For more details on the special events below, go to the Jamaica Tourist Board's website at www.visitjamaica.com or call the Jamaica Tourist Board at tel. 800/JAMAICA (526-2422).
Accompong Maroon Festival, St. Elizabeth. Annual celebration of Maroons of Western Jamaica, with traditional singing and dancing, feasts, ceremonies, blowing of the abeng (cow's horn), and playing of Maroon drums. tel. 876/952-4546. January 6.
Jamaica Sprint Triathlon, Negril. Hundreds participate in a three-part competition joining swimming, cycling, and running in one sweat-inducing endurance test. Contact the Jamaica Tourist Board . Late January.
Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, Montego Bay. Series of concerts at Rose Hall Great House. tel. 876/620-7618. www.airjamaicajazzandblues.com. Late January.
Bob Marley Week, Kingston. From reggae concerts to movies, this weeklong celebration honors the king of reggae. Activities also include arts and crafts booths and food festivals. For more information, contact the Robert Marley Foundation at 56 Hope Rd., Kingston (tel. 876/978-2991 or 876/978-2929; http://web.bobmarley.com). Early February.
Bob Marley Birthday Bash, Montego Bay. An annual concert that celebrates a local star. tel. 876/978-2991. February 6.
Reggae Summerfest, Ocho Rios. Annual reggae bash, featuring top reggae stars. Call tel. 876/960-1904 for dates.
Jamaica Kiteboard World Cup, Port Antonio. In the Long Bay Beach area of Port Antonio, this is a 10-day event devoted to kite surfing, with riders from around the world joining in the fun. Events include speed races and stunts. March 25 to April 3.
March Spring Break is launched in March and continues into April, as young men and women from American colleges flood Jamaica, mainly Negril and Montego Bay to let off steam. The wildest scene takes place in Negril.
Montego Bay Yacht Club's Easter Regatta. Annual sailing event of several races staged along the North Coast over a 4-day period around Easter. tel. 876/979-8038. Easter weekend.
Carnival in Jamaica, Kingston, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay. Weeklong series of fetes, concerts, and street parades. Contact local tourist offices. First week of April.
Treasure Beach Off Road Triathlon, Treasure Beach (South Coast). Hosted by Jake's Hotel, this challenging event takes place in the small fishing community of Treasure Beach. The triathlon attracts off-road racers from around the world, featuring mountain bike races. April 27.
Calabash International Literary Festival, Treasure Beach (South Coast). For literary enthusiasts, this annual event features 30 authors and musicians from across the world who will read or perform. The free festival is a mixture of new and established writers who participate. For more information and exact dates search www.calabashfestival.org.
StyleWeek Jamaica & Fashion Block, Kingston. A 3-day extravaganza, this event on the streets of New Kingston showcases not only Jamaican designers, but the work of designers from both the United States and Europe. Fashionistas attend cocktail receptions, seminars, and runway shows. May 28 to 31.
Kingston on the Edge Urban Art Festival (KOTE), Kingston. Modern artists show their works in this inclusive festival that invites both traditional and avant-garde painters. The KOTE is a cultural affair, with plays, concerts, multimedia shows, an art auction, and other events. June 18 to 26.
Caribbean Fashion Week, Kingston. This event for fashion-savvy individuals is an extravagant affair held for the most part at the National Indoor Sports Centre, plus other locations. Caribbean and international designers participate as do supermodels and various celebrities. June 9 to 14.
Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. International performers play alongside Jamaican jazz artists; other events include barbecues. tel. 866/649-2137 in the U.S., or 876/927-3544. www.ochoriosjazz.com. Second week in June.
Little Ochi Seafood Carnival, Alligator Pond (South Coast). Visitors are invited to sample a range of culinary delights from the sea, including peppered shrimp and escoveitched fish. Top local reggae musicians and "vintage artistes" provide nonstop entertainment. July 11.
National Dance Theatre Company's Season of Dance, Kingston. Traditional and modern dance, as well as notable singers. tel. 876/926-6129. July through August.
Reggae Sumfest, Catherine Hall, Montego Bay. Annual 5-day music festival. tel. 876/953-2933. www.reggaesumfest.com. Late July.
The Absolute Temptation Isle, Negril. Summer sizzles here at this event that features about a dozen bigtime parties spread across the resort area. Participating businesses include everyone from Risky Business to Hedonism II. August 5 to 8.
Red Stripe Dream Weekend, Negril. Party lovers flock to this weekend of events that coincides with Independence weekend celebrations across the island. Food, drink, reggae, and much more fill the night. August 5 to 8.
The National Independence Float Parade and Grand Gala, Kingston. This is one of the most significant celebratory events on the Jamaican cultural calendar. The celebrations take place on the streets of Kingston, which fill with colorful floats, costumed groups, music trucks, classic cars, and marching bands. For more details, search www.jcdc.org.jm. August 6.
Falmouth Blue Marlin Tournament, Montego Bay. A big deal locally. tel. 876/927-0145. Late September.
Port Antonio International Fishing Tournament. One of the oldest and most prestigious sportfishing events in the Caribbean, with participants from Europe and North America. tel. 876/927-0145. Mid-October.
Motor Sports Championship Series, Dover Raceway, St. Ann. Prestigious championship event. tel. 876/960-3860. Early December.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.