Wondering when’s the best time to visit the Caribbean? With its warm temperatures and beautiful scenery there’s no bad time to go but the seasons do vary so it’s a good idea to plan your vacation around the kind of weather you prefer.
The best time to visit the Caribbean can depend on other factors too like your interests, budget and choice of island. This month-by-month guide will give you the lowdown on the best time to visit the Caribbean with details on climate, seasons, events and prices.
The weather in the Caribbean
When it comes to weather, the Caribbean is hailed as having a gloriously warm climate with very little seasonal variation. The weather patterns differ slightly from island to island but one thing that remains consistent is that it never gets cold in the Caribbean. The winter months are dry and warm, the summer months are hot and humid and the in-between months are a bit of both. The Caribbean sees some rain in the summer but even that falls in a fairly predictable pattern keeping the islands lush and leafy.
In terms of seasons, these are divided into two main types; the high season which runs roughly from mid-December through mid-April, and the low season which runs from June through November. In addition there are two shoulder seasons in the spring and autumn. The low season is also the hurricane season in the Caribbean. However, even in these months the odds are slim – it partly depends on which island you visit as some are more prone to hurricanes than others – you can find out more on this website.
The high season
The high season is generally considered the best time to visit the Caribbean if you want perfect weather. Tourism booms through this peak time as travelers flock in to escape the cold winter weather of the north. The weather during high season is characterized by little rainfall and warm temperatures in the mid 80s. In terms of cost, the peak season is a more expensive time to visit. And as for crowds, the resorts are fullest and the beaches most crowded around Christmas, New Year, February half term and Easter.
The low season
The Caribbean has a tropical climate so you can expect hot sunny days and tropical rain showers in the summer months. From June through October the heat and humidity soar with daily highs in the upper 80s and early 90s. Due to the lack of crowds during some low season months it’s one of the best times to visit for a quieter vacation. The low season is also the cheapest time to visit the Caribbean, especially the months of September and October.
What about hurricane season?
The official hurricane season runs through the summer and the early part of fall, however the high risk period is typically confined to a shorter window of time from mid-August to early October. That said, if you’re visiting the Caribbean during hurricane season you can still enjoy lots of sunny weather, especially in the months of June, July and November. Also be aware that the islands closest to South America typically see fewer hurricanes. These include Aruba, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago.
So, when is the best time to visit the Caribbean?
There is no ‘best’ time to visit the Caribbean as ultimately it will come down to your own personal preferences. If you visit in high season you can expect perfect weather, but it will be much busier and your vacation will inevitably be a little more expensive. If you visit during low season it will be hotter, quieter and cheaper but you also risk the rain. There are a few shoulder seasons too when you are likely to get the best of both worlds.
Also bear in mind that the islands of the Caribbean are spread out across hundreds of miles and they don’t all share the same weather patterns. The southern parts of the Caribbean, for example, boast the hottest weather. This part of the Caribbean includes islands such as Antigua, Aruba, Barbados and St Lucia. In the northern part of the Caribbean temperatures tend to be a degree or so lower. This includes Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos islands.
Taking into account the weather, crowds and cost, May is one of the best times to visit the Caribbean. The weather is often as good as in the peak winter months, but accommodation costs are significantly lower. For similar reasons, the first half of December is also a good time to travel. If you want to go in the school summer holidays, note that fares tend to drop in late August.
When to visit the Caribbean, month by month
The first month of the year is well into the high season and is one of the best times to visit the Caribbean. You’ll enjoy around 8 hours of sunshine a day through January and the UV levels are high, so make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen.
Through January, the southerly islands boast daytime temperatures in the mid 80s, while on the northerly islands temperatures tend to be a degree or so lower. It’s officially the coolest month of the year in the region but it’s still lovely and warm with hot days and cooler nights. It’s also one of the driest months so it’s unlikely to rain much during your vacation.
Whichever Caribbean island you choose to visit you’ll be greeted by warm temperatures and lots of sunshine in February.
Still in the dry season, rainfall levels are low and despite the 9 hours of daily sunshine the humidity stays low too, making conditions nice and pleasant. Daytime temperatures are a notch higher than January, and nighttime temperatures rarely drop below the 70s so you’re unlikely to get cold if you’re out and about in the evenings.
February is still peak season but you can avoid the worst of the crowds if you avoid traveling during the UK half-term holiday which occurs around mid-February for one week. If you’re visiting the Caribbean in February there are some fantastic events to look out for including the Bob Marley Birthday Bash in Jamaica, the Holetown Festival in Barbados and the huge Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.
March is one of the best times to visit the Caribbean, boasting hot temperatures, cooling breezes and only a small chance of the occasional rain shower. The hurricane season is still a way off so there are no worries in that regard, and any rain showers tend to be few and far between.
The southern parts of the Caribbean – such as Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago – enjoy the hottest weather at this time of year. Here you will find daily highs of around 86F and a high UV index of 11. Head further north to islands like Jamaica and the picture changes only slightly with daily highs of around 82F. Humidity is a little lower and the UV index is 10 which is still high for pale skin. Be sure to pack plenty of high-factor sun cream if you burn easily.
In terms of school holidays, the main thing to consider is Spring Break. This usually peaks in March and means higher crowd levels and more expensive prices for flights and accommodation. If the beaches are busy you can find refuge in the water which is lovely and warm at this time of year.
If you’re visiting the Caribbean in April you’ll be greeted by a brilliant 10 hours of sunshine a day. Be aware that the Caribbean does experience some wet weather at this time of year as the dry season comes to an end.
Depending on the island, temperatures in April vary from daytime highs in the mid 80s to nighttime lows in the mid 70s. If you want to beat the heat the coolest temperatures can be found in Turks and Caicos which sees average daytime temperatures of 82.4F, while heat seekers should head to Barbados which sees highs of up to 86F towards the end of the month.
To avoid the risk of wet weather, visit the southernmost islands of Aruba, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago. On these islands rainfall levels are lower over the course of the month so the chances of a dry vacation are better.
In April you will find celebrations and parties all over the islands. There’s Antigua Sailing Week, the Tobago Jazz Experience, and Oistins Fish Festival in Barbados, to name just a few. You can expect it to be a little more crowded at popular destinations over Easter, but even those periods feel quiter compared with the much busier peak season.
With peak-season weather and low-season prices, May is one of the best times to visit the Caribbean. The start of hurricane season is still a while away and rainfall levels are relatively low so it’s unlikely that your visit in May will be affected by adverse weather.
The southern islands see higher temperatures and humidity than their northern counterparts. In Barbados, for example, the peak daytime temperature is a hot 88F although cooling Atlantic winds help to keep things comfortable. With these temperatures you won’t need to bring many warm clothes with you, but it’s a good idea to pack a hat, plenty of sunscreen and some loose-fitting cotton clothes to keep you cool.
If you’re visiting the Caribbean in May you’ll find an array of events to keep you entertained including the world-famous Crop Over Festival which kicks off in Barbados for two months of lively festivities. Antigua Sailing Week runs into early May. There’s also the Grenada Chocolate Festival and the Sint Maarten Carnival.
The islands of the Caribbean are hot and sunny in June. It’s also the first month of the low season so you should expect some rain. Yes it’s the start of the hurricane season too, but the chances of a storm so early in the summer are slim, so you shouldn’t let that put you off going.
The rainiest weather occurs in the more northerly islands including Cuba and Turks and Caicos. More mountainous islands including Saint Lucia and Dominica also experience higher rainfall in June, though this does make them lusher and lovelier. No matter which Caribbean island you visit in June it will be warm sunny and bright, although sometimes wet with the occasional afternoon rain shower.
Most schools are still in session through June which means low season rates – a big attraction for vacationers on a budget. The beaches are typically quiet and there are fewer tourists at resorts and restaurants so you’ll be able to enjoy a relaxed vacation at this time of year.
In June, the Crop Over Festival in Barbados is still going strong with parades, parties, street fairs, competitions, dancing and live music all the way though the month. A number of islands also celebrate Labor Day this month.
If you’re visiting the Caribbean in July you will be greeted by hot sun and rainy spells. July temperatures range from the mid 80s to the low 90s, and humidity levels are high on most islands.
If you’re visiting in July you should expect it to relatively busy with the school holiday crowds. Many parts of the Caribbean are cheaper to travel to in summer when several islands go ‘off peak’ due to the wet weather and risk of storms. Bear in mind that although July is considered as part of the hurricane season, it’s rare for hurricanes to strike the Caribbean before September.
July is the month in which Jamaica celebrates Reggae Sumfest. Elsewhere July sees Antigua’s Summer Carnival and Barbados’ Crop Over Festival.
August is the height of the summer in the Caribbean so make sure you’re prepared for the high heat and humidity. It’s a great time for a beach vacation as some visitors find it’s too hot for more strenuous activities.
It’s still the hurricane season so there’s a chance of rain and a small chance of storms however these are typically confined to late afternoons and evenings. Though it sounds alarming, there are numerous islands that fall outside the hurricane zone. Antigua, St Lucia and Barbados, all in the southern Caribbean, are rarely affected by hurricanes.
Like much of the summer, temperatures in the south peak in the high 80s/early 90s and drop to the mid 70s at night. Sea temperatures are a warm 82F, while there is an average of 8 hours of sunshine each day. The islands in the north including Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos also experience high humidity during August, though it’s possible to escape the humidity in higher altitude destinations such as Jamaica’s Blue Mountains.
Events-wise, the Crop Over Festival in Barbados reaches its peak on the first Monday in August with the world famous Grand Kadooment festivities.
September is one of the quietest months in the Caribbean, with fewer holidaymakers once the school term starts. It’s the height of the hurricane season and it’s also one of the months with the highest levels of rainfall.
While the odds of your vacation being affected by a storm are highest in September, the chances of a serious hurricane hitting are still statistically low. And by choosing the right island you can reduce the risk further. The Caribbean’s southernmost islands including Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia, Grenada, Tobago are generally considered to be outside the hurricane zone.
If you don’t mind the rain, September can still be a good time to visit the Caribbean. It’s the month when vacation prices are at their lowest and the island is relatively quiet. You’ll enjoy warm sunny days and gorgeously warm seas. You can use the rain showers as a break from the beach, or as an opportunity to explore the duty-free shops.
Warm temperatures continue through October with daily highs of 87.8F in the south and 86F in the north. Although some visitors may find the humidity high, it is broken by rain that falls mostly in short sharp afternoon and overnight showers.
There are rarely any full days of rain in October and there’s still around 8 hours of sunshine a day so you’re pretty much guaranteed to get some sunbathing in. As it’s the height of low season, October is one of the cheapest times to visit the Caribbean. It’s also a great time to travel if you don’t want to share your resort with too may other tourists.
November marks the second shoulder season of the year and is a good time to travel to the Caribbean. The hurricane season is coming to an end and the rainy season begins to taper off in this quiet, cooler and cheaper month. Some insiders consider November to be one of the best times to visit the Caribbean.
Even as it heads towards winter, there are a good 7 hours of sunshine a day with temperatures in the south still peaking in the mid 80s. You’re also still likely to see some rain, however this is mostly limited to short showers that relieve the humidity through the afternoon and overnight. The humidity is lower in the north and rainfall is lower too, with Dominican republic seeing the lowest levels of rainfall through November.
There are lots of festivals and events taking place through November including the renowned Food & Rum Festival in Barbados. This three-day event features food and rum pairings, beach parties, food tasting stations, fine dining events and experiences with acclaimed chefs, rum experts and mixologists.
The start of the peak season, December often tops the list as the best time to visit the Caribbean. It’s considerably drier than the preceding months, and the official start of the dry season (January) is just a month away.
You can expect slightly cooler temperatures through December with highs in the low to mid 80s. If you visit in early December you’ll find lower prices than in the holidays, while if you visit later in the month you can spend Christmas and New Year on the beach.
December falls outside of the official hurricane season so there’s no need to worry about storms spoiling your vacation. But be aware that it’s one of the most popular times to visit the Caribbean, so it’s likely to be busy.
Look out for the many fun and colorful events taking place all across the region. Some of the best are the St Nicholas Day parades taking place in the Dutch Caribbean on December 5. The main events feature St Nicholas (Sinter Klass) riding his white horse.
How to get the best deals
You’ll get better deals and enjoy a quieter vacation by traveling during the summer or fall – this is the best time to go to the Caribbean if you’re looking to save. The busiest and most expensive times to travel to the Caribbean are the winter months especially over Christmas and New Year, the spring break season and the Easter holidays.
While prices for vacations tend to go up in the school holidays, you can still get some great deals if you book a way in advance or look out for last-minute special offers. You can check out all of our current deals on our website or subscribe to our free mailing list to keep updated about our exclusive offers.
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