Top tip: More than just Roots & Reggae
With an area of 10,911 sq km (4,244 sq miles), Jamaica is the largest island of the Commonwealth Caribbean and the third largest of the Greater Antilles, after Cuba and Hispaniola. A largely mountainous terrain reaches 2,256m (7,402ft) at the Blue Mountain Peak in the east, descending westward in a series of ridges and forested ravines. Over 1,000km (621 miles) of coastline offers fine beaches in the north and west. At its greatest extent, Jamaica is 235km (146 miles) long with a width that varies between 35 and 82 km (22 and 51 miles). The island is a quarter the size of Estonia, half the size of the Scottish Highlands, roughly the same size of the American state of Connecticut.
Consistently warm tropical weather ensures Jamaica is a popular destination year-round. On the coast, temperatures range from 22°C (72°F) and 31°C (88°F) with chilly mornings and evenings denoting winter. Peak season runs roughly from mid-December to mid-April when crowds swell and prices rise. The wettest months are May and October, but showers may occur at any time. Between June and November, Jamaica is prone to hurricanes. It also lies within the earthquake zone.
The annual rainfall averages 1980mm, but nationwide there are some considerable variations, with the east coast receiving considerably more rain than elsewhere on the island. Parts of the Blue Mountains receive an average of 7620mm a year. By contrast, the south coast sees little rain and in places is semi-barren. Jamaica is a year-round destination, though there are seasonal differences to consider. Weather-wise, temperature isn’t an important factor: winter is usually warm by day and mild to cool by night, and summer months are simply hot.
Facts and Figures
|The official language is English.
|There is a Christian majority, with various denominations represented. The Rastafari is movement also important.
|GMT – 5
Interested in Jamaica? Call +44 (0)20 7604 4408 for expert holiday advice