Most Caribbean islands are warm, year-round destinations. However, the most popular time to visit in general is from December 15 through April 15, when people from the north want to escape cold winters. Some islands popular with honeymooners can see high visitation during the summer months as well. The rest of the year, from mid-April through mid-December, is typically less busy. This time can be an ideal time to visit due to fewer crowds, more availability, and cheaper prices, although hurricanes can sometimes pose a threat.
- high season: mid-December to mid-April
- low season: mid-April to mid-December
Most islands have year-round tropical climates with two distinct seasons: a dry season from mid-December through mid-April, and a wet season from mid-April through mid-December. Temperatures are often consistently warm throughout the year, hovering in the 70s and 80s, with trade winds keeping the islands cool. The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1 and officially ends on November 30, peaking in September; however, storms rarely attack the same islands in a given year. Islands that are most often spared, because they fall outside the hurricane belt, include Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, the Cayman Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago.
For many islands, the most crowded times are typically in the winter high season, especially during the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Carnival time is also very busy, and varies by island. Most islands' carnival takes place between January and March, but can occur during other months as well.
On most islands, hotels, shops, and venues remain open year round. However, some hotels close for renovations during the low season, particularly during September through October.
When to Save
Prices tend to be higher for the winter high season and lower during the summer low season, particularly for hotels. Airfare prices follow a similar pattern in general; however, airfare for some islands can be more expensive during the summer due to reduced flight schedules.
When to Book
For popular islands, book hotels two to three months in advance for high-season travel. Availability for some less popular islands isn't as competitive, so it's possible to book at the last minute. Booking ahead for the summer low season is generally less of an issue.