Cuba in January: Excursions and Unpredictable Weather
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January is the peak tourist season in Cuba. Visitors head down to the island country to experience warm weather and lush green landscapes. Western provinces, such as Pinar del Rio, come into full bloom in January, with lush jungles, mountains, and plantations ripe for exploration. Adding to the excitement, many also look up to the traditional festivities in January. Although there are occasional cold fronts, you’ll feel the typical Caribbean heat in January, particularly in Havana. Take this time to enjoy Cuba’s pristine coastline and warm, tropical waters.
Cuba Weather in January
The weather in Cuba in January is difficult to predict. While most days get plenty of sunshine, sporadic rain due to cold fronts is quite frequent. The country sees about 15 days of rainfall throughout January, but the skies clear up quickly leaving behind classic Cuban sunshine.
The temperatures ideally sit around 27°C in cities like Havana, Vinales, and many other parts of the country. A trip to Trinidad can be on the warmer side as the temperatures can peak at 32°C in January. But the eastern city of Oriente is chillier. The temperatures hover at 15°C during the daytime and drop further to 9°C at night. If you are traveling to this region in January, prepare to experience about ten days of rainfall.
For a seasonal overview, visit our guide on the best time to visit Cuba.
Weather in Cuba in January - Rainfall and Temperatures
|Avg Daily (°C)||26||27||28||30||31||32||32||32||31||30||28||27|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||16||17||18||19||21||22||22||22||22||20||19||18|
|Avg Daily (°F)||78.8||80.6||82.4||86||87.8||89.6||89.6||89.6||87.8||86||82.4||80.6|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||60.8||62.6||64.4||66.2||69.8||71.6||71.6||71.6||71.6||68||66.2||64.4|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||20||10||40||30||70||80||50||70||70||80||40||30|
Why Visit Cuba in January
There are so many reasons to visit Cuba in January. Without the searing summer heat, you can enjoy cooler western regions like Piñar del Rio, bask in the northern beaches of Varadero, and explore southern gems like Santiago de Cuba and Trinidad all in one trip.
- Hiking: Enjoy the lush sceneries of Viñales, surrounded by tobacco plantations and dense jungles. The cool weather around this time of the year also allows you to enjoy hiking through this UNESCO World Heritage site or venture into the underground cave system.
- City sightseeing: Havana tours offer fascinating city sites amid cool weather. Roam around Malecon as you enjoy the live music and Cuban cuisine in one of many traditional restaurants in the capital city. Likewise, wander the cobbled streets of Trinidad and if it gets too hot, explore the brightly colored churches in Camaguey to get a feel for the real Cuba.
- Festivals: The post-Christmas and New Year celebrations continue even in January. Cuba in January hosts the annual Havana Jazz Festival, where the island’s best musicians, accompanied by renowned foreign artists, perform. On the 27th of January, you will also see the Marcha de las Antorchas, celebrating the life of Jose Marti —Cuba’s national hero. Students march from Havana University with flaming torches to commemorate his legacy.
- Fewer crowds: In Havana, January is peak season, and hotels get booked up quickly, but outside the capital, most areas remain quiet. If you venture out to the far eastern cities of Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa in particular, you will likely find empty streets and cheaper accommodation.
Where to go and what to do
Balmy weather and excursion possibilities make Cuba an ideal travel destination in January. Wander the cobbled streets in Trinidad, enjoy Santa Clara city tours, or relive the Cuban past in Havana or Santiago. If you are looking for a bit of relaxation, the pristine Varadero beaches are ideal for basking in the January sun. Since the underwater visibility is higher than the rest of the year, take this opportunity to snorkel or scuba diving off Cuba’s coastline. You can also see the unique marine life and explore underwater shipwrecks. Make sure you hit the soft white beaches of Varadero for a few days of relaxation on your trip to Cuba.
Cuba has plenty of historical sights that speak of the country’s past. Take your time to visit Playa Giron, the site of the famous Bay of Pigs invasion, explore the tunnels from the Cuban missile crisis at the Hotel Nacional, or follow the story of Che Guevara through the cities of Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba.
For a hidden gem, take a trip to Playa Ancon just outside Trinidad, a city famous for cowboys. Here you’ll find one of Cuba’s best beaches and lush green hills, mountains, and lakes where you can go horse-riding and hiking.
January temperature in Cuba allows visitors to enjoy the rugged mountains in the west, visiting Viñales and Las Terrazas to go hiking, horse-riding, or visiting working tobacco plantations. But, if you are short on time, you can still see the country’s golden circle—Havana, Trinidad, and Vinales—to immerse yourself in history and culture. If you need help planning a customized trip to Cuba, you can always reach out to our local travel experts, who can devise a tailored itinerary. For more information, browse through our Cuba tours in January.