Cruise and Beach Destinations
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British Virgin Islands

Best and Worst Times to Visit British Virgin Islands

Scenic view of Tortola. The weather is best for visitors from late spring to mid summer.
Scenic view of Tortola. The weather is best for visitors from late spring to mid summer.

The best time to visit the British Virgin Islands is late spring to the middle of summer. But only to mid summer.

The reason for going from late spring to mid summer is no surprise: Temperatures are warm enough to make swimming comfortable for anyone who loves to swim in the Caribbean Sea. It’s also one of the best times for low risk of rain.

Warm weather doesn’t always mean it’s the best time to visit these nearby cousins of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The annual Caribbean hurricane season makes some of the warmest months the worst times to go.

That’s why the worst times to visit the British Virgin Islands are September through November when rainfall averages more than five inches a month.

The British Virgin Islands attract more than 600,000 visitors each year, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). They are almost equally split between cruise and hotel visitors.

Tortola is a popular port of call among eastern Caribbean cruises. Other popular islands in the chain include Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke.

Tourism statistics reveal the most popular and least popular months to visit BVI.

Popular Times to Visit

British Virgin Islands tourism statistics
© Scott S. Bateman

Statistics from the CTO show that the most popular month to visit BVI is March and the least popular month to visit is September.

March is popular for several reasons including spring break for schools and the increase in temperatures. January and February are next in popularity because northerners want to escape the cold winter temperatures.

September is least popular because it is the peak month of the Caribbean and Virgin Islands hurricane season. Both overnight vacations and cruises plummet during the month. October is the second worst month of the year for the same reasons.

August is third on the unpopular list even though it receives less rain than November.

Rainy Season = Hurricane Season

The worst time to visit the British Virgin Islands is September through November. This period is the height of the rainy season with an average rainfall of more than five inches a month.

This also is part of the Caribbean hurricane season. It lasts from June through November.

August is next with about 3.6 inches of rain on average, followed by a brief increase in rain during May.

These numbers are based on a 30-year history from the U.S. National Weather Service, which is the meterological service for the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is the nearest meteorological service to the British Virgin Islands.

It is important to keep in mind that these numbers are averages. The actual rainfall may vary quite a bit from year to year, but they provide a useful guide about what to expect.

Dry Season

Virgin Islands average monthly rainfall
© Scott S. Bateman

BVI has a dry season that runs from January through March—the most popular months of the year to visit—when rain falls an average of less than two inches each month.

But the most popular months to visit may not always be the best months to go.

Crowds and prices increase during the most popular months. Anyone with children who wants to go during the dry season will pick March because of spring break. Adults without children may find that January or February are the best months because of smaller crowds and lower prices.

Several other months have only slightly more rain on average but higher temperatures that will be appealing for beach goers.

April, June and July average between two and three inches of rain per month and are less crowded than January through March. These are still modest amounts of rain for the Caribbean.

May averages a little more than three inches. April through July also have temperatures that are usually several degrees warmer.

June and July are part of the annual Caribbean hurricane season. So out of all the months, April is the best time to visit the British Virgin Islands for a combination of warm temperatures and low risk of rain.

Average Temperatures

Virgin Islands average monthly temperatures
Average monthly daytime temperatures for the Virgin Islands. © Scott S. Bateman

The average high temperature each month in the British Virgin Islands range from the mid 80s Fahrenheit in winter to about 90 degrees in the summer.

Daytime temperatures in the mid 80s Fahrenheit in the winter sounds warm enough. But nighttime temperatures get down to the low 70s Fahrenheit. It’s comfortable enough for walking around. But cooler nighttime tempertures with trade winds and cold northern currents may make seawater feel too chilly for swimming.

The best months to visit the British Virgin Islands for a combination of warm tempatures and low risk of rain are April through July in that order.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
April 19, 2024

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