Everyone wants to know … What’s there to do in Jamaica? What’s the weather like? Is January a good time of year to visit Jamaica? We answer those questions plus give a few insider tips to help you enjoy your vacation.
New Year’s Day is a public holiday in Jamaica.
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 Outdated websites and inactive Facebook pages are not uncommon.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.
Join Shaggy and Friends for their biennial Make a Difference Foundation Concert to benefit the Bustamante Children’s Hospital in Kingston. So far, they have donated millions of dollars to the hospital. Even if you cannot attend the show, it funds a cause worthy of support. The need at the Children’s Hospital is great.
Every year the Maroons of Western Jamaica celebrate the victory of the Maroons over the British in the First Maroon War which ultimately resulted in the signing of a peace treaty. The festival strives to showcase the Maroon subculture with singing, dancing, food and ceremonial symbolism such as the blowing of the abeng (cow’s horn), which was used as a means of secret communication between Maroons.
Date: January 6 every year
Location: Accompong, St. Elizabeth (South Coast)
This is quite a trek from Discovery Bay.
Started in 1994 and held every January, Rebel Salute will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2018. This event is had a spiritual vibe that is unique among music festivals. The focus is on authentic roots reggae, wholesome culture, and healthy living.
The show attracts both local and international performers, called Saluters, who play from dusk to dawn. There are food vendors who serve only “ital” cuisine, which is largely vegetarian. There is a strict no-meat and no-alcohol policy.
The Richmond Estate venue overlooks the sea and is about 20 minutes from our villa vacation rental, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay.
Jamaica’s Theatre season runs from December through May. The national pantomime, a central main event of the season, has been running annually since the 1940s.
The pantomime 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.
The 35th staging of the High Mountain Coffee 10K and 5K Road Race will be held in January 2018, making it the longest running 10K event in Jamaica.
The 5K Run and 5K walk are designed for those looking for a more fun activity. The 5K walk benefits the Mandeville Hospital.
The 10K run, as the organizers describe it, “is not for the faint of heart”. It is a race of strength, stamina, and endurance as runners embark on a course that goes up 1200ft above sea level. Mandeville is a south central town in Jamaica in an area that is fairly mountainous. The scenery there is beautiful so it will be worth it!
Date: Held the last Sunday in January – January 27, 2018
Location: Williamsfield, Mandeville, Manchester
Tamarind tends to be in season when most other fruits are not. It can often be found between January and March. The fruit is encased in a shell that must be removed to be eaten. The inner brown pulp surrounds a hard, black seed, which is inedible. The pulp is often mixed with sugar and rolled into balls called tamarind balls, which is a popular Jamaican candy or dessert. The sweet but tart pulp is also used to make jams, jellies and drinks.
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!
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.
The Jamaican Government can change the end date to close the season, but so far we haven’t heard anything about that.
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 January 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 January: 7 hrs
Average amount of daylight per day in January: 11 hrs
Sunrise: between 6:42 and 6:45 am
Sunset: between 5:45 and 6:03 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 January is about 81°F/27°C. Average minimum temperature is around 64°F/18°C.
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 7 days with some rainfall, defined as any rain at all, during the month of January.
Average monthly rainfall for the month of January is 5.2 inches. Discovery Bay area gets less rain than Ocho Rios.
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.
The sea is warmest during July through October. Average sea water temperature in Discovery Bay in January is about 81°F/27°C.
Hurricane season is June 1 – November 30.
Tropical storm risk for the month of January is, historically, zero.
Be sure to get trip insurance when you travel, especially internationally. This is particularly true during hurricane season.
January is high 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 start picking up in January as the high season picks up. January is a relatively slow high season month for arrivals at Montego Bay Airport.
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.
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‘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.
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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!