Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Caribbean Weather in November: 5 Islands With More Sun

This video explains Caribbean weather in November and which islands are the best and worst to visit for weather.

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Caribbean weather in November is not nearly as bad as what happens in September and October during the annual hurricane season. But it pays to pick destinations carefully.

The annual hurricane season officially begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Historically, the peak of activity for tropical storms and hurricanes will take place in September and October.

On average, September has four named tropical storms with two becoming hurricanes, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

October typically has four tropical storms as well, but few become hurricanes. Even so, rainfall remains high for most destinations in October.

Caribbean hurricanes and tropical storms in November are rare. The risk of rain remains high, but not as high as September and October. Still, Caribbean weather in November has the third highest risk of rain for the entire year for most destinations.

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5 Best Islands to Visit in November

Caribbean rainfall in November
Caribbean rainfall in November. © 2023 Scott S. Bateman

Fives islands have a lower risk of rain in November. They are Aruba, Bahamas, Curacao, Jamaica and Cuba.

The following information explains why. It uses 30-year historical data for more than 20 popular destinations. Keep in mind that these are long-term historical averages. The actual temperatures and rainfall for a single year may vary more than the average. Still, the averages help with planning and knowing what to expect.

Aruba wins the award for lowest rainfall of any major destination in the Caribbean. It is usually the best island to visit during that time of year.

This arid island off the coast of Venezuela averages three inches of rain in November. It is higher than normal for Aruba during other months of the year but low compared to most other Caribbean destinations. This arid island averages only about one inch a month for most of the year.

Tied with Aruba is the Bahamas, which also receives three inches. That hugely popular island chain has an average high temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit compared to 90 degrees for Aruba, according to their national meteorology services.

Although 82 degrees in the Bahamas sounds comfortable, it also means water temperatures may feel chilly for swimming at times because of cooler temperatures at night and strong trade winds.

The next best destinations for low risk of rain are Curaçao and Jamaica. They average four inches of rain apiece.

Curaçao is near Aruba. Both lie at the edge of the Caribbean hurricane belt. Curaçao’s average daytime high temperature is 88 degrees or about two degrees cooler than Aruba.

Jamaica is slightly cooler as well with an average high temperature of 86 degrees.

Havana, Cuba, also averages only four inches of rain during November and has an average high temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

10 Worst Islands for Rain

Cancun overview
Cancun usually has lower rainfall during November than many eastern Caribbean destinations. Wikipedia - Creative Commons

The lush and tropical island of Dominica leads all other destinations for the highest November rainfall with an average of 15 inches during the month.

It’s because of the heavy rain that the island is popular for ecotourism, rainforests and waterfalls. But they are better seen in other months—usually mid spring to late summer.

Bocas del Toro in Panama takes second place for most rain in November with 11 inches.

Guadeloupe and Trinidad, two more lush and green islands, average about eight to nine inches of rain during the month.

Barbados, Cayman Islands and St. Lucia receive an average of seven inches of rain, which makes them unattractive destinations for either long-term stays or Caribbean cruises. All three islands are popular with eastern Caribbean cruises.

San Juan, St. Maarten and St. Thomas follow with six inches apiece. Again, they are popular islands for eastern Caribbean cruises.

It is worth noting that cruises to these islands become less frequent during these months because of the rainfall risk. But they often are less expensive as well.

Honorable mentions go to Cancun and Cozumel, which often get drenched in September and October but see an improvement in November.

Caribbean Hurricanes in November

The Caribbean hurricane season officially ends on Nov. 30. But hurricanes in November are rare.

Historically, the Caribbean averages one tropical storm every other year, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. They rarely develop into hurricanes.

November is tied with June for the least active month of the entire Caribbean hurricane season. But rainfall is higher than normal for many destinations.

Temperatures in November

Caribbean temperatures in November
Caribbean temperatures in November. © 2019 Scott S. Bateman

Temperatures in the Caribbean during November are usually comfortable for just about any island destination.

Average daytime highs range from the low to mid 80s Fahrenheit for most locations. Central American destinations such as Belize, Costa Rica and Panama will be somewhat cooler on the coast and much cooler in the interior.

Water temperatures start to become a factor for many locations because of nights that are getting cooler with the approach of winter. Swimming is often comfortable in the mornings and somewhat more comfortable in the afternoon.

Winds are a factor as well because of their chilling effect. People who visit the Caribbean for sun and swimming will find November less inviting than for those people who like touring, shopping, dining and other such activities.

Eastern Caribbean Weather in November

Eastern Caribbean cruises drop off in the fall including November because of the hurricane season.

Many eastern islands continue to receive higher than normal amounts of rainfall, which is why western cruises are more popular during this time of year. Some even have more rain historically than September and October.

Although the Bahama islands aren’t technically part of the Caribbean, they are a popular stop on eastern cruises and have the best average rainfall of any major islands in November.

Other than the Bahamas, most eastern destinations have a high risk of rain. Temperatures also are quite a bit cooler than during the summer.

Western Caribbean Weather

Aruba sky
Aruba wins the award for bluest skies and waters in November. © 2017 Scott S. Bateman

The western Caribbean has better weather in November than the eastern islands. As a result, cruises to this part of the region are more common during the month.

Cancun, Cozumel and Jamaica are the three most popular destinations in the western Caribbean. They receive higher than normal rainfall, but their average of four to five inches is still below the eastern averages.

Even Costa Rica, which also is popular, does well in November with five inches of rain. Costa Rica normally receives a high amount of rain as an eco tourist destination with many rain forests.

Because November is at the tail-end of the season, the risk of a hurricane or major tropical storm is low. As a result, travel insurance is less important.

Ways to Ensure a Low-Risk Visit

An important decision for anyone visiting the Caribbean during the hurricane season is whether or not to buy travel insurance to protect against weather that ruins a vacation.

Because November is at the tail-end of the season, the risk of a hurricane or major tropical storm is low. As a result, travel insurance is less important.

Still, the above charts show a high risk of heavy rains for many destinations. So another option for someone wanting to go in November is to make a last-minute vacation.

Most major storms form in the east and move west toward the Caribbean. Forecasts and satellite imagery will help in predicting the weather for many Caribbean islands days and possibly a week or more in advance.

Anything who is willing to plan a last-minute trip book hotels and flights within days of a trip if they are available, if the price is right and if the weather forecasts for an island show a lower risk of rain.