Planning that long-awaited trip to Cuba? While the island is undeniably a perfect place for travelers from cooler climates to escape from winter for a glorious few days, there are plenty of reasons to consider a visit outside of just the coldest months back home – like incredible cultural events, lower prices at Cuba’s best hotels, and empty beaches, to name a few!
Our local guide to the weather and travel conditions of Cuba will help you find the best time to visit Cuba for your trip. Whether you’re planning a city break in Havana or a dreamy stay at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Cuba‘s best beach destinations, you’re in for a memorable trip.
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Best Time To Visit Cuba
Cuba has well-defined high and low seasons for travel, which correspond with the distinct wet and dry seasons this Caribbean island enjoys. Drier weather and sunnier skies see the country swell with visitors during the festive season around Christmas. The rainy summer months, sometimes oppressively hot, see resorts and beaches empty out significantly.
- High Season: December – March
- Shoulder Season: April – June, October – November
- Low Season: July – September
Even if you visit during the height of the high travel season, Cuba isn’t a Caribbean island that feels overrun with travelers by any means. You’ll notice attractions are busier and prices higher, but no need to write off a trip during this season.
If anything, delay your travels until after New Year celebrations wind down – even January feels calmer here after all the Cuban Americans visiting their families head home.
Hurricane Season in Cuba
The low season of travel in Cuba coincides with hurricane season in the Caribbean. While hurricane season is totally unpredictable, it officially lasts from June 1st through November 30th each year, peaking in September and October.
Hurricanes are rare, but hurricane season is universally a wetter, muggier time in Cuba, with passing rain storms almost daily and higher temperatures making air conditioning feel like a must. Cities in historically hotter eastern Cuba, like Santiago de Cuba, experience average high temperatures that reach into the 90s (32°C and more).
When To Visit Cuba
Depending on the travel experiences you’re looking to enjoy on your Cuba itinerary, choosing when to visit Cuba will vary significantly. These are some of the things many travelers will want to consider before scheduling their trips to Cuba (and some of the best things to do in Cuba while visiting).
Best Time To Visit Cuba for Smaller Crowds
Contrary to some over-built Caribbean islands, Cuba isn’t a destination that ever feels too crowded. However, traveler numbers in Cuba are lowest during the summer months when hot temperatures, more frequent storms, and the Atlantic hurricane season deter a lot of travelers from planning a visit during this season.
For a good mix of nicer weather and fewer crowds, visit during the spring season, from April through June. Resorts will have largely emptied out, and skies are sunnier as the height of the rainy season will have yet to begin.
Best Time To Visit Cuba’s Beaches
There’s no wrong time to enjoy Cuba’s most beautiful beaches. If you’re after a beach vacation in Cuba, there’s no better time than December through April or May, when skies are the sunniest and humidity the lowest. Seas are generally calm during these months as well.
Locals will tell you that there’s no time like the summer to visit the beach – in fact, Cubans almost exclusively head to the beach only during the summer, especially those escaping Havana for Playas del Este. However, the summertime is when most resorts in Cuba empty out, meaning visitors can score huge deals on resorts and hotels during this time.
Read More: 10+ Best Resorts in Cuba
What to Pack for Cuba
Check out our Ultimate Cuba Packing List to help you pack for your trip – we’re sharing exactly what to bring to Cuba and what we never travel without.
Best Time To Visit Cuba for Diving
If you’re traveling to Cuba with a mind to explore the reefs, wrecks, and myriad wonders below the waves, travel during the driest time of the year – December through April – for the best underwater visibility and calmest currents. While prices for diving excursions will also be the highest during this season, you’ll have to best experience possible.
Not sure where to enjoy diving in Cuba? While there are plenty of diving spots around the country, the protected Jardines de la Reina area off of Cuba’s southern shores offers some of the best diving in the Caribbean.
Best Time To Visit Havana
Havana is fantastic any time of the year. Parts of the city can feel a bit crowded during the highest of travel season, which corresponds with the festive season during December and the first days of January. However, even during this busy season, the city is never too overrun with travelers.
If you’re planning to exclusively visit Havana, the high season from January through March and the shoulder season months of April, May, and June make a fantastic time to enjoy the city. Good weather, particularly amenable to a city break-type vacation, makes this first half of the year our favorite time to enjoy Havana.
Havana is a popular destination for group travel, especially in the fall shoulder season of October and November. This is true for backpackers and for group travel for people over 30, so prices for hotels in Havana start to rise during this time more than they will for beach resorts, for example.
Month-by-Month Cuba Travel Breakdown
After the festive season of Christmas and New Year’s – the very height of Cuba’s busy travel season – winds down after the first week of January, there’s a brief lull in new arrivals to the island. However, resorts remain mostly full, and prices stay relatively high around the island.
While January is considered Cuba’s dry season and “winter,” this is still very much a Caribbean island – average temperatures fall within the mid-70s (around 24°C), and plenty of sun keeps it hot throughout the day. No need to worry about storms or rain – January is historically quite dry.
February remains the height of travel season in Cuba, with resorts full and busy and beaches packed with travelers escaping winters back home. February has gorgeous weather, with lots of sun and relatively cooler temperatures, and very little rain. In fact, February is historically the driest month of the year, making it the best time to visit Cuba for perfect beach weather.
Read More: 12 Best Beaches in Cuba
March mirrors both January and February weather and traveler numbers in Cuba. If you aren’t deterred by higher prices and fuller resorts and beaches, it’s one of the best times to visit Cuba, with warm yet refreshing temperatures and sunny skies.
Around mid-April, visitor numbers begin to decrease as travelers from cooler climates start to head home to enjoy springtime. Temperatures remain refreshing but warm, rain storms are still few and far between, and prices will start to drop towards the middle to the end of the month, though slowly.
All in all, April is a fantastic time to enjoy a visit to Cuba, especially if you’re looking for that sweet spot of good weather, lower prices, and fewer visitors.
While temperatures begin to rise in May, Cuba is still relatively refreshing and prices are lower. Rain storms start to increase in frequency as the rainy season begins in May, but this month is still a fantastic time to enjoy a visit to Cuba, with decent weather, lower prices, and fewer visitors.
The month of June and the start of summer in Cuba start to see temperatures rising quickly. With the added humidity of a rainy season in full swing and rising average precipitation levels, it is understandably not the best time to visit Cuba, though lower prices and fewer visitors make it more attractive for travelers looking for a bargain.
July is one of the hottest – and rainiest – months of the year in Cuba, with temps usually in the mid-80s (around 29°C), and frequent though quickly-passing rain storms are common. Resorts in Cuba will be nearly empty and generally offer excellent deals and packages to tempt visitors, making this a great time for a luxury stay on a budget.
July also marks the carnival celebrations in Santiago de Cuba, which are by far Cuba’s most festive and important carnival celebrations. Expect everything from music and dance performances to parades and parties. Attending carnival in Santiago de Cuba is an incredible way to experience an important part of Cuban culture and history first-hand.
Like July, August temperatures in Cuba are at their highest, and storms are just as frequent. Keep in mind that Caribbean rainstorms tend to be quickly passing, meaning that if you don’t mind ducking inside for an hour, you’ll usually be able to enjoy the rest of the day rain-free, and with far fewer other tourists here than you’d experience during the high season.
While temperatures start to drop slightly in Cuba in September, it’s also historically the rainiest month of the year in Cuba – by far. September and October are the height of the Atlantic hurricane season, so make sure to book travel insurance for Cuba that covers natural disasters like hurricanes should you need to reschedule your trip.
Temperatures continue to cool in October, and precipitation levels begin to drop quickly as the rainy season ends and the dry season begins. October marks the beginning of a nice shoulder season for travel in Cuba, so if you’re willing to risk having some of your plans rained out, you’ll enjoy lower visitor numbers and less oppressive temperatures.
September and October are the height of the Atlantic hurricane season, so make sure to book travel insurance for Cuba that covers natural disasters like hurricanes should you need to reschedule your trip.
Cuba requires that all travelers have proof of a comprehensive travel insurance policy in order to enter the country. Check out our guide to travel insurance for Cuba for more details. We recommend these brands for Cuba travel insurance:
November makes the end of the hurricane season in Cuba, with rain storms becoming far less frequent and temperatures turning from hot to perfectly pleasant as skies stay beautiful. With nice weather and far fewer visitors in November than in December, this month is considered by some to be the best time to visit Cuba.
Clear skies, little to no precipitation, and dropping humidity make December one of the nicest months for weather in Cuba. Were it not for the busyness of the Christmas and New Year’s season in Cuba, it’d be one of my top recommendations for when to go to Cuba.
December also marks the Havana Film Festival, which is considered “one of the most important events in the cinematic calendar” for Latin American filmmakers and actors. This is one of our favorite events of the year in Cuba – there are a ton of local and international movies that screen in theaters around the city, and super-cheap tickets make it accessible for locals and visitors alike.
Festive Season in Cuba
The final two weeks of December are by far the busiest in Cuba, with large numbers of travelers visiting the country. Many Cuban Americans visit family during this time, and the country feels busy and exciting.
Prices for everything are higher than ever. It’s a fun time to visit, but I generally don’t recommend it for most visitors because many things close while others get busy – opt for the quieter January instead!
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Home to Havana and Explorers Away. She is a serial expat and traveler, having visited 40+ countries and counting. Carley has written for publications like Travel + Leisure, MSN, Associated Press, Weather Channel, Wealth of Geeks, and more. Find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.