Many travelers are tied to a set vacation time because of school holidays or time off from work. For those who have the ability to choose their own vacation time, understanding the Caribbean seasons will enable them to make the best decision when it comes to picking when to go.
Though the countries in the Caribbean experience relatively warm weather year-round, the region still experiences high and a low tourist seasons. During the high season, tourism reaches its peak, with popular hotels and resorts fully booked, and tables at top restaurants reserved; while the low season is less busy, and allows for deep discounts.
Covering over 90 thousand square miles and consisting of over 700 different land masses, the weather differs on a daily basis depending on where exactly it is you are. However, it does not differ so greatly that an overview is impossible. Weather in the Caribbean can overall be described as temperate and tropical. Average temperatures range from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit regardless of the time of year -- though, as you might expect, the highs generally come in the summer, and the lows in the winter. The rainy season generally takes place beginning near the end of May and can continue on into August, when the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins, and lasts until the beginning of November. Hurricanes are rarely a concern, however, especially with today's meteorological technology which can warn travelers of oncoming storms far enough in advance to make changes in travel arrangements.
For a more intensive discussion of how weather will affect your vacation, click weather.
The high season for tourism in the Caribbean is between the months of mid-December and mid-April, despite warm weather throughout the year. Still, this is the time that is usually the driest in the Caribbean, and the coldest in the Northern U.S. and Canada. Temperatures live in the 70s and 80s (in degrees Fahrenheit) for the most part.
Like anything else, there are disadvantages to the high season -- typically in the form of larger crowds and higher prices. Because the region is so busy during this time of year, airline, hotel (and sometimes even restaurant) reservations can be hard to come by. If you don't make your reservations well in advance, you may have fewer choices, and you may end up paying prices that are higher than if you'd booked well in advance.
The same goes for rental cars. In fact, even activity providers and other local vendors have been known to charge higher prices in response to the higher levels of demand that occur during the busy season. If any of this concerns you, keep in mind that the high season in the Caribbean tends to fall between Christmas and Easter, as well as during Spring Break in some areas. In a few locations there may also be shorter peaks that occur around major holidays and three day weekends.
Another drawback is the sheer volume of people that will be visiting many of the same beaches and attractions you want to visit. However, if you enjoy a bit of hustle and bustle, the opportunity to meet new people, or a livelier nightlife scene, this might not be an issue for you.
Because the United States and Canada typically experience warm weather during the summer months, vacationers aren't in such a hurry to get to a tropical locale. For this reason, mid-April to mid-December is the low season in the Caribbean. The low season in the Caribbean also coincides with the season, and hurricane season. Furthermore, this is the time that hotels and restaurants will use to renovate, and some even shut down completely.
Advantages to traveling to the Caribbean during the low season do still exist. The lack of crowds is a bonus for travelers interested in a more peaceful vacation, and budget conscious travelers will be able to take advantage of discounted wares and accommodations. Some hotels have been known to reduce their rates between 20 and 60 percent to entice visitors to stay with them during this time of year.
Carnival is the big event that occurs throughout the Caribbean every year, taking place at different times depending on the country, though for most places you can expect the festivities to take place before Lent and to include street parties, beauty pageants, cultural events, and more. Sailing and Fishing tournaments are also popular and draw huge crowds, but each destination has more localized celebrations that touch on things that are important to them culturally, like independence days and festivals that celebrate a particular harvest. A broad overview of events and festivals that are popular throughout the Caribbean can be read by clicking here.
In addition to taking into consideration things like weather, how high and low seasons affect each destination, and if there is a particular event you are looking forward to attending, there are other personal matters that may dictate when you visit. This could be based on when you have a vacation available at work or school, when you've been able to save up the appropriate amount of money, or when you are able to book the most direct flight and travel route to the island of your choice. As you work on planning all of these elements, we have several extensive pages to help you, including a page about Getting Info, another about Booking Your Trip, and even one about Budgeting. These guides will offer you tips and help you to make the best decisions possible with regards to creating your dream getaway, and most certainly make it more evident when the best time to visit will be for you.
Each season has its advantages, so regardless of when you choose to visit the Caribbean, so you can rest assured that you are going to have a good time. The choice is yours!
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