Best Time To Visit Cuba

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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

when's the best time to visit cuba Varadero girl drinking cocktail in a coconut and sitting on sand
Anytime is the best time of year in Cuba to drink cocktails on the beach and one of the best places to do it is Varadero.

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

best time to visit cuba lonely planet
Huge hurricane weather pattern over Cuba.

**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
cuba best time to visit A wooden boat moored on an idyllic tropical beach in Cuba
Summer is the perfect time of year to visit Cuba to enjoy the beach.

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
when is the best time to visit cuba lush Vinales Valley
Vinales Valley is a lush and lovely landscape in Pinar del Rio Province.

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
best time to visit havana cuba Hotel Nacional
The historic Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba, was once infamous for its connections with Mafia gangsters from the USA.

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
best time of year to visit cuba Cigar rolling
Cigar rolling in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province.

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

cuban cigars, hat and flag
Travel to Cuba to enjoy the culture at any time of the year.

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

cuba climate best time to visit Cuba map

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
the best time to visit cuba Trinidad
The colonial town of Trinidad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower of the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos stands out above the skyline.

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
best time to visit varadero cuba horse and cart in Cienfuegos
One of the best times to visit Cienfuegos in Cuba is in the fall as the weather is pleasant. Ride in a horse buggy past has colourful pastel buildings.

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

best time to visit cuba weather Ancona Beach thatch umbrella and two beach lounges
The best time to visit Cuba if you’re looking for an empty beach is winter. Flop into a sun lounge beneath a parasol on tropical Ancona Beach by the Caribbean sea.

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

what is best time to visit cuba to relax on a tropical beach
There’s no best time to visit Cuba to relax under tropical huts with coconut and palm trees completing the scene.

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
cuba holidays best time to visit Cuba Libre cocktail
The best time to enjoy a Cuba Libre cocktail with cola, lime and ice is in summer.

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
best time to visit cuba 2018 La Bodeguita Del Medio and vintage car
A vintage car parked outside La Bodeguita Del Medio, where the best time of year for a Cuban mojito is when you’re thirsty.

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
when is the best time of year to visit cuba Colon Cemetery
Colon Cemetery in Havana

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
cuba best time of year to visit a vintage red car and woman in a party frock
The best time to visit Cuba is during party season. Look for family parties in the old town of Trinidad.

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
when is the best time to visit cuba for weather Museum of the landing at the Bay of Pigs
Winter is the best time to go to Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. The museum of the landing at the Bay of Pigs is a fascinating place to visit and learn about the famous historic event.

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

best time to visit cuba weather wise father and daughter on beach lounges
Cuba’s beaches are relaxing at any time of the year.

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

best time to visit cuba Havana
One of the best times to explore Havana is 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
cuba weather best time to visit old havana
The most popular street and famous taxis in old Havana in Cuba.

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
cuba best time to visit weather horse riding in Vinales
When is the best time to visit Cuba for horse riding? Pictured here is a horse rider in Vinales.

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
best time of year to visit cuba weather Malecon
The famous Malecon promenade at sunset.

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
best time to visit cuba varadero Santa Lucia beach
Santa Lucia beach in Camaguey Province is a tropical paradise.

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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India-Jayne Trainor is a British/Australian freelance writer, photographer and contributor to various online blogs and travel websites. She has travelled to almost 30 countries, most recently Cuba and Sri Lanka. Her work focuses on solo female travel, having spent two months backpacking alone through South East Asia as well as living in Germany for a year. Her favourite country to date has been Hong Kong, but she is happy in any country by the ocean. Her next destinations are Uzbekistan and a road trip through the American Mid-West. India is currently based in London, UK.