Jamaica in May: What’s it like in Jamaica in May

What’s it like in Jamaica in May

Everyone wants to know … What’s there to do in Jamaica? What’s the weather like?

We answer those questions plus give a few insider tips to help you enjoy your vacation.

What is there to do in Jamaica in May

What is there to do in Jamaica in May

Public Holidays in Jamaica in May

Jamaicans take public holidays very seriously. Do not expect much business to be conducted at holiday time. Some businesses close early the day before. Public beaches are often very crowded on public holidays.

Labor Day – May 23, 2018


What’s going on? Things to do in Jamaica in May

After researching this topic, there is one thing I know for sure. Most Jamaica events 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 Outdated websites and inactive Facebook pages are not uncommon.

Additionally, except for the large shows that draw an international crowd, most of the events are not well publicized and neither are they advertised far enough in advance.

It takes some serious sleuthing to find out about those hidden local gems. The good news is that we have done the hard work for you!

That said, 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. Also, realize that sometimes events are canceled if ticket sales are poor.


Jamaica Biennial

Jamaica Biennial at the National Gallery of Art (Photo Credit: National Gallery of Art)

Jamaica Biennial at the National Gallery of Art (Photo Credit: National Gallery of Art)

The Jamaica Biennial, previously known as the National Biennial, is the National Gallery’s flagship biennial exhibition. Designed to encourage the development and promotion of Jamaica art, the Jamaica Biennial includes works in all media and genres by a wide variety of artists who enter the exhibition through a juried system or by special invitation.

If you are an art lover, you will want to see this gallery even if there isn’t a special exhibit on display. The National Gallery in Kingston has the largest collection. This would be a great stop on a visit to Kingston.

Dates:  Generally February to May. Dates to be announced.
Location: National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston
Website: http://www.natgalja.org.jm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jamaicabiennial/


MoBay City Run

Photo Credit: MoBay City Run Jamaica

Photo Credit: MoBay City Run Jamaica

The MoBay City Run offers a 5K Walk, 5K Run, and 10K Run. With a tagline, Running for Education – Hoping for the Future, the run raises money to assist students attending Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, Montego Bay Community College as well as UWI and UTECH Western Campuses.

Date: Sunday, May 6, 2018
Location: starts at Old Hospital Park on Goucester Avenue, Montego Bay
Website: http://www.mobaycityrun.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mobaycityrun/


Style Week Jamaica & Fashion Block

Photo Credit: Style Week Jamaica

Photo Credit: Style Week Jamaica

2018 will mark the 14th year for this well anticipated annual fashion extravaganza. Put on by the modeling agency, Saint International, the show features primarily, but not exclusively, major Jamaican designers. The event includes Fashion Block, which is a runway show on Knutsford Boulevard which gets shut down for the event.

Date: May 16-20, 2018
Location: various locations around Kingston
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaintIntl/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Styleweek-Jamaica


Tmrw Tday Culture Fest

Photo Credit: Tmrw Tday Culture Fest Jamaica

Photo Credit: Tmrw Tday Culture Fest Jamaica

The event featured wellness activities such as yoga and meditation, natural healings, great conscious music and wonderful food. A highlight of the week-long festival was a reggae revival concert and beach party.

Date:  May 17-23, 2017. The 2018 date has not yet been announced
Location: Negril
Website: http://www.tmrwtday.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tmrwtday/


Manchester (Mandeville) Horticultural Show

Mandeville Flower Show Jamaica

Photo Credit: Mandeville Flower Show Jamaica

The Manchester Horticultural Society, formed in 1865, is the oldest such organization in Jamaica. The Society hosts its signature flower show and competition on Labor Day every year. The 2018 event with be their 153rd annual show!

Date: Labor Day – May 23, 2018
Location: Ward Avenue, Mandeville


Carnival of Speed

Car Race in Jamaica - Time to go to see the races (Photo credit: Dover Raceway)

Car Race in Jamaica – Time to go to see the races (Photo credit: Dover Raceway)

Jamaica Race Drivers Club puts on exciting races over Easter Monday, Labor Day, Independence Day, and Heroes Day. Usually, these races are at Dover Raceway near Browns Town, St. Ann; however, the Labor Day Race is held at JamWest in Westmoreland. It’s not Nascar but it still gets the adrenaline pumping.

Dates: Labor Day – May 23, 2018
Location: JamWest, Westmoreland


Jamaica Observer Table Talk Awards

Jamaica in May - Jamaica Observer Food Awards

Jamaica in May – Jamaica Observer Food Awards (Photo Credit: Jamaica Observer)

Jamaica Observer Table Talk Awards is a prestigious culinary experience which highlights, in particular, Jamaican food. The annual festival is a crowd pleaser.

2018 will be the 20th staging of the event so you can imagine that it will be magnificent!

Date: May 25, 2017. The date for 2018 has not yet been announced.
Location: Devon House, Kingston
Website: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/foodawards


Jamaica’s National Pantomime

Photo Credit: National Pantomime Jamaica

Photo Credit: National Pantomime Jamaica

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.

Date: December 26, 2017 – May 31, 2018 (The title has not yet been announced.)
Location: Little Theatre, Kingston
Website: http://www.ltmpantomime.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamaicanTheatre/


Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival

Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival - The Caribbean's Complete Jazz Vacation

Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival – The Caribbean’s Complete Jazz Vacation

The almost week-long event is held in various places around Jamaica – Runaway Bay, Ocho Rios, Portland, and Kingston. What all events have in common is jazz, and lots of it, featuring both local and international bands.

Date: May 28 – June 4, 2017. The 2018 dates have not yet been announced.
Location: multiple locations in Jamaica
Website: http://www.ochoriosjazzja.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamaicaOchoRiosInternationalJazzFestival/

Fruits and Foods in Season in Jamaica in May

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.


May is the beginning of Mango Season. We do not have Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter. We have mango season. Every Jamaican looks forward to mango season.

Things to do in Jamaica at Mais Oui - Eat a ripe mango during mango season

Things to do in Jamaica at Mais Oui – Eat a ripe mango during mango season


Jamaicans say neez-berry. It is called sapodilla in other countries. The fruit had brown skin and brown pulp with black seeds and is in season from March through May.

Jamaica in May: Fruits in Season - Naseberry

Jamaica in May: Fruits in Season – Naseberry

Sweet sop

This fruit softens as it ripens at which point it is easily broken to reveal white flesh covering black seeds. This fruit can be relied on to the sweet. It has a custard-like texture but is not as grainy as custard apples. Fruits bear in April to July. To enjoy this delicacy, you have to suck the flesh off the seeds. Don’t even bother trying to be elegant about it.

Jamaica in May. Fruits in Season - Sweet sop

Jamaica in May. Fruits in Season – Sweet sop


Jamaican refer to stingy or miserly people as being “as mean (stingy) as star apple” because, even when ripe, star apples do not fall from the tree. They have to be picked.

The plant gets its name from the star shaped pattern that is seen when the fruit is cut in half horizontally.

The fruit is about the size and shape of a baseball. It has a thick skin which may be either purple or green. The flesh is white and is both gelatinous and a little fibrous at the same time. There are about six firm black seeds inside.

The flesh is combined with milk and oranges to make a traditional Jamaican dessert called matrimony.

Fruits in Season in Jamaica in May: Starapple

Fruits in Season in Jamaica in May: Starapple


This is one huge strange looking fruit. A whole fruit can easily be 20lbs or more. When it is ripe, it has an extremely sweet, almost intoxicating, smell. Jamaicans typically eat jackfruit ripe, the way you would any other fruit. It can be eaten green (unripened) and apparently is all the rage among vegans as a meat alternative. It is typically in season in Jamaica in April, May, and August.

Jackfruit - a really weird looking fruit

Jackfruit – a really weird looking fruit


Did you know that in 1886, 1000 pineapple plants were sent to Hawaii to help improve the quality of their stock? Surprisingly, Jamaica’s pineapple industry never really got off the ground. The local sugar pine is incredibly sweet but is equally expensive.

Jamaica in May - Pineapples

Jamaica in May – Pineapples


Lobster Season in Jamaica

Lobster season in Jamaica - closed April 1 to June 30 every year

Lobster season in Jamaica – closed April 1 to June 30 every year

Weather in Jamaica in May

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 May 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 May: 7hrs

Average amount of daylight per day in May: ~13hrs

Sunrise & Sunset

Sunrise: between 5:35 and 5:44 am

Sunset: between 6:32 and 6:43 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 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 May is about 84°F/29°C.

Average minimum temperature is around 70°F/21°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-eastern sections of Jamaica gets 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 12 days with some rainfall during the month of May.

Average monthly rainfall in May is about 7 inches for the month. 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 in Jamaica in May

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

Risk of hurricane in Jamaica in May

May is not in hurricane season.

Hurricane season is June 1 – November 30.

Tropical storm risk is historically less than 1% of the month of May.


High season versus low season

May is low season. Hotel rates go down in low season. Low season runs from April 15 – December 14. 

Read our blog post, Is the low season the best time to visit Jamaica. See 8 Reasons Why.


Tourist Crowds

May is a fairly busy time for arrivals in Jamaica. The five busiest months for arrivals at Montego Bay’s airport are March, June, July, August, and December, with July being especially busy. This makes sense as it coincides with many holidays, including school holidays. September, October, and November see the fewest number of arrivals every year. Hint, those are great months to snag deals!

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 May 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.


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‘Til next time.

Think and dream Jamaica!

Sherry, Darrell & Darrian

Considering a visit to Jamaica? 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, groups, and intimate destination weddings.

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

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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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