Cuba’s Caribbean location means that even in January, when much of the northern hemisphere is in the depths of winter, visitors to the island are able to bask in beautiful beach-friendly temperatures under sunny skies. Here we detail all you need to know about visiting Cuba in January, including the weather you can expect throughout the month, things to do in Cuba in January, and also annual events that take place in the first month of the year. So, let’s begin!
Weather in Cuba in January
January actually falls right in the middle of Cuba’s dry season, which runs from November to April, meaning you’ll see almost no rain at all (between 20 and 70 mm only, spread across just six wet days).* Winds rarely rise higher than a breeze too, averaging just 7 mph. Coming from the north east, they help to counter the worst of the humidity, and means you’ll see slightly more rain in the north of the island than in the south.
Sitting within the tropics (just), Cuba’s humidity levels are fairly high throughout the year, and January is no exception, seeing an average humidity level of 83% before you take the breeze into account. Long days, averaging 11 hours of sunlight and six hours of sunshine, mean high UV levels, so be sure to bring along your sun cream to prevent burning.
Using Havana as an example, temperatures hit highs of a very pleasant 26°C (79°F), and averages in the low twenties (high sixties Fahrenheit). After sunset at around 6 pm you’ll need little more than a light jumper, since temperatures linger around 17°C (60°F) at night. And for those keen to know what the conditions for beach holidays might be like, the waters off the Cuban coast average an incredible 26°C as well, making them perfect for swimming and water sports.
*Please note that the team here at Locally Sourced Cuba Tours can do a lot of things, but unfortunately we cannot predict the weather. We can only base our predictions about the weather in Cuba in January, on previous years and averages.
Things to do in Cuba in January
Given the fantastic weather conditions of sunshine and warm air and sea temperatures, Cuba’s beaches should definitely be on your to do list. Sticking close to the capital, be sure to check out the ever-popular Playa Bacuranao.
A favourite hangout for local Habaneros, it’s especially buzzing on the weekend. Alternatively, the 20 kms of family-friendly resort beaches on the Varadero peninsula never fail to impress. Playa Giron on the Bay of Pigs on the island’s southern shores manages to combine an attractive beach, great off-shore snorkelling, and a history lesson to boot, given this was the site of the Bay of Pigs US-backed counter invasion in 1961. There’s even an on-site museum to give you the full lowdown on the events of that April which cemented Fidel Castro’s communist control of the island for decades to come.
Away from the beaches, Cuba in January still has a lot to offer the visitor. The cooler temperatures compared to the summer months actually make it the perfect time of year to head out on the sightseeing trail, wherever you might be on the island. In Havana, there’s no better way to uncover all the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the capital’s Old Town (or La Habana Vieja) has to offer than on foot. Among the ancient cobbled streets, you’ll find all manner of architectural masterpieces, including the El Capitolio building – a metre higher, longer, and wider than its namesake in Washington DC. An exploration of its fortifications, including Morro Castle, at the entrance to Havana Bay, also provides an atmospheric experience, especially each night at 9 pm when a cannon is fired from its bastions.
The dry season weather means Cuba might not be at its lushest, but does still provide some fantastic hiking and walking experiences made all the easier by the absence of rain. You could wander the tobacco fields around the township of Vinales, or push through the jungle vegetation around Trinidad to reach Salto del Caburni – Cuba’s highest waterfall. The landscapes around Baracoa in the far east of the island are also fantastic for those with a taste for hiking.
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Like much of the world, Cuba celebrates the coming of the new year on midnight of December 31st, however the Cuban national holiday on January 1st has an additional importance on the island. The first day of the year also commemorates the Triumph of the Revolution (Triunfo de la Revolucion or Dia de la Liberación), marking the formation on this day of the communist regime lead by Fidel Castro in 1959.
Beyond that, Cuba in January seems to be all about music! Just as everyone is calming down after the Christmas and New Year celebrations, the festivities break out again with the Festival de la Trova Longina music festival in Santa Clara. Starting around about January 8th each year, and lasting for four days, the festival’s history lies in a trova song written by local composer Manuel Corona in 1918. Epitomised by poetic tunes accompanied by guitar, the trova genre is a hugely important aspect of modern Cuban culture. Sadly, Corona died in poverty unable to play his beloved instrument any longer, but is now honoured as part of the festival with a walk that begins in Santa Clara and heads to his birthplace of Caibarién.
The middle of January also sees the coming of the six-day Havana Jazz Festival. With an incredible international reputation, the festival attracts musicians and jazz fans from right around the world, as well as from the homes and nightspots of towns and cities in Cuba itself. Performances take place in the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, the intimate exterior courtyard of the Casa de la Cultura de Plaza, and a whole host of other venues in the capital. Previous years have seen the festival welcome musicians including Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Hancock, and the Hollywood actor Will Smith.
Our Tours in Cuba in January
January is an amazing month to consider a trip to Cuba. Not only is the weather a welcome break from what you might be experiencing back home, but it is the perfect month to explore the island and some of its unique January events.
4 DAY PRIVATE CUBA TOUR
Local, Personal and Authentic
Our tour will take you on a fascinating and fun-filled journey of discovery into the History, Culture, Architecture and Rhythms of marvellous Havana.
5 DAY PRIVATE CUBA TOUR
Local, Personal and Authentic
Our Charming Havana tour is the perfect introduction to the charms and romance of Cuba – come and fall under the spell of this unique Caribbean island
6 DAY PRIVATE CUBA TOUR
Local, Personal and Authentic
Visit the Che Guevara memorial, meeting the enthusiastic locals in Santa Clara and immerse yourself in Cuban music and dance in the beautiful Trinidad.
Flexible Payment Terms on New Bookings (1st May 2020 onwards) - We are currently offering flexible payment terms on our group and private Cuba tour bookings. Your deposit payment for any tours departing in 2020 or 2021 will be 100% refundable up until 4 weeks prior to your tour commencing, should your Cuba travel plans be affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. We will also allow the flexibility to change your departure date up until 31st July 2021, providing you give us at least 30 days notice.
Current Bookings (pre 1st May 2020) - You can transfer your booking to a future travel date without any penalties or administrative fees. Just contact us by email to confirm your changes.