There is a popular quote that goes something along the lines of “Paris is always a good idea” and that same quote can be said for Cuba. I adore Cuba! From the beaches, to the people, to the culture, Cuba has something for everyone. Having been to Cuba four times, at different times of the year, I have decided to share my preference for when to visit.
|Streets of Trinidad|
The first time I went was in 2003, just days after the big blackout in parts of Canada and the United States (who remembers that?). I went in the month of August, and despite this being the start of hurricane season, it didn’t rain as much as I thought it would. Correction. It rained every day, but it was usually in the late afternoon/early evening when we were getting ready to leave the beach and get ready for dinner. Funny thing about rain is that as soon as it starts, majority of people run for their rooms. I have experienced this on several occasions. This becomes the best time to go for a swim in the pool (as long as there isn’t thunder and lightning of course), as you will usually have the pool to yourself. You are wet anyway so why let a little rain stop you from having some fun?
|Waves in Cayo Santa Maria|
Aside from the rain, this time of year is very hot and humid. And filled with mosquitoes. Now if you are a mosquito magnet like me, you will want to pack your bug spray (or bring me along and I will attract them all to me). If you are looking to go to Cuba just to lounge by the pool or suntan at the beach, and don’t mind the heat and some rain, then this would be an ideal time to go. Plus, this time of year is usually cheaper than the other months. But if you are looking to explore and do some sightseeing, or spending lots of time outdoors, I wouldn’t recommend it. It is just too hot. Like sweaty-body-parts-that-you-didn’t-know-could-get-sweaty kind of hot.
|Beautiful garden in Playa Ancon|
The second and third time I went was in May. This is a moderate time of year in terms of price. It is the start of rainy season, but both times I went we might have seen rain one day, again in the late afternoon/early evening. It is warm this time of year as well. Very warm. On both trips I ended up doing day trips into the nearby cities. Both times I was so hot I wished I brought more water. If you do decide to be outside during this time of year, bring sunscreen, a hat, and LOTS of water. This is also a time of year that is not too busy at the resorts so you won’t have to worry about not finding a decent spot at the beach. It is also moderately priced.
|Streets of Santa Clara|
The best time to visit in my opinion is during the winter months. Why? Well I live in Southern Ontario which gets high temperatures during the summer months as it is (above 30C even), and has lots of beautiful beaches of it’s own (see my post here). To me, it doesn’t make sense to take time off for the beach when there are beaches to go to near by. BUT, if you are not as blessed as we are here with the nearby beaches, then that may be a different story. Winter months, on the other hand, are long and cold. I went in January and absolutely loved it, for a number of reasons.
1. It was still warm, but not nearly as hot as in May or August.
2. It gave me a break from the cold Canadian winter.
3. It is more lively at the resorts.
Winter months are the more expensive months, especially around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, but in my opinion, so worth it for that winter break. It is also a lot busier, which has pros and cons, but the definite pro is the lively atmosphere everywhere you go. If you are not a people person and don’t like crowds, perhaps another season would be better for you.
|Enjoying the view!|
No matter what time of year you go, you will have fun. My additional recommendations:
- bring lots of sunscreen and wear it, ALWAYS (worst burn I got was on a cloudy day)
- bring a hat, it will be much needed, especially when swimming in the ocean (that sun is so strong)
- stay hydrated. I don’t mean go drink every Cuba Libre you can. I mean, drink water (bottled) as much as possible. Heat stroke sucks and I had someone on 2 of 4 trips get it, and it isn’t a good way to spend your vacation
- bring a reusable cup to reduce your impact on the plastic cups that are polluting the environment
- bring bug spray! They have mosquitoes all year round
If you’ve been to Cuba, I want to hear from you! What is your favourite time of year to go and why? Let me know in the comments below!