Monthly weather forecast and climate

Flag of Cuba
Flag of Cuba

The climate of Cuba

Cuba has a mainly tropical wet and dry type of climate (Köppen climate classification Aw) with hot, wet summers and warm, dry winters. A few areas in the northwest and southeast exhibit tropical monsoon (Köppen Am) and tropical rainforest (Köppen Af) climates. Cuba is an island nation that lies in the northern Caribbean region, entirely within the Tropic of Cancer. Cuba lies at the confluence of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, in the northern Caribbean region. Mexico is 130 miles to the west, the United States 93 miles to the northwest and north, and the Bahamas 13 miles to the north. Haiti, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands lie in the south of Cuba. The tropical latitudes and the engulfment by large water bodies chiefly influence the climate.

The main island of Cuba, along with four principal surrounding island groups, form an archipelago of islands in the Caribbean Sea. The main island is 780 miles long and 119 miles wide at its greatest breadth, with a vast coastline over 3570 miles. The surrounding sea consists of over 4000 islands and cays. Cuba is mostly flat with rolling plains that culminate into steep mountains in the southeastern corner. Mangroves and marshes occupy large portions of coastal areas, some as large as the Zapata Swamp, with 1750 square miles. The mountain ranges of Sierra del Rosario lie in the northwest, Escambray in the central region, and Sierra Crystal in the southeast part of the island. Pico Real del Turquino is the highest point at 1974 meters in the Sierra Maestra Mountains in the southeast.

Cuba has two distinct seasons, a wet one from late April to early November and a dry one from late November to early April. Summers are hot and humid, with substantial rainfall. The average high temperatures touch 32.2°C (90°F) at the peak of August in Havana, the capital, and are similarly hot in much of the country. Extreme temperatures are rare, and only a few days touch the 37.8°C (100°F) mark. Winters are warm and relatively dry, with the average low temperatures between 18.9°C (66°F) to 21.1°C (70°F) in January. Sunny days are plenty, even with periods of heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. The hurricane season lasts from July to November, with the peak of storm activity during September and October. The northeasterly trade winds keep the heat within bearable limits over the year. Cold northern winds from the United States during the winter can see the nights drop as low as 10°C (50°F).

The annual rainfall ranges between 1016mm (40") to 1524mm (60") in most of the lowland areas of Cuba. Guantanamo Bay, on the southern side of the mountains in the south, receives 685.8mm (27") of rainfall annually. The northern slopes of the mountains are the wettest areas in the country and receive at least 1778mm (70") of annual precipitation. Havana receives an average of 1219.2mm (48") of rainfall within 80 wet days annually. At least 80% of the precipitation occurs during the wet season from April to November. The rainfall is usually in the form of intense showers that do not last for prolonged periods. The island receives at least 3000 hours of bright sunshine annually, with a minimum of 11 hours of daylight. The seawater temperatures are in the mild to warm range of 23.9°C (75°F) to 29.4°C (84.9°F), which is suitable for swimming except for brief periods during the winter. The average relative humidity ranges from 70 to 80% in the year.

The highest temperature on record in Cuba is 38.8°C (101.8°F), set on April 17, 1999, in Jucarito, Granma. The lowest temperature on record is 0.6°C (33.1°F), set on February 18, 1996, in Bainoa, Mayabeque.

The best time to visit Cuba

The best time to visit Cuba is from December to March in the winter season. The temperatures drop to comfortable levels below 21.1°C (70°F) during the night, and the atmosphere is pleasant. The relatively dry season sees monthly rainfall less than 50.8mm (2"), with sunny days and mostly clear skies. Tourists enjoy the calm waters of the sea without the fear of hurricanes or storms that patrol the coast during the wet season. The period from December to February is especially favorable for excursions on the sea, with refreshing air and calm waters. The northwestern beaches are better in March and April, while winter is a great time to be in the southeastern part of the country.

The worst time to visit Cuba

The worst time to visit Cuba is during the hot summer season from June to August. The sun rays are at their highest intensity of the year and cause discomfort due to the shortage of broad-leaf trees. The humidity levels often reach 80%, which creates muggy conditions and induces much sweat. Even though high temperatures do not remain above 37.8°C (100°F) for extended periods, the cloud cover makes the conditions uncomfortable. The heavy rainfall can derail vacation plans. Check the weather forecast before undertaking long sea voyages or boat tours for more than a couple of hours.

Weather hazards

Cuba is prone to hurricanes, tropical storms, non-tropical depressions, thunderstorms, rainstorms, floods, droughts, and earthquakes. July to November brings frequent hurricanes to the coast due to the island's location across the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Irma caused the evacuation of more than a million people from the northern coast and property damage worth millions of dollars in 2017. Heavy rainfall during hurricanes and tropical storms results in flash floods and landslides. Droughts are common in the dry season as the country does not have many substantial inland water sources. Cuba has 12 active faults, but seventy% of the seismic activity originates from the Oriente fault that runs along the southeastern coast. An average of 2000 low-magnitude seismic events goes unnoticed every year. However, earthquakes above a magnitude of 7.0 have occurred in the past. Weighty rainfall poses a danger for reef tourism.

Weather in January

January is the coldest month of the year in Cuba, with warm and sunny conditions even in the winter. The weather forecast is mostly dry, with at least 7 hours of bright sunshine. The average temperatures in Havana are in the lovely range of 18.9°C (66°F) to 26.1°C (79°F), with less than six wet days that bring 71.1mm (2.8") of rainfall in the month. The seawater temperatures are at a welcome 26.1°C (79°F) in the Gulf of Mexico, which is perfect for swimming and other water activities. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is warm in the mild winter season in Cuba, with average temperatures in the range of 18.9°C (66°F) to 27.2°C (81°F). The southern parts, especially the southeastern ones, such as Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo Bay, are warmer than the north. February is the driest month, with negligible precipitation in the south. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March is warm and dry in Cuba amid bright sunshine and long days. Much of the country receives little precipitation between 25.4mm (1") to 50.8mm (2"). The lovely beaches of Cayo Largo and Isla de la Juventud are slightly warmer than the northwest, with average temperatures in the zone of 20.6°C (69.1°F) to 27.8°C (82°F). The first week of March has the clearest skies during the month, which makes it an excellent time for a vacation. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April is a great time to visit northwest Cuba with sunny days and cool nights. The average temperatures in Havana are in the comfortable 21.1°C (70°F) to 28.9°C (84°F), and the seawaters are mild below 26.1°C (79°F). Cold air masses from North America reach up to the northwest part of the country. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is the beginning of the wet season in Cuba, with at least 101.6mm (4") to 127mm (5") of rainfall in most of the country. The temperatures scale by a few degrees to register in the range of 21.1°C (70°F) to 31.1°C (88°F), with more than 9 hours of daily sunshine. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June brings oppressive heat to Cuba, as the humidity levels consistently remain above 80 to 90. June is the wettest month in Havana and much of the northwest, with rainfall typically between 152.4mm (6") to 177.8mm (7") amid 10 to 12 wet days. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is the beginning of the hurricane season in Cuba, with hot and humid weather. Tourists should check the weather forecast before planning trips and prepare to face hot temperatures along with heavy rainfall. The average temperatures are in the 23.9°C (75°F) to 31.1°C (88°F) range in Havana and cross the 32.2°C (90°F) mark in the south of the country. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is usually the hottest month of the year in Cuba, with average high temperatures above 32.2°C (90°F). August 7 is typically the hottest day of the year, with daily high temperatures exceeding 32.8°C (91°F) in Havana. The heat is oppressive due to the high level of humidity and cloud cover. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September is a wet month in Cuba, with 127mm (5") to 177.8mm (7") of rainfall and overcast conditions for 70% of the time. The average temperatures in the range of 23.9°C (75°F) to 32.2°C (90°F) and high humidity levels make the conditions stifling and uncomfortable. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is the wettest month of the year in Cuba, with 152.4mm (6") to 203.2mm (8") of precipitation in most places. Coastal towns receive ample rain, and are the target of the highest number of hurricanes in the season, especially from the Atlantic side. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is the last month of the wet season in Cuba and is relatively dry in the second half. The cloud cover decreases rapidly with each passing day as November registers 76.2mm (3") to 101.6mm (4") of rainfall. The third to fourth week of November is ideal for budget travelers to visit Cuba when the prices are still low, and the weather is fair. Daily high temperatures are between 26.7°C (80.1°F) to 28.9°C (84°F), with a welcome drop in relative humidity. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December sees the dry season in Cuba, with the rainfall in the moderate zone of 50.8mm (2") to 76.2mm (3"). Tourists wishing to escape the frigid winters in cold countries land in the lovely tropical paradise of Cuba. The average temperatures are in the comfortable range of 20°C (68°F) to 27.2°C (81°F), with at least 6 hours of sunshine. Cayo Coco, a tourist hotspot in the south, registers temperatures in the 17.8°C (64°F) to 27.8°C (82°F) zone. Weather in December »


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