Although Cuba is always fantastic to visit, given the outdoor nature of the country and being home to spectacular landscapes and beaches, choosing the correct season to visit is essential, especially if you are short on time. So when is the best time to visit Cuba?
Cuba is not just loved for its outdoor attractions but is also famous for diverse food, nightlife and history, so you won’t be short of activities no matter the time of year you visit. Most people consider spring the best time to visit Cuba, while the rainy and hurricane seasons over the summer months can be dangerous for swimming. Here are the pros and cons of visiting for all four seasons in Cuba.
- Best Time To Visit Cuba
- Cuba in Summer
- Cuba in Autumn
- Cuba in Winter
- Cuba in Spring
Best Time To Visit Cuba
Cuba in Summer
The summer months (June through until September) in Cuba is the time most people choose to visit, as it is the hottest season.
Summer is the perfect time to visit Cuba for the sunshine, beaches and other outdoor activities.
Unfortunately, it is also the rainy season, going into hurricane season later, which could impact swimming, snorkelling and diving as the currents may get rough.
It also makes these few months quite humid. However, summer rain in Cuba usually lasts an hour or two at most, and the skies are clear and bright afterwards, so all is not lost if you choose to visit during this season.
Out of the summer months, June and September are great times to visit, particularly if you are heading just to Havana or the beaches of Varadero because it is outside of school holidays, so it is slightly less busy than other times of the year.
Although you can travel cross-country during the summer on tourist buses, roads can often be wet or muddy, so going east to Santiago is best avoided.
Average Weather in Cuba in Summer
**Weather information is based on Havana
June (Average Daylight: 8.5hrs, Average Temperature: 31C / 87.8F)
July (Average Daylight: 8hrs, Average Temperature: 32C / 89.6F)
August (Average Daylight: 9hrs, Average Temperature: 32C/ 89.6F)
As you can see, the summer heat in Cuba is searing, even more so in the main cities of Havana and Santiago.
Explore the town of Vinales, the home of cigars and tobacco plantations.
Vinales is a lush, green mountainous region with rainfall most of the year, so visiting during the summer is just as good as other months.
It is also a fantastic time to focus on the inside activities in Havana, such as salsa classes, excellent restaurants and bars, and historical landmarks.
Five Things To Do In Cuba In Summer
1- Celebrate the Carnival de Santiago de Cuba
The carnival is the biggest in the Caribbean and features floats, dancers and plenty of live music.
2- Scuba Diving And Snorkelling
Like much of the Caribbean, Cuba’s waters are filled with tropical fish, turtles, and other stunning marine life. Although you’ll have to watch out for jellyfish in the summer months, local tours can show you the best spots to go for a swim.
3- Visit The Hill Region Of Vinales
Vinales is an area full of valleys and hills, protecting it from the surrounding heat. It is famous for hiking and tobacco plantations. There is just one main street, and many restaurants offer free wifi and a mojito with your meal – enjoy!
4- Have A Cocktail In The Hotel Nacional
Cuba’s most famous colonial hotel on the outskirts of Havana is the perfect pit stop if there is an unexpected rain shower. You can also do historical tours of the building, which feature sweeping views from the roof.
5- Take A Tour Of A Cigar Factory
Cuba’s most famous export, the cigar factories, are warm and dry (great for the rainy season). The history is fascinating, and you’ll be amazed by the women crafting individual cigars by hand.
Top tip: Get the hop-on-hop-off bus in Vinales. The final stop is the Hotel Ermita, where the bus driver takes a 10-minute break, allowing passengers to jump off and walk over to the hotel’s viewing area, which has spectacular views over the entire mountainous region.
Cuba in Autumn
Autumn is a mixed bag in Cuba, as the burning summer heat remains, however, September and October are the main hurricane season in the Caribbean.
Cuba is not usually hit by hurricanes as much as other nearby countries, but beware if you plan to visit any remote coastal beaches or towns.
As this is somewhat of a ‘low’ season in Cuba, you can find great deals for accommodation, tours and flights.
As in the summer months, the best places to visit over these months are Havana, Vinales and Trinidad, and towns and cities situated inland.
Average Weather In Cuba In Autumn
September (Average Daylight: 7.5hrs, Average Temperature: 27C / 81F)
October (Average Daylight: 6.5hrs , Average Temperature: 26C / 78F)
November (Average Daylight: 7.5hrs, Average Temperature: 24C / 76F)
Five Things to do in Cuba in Autumn
1- Wander the old city of Trinidad
Tiny and colonial, Trinidad is in the south of Cuba, and you can explore its cobbled streets in a few short hours. Nearby is Playa Ancon, one of Cuba’s best beaches.
2- Admire the architecture of Cienfuegos
Inspired by the buildings of cities such as Paris, Cienfuegos has some stunning facades. So grab your camera and have a wander.
3- Take a dance class
Cubans love music and dancing, and you won’t be short of things to try. So find a class or head to one of Havana’s nightclubs to get out of the rain and dance the night away.
4- Experience the taste of Cuba
While limited due to import restrictions, Cuban food is delicious and plenty of cookery classes are on offer. Besides enjoying delicious food, you’ll take home a new skill and a love for Latin American cuisine.
5- Lose yourself in the streets of Camagüey
Winding, mismatched streets make up this inland town, but there is a new party, cafe and bar to try around every corner.
Top tips: For the best food, make sure to wander off the main roads such as Calle Obispo, especially in Havana, to find some authentic local cooking.
Cuba in Winter
Cuban winter is not like many western winters, being in the Caribbean, the lowest temperature you may find is around 15C, and this is only in the mountains and hills.
You can still visit the beaches for swimming and snorkelling, but you may find the water a little cooler than usual.
December until February are great months to visit the island due to the lower temperatures, which generally hover around 25C and allow for far more walking and exploring than the sweltering summertime.
If you are planning an in-depth trip, this is one of the best times to go, as the weather remains consistent across the country, allowing you to go farther afield to Santiago or take a historic trip to the Bay of Pigs.
It is also a lovely time to stay in Varadero, usually bustling with tourists, where you can enjoy slightly emptier beaches although the weather will remain warm.
Average Weather In Cuba In Winter
December (Average Daylight: 6.5hrs, Average Temperature: 23C / 74F)
January (Average Daylight: 7hrs , Average Temperature: 22C / 72F)
February (Average Daylight: 7hrs, Average Temperature: 22C / 72F)
Five Things to do in Cuba in Winter
1- Have A Daiquiri In La Floridita
Famous for being the birthplace of the Daiquiri, this is the place to see and be seen. So pull up a barstool, order a frozen drink and enjoy the chatter of the locals.
2- Drink Mojitos At La Bodeguita del Medio
Unlike Floridita, you won’t find plentiful seating here. A classic hole-in-the-wall famous for founding the original Mojito, this bar serves locals and tourists alike and gets very crowded.
3- Visit The Colon Cemetery
An unusual suggestion for a holiday, but this vast expanse of white tombs is a stop on the tourist bus and features the resting places of some of Cuba’s most important historical figures.
4- Get Invited To A New Year’s Party
Like the folks in many Latin American and Caribbean countries, Cubans love to drink and party. So Christmas and NYE parties are aplenty and the Havana Film Festival and Cuba Jazz Festival.
5- Delve Into History At Ciénaga de Zapata
Located near the Bay of Pigs, this swamp is a far cry from Shrek’s muddy home; instead, it is the largest wetland in the Caribbean and home to abundant wildlife.
Top tip: Try and find a local supermarket, which can be hard to come by due to the rationing of food in Cuba. If you do, you can pick up a bottle of rum for as little as $4.
Cuba in Spring
The best time to visit Cuba is spring, bringing hot (but not too hot!) weather, little rain, blue skies and warm seas.
Daylight hours are at their longest, which means you have more time to enjoy the best of what the country has to offer.
Humidity is at its lowest, which not only means getting less hot and sticky but there are also far fewer mosquitoes which can be overwhelming in the summer.
This is a particularly great time to visit any of Cuba’s famous beaches, such as Varadero, Playa Ancon or Playa Giron.
Similarly, scuba diving, snorkelling and waterspouts have ideal conditions during the spring month, and you’ll be able to see some amazing marine life.
Even the mountain and inland regions such as Vinales and Las Terraza, which are sometimes colder, remain balmy in spring. This means you can include some hiking and jungle exploration in your itinerary.
The Havana biennial usually takes place at this time of year, which is a lively celebration of all things Cuba.
Unfortunately, as this is high season, flights and accommodation can be expensive, so booking as far in advance as possible is worth the effort.
Average Weather In Cuba In Spring
March (Average Daylight: 9hrs, Average Temperature: 24C /75F )
April (Average Daylight: 9hrs, Average Temperature: 25C / 77F)
May (Average Daylight: 8.5hrs, Average Temperature: 26C / 78F)
Five Things to do in Cuba in Spring
1- Take a ride in a classic car
Lined up like a postcard in Parque Central (and everywhere in Havana), you simply can’t visit Cuba without experiencing a ride in a vintage car. You can have a photoshoot or see the sites with the top down, which is the best way to get familiar with the city.
2- Go hiking or horseriding in Topes National Park
In Topes National Park and Vinales, these two regions are filled with open landscapes and mountains that make for lovely horse riding trips whether you’re a beginner or a pro.
3- Stroll along the Malecon
A leisurely walk along the Malecon is a simple pleasure not to be missed in Havana is where the locals go at sundown. You’ll see fishermen, lovers, friends and stunning sunsets.
4- Visit Fusterlandia
The artist behind this world of surrealism decided to cover his entire house in mosaics, followed by his neighbour’s, followed by the whole town.
The area is a spectacle to behold, and everything from the pool to the chimney is covered in art.
5- Relax on one of Cuba’s 430 beaches
From Playa Ancon in the South to Playa Coral in the north, you will find no shortage of soft white sand and clear seas.
Despite the influx of tourists, there are still plenty of hidden gems to be found.
Top tips: For a great sunset view, as well as some lovely food, have dinner at Nazdarovie, a Russian restaurant on the Malecon with a relaxed terrace. They serve great seafood, pasta and ribs.
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