Cuba is still a secretive Caribbean jewel steeped in history and vibrant culture, situated just under one hour outside Miami. It is an alluring destination for you if you are seeking an unforgettable experience, and Cuba in December is also close to perfect!
I lived in Havana for over two years (even through two hurricane seasons without a scratch) and have traveled the island for longer than that. I can tell you a lot about why you should visit Cuba!
But for this article, let us focus on why you should visit Cuba in December!
I will give you no less than five compelling reasons why Cuba is a must-visit destination in December; the first thing you need to know is that December is the first month of the high and dry season in Cuba (and the Caribbean)!
Cuba In December: A Teaser For Tranquil Weather
While Cuba is a delightful destination throughout the year (in my opinion), December emerges as an exceptionally appealing time to visit. Why?
The weather in Cuba in December offers you a perfect blend of warmth and mildness, creating an ideal setting for exploring the island’s treasures without melting or raining away!
Apart from that, Cuba’s captivating colonial heritage, pulsating music, and dance to its warm-hearted locals always beckon wanderers with promises of unique adventures year-round.
📍 Quick guide for Cuba travel:
- Buy a Cuban Tourist Card.
- As a U.S. citizen, you need to get the pink tourist card.
- Choose one of the pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel. The most common reason is “to help the Cuban people”.
- Get travel insurance with health coverage.
- Book the flight, and a casa particular, or a hotel
- Register your entry to Cuba online on d’viajeros.
- Consider getting a VPN that works well enough in Cuba.
- Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months more.
- Remember that you will only be able to get Cuban peso CUP when in Cuba. Bring all the foreign currency you plan to spend in cash, Canadian dollars, US dollars, or euros.
- Bring all the medicine you sometimes or regularly use. Cuban pharmacies are empty; you will not be able to get anything when in Cuba.
- Bring a water bottle with a filter to ensure you always have access to drinking water.
- Check out my best advice for Packing for Cuba here!
- Also read about Money In Cuba & Wifi In Cuba before you go!
As winter takes a cold grip on the Northern Hemisphere, Cuba just slowly transfers out of the wet season and the hurricane season, entering the dry part of the year. Providing a tropical haven with just perfect temperatures for beach life as well as adventures.
Although the celebration of Christmas is not as elaborate in Cuba as in the US and Europe, they do celebrate, and there are decreations!
Most casas: homes have a small plastic Christmas tree (not a lot of pine forests on this island) with sparkling decorations, but you will hear more salsa rhythms and reggaeton than Christmas carols in the streets!
So, you will find festive lights, celebrations, and outdoor adventures. Let’s embark on a journey to discover why December is the perfect time to explore the wonders of Cuba.
1. The Arrival Of The Coveted Dry Season: Cuba In December
As December graces Cuba, it marks the onset of the dry season—a significant shift that beckons travelers seeking clear skies and temperate weather.
With the ebbing of the rainy season, visitors can rejoice in the reduced likelihood of heavy and sudden afternoon showers, offering a perfect opportunity to explore the island’s wonders without the inconvenience of sudden downpours.
I don’t know how many times I have had to run for cover as a sudden heavy shower has passed over Havana, flooding the streets in seconds!
Then again, after just fifteen or twenty minutes, the dark clouds have passed, and the sky is all blue in all directions!
That is the Caribbean weather for you, at least between May and October.
Furthermore, December has minimal hurricane risk, so you dont need to worry about one arriving in the middle of your holiday or whether your insurance would cover it!
2. Balmy Yet Comfortable Weather: Ideal for Exploration
Cuba in December strikes a harmonious balance with its weather—it is warm enough to sense the tropical essence, yet not excruciatingly hot, making it impossible to head out for adventures and explorations.
(Cuba in July and August can be a bit of a heat prison, as you really can not stay too long out in the open around midday with the temperatures and humidity mid-summer).
December weather is also perfect for exploring Havana, not too hot and not too wet!
It is an opportune time to wander aimlessly through the cobblestone streets of Havana, where the echoes of history resonate in colonial architecture.
😎 Find all the information you need to research & plan your Cuba journey!
📍 Can Americans Travel To Cuba? How To Travel From US in 2024!
📍 42 Legendary Things To Do Havana Cuba! Ultimate Guide 2024!
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📍 19+ Unique Things To Do In Trinidad Cuba 2023!
📍14+ Amazing Things To Do In Vinales Cuba 2024
📍 FAQs Cuba Travel
There are so many details in the facades and pieces of art strewn around the city that you really should take your time wandering around Old Havana!
The Cuban countryside also beckons with lush landscapes and picturesque vistas, especially in the tobacco fields in Vinales Valley and around the incredibly well-kept colonial city of Trinidad along the southern coast!
In conclusion, December sets the stage for a comfortable, pleasant, and fun journey through the heart of Cuba!
3. Submerge into Splendor: Underwater Exploration in December
For those with a penchant for underwater adventures, December unveils a world of possibilities in Cuba.
The waters surrounding the island remain invitingly warm, and the visibility is still great, making it an ideal time for scuba diving and snorkeling.
I love scuba diving in Cuba and have gone on underwater adventures in several destinations like Varadero, Bay of Pigs, Cayo Santa Maria, and even 25 minutes outside Havana in Playas del Este!
Explore the healthy, colorful coral reefs off the coast of Varadero or the marine wonders near the Jardines de la Reina archipelago, which is one of the healthiest coral reefs in the region.
The crystalline waters provide a window into a captivating underwater realm, adding a layer of excitement and exploration to your Cuban vacation.
You can dive with lemon sharks, hammerhead sharks, and even whale sharks in the Queens Garden coral reef system!
4. Serenity Amidst Scarcity: A Tranquil Escape from Tourist Crowds
December in Cuba offers a rare gift—the luxury of a bit of serenity. That said, in the year 2019, before the pandemic, around 4.1 million people visited Cuba!
During the pandemic, that number was close to zero, and now, in 2023, it is still not up to pre-pandemic numbers.
This means that you will probably not need to deal with the crowds of other travelers in December 2023, the first real high-season month in Cuba’s tourist season!
As December formally marks the beginning of the high season in the whole of the Caribbean, the influx of tourists is still in its nascent stage. Come January through March, that number is likely to increase significantly.
So! This presents an excellent opportunity for you to relish the authentic Cuban experience towards the end of 2023 without the hustle and bustle of large crowds.
Explore Havana’s historic sites, engage in conversations with locals, and meander through picturesque towns at your own pace, reveling in the tranquility that December bestows upon the island and in your own heart!
5. Budget-Friendly Beginnings: Capitalize on Lower Prices
As December introduces the high season, and it also is the first real one after the pandemic with fewer travelers and tourists around, the prices in December are still on the lower side.
Savvy travelers can capitalize on these early days of this peak period, enjoying the benefits of comparatively lower prices and more fun for less bucks.
Accommodations, excursions, and even local delights may offer more budget-friendly options in December.
This makes the last month of the year an opportune time for those looking to experience the magic of Cuba without stretching their wallets too thin!
In conclusion, these are five reasons December is a prime window to explore Cuba’s multifaceted beauty.
But what about Cuba in general?
Why is this such a wonderful destination? I have made it my mission to tell the world about Cuba and why you need to travel there. So, read on for a little extra information!
What else do you need to know about Cuba?
Those are happenings that have more of a negative connotation, and my mission here is to be the antidote to that! Because there are so many amazing things about Cuba that you also need to know.
Rich Cultural Tapestry
Cuba’s cultural tapestry is woven with threads of European, African, and some indigenous influences, creating a unique and diverse heritage.
The indigenous population in Cuba perished rather quickly after the Spanish arrived on the island, as they could not withstand foreign bacteria and diseases.
So the majority of the island’s visible history and culture is a mix of the Spanish heritage, some Portuguese and French (in Cienfuegos), a bit of Haiti, and a lot from Africa!
The Santeria religion is a true Cuban mix, as it is an actual merger of the African Yoruba religion that arrived with the slave trade and the Catholic faith that was brought with the Spanish and put into Cathedrals.
Today, Catholics and Santeros can pray in the same church in Cuba, but for the Santeria religion, they often also create sacred places in the homes of people that hold a special place or position in the religion.
You will be so clever to come to Cuba and experience all this, as the temperature is wonderful, you will not be drenched in afternoon showers OR your own sweat (as you will in July).
But it still is the Caribbean, so please bring enough water!
Warm Hospitality Of The Locals
Cubans are super hospitable people, and for anyone born and raised in a more cold-blooded part of the world, it might even be a little over the top!
In Cuba, people will come visit you without calling beforehand, and you can NOT say that it is a bad time (even if it is on a Tuesday after lunch and you are busy) – that is VERY rude.
But if you have an appointment with someone, you can almost be sure they will not show up. Cubans don’t really plan according to the clock as northerners do, and things (and life) change if the weather changes, they meet someone else on the street, or any small or bit unexpected incident.
Cubans simply do not care about the time in the sense of a “clock”.
So be aware and work with it, not against it! The language is amazing in that regard; they will say “se complico”, which literally means “it complicated itself!”
No one to blame, you see. Perfect!
But still, as long as you don’t care about the actual clock, one of Cuba’s most endearing qualities is the warmth and friendliness of its people.
Known for their hospitality, Cubans open their hearts to visitors, creating an atmosphere of genuine connection.
Whether sipping on a cafecito in a local cafe or engaging in animated conversations with locals, travelers will find themselves embraced by the island’s welcoming spirit.
Timeless Cuban Natural Beauty!
Do you know that there are 12 national parks in Cuba? The island has 211 protected areas in total, and of these, 12 are designated as National Parks.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, so there is space for several, and you should visit at least one.
Varadero’s powdery sandy beaches also hide a small nature reserve, and the verdant Viñales Valley offers a tranquil escape.
Outside Trinidad, you can explore Topes de Collantes National Park, while the Sierra Maestra mountains to the east provide a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts.
The Sierra Maestras is also where Fidel Castro and his comrades hid in the 50ies while fighting against President Batista at the time! And you can still visit this hidden headquarters, a short hike into the vast mountain range.
From pristine beaches to lush landscapes, Cuba in December will show you a natural beauty that is completely captivating.
This is another super reason to go in December; you can go hiking, biking, or climbing one of the national parks without getting dehydrated or having a heat stroke!
FAQs Cuba In December
If there is any information that is still missing, here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about Cuba travel answered that might come in handy!
Can You Swim In Cuba In December?
Yes, you can! The weather in Cuba in December is pleasant, and the water temperatures are also comfortable. I love swimming in Cuba all year round but remember, I grew up in Northern Europe!
However, you will not see Cubans swimming in December! For Cubans, the December temperatures are winter temperatures, and they mostly stay out of the water until March!
Is Cuba Hot In December?
No, Cuba is not hot in December, but the temperature is warm and friendly. In December in Cuba, you might occasionally need a thin cardigan in the evening, but nothing more.
Is Cuba Warm In December?
Yes, Cuba is warm in December, in the sense of pleasantly warm, and not super sizzling hot, temperatures.
The nights are also quite warm, but you might be ok with just a fan and no air conditioning in December in Cuba.
What is the temperature in Cuba in December?
The weather is superb in Cuba in December, with temperatures of 82-86 Fahrenheit (28-30ºC) and generally dry, sunny weather.
It’s cooler than the hot and humid summer months. Temperatures are great for activities and sightseeing, and the Caribbean Sea still holds around 78-79 (26ºC)!
Wrap-Up Cuba In December
From favorable weather conditions and underwater escapades to the tranquility of fewer tourists and budget-friendly options,
the island welcomes December with open arms, inviting you to head out on an unforgettable journey through its cultural, historical, and natural wonders.