My husband and I are looking to book a trip in the next few weeks and I think we've decided on CTI. I've read the last 85 pages of the message board but still haven't found the answers to a few things so any help would be appreciated!
I know the weather in January is warm but is it warm enough to swim without getting cold? Do I need to pack jackets for the evening or doesn't it get that cold? (Btw I'm used to weather in NC). Are shorts and tank tops enough?
I have to admit that I'm a little concerned about the wind there. Is it usually pretty windy in January? I read if out gets too windy the water sports are cancelled. Is it likely to happen this time of the year?
I know the beach is smaller at CTI but I also I believe that I read its rocky and has a drastic drop in depth pretty quick. I'm not a strong swimmer so I don't usually go out too deep. Can anybody describe how quickly and drastic it drops off and how many feet deep the water is? And is it so rocky that you would need water shoes?
I'm sure I will have more questions but these are my main concerns right now. Thanks!
We've been there in January twice now, so I'll give this a go.
It has been plenty warm both times we were there (80s F)--definitely more than warm enough to swim without getting cold. The sun down there is HOT. I like to bring a couple of lightweight sweaters for the evenings, because sometimes the breeze feels a little cool to me. More often than not, though, I don't use them much at all.
During the day you will mostly be wearing your swimming suit. Shorts and tanks are great for daytime. It is definitely windy there, but IMO that's a good thing: it helps it from feeling too hot due to the intense sun. We were just there for a week (2nd-9th) and didn't have any red flag days. Last year we went for 5 nights at the end of January, and I think there were 2. It tends to rain a bit in the mornings and maybe mid-afternoon, but in general they're small, mild storm systems that pass over quickly.
As for the beach, there's a roped-in area for swimming, and you can take the lounge chair cushions into the water as floatation devices. It IS rocky. I like to wear my water shoes, but most people just go in bare feet. I can't speak to water depth, because it changes so much with the waves, but I recommend taking the cushion with you regardless of swimming ability. It's nice to enter the water way over toward Bayside and then let the waves float you to shore (you'll end up further down toward the other end of the beach), go back out to the rope, float back in (further down the shoreline), etc.
We were at CTI last month and had no issues swimming in the ocean. The pools, however, are pretty cold. Some positive thinkers might call it "invigorating". I packed a light sweater for evenings (just in case) but didn't use it once. But keep in mind if its warm outside the air conditioning might be cranked pretty high so you might need it for the restaurants. I wore dresses or capris in the evenings with no issues. Shorts/tanks were perfect for the day.
As far as the wind goes, its hit and miss. I suggest if you are thinking about doing something on the water (kayaking, paddleboard) and the wind is light? Do it. We kayaked but put off the paddleboarding and ended up not doing it because the wind kicked up the last few days of our trip (aka rough waters). We were there 8 days and of those, we had 3-4 days of light wind.
The beach is not that bad. I'm a tried and true tenderfoot and did not need water shoes. Yes, there are rocky spots but once we found one, we marked it by what palm tree was right in front of us. Then we stayed away from there. Fortunately the water is clear enough you can see them. I usually hopped on my floaty about 5 feet out and let my fiance pull me around but I'd say at around 20 yds out it was about 5 ft deep (plus or minus) but in my opinion, its not a drastic drop. It does get deeper, but its the ocean. I'm not a strong swimmer either so I never went out without my floaty. If the wind is up, so is the surf. You will want that security of a floatation device.
Relax. You will have an amazing time. Go with what nature gives you and enjoy the beauty of where you are.
We were there last April and I can tell you the water temp in the Caribbean doesn't change much so you won't get cold in the seawater even in Jan. As for the pools some have said the pools are a bit cooler in Jan as the sun goes behind the building earlier in the day. Others have claimed they are fine. I wouldn't be too concerned. Also, from checking the weather regularly in Ocho Rios for some time now, the temperature rarely goes below 22 degrees C at night so I would only pack some thing light to throw over you if you are concerned. If you are from NC, the weather will certainly feel like June for you down there anyhow. Ocho Rios is consistently windier than Negril but cannot answer for January. If it is too windy they cancel but that is just the luck of the draw. You will see less of that in Negril.
The drop off is not drastic and there are areas without any rocks at all. Watershoes are not necessary but my wife wears them no matter where she goes so it depends on the person I guess.
Sorry I couldn't be specific about Jan but I am certain you will have a wonderful time @ CTI. I know we did.
We have some friends traveling with us to CTI in February and they had the same question. Where we are, it was below 0F and they were wondering if it got cold at night in Jamaica. I took out my cell phone and started the weather app. On my weather app I have it set so that I can easily bring up the current weather in Ocho Rios. At 10:30 PM Ocho Rios time it was 84F (about 29C).
Not to say that it can't get cool, but it is unusual. The warm ocean water helps to moderate the temperature. But never say never. On one of our trips there was a very rare evening when the temperature got into the 50's F (about 13C). As I said, this is very unusual. For us, it is in the middle of winter where we are at. We use a park and fly service at the motel we stay at the night before we leave for Jamaica. The motel has a shuttle over to the airport. It is too cold for the light clothing you would wear in Jamaica. We will wear a zippered sweatshirt or a light jacket during the short ride to the airport. We will put this in our luggage before it is checked.
The water on the beach gets deep sort of quickly. There are also rocky areas but it is not too rocky. We found this out the first time we went. We ended up buying some aqua shoes at the gift shop. You may be better off bringing some with you. However, where we live, they don't sell summer items this time of year and aqua shoes would have been difficult to find.
The water temperature in Jamaica is typically around 80F to 82F (26C to 28C). For us, this is actually warmer than the water usually is during the middle of summer where we live. Warm enough that for most people, you can just walk right in. The pools may seem a little chilly. They don't heat the pools in Jamaica. But it isn't bad at all once you get used to the water.
It can get windy any place in Jamaica this time of year. But just because it can does not mean it will. As I mentioned earlier, we had one trip to Negril (CSA) where it got cool. This was near the end of February. We were on a 10 day trip. Of the 10 days we were there, I think 6 of them were red flag days. On red flag days all of the water activities are cancelled. But this was the only time this has ever happened to us.
Something you didn't ask. Ocho Rios Jamaica is in a tropical area. If you look at the weather forecast on any given day you will see some chance of rain. Don't be frightened of this. Rain is almost always in the forecast. But just because the forecast says it will rain does not mean it will actually rain. And when it does rain, typically it will rain for only a short time. Then the sun will come out and all will be nice again.
NOBODY can control the weather. Anybody who will tell you what the weather will be much more than about 5 days in advance is feeding you a bunch of ****.
Don't worry so much. If you live in a northern climate that has winter, chances are very good that the weather in Jamaica will be much nicer than it is where you are at. And even if the weather is not perfect, just be creative and find something nice to do with your other half.
Only 31 more days until we return to CTI. Getting a little closer every day.
I'll knock them down for ya;
1. The water can be chilly in the AM, but the tropics are generally warm year round, and it'll heat up when the sun gets higher
2. No jackets unless you get cold VERY easily
3. Wind can vary
4. The beach isn't rocky, though towards the Bayside there are rocks and the like under water. The good part? Clear water = you can see them all