The best time to visit Cuba

With temperatures hovering between 20-35°C and the water bathtub-warm year-round, Cuba has a classically cosy Caribbean climate.
November to April is the best time to visit Cuba, with March to mid-April the most pleasant months: warm and sunny without summer’s humidity or storms. Prices may be slightly lower in January-February, when night-time temperatures drop, but the rain stays away and the sun shines. July and August are popular with those who don’t mind navigating around stormy afternoons. Eastern Cuba experiences the highest heat, humidity and hurricane threat, so keep an eye on weather warnings. The south-east is generally hotter and stickier year-round. African, Caribbean and European cultures combine in Cuba, ensuring festivals happen throughout the year.

When is the hurricane season in Cuba?

The hurricane season in Cuba is June to November, with September and October when tropical storms really pick up. It’s unlikely that they’ll affect your trip, but consider traveling in the earlier or later part of the season to reduce your chance of bumping into one.

A month by month guide on when to go to Cuba

January in Cuba

    Dry and sunny Classic island tours Cycling
Dry season is in full swing in Cuba in January – expect loads of sunshine and cloudless skies with only a chance of rain. Temperatures do drop (Havana averages at 21°C, thanks to cooler evenings) but you can still see highs of 26°C. Cooler climes are no bad thing for active adventurers exploring Cuba by bike or staying in casas particulares without air conditioning. January isn’t quite as busy as December, but it’s still a popular month.

January is great for a Cuba tour

February in Cuba

    Small group trips Cycling and trekking Bird watching
You won’t be short of things to do in Cuba in February. Great weather means plenty of visitors and therefore lots of choice of activities. Pair time lazing on the beach with cultural tours, trekking or cycling. Cool evening temperatures in Cuba are a refreshing cool-down from the average 25°C. Although mostly dry, rain can spritz the north and west. However, February is still one of the warmest months in Cuba.

March in Cuba

    Salsa dance vacations Family adventures Busy at Easter
March is one of the busiest times for tourists in Cuba as the weather warms up beautifully and (in some years) the Easter school break begins. Book as far ahead as possible; tours will fill up fast. Salsa dance trips are popular in Cuba in March, as well as cultural tours that take in the Revolutionary Trail and casas particulares.

April in Cuba

    Mostly sunny and hot End of peak season Cheaper prices (apart from Easter)
April is thought by many to be the best time of year to go to Cuba. The air is warm (24°C-29°C), getting a bit hotter in the east, but still excellent for exploring. And unless Easter falls in April (one of the busiest weeks in the year), visitor numbers start to ease off in Cuba in April. Havana kicks back under some beautiful sunny days too. The rainy season in Cuba starts tentatively in late April as humidity slowly climbs.

May in Cuba

    Culture and classic tours Cycling adventures Rainy season starts
Cuba gets less and less busy from now until the end of the year as the rainy season begins in Cuba in May. The north-west, including Havana, freshens up under short, sharp downpours; May is a great time to explore popular spots like Vinales Valley minus the crowds. There are more persistent rains in the south-east, but that’s no problem if you like verdant scenery and don’t mind packing a raincoat.

June in Cuba

    Cycling and trekking Rainy season starts Few visitors
June is the start of rainy season, bringing heavier downpours, high humidity and occasional multi-day storms. Although rainy, there are some perks to traveling to Cuba in June – there’s still a good amount of sunshine, zero crowds and much cheaper prices. The adventurous few lean towards trekking, cycling or cultural tours. You’ll spend cooler mornings exploring and hot, rainy afternoons curled up with a mojito.
I love April because the weather is so agreeable… And Christmas is fantastic, as Cubans get enough time off to enjoy themselves.
– Clarita Derwent, from our partner Cuban Adventures

July in Cuba

    Salsa and cycling (but not together) Family adventures Rainy season
As well as being stormy, July can be hot across most of Cuba – particularly in the built-up cities of Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Adventurous families won’t be put off, though, and the prices and number of tourists rise during the school vacation period of July to August. Be sure to book in advance if traveling to Cuba in July. Salsa workshops and cycling are good picks, with sessions timed for the cooler parts of the day.

July and August are great for a family self drive road trip around Cuba

August in Cuba

    Tailor made tours Family adventures Hot and stormy
August to October is probably the worst time to go to Cuba due to heavy afternoon rainfall. This is when Cuba is really hot and humid. That’s fine for many, especially if you’re cooling off on the coast, but it does limit what you can do as you need to factor in plenty of pauses for a snooze. Tailor made trips are brilliant at bending itineraries around the whims of the weather in Cuba in August.

September in Cuba

    Hot and humid Peaceful low season Hurricane season
The weather in Cuba in September cools down a little. It’s still hot and sticky, but not as scorching as July and August. Heavy afternoon downpours soak the west, including Havana, in the afternoons. Cultural tours take advantage of this by exploring in the mornings and offering salsa or cooking classes after a siesta. Plus, people disappear as the clouds appear, so September is one of the quietest times to be in Cuba. Hurricanes are most likely to occur in September, especially along the coasts.

October in Cuba

    Family adventures Tailor made trips Hurricane season
Tailor made tours that can adjust the itinerary around the rainy weather are great if you’re traveling to Cuba in October. You’ll find fewer fellow visitors and those that are there tend to focus on special interests like bird watching, hiking and Havana’s museums and galleries. Some families also spend the school vacation in Cuba. A hurricane is unlikely to affect your trip, but it is worth noting that October is peak season for tropical storms.

November in Cuba

    Dry season begins Salsa classes Huge choice of tours
Visitors drift back to Cuba in November as the rains recede and dry, sunny weather and reasonable temperatures make a comeback. As the weather improves, so does the choice of trips. Will it be scuba diving, touring Havana, bird watching, trekking, cycling or a classic island circuit? Salsa vacations and small group tours are especially popular in November too.

November and December are great for learning how to salsa

December in Cuba

    Most popular month Cooler and sunny Festival and party season
The brilliant weather in Cuba in December makes it the busiest time of year – expect sunshine with cooler temperatures. It’s great for sightseeing, but some days may be rather fresh for beach lovers. Christmas is fantastic because it’s the mildest time of year; there are lots of festivals and parties as Cubans get some rare days off. December also sees prices peaking.

Havana Weather Chart

RAIN (mm)
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Cuba or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best times to visit Cuba for festivals & events

On this art-loving island, where culture has been bankrolled by the government for decades, there are literature, theatre, poetry, dance, music and visual art openings pretty much every week. The focus is on Havana, but also in the Casas de Cultura – or simply in the streets – across Cuba.

Cuba is a country where all citizens are encouraged to be artists, so annual events are merely a bigger version of what takes place daily in Cuba’s National Theatre, Casa de la Musica, Gran Teatro, Casa de la Amistad and UNEAC (National Union of Artists and Writers of Cuba). Stop by to pick up a schedule and fill your creative cup with premieres, screenings, poetry, jazz and salsa.

Havana Jazz Festival (January)

Cuba has music in its bones, and January marks one of its longest-running events – Havana Jazz Festival, founded by a collective of Cuban jazz musicians in 1978. La Cultura Plaza is the soul of the party, but you’ll also see both Cuban virtuosos and international jazz instrumentalists and singers playing gigs in churches, streets and on doorsteps throughout the city.

Habanos Cuban Cigar Festival (February)

Of course, Cuba’s most famous export had to have a whole festival dedicated to it. This commercial festival, held each February, includes history talks, factory tours, cigar rolling workshops, seminars on cigar production and – yes – tastings.

Havana Biennial (every other March)

Expressive Havana gets just that little bit artier every two years as the Biennial takes over the city for the whole of March. There are exhibitions, documentary screenings, workshops and masterclasses, with works from over 40 countries utilising urban spaces, not just galleries.

City in Motion (April)

Each April, dancers from across Cuba and further afield take to Old Havana’s streets and plazas to showcase modern and traditional dance. The standard, variety and creativity are phenomenal – if this doesn’t inspire you to move your feet, nothing will.

Santiago de Cuba Carnival (end of July)

Carnival takes place in Cuba’s second city, Santiago, at the end of July. A fire party kicks things off, and then it’s street parties and parades for two weeks. Parades usually start at 8pm, when the sweltering heat eases off a little – although, of course, the clock is set to Cuban time.

Las Parrandas de Remedios (16-26 December)

Las Parrandas in Remedios city is one of the oldest and best-loved Christmas festivals. Conga groups play in the streets as the San Salvador and El Carmen neighbourhoods compete to put on the flashiest parade. Missed the festivities? The Parrandas Remedianas Museum logs the history of festival.

“Christmas is fantastic because it’s the coolest time of year, but there’s a lot of festivals and parties,” says Clarita Derwent, from our partner Cuban Adventures. “Cubans get time off at the end of the year – not much, but enough to enjoy themselves.”

Our travelers also ask…

When is the cheapest time of year to go to Cuba?

The cheapest months to go to Cuba are May to early June and mid-September to October. Prices rise during the school vacation periods of Christmas, Easter and July to August; you’ll find cheaper flights and accommodation options outside of this time. Surprise surprise, prices really plummet during hurricane season – September and October. That said, hurricanes are unlikely to affect your trip, so if the weather forecast is clear then this time can be a great cheap last minute adventure.

When is the rainy season in Cuba?

Cuba is rainiest in late spring and summer (May to November). It rarely rains all day long, however – you’re more likely to encounter heavy downpours in the hot, humid afternoons when traveling during the rainy season.

When is the best weather in Cuba?

If you’re after sunny, dry days without the fug of humidity, March to mid-April sees the best weather in Cuba. It’s your final chance at settled weather before the incoming rainy season too. If you prefer cooler temperatures with your sunshine (great for trekking and cycling), then January is a good bet.

When should you not go to Cuba?

Many would advise against traveling during hurricane season, but your vacation is very unlikely to be affected by one. Just keep a careful eye on the weather forecast if traveling between June and November. You could avoid the busiest months (December, Easter, July and August) if you don’t enjoy sharing your vistas, but it’s easy to step away from the crowds in Cuba even at these popular times of the year.

What is the hottest month in Cuba?

June, July and August are usually the hottest months in Cuba. Although the temperature averages don’t look too high at first glance – Havana sits at 32°C all summer – the humidity can make it feel much, much hotter. Spend your mornings and evenings exploring and the hottest part of the day crashed out on a cooler coast.

Should I visit Cuba before the end of the US embargo?

For decades, foreigners have been keen to see Cuba “before it changes”. But Cuba has been changing continuously, and many changes have been beneficial to both tourists and Cubans. Casas particulares, for example (government regulated homestays), allow visitors to avoid often characterless state-run hotels and stay with local families for a far more authentic experience. Private restaurants called paladares are also springing up, serving delicious home-cooked food.

But following the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the US, as well as the death of Fidel Castro, the changes have been bigger and faster. While some of the more ostentatious symbols leave a rather bad taste in the mouth (a giant cruise ship providing a backdrop to the 1950s cars on the Malecon and Chanel’s Havana fashion show which regular Cubans were not permitted to attend), we also welcome the freedoms that are now available to Cuban people, and the opportunities for them to have much more control over their lives – as well as earning more than the typical monthly salary of $15-30 USD.

However, we also recognise that Cuba is in a period of very rapid transition. Its minimal tourism infrastructure has yet to catch up with the swelling numbers of arrivals, including US citizens who are able to visit legally for the first time since 1960, as well as tourists from Europe and Canada who are rushing to visit before the anticipated ‘changes’ kick in.

Consequently, tours, hotels and casas are often booked up months in advance, and some visitors have been surprised at the number of other tourists they have encountered, particularly during high season.

Cuba is still very much an alternative destination, however, with a crumbling infrastructure, high poverty levels and a lack of many essentials, from toiletries and medicines to clothes and furniture.

While we still strongly encourage people to visit Cuba, and to do so responsibly, we also advise people to go with a very open mind. Casas are comfortable but they are not luxury hotels: they are family homes. What you want to eat may not always be on the menu, Wi-Fi access is limited and expensive, and that 70-year-old Chevrolet will be noisy and the windows won’t wind down.

But this is Cuba “before it changes” – and it also offers wonderful hospitality, seductive live music on every street corner, passionate dancing and Caribbean beaches without the high rises. It’s not a postcard-perfect Caribbean beach vacation; it’s a fully immersive and thoroughly unique life experience.
Photo credits: [Page banner: Alexandro Espinar] [Intro: Kyrian Arensman] [Clarita Derwent quote: Dorothea OLDANI] [Havana Jazz Festival: willdanieley] [Should I visit Cuba before the end of the US embargo?: Jeison Higuita]