Best time to visit the Caribbean
By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer
Q. When is the best time to visit the Caribbean?
A. This depends on two factors: climate and price. If you are craving warmth and sunshine in the winter months, the Caribbean is hard to beat with reliably warm weather, but December to April is the high season in the Caribbean so prices are higher. By visiting out of the peak season, you will enjoy warm weather – albeit more humid – and plenty of sunshine, with considerably lower hotel prices. The official hurricane season runs between 1 June and 30 November but that isn’t a reason to avoid it. Weather patterns all over the world are changing but there is a higher risk of significant storms later in the season.
The islands that are easiest to reach, with non-stop flights from the UK, include Cuba, Antigua, Barbados and St Lucia. You can also fly with one stop en route to the Cayman Islands and Grenada, for example, and you can island-hop on local services to gems such as Anguilla, St Vincent & the Grenadines, the British Virgin Islands and Nevis.
You can find some great deals at the all-inclusive Sandals Resorts on superb beaches in Jamaica, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada and Barbados. Exclusively for adult couples only, they even offer over-water villa suites. If you’re travelling as a family, check out the child-friendly options at their sister properties, Beaches Resorts.
If you want something different, how about renting a luxury Caribbean villa with private pool. Many of them are beachfront, some have a pool and they’re a great option for larger families or groups of friends; staff from a housekeeper to full time chef are often included too.
Media coverage might suggest that the whole of the Caribbean is regularly ravaged by hurricanes, but this is a very large region and many islands escape unscathed. As a rule, the path of most hurricanes sweeps across the northern Caribbean towards the Bahamas and Florida. There are many islands in the southern Caribbean that are rarely affected including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago.
If you avoid the statistically most risky period – mid August to early October – you can still enjoy relatively risk-free holidays in the official hurricane season. See our guide to the best Caribbean holidays and the hottest Caribbean islands.
You will still find great weather in June and July, and August is a popular time to visit the southern Caribbean islands, such as Barbados. I’ve also enjoyed sunny trips to the Caribbean in October and November, though you may experience short heavy rain showers in the late afternoon or evening.
Temperatures tend to remain constant throughout the year at around 29°C to 31°C. Rarely does the Caribbean get too hot, thanks to the constant sea breezes.
In terms of price, the peak tourist period across the Caribbean is between Christmas and Easter. This is when most hotels put up their rates and airlines hike their fares. It’s a wonderful time to be in the Caribbean because the weather at home is so bad, but it can get busy especially during the school holidays on popular islands such as Barbados and Antigua.
Cuba Direct has some great deals on holidays in Cuba.
Prices also rise from mid-July to the end of August. Not because the weather is especially good, but because this is when families want to travel. Sandals often has special offers with savings of up to 40% at its all-inclusive couples resorts. Families can find discounts at Beaches Resorts.
For my money, the best time to visit the Caribbean is between the end of the Easter holidays and the beginning of the summer holidays. Prices are low, beaches are uncrowded and the weather tends to be excellent. The occasional brief rain shower is even quite entertaining.
However, Jamaican-born Mandy Gore-Booth of Pilot PR reckons the best time to visit is November. “It’s the end of hurricane season, but still low-season prices and just a little bit cooler,” she explains. And, of course, the weather is usually grim at home.
What about the Bahamas and Bermuda?
The islands of the Bahamas are not officially in the Caribbean – they are in the Atlantic Ocean – but they do fall within the same hurricane belt as Cuba, Florida and the Virgin Islands. Parts of the Bahamas were devastated by Hurricane Dorian in August 2019. Even at the best of times, it is best to avoid the islands in the depths of winter – from November through February, as the weather is much cooler.
Bermuda is entirely different. This group of islands is located in the mid-Atlantic far from the Caribbean. The best time to visit is between May and October (winter is a bit too cold). March and April usually offer fine weather, but the sea can be cold if you like to swim.
For solo travellers, we recommend this luxury hotel in Barbados and – if you love spa treatments and activities – BodyHoliday in St Lucia which has rooms exclusively for solo travellers and a very welcoming atmosphere.
Save 40% on your next holiday
* Did you know you can save up to 40% on holiday prices? See all the latest deals.We publish new deals most weeks and you can get them delivered to your inbox by entering your email address below.
Hottest Caribbean islands in January
Hottest Caribbean islands in February
Hottest Caribbean islands in March
Hottest Caribbean islands in April
Hottest Caribbean islands in May
Hottest Caribbean islands in June
Hottest Caribbean islands in July
Hottest Caribbean islands in August
Last updated: 11 May 2022