montego Bay from most regional airports. British Airways also fly twice weekly to Kingston from London Gatwick.
Indirect Carriers: British Airways offer flights from most other regional airports such as Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh with a connection via London Gatwick, and American Airlines from most regional airports going via the United States.
British Citizens are NOT required to have a visa to enter Jamaica for up to one month but your passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of return.