Many travelers think of Jamaica as a winter escape, however the island has a surprising line-up of cultural and culinary festivals that heat up the summer months. In fact, Jamaica just made Virtuoso’s 2016 “Hot 10” list of summer destinations (based on countries that have seen the largest growth in year-over-year bookings).
The summer also offers budget-friendly accommodation, sometimes reduced by as much as 50 percent. With such a large variety of options including boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns, all-inclusive resorts and expansive villas, it’s no wonder that Jamaica is such a desirable summer destination.
“Some of Jamaica’s best festivals and events are held during the summer months,” said Paul Pennicook, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “Jamaica offers much more than just sun, sea and sand – our summer festivals give visitors the chance to sample Jamaica’s culture, music and cuisine alongside locals.”
The following is a list of 2016 summer festivals and events in Jamaica:
- Jamaica International Ocho Rios Jazz Festival (Island-wide, May 28 – June 5): This festival offers a week of great music and entertainment with both Jamaican and international jazz performers. www.ochoriosjazz.com
- Calabash Literary Festival (St. Elizabeth, June 3 – 5): Calabash is a three-day storytelling festival with readings and music. The festival has established itself as the original and biggest of the Caribbean literary festivals, and brings together renowned authors and musicians from Jamaica and the world. www.calabashfestival.org
- Caribbean Fashion Week (Kingston, June 17 – 20): Recognized as the Caribbean’s top fashion and style event, Caribbean Fashion Week is held each year in Kingston and features renowned Jamaican designers and emerging talent showcasing their collections. www.caribbeanfashionweek.com
- Kingston on the Edge Urban Art Festival (Kingston, June 17 – 26): This festival is a weeklong celebration of art and the artists who live and work in Kingston and features all genres from painting and sculpture to dance, music and theater.www.kingstonontheedge.org
- Little Ochie Seafood Carnival (Manchester, July 10): The Little Ochie Seafood Carnival is a celebration of the wide array of culinary delights available on the south coast of the island. Little Ochie restaurant is nestled on the rugged beachfront of a quaint South Coast fishing village called Alligator Pond. Top local reggae musicians are featured along with excellent cuisine and a non-stop party. www.littleochie.com
- Reggae Sumfest (Montego Bay, July 17 – 23): A much anticipated annual reggae festival, Reggae Sumfest showcases the best talents in roots, rock and reggae music from both Jamaican and international performers. It’s the greatest reggae show on earth, in the place where the reggae genre was born! www.reggaesumfest.com
- Dream Weekend (Negril, July 28 – August 1): Dream Weekend takes over Negril each year with major parties featuring an impressive line-up of DJs, artists and celebrities. www.jamaicadreamweekend.com
- MoBay Jerk Festival (Montego Bay, July 31 – August 1): This food festival is an excellent opportunity for Jamaicans and visitors to enjoy jerk cuisine. The event will be held at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex and feature live gospel entertainment in addition to plenty of jerk. www.montegobayjerkfestival.com