There’s something magical about the month of July when you live north of the equator. The cold weather has waged battle with the warm weather and has lost, and so the uncertainty of June slips away to be replaced with weather that is consistently and defiantly beautiful. This is when long pants are replaced with shorts and skirts and the idea of going out without a jacket becomes the wonderful norm. This is also when your mind probably wanders to thoughts of where to go for your summer vacation (although it probably does this all year round anyway).
It’s a remarkable place to visit at any time of the year but there is something undeniably special about Cuba in July. The weather is warm though occasionally turbulent, and despite it being the height of the busy summer period in many parts of the world, the island is arguably at its best in July.
So what is it about this dreamy, balmy month that makes it an ideal time to visit Cuba?
The Weather in July
Cuba in July is about the best you can ask for in terms of enjoying the warmth of the tropics. There is sunshine, heat and a moderate amount of humidity, although this is often broken by a brief shower in the evening to cool everyone off. This time of year is also classified as hurricane season for the entire region, although this is not something to really be concerned about. Hurricanes do affect Cuba from time to time, but by and large they can just briefly influence the weather as opposed to actually striking the island.
Cuba in July is actually in the midst of the wet season, but again this is not anything to be concerned about. In the tropics you can sometimes expect a brief, intensive shower in the evening which can actually be rather darn refreshing as it breaks the heat, giving you a respite if in fact Cuba in July is too warm for you. But this means that it can be wise to pack a lightweight waterproof poncho in your suitcase and to carry it with you. The rainy season also means that it’s mosquito breeding season (the little devils reproduce in the puddles left behind after a shower) so please remember to bring some insect repellant. It’s more of an issue in rural areas and yet it’s better to be safe than sorry. And there is also the fact that insect repellant can be difficult to track down in Cuba itself.
How Warm Will it Be?
There will of course be variations in temperature across the island, depending on where you will go. The inland areas will not receive much in the way of cooling ocean breezes, for example. As a rough idea, the temperature in Havana in July will range from a high of approximately 31°C (88°F) down to an overnight low of around 23°C (74°F) with an average daily temperature of approximately 27°C (81°F).
So it’s going to be undeniably warm, and you couldn’t ask for better beach weather, but it’s without the oppressive heat and humidity that can be a trademark of August days in Cuba. One July in Havana it got as warm as 37°C (98°F) but such a hot day is a rarity. And as mentioned, there will be some changes to what can be expected in terms of temperature depending on where you go, so it’s best to not stray too far from places that serve a cold drink. Cuba in July is perfect beach weather, and it’s a fantastic idea to spend a few days lazing around on the sand. Just remember that the beaches closest to urban centers can become quite crowded (and the same goes for the sands next to the beachside resorts) so arrive early in the day to claim your spot on the sand, or venture to one of the further out beaches if you don’t want the area to be too crowded.
So for example, if you were in Havana and wanted a somewhat more peaceful beach experience, you would go to Playa Boca Ciega instead of Santa María del Mar.
The Importance of Booking Ahead
July is one of the busier months on the Cuban calendar. There’s some logic to this. It’s summer in the northern hemisphere, and so a lot of people want to take a summer holiday. The kids are out of school and everyone wants to sit on a beach with a cold drink in their hand. This means you can’t take it for granted that your preferences in terms of flight dates and accommodation will readily be available when going to Cuba in July. You really should book ahead as much as is possible. While internet is slowly becoming more widespread on the island, some businesses might not be as contactable as you are used to (some places might not check their emails each and every day, for example – especially if they need to go to an internet kiosk or dedicated wifi zone in order to do so).
So please allow yourself plenty of time to make enquiries about where you want to stay and what you want to do, and book with as much time to spare as possible.
What to Do in Cuba in July
Let’s be honest here… this is Cuba so it’s not as though you will ever be lacking something to do. If you happen to visit Cuba in July there are a few special celebrations that you will want to be a part of. July 26th is Revolution Day in Cuba. On this day in 1953 Fidel and Raul Castro led an attack on the Moncada military base, which essentially kicked the Cuban Revolution into gear. Regardless of what you might think about Cuban politics, it’s a special day for Cubans with celebrations and commemorations across the country. On a more festive note, July is also carnival month. Arguably the best of the lot takes place in Santiago de Cuba (the actual dates vary, but it’s in the second half of July).
The whole town feels like one big street party, with dancing in the street and parades everywhere. You will need to have a relaxing few days of recovery after carnival season in Cuba.