Best Time To Visit
Jamaica has an amazingly varied terrain--and weather patterns.

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Rainy Season: The rainy season varies in the different regions. In the center and the west, it's usually summertime. On the eastern side, it's October-November and a small rainy season in May-June. For the island overall, the rainy season is considered to be October into December and May through June.

Different regions of the island receive dramatically different amounts of rainfall. For instance, the capital city of Kingston gets only about 35 inches. Jack's Hill, the first of the Blue Mountains, receives about 75 inches. Farther up in the Blue Mountains at sites called Holywell and the Fairy Glades Trail, it's now 125 inches. At the highest peaks, we're talking from 150-200 inches plus.

The worst place for rain is the John Crow Mountains, named after the local vultures. This region receives an estimated 300 inches of rain a year. Understandably, not many people hike there.

For hiking, the weather usually doesn't make much difference. Clouds, which make photography difficult, also provide the coolest, most enjoyable walking conditions. Go prepared for rain and it won't be as much of a bother as you might think

Climate: Jamaica may be considered a tropical island, but most of the organized hiking in the Blue Mountains near Kingston is done at altitude. The rule of thumb for the Blue Mountains is a temperature drop of 3 degrees F for every 1,000 feet.

Atop Blue Mountain Peak after a winter cold front it may drop below freezing. The lowest recorded temp is around 25 degrees F. Definitely not sandals and T-shirt weather, especially if the wind blows, as it usually does.

The third largest Caribbean island, 146 miles long and varying between 22 and 51 miles wide. Quite mountainous, almost one-half of the land area is above 1,000 feet.

Language: English and a Jamaican patois.

Population: 2.8 million mostly located around Kingston. Other population centers, in order, are Montego Bay, Mandeville, Port Antonio Ocho Rios and Negril.

Documents: U.S citizens traveling to and from Jamaica must have a valid passport. Canadian citizens need a valid passport or a government-issued identification with photograph, along with an official birth certificate.

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