When is the best time to travel to Cuba? There are a lot of factors to think about when deciding upon the best time to go on holiday. Much of it depends on you. Like when you’ll be able to afford the trip and when you can get enough time off work. You also need to think about what you can expect at your destination at different times of the year.
If you’re in the mood for a Cuban getaway, you might think you’re pretty safe to go anytime right? Cuba is close enough to the equator to have consistently warm weather but there are a few other things to consider. So what is the best time to travel to Cuba?
This Is Winter?
Cuba does experience a winter, but depending on where you’re coming from, their winter might be more like your summer. In a Cuban winter (December to February), the thermometer rarely dips below 20°C (68°F). If you live in a cooler climate, 20°C might be positively balmy. So this might be the best time to visit Cuba for you. If you’re not a fan of the heat, you’re probably better off avoiding summer, when it can reach 38°C (100°F).
High and Low
You might think that by avoiding the warmer parts of the year you’re also avoiding the crowds. But no, November to March is classed as high season and so is July to August. If planning to visit during these months be sure to book your accommodation very far in advance. Be aware that prices can be 30% higher during these periods. Start planning your Cuban adventure as early as possible! It’s definitely still possible to pick up a major bargain during the high season.
The Shoulder Season
In terms of crowds and cost, the best time to travel to Cuba is probably April or October. These are known as shoulder months, when the peak rush has ended, but the slow season has not yet started. There’s a small risk of hurricanes during October and November, so best to have truly comprehensive travel insurance. The actual chances of encountering a hurricane are small. However a hurricane prediction might force you to change your trip dates so best be covered for these things!
Finding a Cheap Flight
When flying from Canada or Europe, you’ll find that many airlines offer both scheduled and charter services. Charter services basically mean that airlines will fly into Havana with greater frequency during the winter months. These are services only offered during this time frame, which can make it the best time to travel to Cuba. The greater frequency of flights mean that you can easily find cheap air tickets for the peak season.
Festivals and More Festivals
Cuba is wonderful no matter what time of the year you decide to visit. Whenever you go there will be no shortage of things to do. There are festivals and activities all year round. Cultural aficionados will find that anytime is the best time to travel to Cuba.
- February – offers the International Book Fair, and the Habanos Festival (a celebration of all things cigar). Both in Havana.
- March – the International Festival of La Trova, a folk music festival in Santiago de Cuba. The Havana Celebration of Classic Cars.
- April – is the month for Havana Biennal, a citywide art event featuring the best art of Cuba, in a variety of mediums. There’s also the Cine Pobre Film Festival in Gibara. A film festival featuring low budget independent films that has been running since 2003.
- June – The Ernest Hemingway Fishing Tournament (previously held in May), and the Boleros Music Festiva. Both in Havana.
- July – finds Santiago de Cuba being overrun by party goers, since this is the month of the annual carnival of Santiago de Cuba. The streets are pulsating with Afro-Caribbean music.
- August – The month where both Havana and Matanzas host their carnivals. Although they’re not as large scale as Santiago de Cuba.
- September – Traditionally a month of quiet religious reflection, and tribute is paid to Cuba’s national saint all over the country.
- October – The Days of Cuban Culture, where Cuba’s unique Afro-Caribbean heritage is celebrated.
- November – The International Ballet Festival in Havana. It shows that salsa is not the only type of dance in Cuba, with the International Ballet Festival in Havana.
- December – It brings the Havana Film Festival, focussing on the cinema of Latin America. There’s also the internationally renowned Havana Jazz Festival, also in Havana.