The high season in the Caribbean is undoubtedly when the winter chill begins for most of the central and northern United States. That being said, unlike the temperatures, costs rise at this time of year, so planning a trip between late November and March can prove to be incredibly expensive.
If you still want a tropical getaway, consider visiting the Caribbean in April, when March's lingering blizzards and cold weather can make early spring feel like more like the dead of winter, but not as you move closer to the equator. If you visit later in the month, not only will you see discounted rates on accommodations and travel, but you'll also be outside of the much-feared hurricane season.
Caribbean Weather in April
Depending on the island, April temperatures in the Caribbean vary from daytime highs in the upper 80s Fahrenheit to evening lows in the 70s Fahrenheit. If you want to beat the heat, the coolest temperatures can usually be found in the Bahamas, while heat seekers should head to Trinidad and Tobago for the best chance of a scorcher.
- Bahamas: 83 F (28 C) / 68 F (20 C)
- Cayman Islands: 86 F (30 C) / 74 F (23 C)
- U.S. Virgin Islands: 84 F (29 C) / 76 F (25 C)
- Puerto Rico: 82 F (28 C) / 76 F (24 C)
- Jamaica: 86 F (30 C) / 72 F (22 C)
- Barbados: 86 F (30 C) / 75 F (24 C)
- Trinidad and Tobago: 84 F (29 C) / 74 F (23 C)
No matter which island or country, it rains, on average seven days of the month with total rainfall of about 2.7 inches, a very promising forecast for travelers hoping for sunny skies. Puerto Rico is among the wettest Caribbean locals in April, receiving almost five inches of rain, whereas Bonaire and Aruba are two of the driest, getting just half-an-inch of precipitation. Ocean temperatures are quite warm during April too, making it the perfect time for a swim. At their coolest, visitors will find water temperatures around 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the Bahamas.
What to Pack
When packing for your Caribbean trip, you will want to bring a bathing suit, of course, as well as loose-fitting cotton or linen layers to keep you cool during the day. Flip-flops are also a must, and in case you want to do adventure activities, you will need sneakers, socks, and athletic clothing. Above all, do not forget to bring plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, as these items are marked up significantly in hotels and local shops.
For more casual evenings, pack a light sweater and long pants or comfortable maxi dress. You will also want dressier clothes if you plan on visiting a nice restaurant or exploring the nightlife, as many have dress codes. For nights you plan on going out, you will need more formal footwear such as nice, heeled sandals or pumps for ladies, and closed toe dress shoes for men.
Important Events and Festivals
Though any month you choose will feel like a celebration in the Caribbean, in April you will find Easter celebrations in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, festive Carnival parties and parades in Trinidad and Tobago, and Martinique, boat races (regattas) in St. Barth and the British Virgin Islands, sporting events, and much more.
- Saborea is a long-running food festival held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Diners can try local specialties such as mofongo.
- The Caribbean hosts many regattas throughout the year, but these exciting sailing events are especially prevalent in the spring. Antigua Sailing Week is held in late April, whereas Les Voiles de Saint Barth takes place mid-month.
- The U.S. Virgin Islands celebrates its unique and diverse cuisine at A Taste of St. Croix, a one-day fundraiser event that draws some of the island's best chefs.
- The Tobago Jazz Experience is a three-day concert that attracts some top international acts to the typically sleepy island. Past headliners include Diana Ross, Rod Stewart, and others.
- Barbados holds its annual Oistins Fish Festival each year during Easter Weekend. The street fair includes cuisine such as fish cakes, fried fish, and head cheese.
- Celebrities flock to St. Barth at the end of April for the St. Barth Film Festival, a five-day celebration of Caribbean film that has been running for more than 20 years.
April Travel Tips
- If you can wait until the end of April, known as the "shoulder season," you should. You’ll not only save money this time of year, but you will avoid the loud and sometimes obnoxious Spring Break crowds, notably the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas.
- If you are visiting early in the month, you can expect to be a little crowded at popular destinations, but it is a welcome respite from the much higher volume period in December, January, February, and March.
- If you want to see several Caribbean destinations at once, consider a cruise. The weather is best through April and the late peak season means that prices will be lower than your typical winter cruise.