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Puerto Rico

Best and Worst Times to Visit Puerto Rico

This brief video explains the best time to visit Puerto Rico and avoid the annual hurricane season.
Full-Screen Version | YouTube Caribbean Channel

March through July are the best times to visit Puerto Rico, although other months also have appeal. September through November are the worst times.

March is the most popular month to visit. But it also is usually the most crowded at major tourist attractions like Old San Juan. Prices will likely rise as well.

April will have fewer crowds, warmer temperatures and only slightly more rain. May is not as good because of a brief rainy season.

The next best months to visit Puerto Rico are June and July when average rainfall is about four inches, temperatures are warm enough for swimming and crowds are usually moderate in size.

Monthly Tourism Statistics

Puerto Rico tourism statistics
Puerto Rico visitor totals by month. © 2020 Scott S. Bateman

The chart to the right has statistics from the Caribbean Travel Organization showing the most popular and least popular months to visit Puerto Rico.

They clearly show the most popular month to visit is March and the least popular is September.

The surge in March visits is largely because of a jump in cruise visits and visits from families with children on spring break from schools.

December through February also show high numbers because many western Caribbean cruises begin in San Juan during that time period. Some Caribbean cruises start in San Juan while others include San Juan as a port of call.

September shows a steep decline because that month is the most active time of the annual Caribbean hurricane season. October and November also are part of the hurricane season and show low numbers of visitors as well. These are the worst times to visit Puerto Rico.

Dry Season / Rainy Season

Another reason why January through March are so popular is the fact that those months are part of the island’s dry season.

The average rainfall during that period is about two to three inches per month, according to statistics from the U.S. National Weather Service. It’s the lowest rainfall of the year.

San Juan monthly temperatures
San Juan temperatures stay in a narrow range all year, but even 5 degrees warmer in the summer makes a difference with water temperatures. © 2020 Scott S. Bateman

By comparison, the average monthly rainfall reaches more than five inches from August through October and six inches in November. They are the worst months to visit Puerto Rico.

The island also has a brief rainy season in May when average rainfall reaches six inches again.

Temperatures are usually not an issue during any month of the year. Average highs stay in the mid-80s Fahrenheit and high 20s Celsius and vary only a few degrees each month.

Average low temperatures—mostly at night—reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius in months like January and February. Those low temperatures may make swimming chilly and uncomfortable during the winter, especially in the winter.

For that reason, the best time to visit Puerto Rico for beach lovers is April, June and July.

Puerto Rico Weather by Month

San Juan monthly rainfall
San Juan has a brief rainy season in May and a longer one starting in late summer. © 2020 Scott S. Bateman

January

Not surprisingly, January is one of the coldest months of the year in Puerto Rico. An average daytime temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit in San Juan sounds warm enough, but nighttime temperatures may drop into the low 60s.

February

February weather in Puerto Rico is not much better than January except for rain. It wins the prize for reaching the lowest point of the year. Tourism picks up slightly.

March

Puerto Rico tourism reaches the highest point of the year in March, in large part because of spring break from school. But it also means more crowds on beaches and higher prices at hotels.

April

Puerto Rico temperatures in April are higher than any of the four previous months. Average daytime temperatures reach 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Night and water temperatures become much more comfortable. This is the best month of the year to visit Puerto Rico for anyone who likes beaches.

Best time to visit San Juan
© 2021 Scott S. Bateman

May

Temperatures in May increase slightly, but rainfall jumps to an average of six inches a month, according to 30 years of data from the U.S. National Weather Service. The dry season comes to an end. It’s one of the worst months of the year to visit Puerto Rico. Tourists still flock to the island anyway.

June

Historically, June is one of the better months to visit Puerto Rico for beach lovers because average daytime temperatures reach 89 degrees Fahrenheit. Average rainfall drops to four inches, which is still a bit high but not nearly as bad as May and July through December.

July

June is the beginning of the Caribbean hurricane season, but the average monthly rainfall in Puerto Rico doesn’t start to climb until July. Daytime temperatures stay at their peak of the year at 89 Fahrenheit. But July is far from the worst month to visit.

August

Rainfall in San Juan in August jumps to five inches, while daytime temperatures remain the same as June and July. The risk of bad weather is much higher. Tourism starts to drift down.

September

The number of vacation visitors to Puerto Rico plunges to the lowest point of the year in September. This month is the worst month of the year during the Caribbean hurricane season. But average rainfall and temperatures are no different than August. It’s a good month for cheap hotel prices for anyone willing to take a chance with the weather.

October

Rainfall in October climbs to the third highest level of the year, making it a risky month to vacation on the island. It’s the second worst month for tourism, which again means that many hotel prices will drop.

November

Unlike many other Caribbean islands, November rather than September is the worst month for rain in San Juan and Puerto Rico. It is about tied with May. Tourism begins to climb back to normal levels anyway.

December

December has the second highest level of tourism for the year after March. Many families are on break from school. Northerners also get away from cold weather during the holidays. But temperatures reach the same low level of the year as January through March. Rainfall is above average at more than four inches historically.

Vacation Weather Planning

Puerto Rico is both a major cruise destination and a popular Caribbean island for longer term stays.  But the best months to visit aren’t always the most popular.

An important part of planning any vacation in Puerto Rico is figuring out the best time to go. Caribbean weather patterns that can dump rain on islands some months and be quite dry at other times

Besides planning for good weather, some people have different views on the best times to go based on prices, crowds, kids in school and other factors. But in general, the best times to visit Puerto Rico are winter through mid summer. The worst times are late summer to late fall.

But even during these times, some months are better or worse than others. Tourism statistics and historical weather patterns help reveal some answers. They make it easier to make some planning decisions.

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.
March 29, 2021

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