DO NOT wear clothing that is made from fabrics such as polyester and wool.
Jamaica is very warm and humid and heavier fabrics will just trap the heat.
DO NOT wear boots– unless you plan on doing some serious trekking in the mountains there is no need to wear boots in Jamaica. They are heavy and hot on your feet.
DO NOT wear any expensive jewelry. I am mostly addressing the ladies here. If you do want to accessorize your outfit make sure it’s with cheap jewelry that you won’t mind if you lose. Avoid anything made from silver and gold and any precious gems.
DO NOT wear tight fitting clothing. Jamaica is all about enjoying yourself and being comfortable!
What to wear to the beach: When you think of Jamaica, beautiful white sand beaches instantly come to mind. Jamaica’s beaches live up to all the hype, clear blue water and warm sand make for a serene beach going experience. When going to the beach make sure to bring all the necessities to maximize your time and experience! If you are staying at a resort ask to rent gear for snorkeling- there is always something to see under the water!
Beachwear for women: ladies put on your bikini, a cute coverup and some sandals and you are good to go! Bring or wear a hat to protect your scalp from getting sunburnt, depending on your skin it can be very easy to burn even with sunscreen on and you don’t want to get a horrible sunburn on your first day out! If you have fair skin wear a hat and a UV sun guard top for at least part of the time you are at the beach. Bring a beach tote to carry all your essentials and make sure you pack sunscreen, some leave in conditioner to replenish your locks and most importantly water!
Beachwear for men: a tank top, boardshorts and some flip flops will be your staples while in Jamaica. If you haven’t gotten a good base tan yet consider wearing a UV sun guard shirt and a hat to avoid getting burnt. Wear a Speedo if you are going for that full body tan, you won’t be the only one! Make sure you pack a bag with sunscreen, water and maybe even a few beers.
What to wear to go out: Overall, Jamaica is a pretty casual place, however in large cities such as Kingston there are many fine dining establishments where you will want to dress up. The humid climate makes fabric choices highly important. When deciding on an outfit to wear out to dinner or a night out on the town, chose something that is lightweight, breathable and most importantly, comfortable. For women, opt for wearing a patterned maxi dress paired with sandals or an open toed wedge. For men, pair some khaki shorts with a nice linen button down top and some sandals.
What to wear on hikes/waterfall trips: If you are planning any outdoor hikes or excursions make sure to avoid wearing cotton and chose quick drying athletic fabrics instead. You want clothes that are light weight, breathable and will dry fast in case you get wet. Make sure to bring a quick dry towel as it will come in handy for drying off after swimming or wiping sweat away. Pack a day bag with some snacks, beverages, sunscreen and bug repellent.
For women, if you know you are going to a waterfall to swim wear your swimsuit as your base and pair with comfortable athletic shorts and a sporty tank top. Wear some comfortable sandals like Chocos or Keens that you can walk around in even while wet without chafing.
For men, wear some boardshorts or quick dry hiking shorts, an athletic t shirt that you know absorbs sweat well and some comfortable water shoes or sandals.
Seasons of Jamaica
Jamaica essentially has two seasons; hot & rainy. The hot season runs from December to mid-April and is known as the high time for travel. The rainy season or the low season runs from October to November and while still very much warm you will encounter more tropical rain but lower prices at hotels, resorts and even on airfare.
Jamaica also has a known hurricane season which follows the general Atlantic hurricane season and runs from June 1st to November 30th, with the peak period being in early August through the end of October. I personally travelled to Jamaica in mid-June and stayed through July and never encountered any hurricane force winds but mother nature is unpredictable. It is good to be aware of the hurricane season as if one does strike the island while you are visiting it could interfere with travel arrangements.