Caribbean Weather in February: 5 Hot Destinations
Count on Caribbean weather in February to offer some hot destinations to escape from cold northern winters.
The Caribbean also can deliver some destinations that are not so hot.
Most of the islands have temperatures reaching into the 80s Fahrenheit or upper 20s Celsius during the month, according to years of historical data from many of the region's meteorological services.
But cool nighttime temperatures, cooling water currents and strong trade winds can make some destinations uncomfortable at times, especially while swimming in the ocean.
The Caribbean Sea covers more than 1 million square miles. It is 1,365 miles wide from west to east and more than 1,100 miles from north to south.
Vacationers should choose their destinations carefully because the vast size of the sea will result in some important differences in temperatures and comfort levels.
Northern destinations are easiest to reach for people living in the United States, Canada and northern Europe. But those destinations also have the coolest temperatures.
For those same people, southern destinations are farther, take more time to reach and often need more expensive airline tickets. But they also have the best temperatures.
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Best February Temperatures
The Caribbean stays in a smaller temperature range throughout the year than most regions of the world.
According to 30 years of historical data from regional meteorological services, five of the hottest destinations and their average daytime highs in February are:
Trinidad - 89 degrees Fahrenheit, 32 Celsius
Aruba - 87 Fahrenheit, 31 Celsius
Bocas del Toro, Panama - 87 Fahrenheit, 31 Celsius
Curaçao - 86 Fahrenheit, 30 Celsius
Grand Cayman - 86 Fahrenheit, 30 Celsius
Trinidad is the farthest south of all Caribbean islands, followed closely by the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All four of them lie off the coast of Venezuela, South America.
Despite the warmth, Trinidad is a long flight from many U.S. destinations and often requires two stops. Aruba is a better choice for flight times and all-around vacation experience.
Like Aruba, Grand Cayman is a popular vacation spot and major cruise destination in part because of its Seven Mile Beach and other attractions.
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5 Cooler Destinations
Some places are worth visiting in February only for their land activities because of their lower temperatures.
Five of the coolest destinations and their average daytime highs are:
Bermuda - 68 Fahrenheit, 20 Celsius
Freeport Bahamas - 76 Fahrenheit, 24 Celsius
Nassau Bahamas - 78 Fahrenheit, 26 Celsius
Havana Cuba - 79 Fahrenheit, 26 Celsius
Dominica and Punta Cana Dominican Republic - 82 Fahrenheit, 28 Celsius
Although Bermuda and the Bahamas officially aren’t located in the Caribbean Sea, they often are included on Caribbean cruise destinations and vacation guides.
Despite their cooler temperatures, they remain popular with golfers in particular because of still-comfortable temperatures, easy access by airlines and low risk of rain.
The lower temperatures for Punta Cana make this major beach and resort destination less attractive until later in the year.
A Few Degrees Matter
Anyone thinking about a Caribbean vacation in February may believe that 86 Fahrenheit / 30 Celsius in Grand Cayman is not too far from 82 Fahrenheit / 28 Celsius in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
For people who enjoy only land activities such as shopping, golf or hiking, a four-degree difference won’t matter much.
For people who enjoy water activities, especially swimming, the difference will impact the comfort level in water.
It is important to note that the Caribbean often has strong trade winds that create a cooling wind chill factor. Currents can bring cooler waters toward the shore.
Nighttime temperatures also impact the comfort level of the water. Grand Cayman has an average nighttime low of 65 Fahrenheit / 18 Celsius, which is one of the lowest in the Caribbean. Water usually will be too cool for swimming until the afternoon.
On a personal note, we vacation in Cancun in February and found the water too cold for everyone for swimming because of lower temperatures and strong trade winds.
We even found Aruba water uncomfortable at times in February until later in the day when the sun had raised the water temperature.
Caribbean Rainfall in February
Temperatures vary enough to impact the best destinations to visit, but the rainfall averages will make the choice easier.
February is one of the driest months of the year in the Caribbean. The region has an annual hurricane season that runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
The dry season goes from December through April. May is a transition month with a slight increase in rain for some destinations.
Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are the driest Caribbean islands in February as well as throughout the year. They average about one inch of rain or less during the month.
Most other destinations average about two to three inches. The one big exception: the western Caribbean cruise port of Limon, Costa Rica, which averages 12 inches.
But Limon experiences high rainfall most months of the year, which results in the rain forests and eco tourism adventures that have attracted recreational tourists to the country.
Bermuda also has unusually high rainfall for the month.
Count the Days That It Rains
Another way to plan a Caribbean vacation around good weather is by looking at the average number of days that it rains in each destination.
Once again, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao have the best weather in February with about five rain days along with Cancun. Cozumel follows closely with about six rain days.
The destinations with the most include St. Lucia and Bermuda at 15, while Martinique averages 14.
- Bahamas Department of Meteorology
- Departamento Meteorologico Aruba
- Empresa de Transmision Electrica, S.A. (ETESA)
- Instituto Meteorologico Nacional
- National Meteorological Service of the Cayman Islands
- Oficina Nacional de Meteorologia
- St. Lucia Meteorological Service
- Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service
© 2016 Scott Bateman
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