There is really no bad time of year to go to Jamaica, but when deciding when to go to this Caribbean island, consider timing your trip to coincide with one of the fun Jamaican events or festivals.
The most famous of all Jamaican events is the world renowned Reggae Sumfest, held each year in July in Montego Bay. Reggae Sumfest attracts top musical performers from Jamaica and around the world, including some of the biggest names in reggae and dancehall. If you like reggae music, this is the very best of Jamaican festivals. Be sure to plan in advance: hotel in Montego Bay are booked well ahead of time for Reggae Sumfest.
Several other well-known events in Jamaica also take place in Montego Bay. The Pineapple Cup Yacht Race, held biennially (on odd numbered years) in February, is a world-class 800-mile sailing competition and a good excuse for raucous celebrations. The Air Jamaica Blues Festival, held each January, is one of the other great musical Jamaican festivals. Another of the great musical events in Jamaica is the Ocho Rios Jazz Fest held each June.
Mountain bikers should head to Negril for their own Jamaican events each February: the Flat Tyre Festival (tyre is the British and Jamaican spelling of the American tire) combines parties and a top bike race. Negril is also the home of other great Jamaican festivals, including the Jamaica Beachfest, a six-week celebration coinciding with American college Spring Break.
Like many other towns on the island, Negril comes alive each year of February 6 for Bob Marley's birthday. One of the most celebrated events in Jamaica, Marley's birthday is an excuse for partying and a chance to appreciate the music of this legendary musician and cultural figure. The best place to celebrate Marley's is probably his birthplace in Nine Mile in the north central area of Jamaica. Fans from across the world make the trip here each year to party all night and listen to his music.
Hotels in Jamaica tend to be full or more expensive during major Jamaican holidays or festivals. Jamaican holidays include New Years Day, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter, Labour Day (late May), and Emancipation Day (early August), National Heroes Day (mid-October), Christmas, and Boxing Day (December 26). Easter is one of the most celebrated Jamaican holidays. Some of the best events in Jamaica are the Easter carnivals in Ocho Rios and Kingston, featuring parades, parties, and other events. Carnival takes place during the Spring; the exact timing varies each year based on the Christian calendar.
Jamaican events are a chance to see Jamaica in full
party mode: laid-back but fun loving, Jamaica at its best.