What’s it like in Jamaica in December

What’s it like in Jamaica in December

(Last updated July 2, 2017)

Jamaica in December

Jamaica in December

What’s happening in Jamaica in December

Everyone wants to know … What’s there to do in Jamaica? What’s the weather like? Is December a good time of year to visit Jamaica? We answer those questions plus give a few insider tips to help you enjoy your vacation.


Public Holidays in Jamaica in December

Christmas Day – December 25, 2017
Boxing Day (day after Christmas) – December 26, 2017


 What’s going on? Things to do in Jamaica in December 2017

Take note:  Most Jamaica event calendars are woefully inaccurate. Many popular websites still list events that have long been abandoned or happened in the distant past. Outdated websites and inactive Facebook pages are not uncommon.

If you are planning your vacation around a specific event, make sure you double-check the dates, ideally with the organizers, before confirming your travel plans. Realize that sometimes events are canceled if ticket sales are poor.

On the other hand, events, especially those attracting a more local clientele, often get announced with little notice followed by a lot of advertising on the local television and radio stations.


Smile Jamaica Concert

On December 5, 1976, Bob Marley performed at the first Smile Jamaica Concert at Heroes Circle in Kingston. His goal was for peace and unity, especially between the two political parties. The 2017 Smile Jamaica concert will be held on December 2 at Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, St Ann, then annually on, or as close as possible to, the anniversary of the original concert.

Date:  December 2, 2017
Location: Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, St. Ann
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BobMarley/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bobmarleymuseum
Website: See the original 1976 concert on YouTube


Liguanea Art Festival

December in Jamaica - Liguanea Art Festival

December in Jamaica – Liguanea Art Festival

This is Jamaica’s premier outdoor art festival showcasing fine art including painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry and much more.

Date: Sunday, December 3, 2017
Location: Liguanea Plaza, 134 Old Hope Road, Kingston
Website: http://liguaneaartfestival.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LiguaneaArt


Market at the Lawn

Jamaica in December - Market at the Lawn Devon House

Jamaica in December – Market at the Lawn, Devon House

This is an outdoor “market” held on the south lawn of Devon House offering primarily locally-made arts and crafts, jewelry, clothing, antiques, furniture, food, and other diverse items.

Typically the event is on the Sundays leading up to Christmas. This is a great opportunity to show support for local small business owners and get some shopping done at the same time.

Date: Sundays in December before Christmas starting on December 3, 2017, 10 am – 6 pm
Location: Devon House, Kingston
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marketatthelawn/


Music & Dance of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC)

National Dance Theatre Company

National Dance Theatre Company

Music of the NDTC
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2017, 5 pm
Location: Little Theatre, Kingston
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NDTCJamaica

NDTC 5 in 55 Concert Series
Date: Sunday, December 17, 2017, 5 pm
Location: St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Falmouth, Trelawny
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NDTCJamaica


Milk River Seafood & Jerk Festival

Milk River Seafood and Jerk Festival

Milk River Seafood and Jerk Festival

This is the second hosting of this festival on the South Coast of Jamaica. In addition to great seafood and jerk foods, there is a kiddies village, face painting, boat races, and of course lots of music with a stage show in the evening.

Date: Sunday, December 17, 2017, 10 am – 10 pm (tentative)
Location: Farqhar’s Beach, Milk River, Clarendon, South Coast
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Milk-River-Seafood-Jerk-Festival-576171089232330/


Reggae Marathon – Half Marathon and 10K

Reggae Marathon Negril Jamaica

Reggae Marathon Negril Jamaica

The Reggae Marathon takes place in Negril along an internationally certified (IAAF) course. Registration is on Thursday, November 30th and Friday, December 1st.

Jamaica Hotel & Tourism Association (JHTA) “World’s Best” Pasta Party will kick off the event between 5:30 – 8:30 pm at Couples Swept Away Sports Complex.

The Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K start at Long Bay Beach Park at 5:15 am on Saturday, December 2, 2017. 

The Finish Line Beach Bash and Victory Beach Party at Long Bay Beach Park between 7 am and 12 noon will ensure that everyone has a great time.

Date: November 30 – December 2, 2017. Marathon starts on Saturday, December 2, 2017, 5:15 am
Location: Long Bay Beach Park, Negril
Website: http://www.reggaemarathon.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReggaeMarathon/


Major Lazer and Friends in Concert

Major Lazer and Friends

Major Lazer and Friends

Since 2012, Major Lazer, the dance-hall inspired, electronic dance music trio has hosted an annual show in Kingston.

Date: not yet announced for 2017
Location: Mas Camp, Kingston
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/majorlazer/events/


Grand Market – December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve is called Grand Market in Jamaica. This is perhaps the biggest celebration day for Jamaicans of the season. Almost every major town has some sort of celebration. The streets are crowded. Even the infirmed try to at least get to their front porch to feel the Christmas breeze.

Some towns close streets to vehicular traffic due to the gridlock starting in the late afternoon. Stores open late. Everyone is out and about window shopping or buying last minute gifts. Music is playing loudly on the streets. The atmosphere is like one grand market that goes into the wee hours of the morning.


Christmas Day – December 25, 2017

Christmas is celebrated in Jamaica on the same day as the rest of the world.

Read our blog post, “Christmas in Jamaica – How does Jamaica celebrate Christmas” to learn about what makes Christmas in Jamaica special.


Boxing Day (day after Christmas) – December 26, 2017

Read our blog post, “Boxing Day in Jamaica: What is the day after Christmas called?” to learn about what Boxing Day is like in Jamaica.


Jamaica Pantomime

Jamaica in December - The start of the National Pantomime Season

Jamaica in December – The start of the National Pantomime Season

Jamaica’s Theatre season runs from December through May. Boxing Day traditionally marks the beginning of the national pantomime season in Kingston.

The national pantomime, a central main event of the season, has been running annually since the 1940s.This is a play which is usually a musical comedy making satirical reference to Jamaican culture, folklore, as well as historical and or current events and politics.

The costumes and sets are usually vibrant, creative and colorful. The dialog is primarily in Patois and without some local knowledge, it can be difficult for foreigners to follow along.

Most Jamaican plays cater to mature audiences; however, the pantomime caters to patrons of all ages and backgrounds.

Date: December 26, 2017 – May 31, 2018
Location: Little Theatre, Kingston
Website: http://www.ltmpantomime.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamaicanTheatre/


New Year’s Eve Watch Night Church Service

Almost all churches hold a “Watch Night Service” that starts in the evening of December 31st and goes until after midnight to welcome the New Year.


New Year’s Eve Parties and Galas

There are tons of celebratory events for New Year’s Eve all across the island. Most hotels and some restaurant have some kind of event where outside guests may purchase tickets to attend. Some are upscale while others are for more modest budgets.

Golden Eye’s New Year’s Eve Party in Oracabessa, just east of Ocho Rios, one of the pricier events, showcases live music and dancing with a fireworks display on the beach. In Kingston, there is the New Year’s Eve Ball at the upscale Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

Harbor Fest and Fireworks is a free event held on Ocean Boulevard on the waterfront in downtown Kingston with a kid’s play area, craft displays, music, dancing and a spectacular fireworks display. You don’t need to go downtown to see it. The views of the fireworks are fantastic from the hills outside of Kingston.

Hot tip: The Braco Melia hotel, less than 5 minutes drive from our villa vacation rental, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, has a firework show on New Year’s Eve. There is no need for you to go anywhere to ring in the New Year. Have your own party on our rooftop terrace while you enjoy the fireworks from Braco at midnight without any traffic, crowds or entry fee. Score!


Fruits and Foods in Season in Jamaica in December

Foods to try

December brings some special foods for Christmas. Read our blog post, “6 Foods You Must Try for an Authentic Jamaican Christmas Dinner” to learn about foods that Jamaican’s simply must have for Christmas to be Christmas!

Jamaican Christmas ham from the Juicy Chef – a must have at any Jamaican Christmas dinner. Photo credit: Jamaica Observer, December 9, 2010

Jamaican Christmas ham from the Juicy Chef – a must have at any Jamaican Christmas dinner. Photo credit: Jamaica Observer, December 9, 2010

Fruits to try

There is always some fruit in season in Jamaica. Betcha never heard of some of these! Go should try some of these exotic goodies while you are in Jamaica. They will certainly taste better there than if you try to source them overseas.

There is always some fruit in season in Jamaica. Betcha never heard of some of these! Go should try some of these exotic goodies while you are in Jamaica. They will certainly taste better there than if you try to source them overseas.


The main citrus crop bears between November and April. In addition to the usual fare such as oranges, tangerines and grapefruits, Jamaica has some unique citrus fruits. The ortanique is a cross between an orange and a tangerine. The ugli, is like a tangelo. It is a cross between a tangerine, grapefruit and an orange. As the name suggests, it is an ugly fruit. With its thickened skin, prominent pores, and sometimes a shriveled appearance, it looks like a deformed grapefruit or orange. It is surprisingly sweet and juicy reminding us to never judge a book by its cover!

Ugli fruit - looks weird but great taste. Native to Jamaica

Ugli fruit – looks weird but great taste. Native to Jamaica

June Plum

This fruit surrounds a spiky fibrous core. The sweet, tart juicy fruit is worth maneuvering around the spikes. Most people eat it ripe; but, it also eaten green, usually sprinkled with salt. These delicious fruits are usually in season from October to December.

June plum

June plum


Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica. Many people think ackee and saltfish is the national dish. It is actually the unofficial national dish. There isn’t actually a national dish. Ackee can be found year round but the season is from September to December.

Ackee - Jamaica's national fruit

Ackee – Jamaica’s national fruit


Jamaicans refer to “avocado” as “pear” and they eat pear with almost everything, even bread! No, guacamole is not common in Jamaica. That’s Mexico. Avocados are in season between September and December.

Jamaicans love avocado

Jamaicans love avocado


Did you know that sugar, molasses, and rum all come from sugar cane?

Back in the 1800s, Jamaica was one of the leading producers of sugar. Now, barely enough is produced to serve the nation as most of the sugar factories have long closed.

The crop season is from December through March.

Sugar cane

Sugar cane

Lobster Season in Jamaica

Jamaica in October - Lobster Season is OPEN in Jamaica

Jamaica in December – Lobster Season is OPEN in Jamaica

Lobster season is open from July 1, 2017 to March 30, 2018!!

The Jamaican Government can change the end date to close the season, but so far we haven’t heard anything about that.


Weather in Jamaica in December

We all want perfect weather conditions on our vacations. The reality is that nature has its own agenda. Here is a guide as to historical weather conditions in the Discovery Bay – Braco area during December in Jamaica.


On average, there are 3002 hours of sunshine per year in Jamaica out of a possible 4383 hours. The sunniest months are January through April, as well as July and August.

Average amount of bright sunshine per day in December: 7 hrs

Average amount of daylight per day in December: 11 hrs

Sunrise & Sunset

Sunrise: between 6:26 and 6:42 am

Sunset: between 5:32 and 5:44 pm


Northeasterly trade winds keep the coastal areas cool with island temperatures averaging around 71-88°F year round. Nevertheless, there aren’t wide variations in temperature across the island.

Temperatures do tend to be lower in the mountainous areas such as in the Blue Mountains. Temperatures decrease by about 1°F for every 300ft increase in elevation. The plains such as in Kingston and the more flat and arid southern areas of the island, such as Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth, are hotter.

The warmest months in Jamaica are July and August with average maximum daytime temperature of about 89-90°F. The coolest months are December through February with maximum temperatures of about 84.

Average maximum daytime temperature in Discovery Bay – Braco area in Jamaica in December is about 82°F/28°C. Average minimum temperature is around 66°F/19°C.

Maximum and Minimum Temperatures in Discovery Bay JamaicaRain

How much rain can you expect? It varies.

Traditionally, the rainy periods are April and May/June and again October to November/December. June and July are generally the driest months. February and March are also traditionally dry months too. This pattern does vary from year to year with much more variability noted in recent years.

The amount of rainfall and the frequency of showers or days of rain can vary quite a bit in Jamaica, even in nearby towns. For example, there could be significant rainfall in the town of Discovery Bay with hardly a rain drop in our area, five minutes drive away. In general, the more north-easterly sections of Jamaica get the most rain. These areas would represent areas east of Ocho Rios and on into Portland, where rainfall averages can be significant. 

Rain in Jamaica often is at night or early mornings. Sometimes, rain comes on during the daytime in short quick spurts only to disappear just as quickly as it came. In the rainy period, there can be several consecutive days of rain.

On average, there are about 8 days with some rainfall, defined as any rain at all, during the month of December. 

Average monthly rainfall for the month of December is 6.2inches. Discovery Bay area gets less rain than Ocho Rios.

Average rainfall in Discovery Bay - Braco Jamaica

Average rainfall in Discovery Bay – Braco Jamaica

If there are heavy rains, on-river activities, such as river rafting, might be canceled due to high water levels or rapid rivers. Water clarity could also be affected depending on how much rain occurred in the mountains.

Sea water temperature

The sea is warmest during July through October. Average sea water temperature in Discovery Bay in December is about 82°F/28°C.

 Risk of hurricane

Hurricane season is June 1 – November 30.

Tropical storm risk for the month of December is, historically, less than 1%.

Be sure to get trip insurance when you travel, especially internationally. This is particularly true during hurricane season.

High season versus low season

High season starts on December 15th and runs through April 14th. Hotel rates go up during high season; but, tourists come to Jamaica to escape the cold and enjoy’s the islands wonderful weather.

Tourist Crowds

December is a relatively busy month for arrivals at Montego Bay Airport.  Many families, extended families in particular, come to Jamaica to celebrate the holidays together.


Busiest months for arrivals at Montego Bay Airport in Jamaica

Busiest months for arrivals at Montego Bay Airport in Jamaica

Did we miss something? Do you know of an event in Jamaica in December that we should include? Let us know so that we may update the post.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.


If you’re thinking of a villa vacation rental for your Jamaica vacation. Here is a special cool freebie to make vacation planning easy …

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3-Part Email Series: How to pick the perfect villa in Jamaica

3-Part Email Series: How to pick the perfect villa in Jamaica

‘Til next time.

Think and dream Jamaica!

Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian

Considering a visit to Jamaica with a group? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups, retreats, and intimate destination weddings and vow renewals.

Visit our website: http://www.MakeItJamaica.com

Give us a call: 866.624.7684 (toll free) or 914.709.0457

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About the Author Sherry

Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!

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