Come to Cuba in dry, sunny winter and spring for fantastic outdoor activities, including some memorable hiking and idyllic beaches. And tap into the island's cultural activities in the wetter summer and fall months, especially the diverse music scene and museums in big cities like Havana, Matanzas, Camagüey, and Santiago de Cuba. This article introduces you to what each season is best for in this spellbinding island destination.
Cuba Travel Insights
December is peak season, especially during Christmas week, as Canadians and Europeans flood in droves. But the weather is as perfect as any month of the year. And three of Cuba’s premier festivals occur, including an unforgettable religious procession and the equally memorable fireworks “battle” (or parranda) of Remedios. But expect higher prices, and plenty of other visitors crowding your pictures.
The dry season finally arrives in November, bringing heaps of sunshine and agreeable temperatures. Plus, this month Cuba hosts some of the most popular festivals of the year. The tourist floodgates begin to open also, but not so much than Cuba feels crowded, and expect higher hotel and other rates than in prior months.
With temperatures cooling after the blitz of summer, and the peak season crowds still two months away, October can be a good time to visit. You’ll have much of Cuba more or less to yourself, and at bargain prices. However, overall it is the rainiest month. And this is a peak month for hurricanes, although the chance of one striking and affecting your visit remains very slim. Plus, three of Cuba’s premier music festivals take place in October.
By September the suffocating heat of peak summer months begins to recede, but temperatures and humidity remain high. Havana and Western Cuba also see a second spike in rainfall. By month’s end the mid-summer tourist crowds and high-season hotel rates give way to far fewer visitors and bargain prices—making this month a win-win for travelers who don’t fear that September is the apex of hurricane season.
We’re well into Cuba’s rainy season by August, with the hottest temperatures and highest humidity. Yet summer vacationers from Canada and Europe flock to the beaches to take advantage of Cuba’s scorching sunshine and ocean breezes—the rains are mostly heavy downpours perfectly timed to coincide with afternoon siestas. Plus, baseball season begins this month.
July is one of the hottest and humid months of the year, although the chance of rain diminishes. It’s also one of the liveliest, with Cuba biggest carnival—in Santiago de Cuba—and its most important revolutionary celebrations, making this a great month to experience quintessential Cuban culture. Mid-July begins the Cubans’ own holiday season—a chance to vacation alongside the locals—while Canadians and European families flock to the beach resorts.
The summer wet season begins in earnest in June, when the humidity begins to resemble a sauna. The Eastern Provinces are the hottest part of the country, and by June often insufferably so. Understandably, this is the low season for tourism. Don't worry: there's still plenty of glorious sunshine. And in spite of the weather, there are some major advantages to off-season travel. You won’t be competing with crowds, and early summer travel offers the lowest prices of the year.
Cuba’s wet season officially begins in May so, yes, rain will likely be part of your experience. Fortunately, this usually means late afternoon thunderstorms following hot, sunny mornings. But you’ll have much of the country more-or-less to yourself as this is a low-season month. And the beginning of May is a great time to be in Havana for the country’s most important annual event—the May Day Parade—when you can experience Cuba at its most political.
Although the temperature is hotting up, this is still a fabulous month weatherwise, as the prolonged dry period (la seca) of Western Cuba extends through April. Heaps of sunshine and little rain. What’s not to like? Plus, Havana hosts several important cultural events. Not least, every three years, visitors get to enjoy the Biennal art festival, and while Easter is not the big deal it is in other Hispanic cultures, you can witness religious processions in any year.
This is a fantastic month weather-wise, as Western Cuba typically experiences a prolonged dry period—la seca—with relatively little rain, and warmer temperatures than January or February. In fact, many visitors feel that March offers the most agreeable climate of the year, although high-season room rates typically still apply. It’s a good time, too, to enjoy some of Cuba’s more off-beat musical festivals.
Although visitors are fewer than in January, February is, with good reason, still a very busy month, especially in Havana, Trinidad and Viñales. The sun shines without being overbearing, rain mostly stays away, and nighttime temps are refreshingly cool. Further afield the number of visitors thins, and it’s easy to find attractive off-the-beaten-track venues.
This is a peak month in Cuba for travel. Havana, Trinidad, and Viñales in the heart of tobacco country can all seem overrun (although things have eased in Havana since 2019, with U.S. cruise ships no longer calling). This is also a peak festival season, and Havana is abuzz with celebration. Hotel rates are high, but there are plenty of bargain-priced casas particulares (private B&Bs). And though weather is variable, you’ll mostly experience gorgeous sunny days.
Havana is only a 45-minute flight from Miami, which makes a weekend visit easy. If you only have three days to spare, focus on quality rather than quantity with these itineraries, discovering landmark historical sites, great cuisine, and sultry nightlife in Cuba's capital.
With two weeks you can get a sense of all that Cuba has to offer. There’s time to travel the length of the island, from vibrant Havana to the revolutionary sites of eastern Oriente Province. Perhaps you'll want to indulge in nature excursions in Western Cuba. Whatever your personal passions, these two distinct itineraries promise a satisfying 14-day adventure.
From fascinating colonial cities to rich culture and beautiful nature, Cuba has something to excite everyone. How you experience this country depends on your preferences—you can tour it solo or with a guide or group. You can stick to one region or visit many. You can focus on Cuba's natural wonders or enjoy sultry times in the cities. Here are options to suit every taste.
Near the eastern tip of the island and situated closer to Haiti than Havana, Santiago de Cuba is distinct in its architecture and cultural vibe. Founded in 1514 as the second city in Cuba, the hill city fuses French-Haitian with African and Spanish influences. The historic center may be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but there are many fantastic sights to see here, many associated with the Cuban Revolution.
Like any intrepid traveler, you're probably keen to experience everything that Cuba is famous for: colonial history, a musical culture, tropical scenery, plus all those cigars and classic cars. Here are four sample itineraries that take the headache out of planning an unbeatable 10-day excursion, whatever your tastes.
More than 4.5 million tourists visit Cuba each year, and the vast majority don’t get beyond the most popular destinations, such as Santa Clara, Trinidad, and Viñales. Escape the crowds with these suggestions and you’ll soon be biking, diving, hiking, and touring your way through Cuba like a local.
Cuba has as much to captivate children as parents, from clowns strolling the streets of Havana to gorgeous beaches and mountains. Add in the country’s close-knit family culture and languid traffic-free streets, where local children play without supervision, and it’s hard to imagine a more kid-friendly place to visit.
Along with Havana and Viñales, Trinidad is one of the most popular destinations in Cuba. Tens of thousands of visitors flock here every year to wander the cobbled streets of this well-preserved colonial city overlooking the Caribbean. There's a ton to see and do here, so let the following recommendations inspire your itinerary.
Cuba may be an island, but that doesn't mean you have to spend all your time in one area. Whether your priorities lie in exploring the countryside or immersing yourself in Havana’s urban culture, it’s easy to craft a satisfying five-day itinerary with these expert suggestions.
Tobacco Country is one of Cuba’s most visited regions. It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, all eager to enjoy adventure activities and admire the area’s spectacular scenery and culture. Get inspired by the following itineraries, along with your best options for lodging, dining, and entertainment.
Havana is brim-full of lodging options, from 1950s mobster-era hotels to simple room rentals. For the most rewarding experience, opt for one of the newer, chic boutique hotels or private B&Bs, some offering concierge service.
Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands and a dream destination unto itself. It's spectacularly scenic, and packed with cultural experiences and fun activities. If you have a week to spend, try one of these expertly crafted itineraries.
Cuba is a complex country filled with limitless options for discovery and adventure—and for travelers, this begs many questions. What’s it like traveling in the countryside? Are there restrictions? What's the food like? Here are the answers to these and more of your most pressing questions about Cuba.
Havana is one of the most fascinating cities on the planet. It’s also the biggest in the entire Caribbean—both by area and population—so it’s a good idea to plan how to spend your time. Follow these suggestions to experience the best of Havana in one unforgettable day.
It's not hard not to fall in love with Cuba. Set to a soundtrack of jazz, rumba, and salsa, it's a place where icy mojitos flow freely, classic cars cruise the streets, and historic hotels evoke the glamour of a bygone era. The perfect place, in other words, for a romantic getaway just after your wedding.
The island of Cuba is lined with white sandy beaches and surrounded by turquoise Caribbean waters. But it takes a little effort — and some dedicated travel planning — to break away from the crowds and find your own slice of paradise. Follow this handy guide to the best beaches in Cuba and you'll be relaxing under a palm tree in no time.
Cuba, an island measuring 780 miles end to end, is much larger than many visitors imagine. With its diverse ecosystems and cultural distinctions among regions, you could easily fill several weeks with exploration. Have limited time? Not to worry: you can discover Havana's highlights in just a matter of days.
Cuba is a long, slender island where the distance from East to West makes up each of its five distinct zones. Each region has its own unique geography, and a different variety of culture, too. Here's a profile on each zone to help you decide on the perfect itinerary to suit your interests.
Havana is Cuba's capital city and the island's largest and most diverse metropolis. Here it's easy to find little-visited colonial quarters and fascinating points of interest, many well off the tourist path. Havana's cultural scene is vibrant, and new dining and nightlife venues continue to pop up—due in no small measure to the communist government's liberal reforms. The following 10 places are well worth seeking out to escape the masses.
Havana's cobblestone plazas, eclectic architecture, and vivacious street life are enchanting—but there's far more to the Cuban capital than the romantic colonial quarter. This list offers 15 great options for getting the most out of your visit, from exploring old castles and modern art venues to discovering the most memorable places to eat.
Cuba is a great destination at any time of year, but the best season to visit depends on your travel priorities. Whether you plan to bask in the warmth of a beach vacation, immerse yourself in the annual four-day jazz festival, or head deep into coffee country, you'll want to learn more about Cuba's seasonal offerings before planning your trip.
Experience Cuba from a uniquely Cuban perspective. Visit the studio of a rising reggaeton star, learn how to dance the Mambo, and paddleboard the Zapata Peninsula. Meet artists and photographers and soak up the music scene. The perfect combination of nature and culture, this trip will take you to Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
Cuba is a big island, boasting a wide range of scenery, sights, and activities. Whether you plan to sample the rich coffee of Sierra Escambray, dance the night away in Havana, or even follow the footsteps of Che Guevara down the revolutionary trail, every traveler will be able to find their own slice of Cuba - read on to find out which one is perfect for you.
Vibrant and fascinating, Cuba was once the forbidden fruit for U.S. tourists. As of 2011, every citizen is once again legally permitted to visit - but there are still a few hoops to jump through before hopping on a plane. From getting a tourist visa to booking accommodations, here's what you need to know before planning your safe and legal trip to Cuba.
Pair up the colorful culture of Havana and the outdoor adventure of the Viñales Valley for an epic tour of western Cuba. Perfect for adventurers with eclectic tastes, this itinerary will take you from rural schools to silkscreening workshops to Latin America's largest cave.
Even with just a few days to spare, you can still take in all that Havana has to offer. Discover Cuba’s creative culture with entrepreneurs, artists, intellectuals, and chefs – the people who are creating Cuba’s future. You'll see the art , taste the flavors, hear the rhythm, and feel the soul of the thriving Cuban lifestyle.