When to go
Cuba has a hot and sunny tropical climate with an average temperature of 24°C, but in the winter months of January and February the mercury can drop as low as 15°C, and even lower at night, worth considering when thinking about the best time to visit. This is during the dry season, which runs roughly from November to April, when if you intend to go into the mountains it’s advisable to pack something warmer than a T-shirt. If you visit in the summer, and more broadly between May and October, considered the wet season, expect it to rain on at least a couple of days over a fortnight. Don’t let this put you off, though; although it comes down hard and fast, rain rarely stays for very long in Cuba, and the clouds soon break to allow sunshine through to dry everything out. Eastern Cuba tends to be hotter and more humid during this part of the year, while the temperature in the area around Trinidad and Sancti Spíritus also creeps above the national average. September and October are the most threatening months of the annual hurricane season that runs from June to November. Compared to other Caribbean islands and some Central American countries, however, Cuba has so far held up relatively well even in the fiercest of hurricanes, though rural areas are more vulnerable.
The peak tourist season runs roughly from mid-December to mid-March, and all of July and August. Prices are highest and crowds thickest in high summer, when the holiday season for Cubans gets underway. As much of the atmosphere of the smaller resorts is generated by tourists, Cuban and foreign, out of season they can seem somewhat dull – although you’ll benefit from lower prices. The cities, particularly Havana and Santiago, are always buzzing and offer good value for money throughout the year. Compared to the all-out celebrations in other countries, Christmas is a low-key affair in Cuba, with the emphasis on private family celebration. New Year’s Eve, also the eve of the anniversary of the Revolution, is much more fervently celebrated. For festivals, July and August are the best times to be in Havana and Santiago, while the capital is also enlivened in November by the Latin American International Film Festival.
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