Barbados has a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Am) that verges on the moderately tropical type due to habitual sea breezes. The climate is predominantly hot and humid throughout the year, with a slight drop in temperatures in the dry season. Barbados is an island country in the West Indies, in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean area of North America. The Windward Islands, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent lie to the east, Martinique to the north-west, and Trinidad and Tobago to the south-west of Barbados. The island's location at just 13°N of the equator blesses it with bright sunshine and an equal duration of days and nights. Northeast trade winds prevail throughout the year to reduce the effect of the tropical sun. The monsoon rains, proximity to the equator, the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, influence the climate.
Barbados forms the easternmost boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the North Atlantic Ocean. The island is relatively flat, with gentle rises in the Scotland District or the central highland region. Coral reefs surround the island, and the island itself comprises of coral formations more than 90 meters above the sediment. The land gradually inclines from west to east in a series of terraces. Swampland and scrubland with wild cattle and vegetation chiefly of small plants, grasses, and palm trees comprise parts of the island. The Scotland District has most of the streams that include an extensive system of aquifers and channels. The action of waves, currents, and winds continuously alter the relatively soft limestone composition on the Atlantic east coast. Rocky capes are standard along with many caves and gullies, especially in the north-eastern region. The coral reefs are a great attraction for divers, and the white, sandy beaches attract visitors from all over the world. Mount Hillaby is the highest point in Barbados at 340 meters above sea level.
The tropical island of Barbados has two primary seasons. The wet season runs from June to December and the dry season from January to May. Summers are hot, humid, and wet. The average high temperatures touch the 31.1°C (88°F) mark at the peak of June, but extreme temperatures are rare. Temperatures do not vary much over the year and average between 21.1°C (70°F) to 31.1°C (88°F). Every month has a mean temperature above 17.8°C (64°F). Winters are warm and relatively dry, with the average low temperatures below 21.1°C (70°F) in January. The drop in humidity lowers the heat index and keeps the atmosphere pleasant. Wind speeds of 11.3km/h (7mph) to 24.1km/h (15mph) are standard throughout the year and moderate the heat. The wet season is prone to heavy rainfall and tropical storms. However, hurricanes are rare due to the location of the island in the relatively sheltered southeast Caribbean region.
Barbados receives abundant rainfall in the range of 1016mm (40") of 2286mm (90") annually. Bridgetown, the capital, receives an average annual rainfall of 1270mm (50") during 165 wet days in the year. The wettest period is from September to November, while the driest is from February to April. June to December contributes at least 80% of the annual precipitation. The rainfall is intense but in the form of downpours that do not last for prolonged periods. The annual sunshine registers an impressive 3000 hours, with 8 to 9 hours of daily sunlight. The wet season receives ample sunshine, as most days witness the sun on the horizon for at least 8 hours. The average relative humidity ranges from 69 to 78% and is at its highest in August. The seawater temperatures are in the mild 26.1°C (79°F) to warm 27.8°C (82°F) zone, which is suitable for swimming and many other water activities.
The best time to visit Barbados
The best time to visit Barbados is from January to April in the mild winter season. The temperatures are relatively mild, and the period is the least rainy of the year. The island resembles a tropical paradise with white sandy beaches and tranquil waters under blue skies. The days receive at least 8 hours of sunshine, even during the coldest time of the year. Moderate breezes with wind speeds of approximately 24.1km/h (15mph) make evenings pleasant on the beaches. Beach nights are enjoyable in the mild weather, absence of rain, and calypso music. The dry season is less prone to tropical storms and other extreme weather events.
The worst time to visit Barbados
The worst time to visit Barbados is during the hot and humid summer from June to September. The sunshine is intense, and the humidity increases the heat index to uncomfortable levels. The heavy spells of rain make it challenging to sunbathe or engage in water-related activities. Barbados registers at least 152.4mm (6") to 177.8mm (7") of rain every month during the wet season. The interior receives more rainfall and is prone to higher temperatures than the coast. The tropical storm season adds to the uncertainty of the weather even though hurricane strength usually does not surpass category one or category two. Excursions on the sea are challenging when there is a high probability of storms and heavy rainfall.
The natural weather hazards in Barbados comprise of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and landslides. The island is part of a volcanic arc in the Lesser Antilles in the east Caribbean Sea. Barbados lies in the southeast part of the Caribbean region, which is outside the principal hurricane strike zone. Hurricanes are generally rare than tropical storms. A major hurricane occurs every 25 years, such as Hurricane Janet in 1955 and Hurricane Thomas in 2010. Earthquakes of moderate-intensity occur due to the collision of the South American and Caribbean Plates. Landslides are many times triggered by heavy rainfall or earthquakes and even occur underwater. Thunderstorms and rainstorms occur in the wet season. Mineral dust from the Sahara Desert poses a challenge to the health of coral reefs surrounding Barbados.
Weather in January
January is the coldest month of the year in Barbados, yet the average temperatures are in the warm range of 21.1°C (70°F) to 27.8°C (82°F). Visitors find sunscreen necessary during mid-day, even in the cold season. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during the daytime activities on the beaches. January registers scattered showers to the tune of 50.8mm (2") to 76.2mm (3") in Bridgetown. A light jacket is sufficient but not necessary as people prefer to enjoy the light rain. The blue skies and turquoise waters of the reef are perfect for scuba diving, with average seawater temperatures at 26.1°C (79°F). Swimming is better in the morning when the sun rays are less intense. Evenings often have moderate breezes that soothe the senses. Expect crowds at the beaches, as few destinations offer 8 hours of daily sunshine and pleasant weather around New Year. Barbados is a perfect getaway for people who wish to escape the frigid winters of North America in January.
Weather in February
February is usually the driest period of the year in Barbados, with less than 38.1mm (1.5") of rainfall. The conditions are mild, with the average temperatures in the zone of 21.1°C (70°F) to 28.9°C (84°F). The precipitation registers below 50.8mm (2"), and the dry season is well underway. Speightstown, in the northern part of the island, is mostly sunny, with only nine wet days in the month. Barbados is a winter hotspot for travelers from the coldest parts of Europe and North America. People who love water and beaches find it challenging to resist the temptation of 8 hours of daily sunshine and clear skies in the winter. Jackets make the evenings comfortable, with wind speeds above 24.1km/h (15mph). The relative humidity below 70% keeps the atmosphere pleasant and is well below the level of other tropical places at similar latitudes. February crowds are fewer compared to the New Year ones in Barbados.
Weather in March
March is sunny in Barbados, with hardly seven wet days amid usually blue skies. The average temperatures register a slight increase during the day but remain in the comfortable 21.1°C (70°F) to 30°C (86°F) zone. The highest sunshine of 10 hours occurs during the Ides of March in Barbados when it is cold in the early spring season in many parts of the world. Stay away from the beaches during mid-day when the sun rays are at their peak. The Caribbean Sea waters are at a comfortable 26.7°C (80.1°F), making swimming a natural choice for the visitors. Wind speeds in the range of 19.3km/h (12mph) to 24.1km/h (15mph) are perfect for sailing in the evening. The average relative humidity, at the lowest of the year at 69%, creates a lovely combination of sunny days and cold nights. Tourists prefer not to add the weight of umbrellas to their luggage during the dry season in March in Barbados.
Weather in April
April offers a chance to soak in 9 hours of sunshine under mostly blue skies in Barbados every day. Wet days usually are less than seven in April, which averages 50.8mm (2") of rainfall. Bathsheba, on the east coast, registers average temperatures in the comfortable range of 22.2°C (72°F) to 30°C (86°F). Swimmers find the seawaters pleasant at 26.7°C (80.1°F), which even induce lazy beach visitors to dip their toes. Wear broad-brimmed hats and put on sun cream for protection from the harsh sun, with the ultraviolet index at the peak of 12. The daylight of more than 12 hours provides adequate time for an excursion on the sea. Cool breezes in the evening keep the heat in check. April skies are mostly clear, and nights are perfect for stargazing while on the beach or at sea. Nights are pleasant, especially on the sea coast, where the temperatures do not drop quickly. Barbados is a perfect destination for a family Easter vacation, with comfortably dry and moderate weather in April.
Weather in May
May receives between 63.5mm (2.5") to 76.2mm (3") of precipitation in Barbados, as the island country sees a gradual transition from the dry season. The average temperatures are in the range of 22.8°C (73°F) to 31.1°C (88°F), with hot days and mild nights. The daylight increases gradually to register slightly less than 13 hours at the end of the month. For early risers who prefer the fresh morning air, the sunrise is usually between 5.30 and 5.45 a.m. The time between 6.15 and 6.30 p.m. is perfect for people who like to watch the sun setting on the background of the ocean. The Crane beach visitors find evenings enjoyable, with moderate wind speeds of 24.1km/h (15mph) to 27.4km/h (17mph) and seawater temperatures of 26.7°C (80.1°F). The wind direction is generally from east to west. Umbrellas are mostly unnecessary, although a few prudent visitors prefer to carry them. Many tourists take advantage of the last month of the dry season to visit Barbados.
Weather in June
June is the beginning of the wet season in Barbados that brings more than 101.6mm (4") of rainfall across the country. Temperatures are in the range of 23.9°C (75°F) to 31.1°C (88°F), but humidity levels make the heat oppressive. Avoid roaming during the afternoons when the sun rays are at their peak intensity. The palms and shrubs offer little shade when the ultraviolet index is at 12. Wear light summer clothing, such as sweatshirts and shorts, to moderate the effect of perspiration amid muggy conditions. Visitors can still plan a vacation to Barbados with 15 dry days in the month. June 30th is the longest day of the year and is a good time for budget travelers to take advantage of the fewer crowds. June begins the storm season, but few have the strength to rise to category 2 to cause severe damage. Holetown, on the west coast, is a safe place away from the impact of tropical storms in June in Barbados.
Weather in July
July records at least 19 wet days in Barbados and registers 127mm (5") to 152.4mm (6") of rain. Afternoons are prone to thundershowers and torrential downpour that pass away quickly. The average temperatures are in the range of 22.8°C (73°F) to 30°C (86°F), with a slight decrease during the day compared to the beginning of the summer. The skies are partly cloudy, with the clearest days during the middle of the month. The average daily sunshine of 8 hours gives plenty of time for outdoor activities. The light evening breezes chase away the clouds, and the conditions are pleasant for walking and even driving on the beaches. Wind speeds decrease gradually from 29km/h (18mph) to 24.1km/h (15mph) as the days pass by. Seawater temperatures are warm for swimming at 27.8°C (82°F). An umbrella is a useful accessory during the wet season. July has fewer crowds in Barbados and is a good time to avail of cheap flights and accommodations.
Weather in August
August is wet but hot in Barbados, with the average temperatures in the zone of 22.8°C (73°F) to 31.1°C (88°F). The weather is tropical and humid, and particularly oppressive between 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Showers are due in the afternoon, and the rain gauge registers at least 152.4mm (6") of precipitation in the month. Keep in mind that humidity levels increase with each passing day, and the last week of August is usually the hottest of the year. The average relative humidity is at the highest of the year at 78%, with wind-speeds in the range of 20.9km/h (13mph) to 24.1km/h (15mph). The frequency of tropical storms is on the rise, although they rarely cause severe damage. The 8 hours of daily sunshine attracts visitors to Barbados along with warm seawaters at 28.9°C (84°F). Mount Hillaby is cooler than the interior by a couple of degrees. August is a popular time to visit Barbados, so plan vacations carefully.
Weather in September
September has the warmest average seawater temperatures at 29.4°C (84.9°F) in Barbados. Precipitation increases significantly to average between 152.4mm (6") and 177.8mm (7") and comprises the wettest part of the season. The average temperatures are in the range of 22.8°C (73°F) to 30°C (86°F), with a slight drop during the day compared to the peak of summer. The last week of September tends to be cloudier than the rest of the month and has the cloudiest days of the year. The average daily sunshine lasts for at least 8 hours, even after accounting for periods of clouds and rain. Early risers may get a little extra sleep, with the sun rising a little late, after 5.45 a.m. As the days become short, the sunset occurs early between 5.48 and 6.08 p.m. Bridgetown is muggy during the day, with light breezes during the evening between 19.3km/h (12mph) to 20.9km/h (13mph). September is an off-season month in Barbados that is to the advantage of budget travelers.
Weather in October
October sees a slight drop in average temperatures in Barbados, which register in the 22.8°C (73°F) to 30°C (86°F) range. Bridgetown receives 152.4mm (6") to 177.8mm (7") of rainfall during 16 wet days in the month. Much of the island is in the grip of heavy rainfall that makes rain protection gear mandatory. The daylight is just short of 12 hours, and the daily sunshine lasts for an average of 8 hours, even during the wet season. Tourists find the hotels affordably priced as fewer crowds remain on the island. Seawater temperatures below 28.3°C (82.9°F) provide an opportunity for swimming for those who have the patience to let a heavy shower pass by. The cloud cover and rainfall decrease gradually with each passing day in October. Wind speeds are in the range of 19.3km/h (12mph) to 22.5km/h (14mph), with light breezes during the evenings. Visitors can find relatively dry weather in the last week of October and plan a Barbados holiday accordingly.
Weather in November
November is usually the wettest month of the year in Barbados, with an average of 177.8mm (7") to 203.2mm (8") of rainfall. The days are muggy and hot, but passing showers keep the temperatures in check. Nights are warm, especially in the coastal areas, where the skies remain mostly cloudy. Sunset occurs early by 5.30 p.m. and is occasionally under cloud cover. Seawater temperatures are slightly on the low side at 27.8°C (82°F), which makes them comfortable for swimming. Accommodations and flights are cheap in November due to the combination of the hurricane season and wet weather. However, visitors can look towards the last week of November, which is drier than the rest of the month. Check the weather forecast for heavy rainfall before booking flights. Expect a surge in visitor numbers around November 30th, Barbados' Independence Day. The hurricane season is on its last legs by the end of November in Barbados.
Weather in December
December has comfortable weather in Barbados, with a transition towards the dry season. The significant drop in rainfall yields 76.2mm (3") to 101.6mm (4") of precipitation in the month. A slight decrease in heat keeps the temperatures in the range of 22.2°C (72°F) to 28.9°C (84°F). The shortest days of the year occur in December, which registers 11.5 hours of daylight. Christmas week is mostly sunny, with 8 hours of bright sunshine that attracts visitors from cold countries. Beaches begin to witness crowds with the end of the storm season and seawaters at a comfortable 27.8°C (82°F). Wind speeds pick up to 27.4km/h (17mph) and lower the humidity levels. The conditions are comfortable, the sea is calm, and wet days average no more than 14 in the month. The tropical island is a paradise where even the winter sun registers an ultraviolet index of 9. Blue skies and dry days become increasingly common towards the end of December in Barbados.