Best time to visit Cuba

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 11.06.2024

Boasting a bounty of beautiful beaches, along with extraordinary wildlife-watching experiences, adventure opportunities and festivals, Cuba has much to commend it whenever you visit. That said, the best month to visit Cuba depends on what you most want to do, and your budget, along with your opinion on the likes of tourist numbers, and the potential risks of the hurricane season. With these factors in mind, here we present the best time to visit Cuba from different perspectives. One thing’s for sure, Cuba is the kind of sparky destination that first-timers often find themselves longing to return to.

When is the best time to visit Cuba? 

The best time to visit Cuba is November to April when it's dry season. If you can, skip May to October. The wet season. Though the dry season is generally considered to be the best time to visit Cuba, note that downpours are often (but not always...) short-lived in the wet season, and temperatures are high.

  • The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1st June through to 30th November, with September and October often being peak months for tropical storms and hurricanes.
  • Coinciding with the dry season, Cuba’s tourist high season runs from November to April, though visitor numbers often drop-off from — and through — April.
  • The wet season months of June, July, August and September see low season levels of crowds, and corresponding lower costs, with visitor numbers increasing through October as a drier period beckons.
  • It’s also worth knowing that while July and August see smaller numbers of international visitors, these months are busy for local tourism. 

They're also the hottest months of the year — worth bearing in mind when planning your Cuba itinerary, along with the factors detailed below.

Bridge over the green water of Cayo Coco © Shutterstock

Cayo Coco, Cuba © Shutterstock

December and January — best for winter sun and high season vibes

Kicking off with the obvious, according to a huge number of travellers, the best time to visit Cuba is during the peak high season months of December and January.

Given that these months sit in the region’s dry season — at a time when many of us are seeking respite from colder climes — visitors to Cuba in December and January can expect gloriously sunny, rain-free days. 

With warm temperatures sitting comfortably below the sizzling heat of summer, these are arguably the best months for enjoying the best beaches in Cuba.

At the same time, December and January being high season months means major tourist hubs (among them Havana, Varadero and Guardalavaca) will be busy with like-minded travellers hoping for fun in the sun.

Beyond the entertainment offered by tourist resorts, this time of year sees Cuba stage a number of major festivals that are worth visiting for in their own right. 

For example, Havana hosts an international film festival in December. Come January, celebrated jazz festivals take place in both the Cuban capital and Santiago de Cuba.

The flipside of these attractive reasons to visit Cuba in December and January are the usual high season trappings. By which we mean higher costs for flights and accommodation, packed attractions, and busy beaches.

That said, you could always opt to explore lesser-travelled paths on an independent backpacking adventure, or on a customised Cuba itinerary that’ll take you off the beaten track.


Love film and music? December and January could be the best time to visit Cuba for notable festivals in Havana © Shutterstock

February and March — best for outdoor adventure

Though still sitting in the dry high season, February and March see visitor numbers drop-off from their December and January peak. These months also offer optimal conditions for diving and snorkelling.

The same is true of hiking and biking. Being cooler than the heady heat of summer, but still dry and warm, these are top months to explore the country’s wilder walking trails. They're also a great time to take advantage of Cuba’s relatively car-free roads on a cycling trip.

On the subject of cycling, if that kind of active trip sounds appealing, take inspiration from our customisable Bike Cuba itinerary, or our longer Western and Central Cuba by e-bike itinerary.

Bird-watchers, note that this time of year sees over 260 migratory species flock to Cuba. Ciénaga de Zapata in the Matanzas province, and Peninsula de Guanahacabibes in Pinar del Rio are notable hotspots.

Editor’s tip: travelling with kids? Check out our Active Adventure Family Trip.

Peninsula de Zapata-cuba-matanzas-shutterstock_1099963889

Visit Peninsula de Zapata in February and March for amazing birdlife © Shutterstock

April and October – best for shoulder-season balance

If you’re looking for a balance between high season crowds, warm weather and more moderate rainfall, April might be the best time for you to visit Cuba.

Sitting at the end of Cuba’s main high season — though Easter sees a spike in visitor numbers — April is quieter than January-March. It’s also cheaper and warmer than the preceding months, and drier than the months that follow.

Nature-lovers will also want to note that turtle-watching season kicks off at this time of year. For example, if you visit Cayo Largo between April and September, you might just get to see loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles come ashore to nest.

A similar kind of balance can be had in October, which isn’t as hot and humid as June-September. Bargains can often be had in October, too.

Just be mindful of the fact that the official hurricane season runs until the end of November.

Already started planning your holiday in Cuba? Explore your options for the best way to get there.

Clean beach Caribbean Sea. Playa los Cocos. Cayo Largo. Cuba © Shutterstock

Playa los Cocos. Cayo Largo. Cuba © Shutterstock

May, June and September — best for budget travellers

While Cuba is eminently do-able on a modest budget around the year — especially if you stay in casas particulares — May, June and September offer the biggest bargains.

With these months still sitting in turtle season, they especially suit nature-lovers who are keen to curtail costs. Also note that a second bird migratory season takes place from September to November. 

As a bonus, May sees Holguin stage Romerias de Mayo. Presenting performances from local and international musicians, along with parades, dance and art shows, it's fair to say this traditional religious festival has been given a modern makeover.

Meanwhile, the fabulously flamboyant Fiestas San Juaneras takes place in Trinidad at the end of June.

Again, be aware these months sit within the wet season, so expect rain showers and high humidity. Also note that tropical storms and hurricanes are a possibility in June, and more so in September.

Travel Guide Cuba - Cuban flag in a doorway in Trinidad

Trinidad, Cuba © Shutterstock

July and August — best for high energy Cuban culture

Though low season months for international tourism, July and August see an increase in domestic tourism. At the same time, temperatures rise to their annual peak. 

In terms of the numbers, average daily highs typically hit 32-34ºC in August.

Hosting two major cultural events, July is an especially great time to visit Santiago de Cuba. First up, Fiesta del Fuego — a three-day fire festival, which is held in early July.

Officially known as the Festival del Caribe, this sees the city transformed into the stage for all manner of costumed parades, performances, and giant congas through the streets.

Stick around until the end of July and you’ll also get to experience one of Cuba’s liveliest events — the Santiago de Cuba carnival.

Come August, Havana hosts its own carnival, while Varadero’s Josone Music Festival showcases the talents of top jazz and son Cubano musicians. 

Basilica view in Santiago de Cuba © Vadim Nefedoff/Shutterstock

Santiago de Cuba © Vadim Nefedoff/Shutterstock

Whenever you decide is the best time for you to visit Cuba, wise up on the best things to do in Cuba, and get yourself The Rough Guide to Cuba to help plan your trip.

Not keen on planning? Browse our customisable Cuba itineraries, or talk to our local experts.

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 11.06.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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