Jamaica's tropical climate is at its most appealing during the peak
mid-December to mid-April tourist season, when rainfall is lowest and the heat
is tempered by cooling trade winds; it can also get quite cool at night at this
time, so it's worth packing a sweater.
Things get noticeably hotter during the
summer, and particularly in September and
October the humidity can become oppressive. September is also
the most threatening month of the annual hurricane season,
which runs officially from June 1 to October 31; however, on average, the big
blows only hit about once a decade.
, and crowds
at the attractions
, peak during high season. Outside this period it's quieter everywhere,
and though the main resorts throb with life pretty much year-round, quieter
areas like Port
can feel a little lifeless. The good news is that in the off-season hotel prices fall by up to 25 percent, there are more bargains to be had in every field of activity, and a number of festivals
- including the
massive annual Reggae Sumfest
- inject some zip.
Jamaica is a different
world, full of glorious white sand beaches, lush vegetation,
mountains, red earth, the smell of saltwater, and the humidity of tropical
climes. People are friendly and laid back, operating on Jamaican
time, lackadaisical and easygoing, with no real
sense of hurry.
I have always wanted to go
there, to visit the land of jerk chicken
and Bob Marley, and paid little attention
to the stories of hold ups and the hostile treatment of tourists relayed to me
by others. I kept those stories in mind and just decided to be cautious. I would
experience the country firsthand, beholding Jamaica's offerings with my own two