While weather patterns vary from island to island in the Caribbean, the one thing that is consistent about Caribbean weather is its year-round beauty. Temperatures are almost always moderate with very little seasonal variation.
Trade winds bring steady sea breezes in to the Caribbean from the northeast year-round, which temper the heat of the sun's rays, so the Windward Islands' weather will always feel milder than the Leewards, and the northeastern sides of most islands will see milder temperatures than the southwest corners. The northeastern sides of the islands are also nearly always the lusher and more heavily precipitated.
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Whether you seek steamy, tropical rain forests; still, glassy lagoons; or wind and waves, you can easily find weather in the Caribbean to suit your taste. Aruba, for instance, is very arid with virtually no risk of any kind of inclement weather, including hurricanes. Its land is flat and desert-like, scattered with boulders and cacti, but still boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and plenty of fresh water. Aruba's weather stays moderate, however, due to a constant ocean breeze. In contrast, Dominica has a lush, tropical, heavily precipitated forest; average rainfall in the interior can be over 300 inches per year. Essentially, prevailing conditions on most Caribbean islands fall somewhere in between Aruba's dry and Dominica's misty weather patterns, and many have more than one climate and ecosystem.
While the Caribbean is a tropical region, the chances of any single island being hit significantly by extreme weather at any given time are very slim. If you hear about a hurricane, don't assume all is lost. You may not have to alter your trip at all, depending on the timing, and which part of the region will be affected. If a storm has recently passed, be sure to call ahead to verify current weather conditions and the extent of damage to the island; you may also want to check with your hotel to confirm whether they are conducting business or when they think they will be fully operational again.
If you are thinking about traveling during the Hurricane season (June through November), you should know that the odds are in your favor. While each major storm is accompanied by a lot of publicity, the chances are slim that a hurricane will move through the specific area where you are vacationing at the specific time when you are there.
More often than not, Caribbean islands will only get the heavy and rough weather that come on the outskirts of a hurricane. Direct hits by major storms are so rare in some areas, in fact, that elder inhabitants of the islands still relate events in history to being before or after "the storm," because they may have only seen one or two instances of such weather in their lifetimes.
If you want to improve the odds even further, consider a destination outside the "hurricane belt." Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago are all located outside the hurricane belt, and offer a wide variety of cultures, climate and terrain.
The table below contains selected weather data for more than 30 popular Caribbean destinations. As you can see, most destinations experience very little temperature variation from season to season. However, there are significant variations in annual rainfall among the various locations.
|Destination|| January |
| January |
| July |
| July |
|Antigua & Barbuda||74.7°F||81.4°F||79.2°F||87.4°F||40|
|British Virgin Islands||73.1°F||84.1°F||79.6°F||89.0°F||27|
|Trinidad & Tobago||70.6°F||85.3°F||74.3°F||86.9°F||67.7|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||73.2°F||83.2°F||80.0°F||88.1°F||40|
January in the Caribbean is warmer than the majority of location throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, with Aruba, the Cayman Islands and St. Lucia experiencing the highest temperatures in the region on average. Rain fall averages between two and three inches throughout the region.
February shows similar weather patterns to January, though interesting, average temperatures go up in some areas and down in others. Rainfall averages remain steady, except for on Dominica when the average increases to about four inches. In March, the average rainfall on Dominica continues to climb while the rest of the region remains steady. Temperatures grow warmer, but not significantly. In April, temperatures increase on average about one to two degrees throughout the region, and several destinations, like Puerto Rico, reach their peak rain season.
Rainfall in the Caribbean averages about five inches or more during the month of May, except in Aruba where things are steadily dry throughout the year. Temperatures average in the mid-80s. June is where most of the Caribbean experiences its heaviest rain showers. Averages go up to 10 inches in some countries, and many locations such as Jamaica and the U.S. Virgin Islands experience average temperatures in the 90s. The rainy season continues throughout July, though averages begin to go down in most locations, and temperatures tend to stay in the high 80s and low 90s.
August is one of the hottest months overall throughout the Caribbean, with temperatures reaching the mid-90s in some location. Rainfall averages are still high, but continuing to drop as they month ends and the region moves towards fall weather patterns. September and are similar to August.
November is when the weather begins to resemble what tourists are looking for, with temperatures dropping to the high 70s and low 80s, and rainfall tapering off as well. This pattern continues through December.
Click on any of the links below for more information concerning typical weather on a detailed, month-by-month basis:
Taking the time to familiarize yourself with weather conditions in the Caribbean will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises when you arrive. After all, even the nicest hotel or resort can't rival the natural beauty of the islands enjoyed on a beautiful, sunny day. But, a few showers won't spoil your trip if you come prepared. Plan ahead for your vacation and then sit back and enjoy the gorgeous weather year round.
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