Despite its location almost smack in the center of the Caribbean Sea, the island of Jamaica doesn’t blend in easily with the rest of the Caribbean archipelago. To be sure, it boasts the same addictive sun rays, sugary sands and pampered resort-life as most of the other islands, but it is also set apart historically and culturally.
Today’s visitors will appreciate their trip to Jamaica all the more if they embrace the island’s unique character and the inherent ‘African-ness’ of its population. Aside from its people, Jamaica has much to offer, the curious, thirsty or weary traveller. Nowhere else in the Caribbean is the connection to Africa as keenly felt as it is in Jamaica. Kingston was the major nexus in the New World for the barbaric triangular trade that brought slaves from Africa and carried sugar and rum to Europe, and the Maroons (runaways who took to the hills of Cockpit Country and the Blue Mountains) safeguarded many of the African traditions – and introduced jerk seasoning to Jamaica’s singular cuisine. St Ann’s Bay’s Marcus Garvey founded the back-to-Africamovement of the 1910s and ’20s; Rastafarianism took up the call a decade later, and reggae furnished the beat in the 1960s and ’70s. Little wonder many Jamaicans claim a stronger affinity for Africa than for neighboring Caribbean islands.
One of Jamaica’s greatest allures is its idyllic tropical maritime climate. Coastal temperatures average a near-constant 26°C to 30°C year-round. Temperatures fall steadily with increasing altitude but even in the Blue Mountains average 18°C or more. 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 John Crow and Blue Mountains receive an average of 7620mm a year. By contrast, the south coast sees little rain and in places is semi-barren.
A ‘rainy season’ starts in May or June and extends through November or December, with the heaviest rains in September and October. Rain can fall at any time of year, however, and normally comes in short, heavy showers, often followed by sun.
Jamaica lies in the Caribbean ‘hurricane belt.’ Officially the hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30; August and September are peak months.
found on lonelyplanet.com