Surfing in Jamaica
Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean and it’s known for their reggae culture, abundant natural resources and for being a great surf destination. The island has 1022km of shoreline, 120 rivers and 240km of beaches that receive good swells throughout the whole year. The eastern side is the best surfing area and Bull Bay is known for being the birthplace of surfing on the island. The north coast receives solid NE swells and has some quality river mouths. The south shore has prevailing offshore winds coming from NE and is more consistent. The surf community in the island started to develop around the 19070s when foreigners brought boards and introduced the sport to the locals but until today there are still few surfers in the country. Jamaica doesn't have many surf shops or easy access to high quality equipment which makes it hard the development of a new surf generation. The good thing is that there isn’t a significant crowd and locals are more than happy to share their waves with international visitors. This creates an unique atmosphere that can only be seen in this relaxed and vibrant caribbean island. Jamaican beaches are only crowded by cool people listening to reggae while perfect waves break in the back on azure water. Isn’t that a perfect surf destination for your next surf trip?
Climate in Jamaica
The climate in Jamaica is tropical with little warm temperatures all year round. There are two distinct seasons and the main difference is the amount of rainfall and air humidity. The rainy season goes from late April to October and it's hot and sultry. Downpours occur mostly in the late afternoon in the form of thunderstorms. Usually the wettest months are May and October. This happens due to the northeast trade winds pattern that blow from November to March. Jamaica is also exposed to tropical storms and hurricanes since the island is positioned inside the Atlantic Hurricane Belt. The best time to surf in the island is from December to March, and July through September. The trade winds create year-round surfing conditions and Jamaica strategic position profits from summer and winter swells that reach the shores of the island.
The water is pleasant throughout the whole year and the average temperature is around 28°C.
Best surf spots in Jamaica
The best surf spots in Jamaica are situated on the eastern side of the island. These are the best and most famous surf spots in Jamaica: Bull Bay, Lighthouse, Zoo, Copa, Makka, Ranch, Portland Parish, Winnifred Beach, Long Bay, Outback, Navy Island and Boston Bay.
Meal price range
Simple meals start at $4 USD. Mid-range meals start at $20 USD. Dining & drinking at high-end restaurants can cost anywhere from $40-70 USD
There are a handful of places where you can rent gear. Boards start at $20 USD a day.
Prepaid SIM cards
Digicel is a good choice. SIM cards can be purchased from retail stores and kiosks.
Prepaid packages start at $9 USD
Privately run minibuses provide a comprehensive and cheap -yet slightly chaotic- public transport system. All towns have a bus terminal of sorts. Buses have their routes written on the front, back and sides of the vehicle.
There are plenty of taxi services all over the island. Fares are reasonable in Kingston and the less touristy areas.
Shared taxis, or “route taxis”, operate on short, set routes picking up and dropping off passengers anywhere along the way.
Private taxi hire per day $100-150 USD
Renting a car is probably the most convenient way to get around. However rental prices can be high at $50 USD a day.
You can also rent a scooter to get around for around $40 USD a day.
$0.99 USD a liter.
Types of risks
Onshore trade winds, reefs, sea urchins.
How to prepare
Citizens from 116 countries, including the UK, US, and Australia, can enter Jamaica without a visa for up to 6 months. Stay times vary from 3 months to 6 months depending on which country you’re from.
Although it's not mandatory, it’s recommended that you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, yellow fever, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, Tdap, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella. You’ll be asked to show proof of your yellow fever vaccination if you come from a country with a risk of yellow fever.
Things to know
Language & Currency
English is the official language.
The currency is the Jamaican dollar (J$).
Best time to go
Between December and March, and July through September.
Checking Surf forecast
Checking the forecast about a week before your trip is always a good idea. Understanding what the waves will be like and knowing what gear to pack is essential. You can check the forecast for the waves here.
Do I need pack a pharmacy kit
You should bring a basic kit. Including ear drops, eye drops, bandaids, ear plugs, gaze, alcohol, mosquito repellent and broad spectrum antibiotic ointment.
World Nomads has great travel insurance packages that are not super expensive and they cover surfing.
Check surf pictures of Jamaica at #surfjamaica.