Jamaica Hurricane Season - Best and Worst Times to Go

The sun sets over a warm and dry Jamaica day.
The sun sets over a warm and dry Jamaica day.

The best and worst times to go to Jamaica depend on this Caribbean island's average monthly weather and hurricane season.

Jamaica is the third most popular island for tourists in the region after Dominican Republic and Cuba, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

A big part of its popularity is warm temperatures, great beaches, interesting culture and high-quality resorts in Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios.

But its popularity takes a dive during part of the year because of a hurricane season that typically brings heavy rains and the potential for damaging storms.

Ask someone if they could choose between going in a month when it rains seven inches on average versus a month when it usually rains less than an inch. The answer is an easy one.

People planning a vacation to the Caribbean for the first time don't realize that the major destinations go through a dry season and a rainy season. For some destinations, the rainy season isn't just more rain than usual. Some islands get thoroughly drenched.

The people who know best are the cruise lines that schedule eastern and western Caribbean cruises.

Tourism statistics show that cruises to Jamaica spike during certain times of the year and drop other times.

Fast facts about Jamaica's average monthly weather:

  • January through March have the lowest rainfall.
  • September and October are the cheapest, rainiest and least popular months to visit.
  • Temperatures in July and August are often uncomfortably hot.
  • March and April have the best combination of low rainfall and warm temperatures.

Best and Worst Times to Go to the Caribbean


Hurricane Season

Like most Caribbean islands, Jamaica has a hurricane season that runs from June through November every year.

Average rainfall during the hurricane season shows a modest increase during June and a drop in July. Then it picks back up in August and rockets up to a peak of seven inches in October, according to 30 years of historical data from the World Weather Organization.

The official Caribbean hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. The months that historically are most likely to experience tropical cyclones -- storms or hurricanes -- are September and October.

Few hurricanes hit an island like Jamaica directly. Instead, the islands more often will see a big jump in average rainfall. For Jamaica, that month is usually October.

These numbers are historical averages, and the real average will vary from one year to the next. But over 30 years the patterns give some clues about which months may experience less rain.

Jamaica also has a lengthy dry season when rainfall averages less than three inches a month. It lasts from November through April. It also has a brief dry season in July, which also is one of the hottest months of the year.

Like many Caribbean destinations, the island experiences a brief rainy season in May of about four inches that drops off for a few months.

Rain and cloudy skies threaten Jamaica more in September and October than any other months of the year.
Rain and cloudy skies threaten Jamaica more in September and October than any other months of the year.

Rain Days

Deciding when to go based on the weather is not only a matter of the amount of rain the island receives each month.

It also is a matter of the average number of days that it rains.

During the dry season, the number of rain days from December through March averages between five and six. July averages the same amount.

During the rainy season, the average jumps to nine days in August, 11 in September and 14 in October. In other words, it rains nearly every other day during October.


Average Temperatures

Staying warm is not a problem in Jamaica. The island's average temperatures are among the highest in the Caribbean and stay that way most of the year.

The average high temperatures range from 86 degrees Fahrenheit in January and February to 91 degrees in July and August, according to the Jamaica Tourist Board.

It is one of the few Caribbean destinations where average temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. So people who like it hot will want to go then. People who don't like it hot should choose another time.

The average low temperatures take place mainly at night. They range from about 70 degrees Fahrenheit in January through March to 75 degrees from June through September.

Some Caribbean destinations can become slightly cool during the winter months. Seawater and nighttime temperatures in particular can drop into the 60s Fahrenheit in some locations. Because of this drop, swimming becomes uncomfortable for many destinations.

Jamaica's seawater temperatures will be comfortable most of the year except for winter months. Mornings are the most uncomfortable times after nighttime temperatures cool the ocean waters.


Jamaica Weather by Month

Thirty years of weather data shows a clear set of patterns for rainfall and temperatures in the coastal areas of Jamaica. The following numbers are averages over a 30-year history.


Average high temperatures reach the low point of the year at 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 28 Celsius. Total rainfall is about three inches. It rains an average of nine days, which is somewhat higher than normal. Seawater often is too chilly for swimming, especially in the mornings.


Jamaica weather in February shows only a slight improvement in temperatures, rainfall and rain days versus January. But the trend is positive as the dry season that began in January continues to improve.


March is the driest month of the year with rainfall of about one inch and rain days totaling only five. But temperatures are still somewhat cool. The average high is 84 Fahrenheit or 29 Celsius. Water lovers may want to wait until a warmer month to visit.


April temperatures increase again to 85 Fahrenheit or more than 29 Celsius. Rainfall is slightly higher at only two inches. The coastal areas have seven rain days. April is the best month to visit Jamaica for a combination of warmer temperatures and low risk of rain.


Jamaica weather in May is both warmer and wetter. Many Caribbean islands have a brief but light rainy season in May. Jamaica averages four inches of rain, but it also has 12 days of rain, which is one of the highest levels of the year.


June is riskier with rainfall. The average increases to five inches, although the rain days drop to 10. But at least it is warm with daytime highs of 88 Fahrenheit or 31 Celsius.

Cruise ships visiting Ocho Rios like this one spike in numbers during the winter through summer and drop way off in September and October.
Cruise ships visiting Ocho Rios like this one spike in numbers during the winter through summer and drop way off in September and October.


June is riskier with rainfall. The average increases to five inches, although the rain days drop to 10. But at least it is warm with daytime highs of 88 Fahrenheit or 31 Celsius.


July oddly has a big drop in rain to only two inches despite the arrival of the Caribbean hurricane season in June. It also historically has seven rain days. Temperatures plateau at about the same amount as June. July is a good time to go to Jamaica for hot temperatures and lower risk of rain.


Rain climbs again in August to four inches or the same level as May. Rain days increase to 10. Temperatures edge up to the highest point of the year.


September is not a good time to go to Jamaica or just about anywhere else in the Caribbean. It is the peak month of the annual hurricane season. The island does better than many other islands with average rainfall of five inches in the coastal areas. But rain days jump back up to 12.


Jamaica weather in October is usually the worst of the year. Total rainfall climbs to seven inches and rain days total 13. Both are high points of the year. Daring vacationers can go to Jamaica in October if they take last-minute trips and track a 10-day weather forecast that shows low risk of rain.


Rainfall in November drops back down to four inches. Average high temperatures are mild at 85 Fahrenheit or 29 Celsius. It still rains often with an average of 11 days.


Jamaica’s weather in December continues the November total of four inches of rain. Rain days drop to nine. Average high temperatures decline to 83 Fahrenheit or 28 Celsius. Like January, seawaters are often too chilly for swimming.

Jamaica tourism statistics show clearly that July is a popular time to go. © Scott Bateman
Jamaica tourism statistics show clearly that July is a popular time to go. © Scott Bateman

Jamaica Vacation Poll

What month did you go to Jamaica? What month do you want to go?

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
See results without voting

Most Popular Times to Go

The chart above shows the most recent tourism statistics for Jamaica by month.

It shows the most popular month to visit Jamaica is during July, the hottest time of the year. December follows July. December is the coldest time of the year but an escape from northern winters.

The third most popular month is March, which is a common spike in Caribbean tourism because of spring break.

The least popular month is September, which also is the peak month of the Caribbean hurricane season.

Cruises drop dramatically during September because of the high risk of heavy rains and either tropical storms or hurricanes that will force ships to alter their courses. In some cases, they have to skip planned ports of call altogether.

October is a more popular time to visit Jamaica than September despite that the chances of rain are higher in October.

Cheapest Time to Visit Jamaica

Anyone on a tight budget will probably find that September and October are the cheapest times to visit Jamaica.

The bad news is that they are cheap months for resort prices for a reason. They are the peak months of the Caribbean hurricane season.

The charts above show that the fall months have a much higher than average amount of rainfall and number of rain days. They are the result of an increase in the number of tropical storms and hurricanes that travel through the region.

The best way to go in September and October is via last-minute vacation deals. Check the weather forecast for seven to 10 days in advance. If the forecast looks good, it might be worthwhile to take the chance.

Jamaica Resort Destinations

show route and directions
A markerOcho Rios -
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
[get directions]

Ocho Rios is one of the most popular western Caribbean cruise ports.

B markerMontego Bay -
Montego Bay, Jamaica
[get directions]

Montego Bay is especially popular for its all-inclusive resorts.

C markerNegril -
Negril, Jamaica
[get directions]

Like Montego Bay, Negril also is popular for its all-inclusive resorts.

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    Scott Bateman (promisem)122 Followers
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    Scott Bateman is a professional journalist and online publisher. He writes often about travel, health and personal finance.

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