Jamaica, a lush island nation in the Caribbean, consistently ranks as one of the top destinations for summer vacations, honeymoons, and year-round trips. Its mountains, rainforest, and beaches offer an adventure for every activity level. Specific cities, like Kingston, Montego Bay, and Negril, boast immersive experiences for locals and visitors.
The third-largest island in the Caribbean also remains the birthplace of reggae music. Steel drums, island vibes, and Bob Marley all have a place in Jamaica.
When traveling to the Caribbean in the late summer months, visitors should know what to expect from the weather. Keep reading to discover if Jamaica’s weather is pleasant in September and if a threat of hurricanes looms over the island.
All year, Jamaica has a tropical climate. While some inland regions like Mandeville have more temperate weather, most of the island experiences hot and humid conditions throughout the year.
Heat lovers should rejoice if they’re thinking about going to Jamaica in September: the average daytime temperature across the island is a sweltering 88 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the month. Temperatures don’t let up much at night when things “cool off” to a balmy 79 degrees.
Those who enjoy swimming in the ocean have the treat of wading through warm water — most of the coastal water in Jamaica measures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll see the sun a lot in September, with nearly 12 hours of bright, direct sunlight.
Jamaica has so little fluctuation in its average temperatures that seasons don’t exist. From January to December, the island remains in the 80s, rarely dipping below or above during the day.
Hottest Temperatures Recorded in September in Jamaica
Because Jamaica only has two weather stations on the island, historical data isn’t as robust as some other locales. Between the times the weather stations have monitored temperatures (1955 and 2023), the hottest temperature ever recorded was in October 2015 at Montego Bay. There is no public data for the highest temperature in September in Jamaica.
Coldest Temperatures Recorded in September in Jamaica
The coldest temperature in Jamaica ever recorded happened in January 2022, as there is no public information for the coldest temperature ever recorded in September. The daytime temperature dipped down to 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
September Rainfall Patterns
Jamaica’s September weather is a mixed bag of total sun and partly sunny/partly cloudy days. And, with the humidity hovering in the high 80 percents, it’s likely for the sky to lose itself upon the ground at least once or twice a week. Based on the data collected over the last 50 years, Jamaica gets an average rainfall of about 38 millimeters of rain in the month of September.
Hurricanes During September in Jamaica
Thankfully, September is a pretty safe month from hurricanes and tropical cyclones in Jamaica despite the month being nestled in the middle of hurricane season. Historically, Jamaica gets many more hurricanes in August and October than in September. Throughout the years of data tracking, Jamaica has had eight storms in September compared to 17 in August and 18 in October.
Since the 1980s, only two significant storms have impacted the country during September. Hurricane Gilbert, the Atlantic basin’s second-most powerful tropical cyclone, made landfall in Jamaica on September 12, 1988. It took the lives of 49 people and left $700 million of damages in its wake. Nearly 16 years later to the day on September 11, 2004, Hurricane Ivan crashed into the island with Category 5 winds. Seventeen people lost their lives, 18,000 lost their homes, and the country faced $360 million in damage.
Pros and Cons of Visiting Jamaica in September
Visiting Jamaica in the summer is a unique experience. With the peak tourist season starting to wind down, several clear benefits make themselves apparent:
- Despite some rainfall, the weather is gorgeous most of the day and the ocean’s warm temperature is heavenly.
- This remains one of the quietest months of the entire year on the island as far as tourists go, making it a serene time to vacation.
- With the tourism season winding down, accommodations have discounted prices.
- Indoor activities include unique museums, distilleries, and duty-free shops you normally wouldn’t frequent in higher-traffic months.
There are, however, a few drawbacks to traveling to Jamaica in the summer.
- Namely, it’s still hurricane season. Because Jamaica is an island nation, it has the disadvantage of becoming a landfall for hurricanes at their top strength. However, statistics show the likelihood of a hurricane hitting Jamaica in September as low.
- It will rain more this month than most other months of the year.
- Attractions remain open but not many festivals or special events take place in September in Jamaica.
What to Pack for September in Jamaica
The most critical part of your packing list: sunscreen or suntan lotion. With Jamaica’s location close to the equator, visitors should consistently reapply sunscreen to protect their bodies from UV rays.
Outside of sunscreen, bring whatever you need to accomplish the activities you’re setting out to do in Jamaica. As the island is a large tourist destination, many visitors come with plans — whether that means sitting on the beach or exploring a dense rainforest trail.
For the beach, opt to pack bathing suits, cover-ups, sandals, and light layers.
If you’re hitting the town and experiencing Jamaica away from tourist traps, bring comfortable walking shoes, shorts, and breezy tops. Most street clothes will serve you well as you navigate through the small towns and streets in Kingston, Portmore, and Spanish Town.
However, if adventure calls your name and you’re ready for some recreational adventure tourism, your packing list might look a little different. Horseback riders and offroaders may need long pants and sturdy shoes to complete their activities safely, while white water rafters and kayakers will need clothes they don’t mind getting wet under their lifejackets.
Alternative Activities in Case of Bad Weather
If the weather proves too unruly, the island will host you inside to explore equally-interesting experiences.
On the south side of the island, the Bob Marley Museum holds national significance. Located in Kingston, this museum provides visitors with an in-depth look at the musician’s life and work.
Across the island near Montego Bay, the Rose Hall Great House boasts historical walking sites and a nighttime tour that promises the chilling tail of Annee, “The White Witch of Rose Hall.”
Located between both sites is the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience. This distillery provides a sensory overload with its complete experience. Learn how to craft Appleton Estate Jamaica rums, taste the product, and ride up the mountain to see where the magic happens. The tour even offers some kid-friendly samples.
Is September a Good Time to Visit Jamaica?
Yes, September is a great time to visit Jamaica. The weather is hot, though there’s a smattering of rain most afternoons. Tourist crowds begin to dissipate in September too, as this is considered by some to be the first month of the off-season. That means lower prices for accommodations, vacation packages, and flights. Even if there aren’t a lot of festivals going on in the town, all the attractions remain open to enjoy. With hours of sunlight to enjoy, warm ocean water, and even warmer weather, Jamaica in September remains one of the hidden-gem months to experience this section of the Caribbean.
The Birthplace of Reggae
Traveling to Jamaica in September promises adventure, aqua oceans, and awesome food. Weather won’t preclude you from involving yourself in unique activities offered by the island. If it does rain, you’ll be much too busy tasting the distinct flavors of rum from a distillery or zip-lining through tropical treetops to notice.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Ruth Peterkin
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