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.
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 that a hurricane has hit, all is not lost. You may not have to alter your trip at all, but do call ahead to verify current weather conditions and extent of damage to the island; you may also want to get a statement from local business owners as to whether they are conducting business or when they think they will be operational again.
More often than not, Caribbean islands will only get the heavy rains and rough weather that come on the outskirts of a hurricane. Direct hits by major storms are so rare, in fact, that many 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.
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.
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. Plan ahead for your vacation and then sit back and enjoy the gorgeous weather year round.
Posted by: bfischl