Cuba is an island absolutely bursting with culture, history, and natural beauty, and is increasingly becoming a very desirable place to visit on your holiday. Whilst this Caribbean travel destination is best known for its beautiful beaches and clear blue ocean, there is so much more to discover when visiting Cuba.
February takes place during Cuba’s dry season and is therefore one of the best times to travel to the island if you want to avoid any chance of getting caught in a tropical storm. The warm and sunny weather is ideal for wandering the country’s towns and cities without getting too hot, and the evenings are deliciously cool and perfect for drinking rum on the beach or salsa dancing with the locals.
Reasons to visit Cuba in February
- February is still peak tourist season in Cuba, but prices tend to be slightly lower than in December and January
- The weather in February is perfect for exploring the more rural areas of Cuba on foot and appreciating its natural landscape
- One of the lowest months of humidity in Cuba is February, so even when the sun is shining the air is a pleasant temperature
Weather in Cuba in February
February is considered one of the best times to visit Cuba, as the island enjoys wonderfully sunny weather without any of the overbearing heat that creeps in during the summer months.
Visiting Cuba in February will also mean that you arrive right in the middle of the country’s dry season, ensuring you can spend as much of your time as possible outside enjoying the winter sunshine.
Temperatures in Cuba in February can reach up to 27ºC on very sunny days towards the end of the month, and drop down to an average of 17ºC in the evenings. It is advised that you bring suitable clothing in case of a turn in the weather with you to Cuba, but usually only a light jacket will be needed in the evenings.
Whilst the country does tend to be humid, at the start of the year there will be a pleasant breeze keeping the air fresh, particularly if you are in the north of the island or next to the ocean.
Cuba’s sea temperature is about 25ºC in February, and many visitors enjoy swimming in the water when the air temperature is high. The south-east of the island tends to have better conditions for swimming, as beaches are sheltered from any winds coming in from the north and the climate of these areas is more consistently warm.
Clouds and Rainfall
Although Cuba is famous for its tropical climate and sudden rainstorms, February is one of the driest months of the year, with only an average of five days of rain throughout the entire month. There may be some cloudy days during your stay, but the majority of the time Cuba is not particularly overcast in February.
February in Cuba sees a large amount of sunshine across the island, with an average of eight hours every day. Daylight hours increase as the month continues, with the sun rising just before 7am and setting at around 6.30pm every evening.
Increased sunlight means that UV levels are high throughout February, so make sure that you are regularly applying suncream if you are outdoors.
Where to go in Cuba in February
Santiago de Cuba
The city of Santiago de Cuba is one of the most important urban areas in Cuba outside of Havana, famous for its colonial history and musical heritage. The city is in the east of the island so is likely to be less busy than other areas in February, and you can make the most of the ideal hiking weather to explore the surrounding Sierra Maestra mountains.
If you want to enjoy a real Caribbean atmosphere then Santiago is the best place on the island to find the famous laid-back atmosphere and diverse population. As well as relaxing in its beaches and bars you can also appreciate the city’s history at the Museo Emilio Bacardí Moreau or admire the impressive El Castillo del Morro San Pedro de la Roca fortress that was built to protect the area from pirates.
Holguín is the name of both Cuba’s fourth-largest city and the province it is in, and remains relatively untouched by tourism making it a great place to visit in February to enjoy a more authentic atmosphere and experience of the country. This also means that it tends to be a cheaper place to stay than the other big cities, and is a great location if you want a relatively laid-back couple of days surrounded by beaches and mountain ranges.
The capital city of Holguín is often referred to as ‘the city of parks’ because of the five large plazas in the city centre, and has a lot of interesting Cuban colonial architecture as well as small restaurants and cafes offering classic Cuban cuisine. You can also travel further afield to reach some of the country’s best beaches such as Playa Esmerelda, or climb the 458 stone steps up the Loma de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross) situated to the north of Holguín city to admire unbeatable panoramic views of the whole area.
One of Cuba’s quirkiest locations is the small town of Cienfuegos, which was founded by the French as a holiday destination and then influenced by both Spanish and Caribbean residents. This cultural destination is known as ‘the pearl of the south’ and is a lovely place to spend a day admiring its unique neoclassical buildings and taking a break from the crowds.
Cienfuegos isn’t renowned for its beaches and so is perfect for a more overcast day in February when you fancy exploring places like the spectacular Palacio Ferrer; an eclectic blue palace that is also home to an art gallery on its ground floor. Or you can walk a little way from the city to the rich neighbourhood of Punta Gorda, home to incredible mansions and a beautiful promenade that is best strolled along as the sun is setting.
Things to do in Cuba in February
Roll a Cigar
Even if you aren’t attending the famous Habanos cigar festival during your trip to Cuba in February, learning to roll a cigar is still a recommended experience for tourists coming to the island. Taking a tour around a tobacco factory usually ends in a workshop where you will be guided through how to pack and roll sheets of traditional paper to make a cigar, which you can either smoke yourself or gift to a friend as a unique souvenir!
Salsa until Sunrise
Music and dance in Cuba are world-renowned, and almost every bar you visit is likely to have live music and dancing. The best way to enjoy this key part of the country’s culture is to just throw yourself into it, but you can also take proper salsa lessons in a big city like Havana where trained teachers are used to showing visitors how to move with the music.
Enjoy an Authentic Cuban Sandwich
The history of the classic Cuban sandwich goes way back, but its popularity originated in the mid-1800s as the tobacco industry in the country thrived and workers needed a simple but satisfying lunch. Whilst the key ingredients – ham, pork, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard – are simple, the taste is sensational and not to be missed during your visit to Cuba.
Try a Tour on Horseback
If you want to make the most of the February’s ideal weather for trekking, but aren’t so keen on covering the miles on foot, then there are many opportunities to take a tour of rural Cuba on horseback. Tours and holiday experiences can be found across the country and range in length, but all allow a really unique way to experience your surroundings and gain local insight into the history and culture of Cuba.
Crowds & costs
Tourist season in Cuba spans the winter months when the weather is at its best, and visiting in February will mean that the island is likely to be quite busy and crowded. Prices are much higher than if you were arriving during the rainy season, but slightly cheaper than in December and January, especially if you travel towards the end of the month.
Booking at least a few months in advance is essential if you want to visit Cuba in February, partially if you are planning on staying in one of the country’s busy cities.
February festivals & events
Festival del Habano
People tend to think of cigars and tobacco when they think of Cuba, and February features an entire festival in the capital city of Havana dedicated to premium cigars; the ‘Festival del Habano’. Named after the prestigious brand of cigars that comes from the city, the festival attracts keen fans of the product as well as official distributors and experts in the tobacco industry, and hosts a range of different events throughout the festival.
If you have an interest in cigars and their Cuban history you can partake in festival activities such as visits to tobacco plantations, tours of Havana’s cigar factories, workshops, lectures and chances to buy from international companies and craftspeople. The highlight of the festival is the glamorous Friday night Gala Dinner, where prizes are awarded and an auction takes place alongside spectacular food and entertainment.
Feria Internacional de Libro
The most popular cultural event in Cuba in February is the Fería Internacional de Libro or International Book Fair, hosted in Havana’s San Carlos de La Cabana; a fortification overlooking the harbour. As well as huge events dedicated to selling literature, the festival also hosts readings, workshops, children’s activities, concerts and art exhibitions, making it a fantastic way to experience a wide range of Cuban culture.
Literacy is incredibly important in Cuba, and over a hundred different publishers attend the festival to present their books in the range of fairs that take place, arranged by genre, theme or author. After the festival has finished in Havana it travels across the country, ending in the east in the city of Santiago de Cuba.
Frequently asked questions about Cuba in February
Is it hot in Cuba in February?
Temperatures are known to reach up to 27ºC in Cuba in February, so it can get hot on clear and sunny days. However, most of the time the temperature is likely to be pleasant and mild, with only a slight chance of cold spells.
Do they speak English in Cuba?
The majority of locals in Cuba only speak Spanish, but areas that are popular with tourists are likely to have some people who do speak English well. Learning some basic Spanish phrases and words before you travel is a good idea in case you need help at any point, and also to better immerse yourself in Cuban culture.
Can a US citizen go to Cuba?
Cuba and America have a complicated political past, which has resulted in complicated travel restrictions for U.S citizens wanting to travel to the country. It is still possible for people to travel from America to Cuba however, and a full list of authorised reasons for travel can be found online.
February is one of the best times to visit Cuba if you are looking to explore more the remote areas of the country, particularly the Oriente region of the island that is particularly unaffected by tourism. You can enjoy the warm, winter sunshine surrounded by stunning wildlife and scenery, and really appreciate all that makes Cuba such a special place to visit.