Find out what are our favorite months to travel to Cuba.
If you are looking for climate tables and time series of average temperatures and monthly rainfall, you are in the wrong place.
We want to make it much simpler, based on our experience and giving some practical advice.
We are in the tropics, and it is hot in Cuba. A heat that can fluctuate between pleasant heat and aggressive (and for some, excessive) humid heat. And that’s what more or less everyone knows. But there are some important aspects to consider.
The East of Cuba (e.g., Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Holguin etc) is the area where the heat is most intense and lasts all year round.
The Northwestern part of Cuba (Varadero, La Habana, Viñales and Piñar del Rio), has cooler periods, during the winter months. But even in winter it is still warm, the temperature is pleasant, and you can always go swimming, unless you run into weather events that prevent it.
2. WEATHER EVENTS – HUMIDITY
Temperature is often only a partial indicator of the sensation transmitted to our bodies by the weather. As is well known, humidity amplifies the sensation of perceived temperature, both in the case of high and low temperatures. Cuba is a tropical island, and therefore high humidity is a constitutive feature of its climate. If your body is particularly sensitive to humidity, you may want to avoid the wettest and hottest months of the year, namely July and August.
3. WEATHER EVENTS – DOWNPOURS
When it rains, in Cuba, it’s a heavy rainfall. But that’s tropical weather – they will tell you – it rains for an hour and then the sun comes back and we are all happy and cheerful! Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t….
First, the thunderstorm comes suddenly, and if you are visiting an open area and have nowhere to shelter quickly, you are likely to find yourself completely soaked and need to go home or to your hotel to change.
Second, there are times of the year, usually in May but sometimes also in June, when the rains are frequent and longer and more persistent than usual.
4. WEATHER EVENTS – COLD FRONT
As a premise, it should be kept in mind that we live in an era of climate change, which makes phenomena less predictable, with respect to their seasonality but especially with respect to their intensity.
The “frente frio” – cold front – is a weather phenomenon that not everyone expects to encounter in Cuba. Let’s see what it is: the “frente frio” in Cuba is a disturbance caused by a cold air mass coming from the north/northeast and which, as the name suggests, brings a substantial and, unfortunately, quite long-lasting weather change.
What happens when the “frente frio” comes to Cuba? The cold front announces itself with increased winds and a sharp drop in temperature, down to 8-10 degrees celsius. The swell rises and it becomes almost prohibitive to swim in the ocean. In La Habana, the ocean takes over the Malecon and reaches as far as the first block of Vedado.
For those who are taking a beach vacation, among the less pleasant consequences is also the massive presence of Portuguese man of war on the shoreline. The Portuguese man of war resembles a jellyfish, although not the same species, has a bluish-pink color and can be strongly stinging. Typically, when these organisms show up en masse on Varadero’s beaches, monitors display red flags and prevent bathing.
How long does the cold front last? Here comes the most painful note: generally in Cuba the cold front lasts between 4 and 5 days.
When does cold front occur in Cuba? Generally in the winter months, between mid-December and early March.
What areas of Cuba are most affected by cold fronts? In Cuba, cold fronts mainly affect the northeastern part of the island, particularly Varadero, La Habana and the cayos : Cayo Santa Maria; Cayo Guillermo; Cayo Coco.
5. WEATHER EVENTS – HURRICANES
In Cuba, the season in which there is a higher incidence of hurricanes is between summer and autumn, with a concentration in August, September and October. The formation of hurricanes, which is typical of this geographic area, can occur in a more or less important way depending on the intensity of the phenomenon, and affect certain areas of the island more depending on the direction of the winds.
In recent years, hurricanes that have caused extensive damage and dramatic consequences in Cuba include Matthew (2016, in the eastern area), Irma (2017, in the west, and particularly in La Habana and Pinar del Rio), and Ian (2022, in the west and particularly in Pinar del Rio).
Needless to say, the concurrence of a hurricane exerts a major impact on travel and can result in significant inconvenience. In the most severe cases, hurricanes in Cuba result in damage to power grids, impair internal transportation, and cause trees to fall and buildings to collapse. In these cases, the time to restore normalcy can take several weeks or even months. Therefore, if you have booked a trip to Cuba between August and October, we suggest that you regularly check weather centers that specialize in hurricane monitoring – and consider whether there are conditions to postpone your trip.
In the end, what is the best time to travel to Cuba?
In our experience and according to our preferences, April and November are our favorite weather periods.
For those who suffer from heat and humidity, we suggest avoiding July and August.
If you want to enjoy a beach vacation, be aware that in January and February there is a risk of running into cold front. If you really want to leave at this time and have a beach vacation, keep in mind that normally the southwest coast, at Trinidad and Playa Larga, is more sheltered from the winds than the northeast coast.
How do you plan your trip to Cuba to make the most of your vacation and try to limit unpleasant surprises?
✓ Do it yourself: you can look for information on the Web, where you can find, for free, opinions , stories, advice of all kinds, sometimes interested and sometimes not, sometimes encouraging and sometimes not. Keep in mind, however, that even when in good faith, those who share a travel experience do so based on partial knowledge and a subjective point of view. If you have a passion for planning trips and have no difficulty in designing your own itinerary in Cuba, then we suggest you supplement the information you have gathered on the web with our mini HH LIST guide in which you will find a selection of our favorite places in Havana.
✓ Travel design: if you prefer to entrust the planning of your trip to Cuba to the expertise of professionals and connoisseurs of the Island. For those who prefer to save time and the confusion induced by too much information, we provide an advisory service, based on our direct knowledge and network of collaborators on the ground. Take a look here.