6 Irresistible Reasons to Visit Jamaica this Summer
Summer in Jamaica is cultural festivals and live music. It’s beach parties and spicy jerk chicken. It’s drinks by the pool and kids in the water.
It’s pure paradise.
But here’s the thing – while all of Jamaica is beautiful this time of year, there’s a special place in my heart for Ocho Rios, specifically, in summer. Because Ocho Rios is just so perfectly located: close to festivities, and yet far enough to ensure the peace and tranquility I crave for a truly blissed-out vacation.
Here’s what I mean:
1. You Could Be Here for the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival
Every year, our very own Ocho Rios hosts the annual Ocho Rios Jazz Festival (this year: May 28-June 4, 2017), one of the most important musical events on the island. For a solid week, we’re treated to exceptional Jamaican talent and incredible composition, and an entire event dedicated to preserving and nourishing “classical black music and America’s first art form.” It’s a true pleasure for live music enthusiasts – and foodies! Because the street treats are almost as great as the jazz.
Fashion-forward ladies and gents, early June is your time to hit the beaches of Jamaica. Caribbean Fashion Week (June 7-11, 2017) is in Kingston (1 hour, 45 minutes) and it promises days of fashion, couture, and culture. Designers from around the world (and our island) flock to this important event, which hosts fashion shows featuring the latest in Caribbean high fashion, both for men and women.
3. And Then, There’s the Reggae Sumfest
Summer rolls on with the Reggae Sumfest (July 16-22, 2017) in Montego Bay. A little over 90 minutes from Villa Serenity, this annual event is the largest concert-festival in the country – part beach party, part music festival, part “adult playground.” Talented reggae artists (for 2017: Jean Paul, Queen Ifrica, Ding Dong, Alkaline, Deep Jahi, and many more) offer up electrifying live performances that are punctuated by schedule events, like the All-White (dress code) Party.
If you’re in the market for a SERIOUS party, you cannot miss the first weekend in August – a weekend synonymous with beach party in Negril (about 3 hours, but totally worth the drive!). The entire country seems to converge on the Dream Weekend, which takes place July 28-August 1, 2017 and promises not only incredible live music, but also some of Jamaica’s best outdoor eats and strong drinks (the weekend is hosted by Appleton Rum this year!), all along the white sand beaches of Negril. Best of all, you’re free to let loose and have fun; you have Villa Serenity’s chauffeur on call as designated driver!
5. Ocho Rios Seafood Festival & Family Fun Day
Back at home, the 10th annual Ocho Rios Seafood Festival is scheduled for August 1, 2017. This family-friendly event takes place at Turtle River Park, and is a total treat for seafood-lovers and families alike. In addition to games (rock climbing and water tubing, among them) and the best seafood on the island, there are artisan craft stands, plenty of drinks (local rum companies are often sponsors), and other offerings guaranteed to delight children and entertain adults.
6. And Yet, Despite the Activity, Ocho Rios is Chill in Summer
Given the above, you might assume that Jamaica is a pretty raucous place in summer. And it is, to some degree; we Jamaicans do love to have fun! But do you remember what I said about Ocho Rios being close to all the action, and yet just far enough removed?
This, truly, is my favorite thing: Whenever I stay at Villa Serenity, I’m a short drive to all the festivals, events, and parties I can handle, and yet I’m surrounded by sun, sand and quiet. It’s just me, my rum punch, and the pool. Because this is low season in Jamaica, and that means that I often have my favorite beach (email me and I’ll share!), or a waterfall, or a sunset view all to myself.
This – this perfect combination of activity and tranquility – is what makes me crave Jamaica in summer, year after year after year. I have no doubt it’ll win you over, too.