Some destinations may feel a bit "dead" at this time of year, with many attractions closed for the offseason. With temperatures in the northern latitudes about the same as in the tropics at this time of year, travel to the Caribbean doesn't have as much "fun in the sun" appeal during August. But it's a great time to connect with the locals and enjoy the unhurried pace of island life.
Hurricane Season Considerations
Hurricane season in the Caribbean kicks into high gear in August, though your odds of encountering a storm remain lower than in September. However, to lessen your chance of getting caught in a hurricane or major storm on your trip, stay clear of the more eastern islands, including Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas. The southern Caribbean, from Aruba to Tobago, is usually the safest place to spend hurricane season, as these islands sit outside of the so-called hurricane belt.
Caribbean Weather in August
Although August is one of the hottest months in the Caribbean, it is still only a few degrees higher on average than the "coldest" months, as the ocean regulates the tropical air temperature year-round. With more than 7,000 islands spread across 1 million square miles of water, the Caribbean experiences surprisingly little temperature variation in its coastal areas, with most of the island nations reporting average highs and lows within 5 degrees of each other.
- Average high temperature: 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius)
- Average low temperature: 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 degrees Celsius)
In August, the Caribbean Sea reaches its warmest temperature as well, with an average of 83 degrees. The biggest weather fluctuations occur in rainfall, with mountainous islands typically receiving more rain on their windward sides. On average, there are about 12 rainy days in the Caribbean in August, which marks the beginning of the rainy season. Wetter locations in August include Nassau in the Bahamas, as well as Martinique and Dominica.
What to Pack
Loose-fitting cotton or rayon keeps you cool during the day, but cotton holds moisture, especially on the more humid islands. Don’t forget a swimsuit, plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. While you can purchase almost anything you need, prices on the islands reflect the cost of importing products.
Though most resorts and hotels provide poolside towels, you may want to pack your own beach towel because many do not allow you to take pool towels onto the sand. Also, a light jacket comes in handy if you plan to travel to any of the higher elevations, such as the Blue Mountains of Jamaica or the Cordillera Central range in the Dominican Republic, or to combat overzealous air conditioning. Umbrellas won't do much good in a tropical storm or hurricane when strong winds accompany the rain, but a plastic poncho could protect you from a regular summer downpour without taking up much room in your luggage.
Pack dressier clothes for visiting nice restaurants or clubs. It's always a good idea to check the dress code policy before going out; some places require a sports coat, some a collared shirt. You'll also want a more formal pair of shoes than just flip-flops or sneakers.
August Events in the Caribbean
- Anguilla Summer Festival: This annual tradition features boat races, beach parties, and parades, with lots of delicious food, exuberant music, and pageantry to fuel the fun.
- Aruba International Regatta: Sailors from around the world come to the island to race all manner of watercraft, from yachts to sunfish to miniature boats and even stand up paddle boards.
- Crop Over Festival Barbados: This six-week event extends into the first week of August, culminating in the Grand Kadooment Day celebration, which turns the streets of St. Michael into a kaleidoscope of sequins and feathers and colorful costumes.
- North Sea Jazz Fest Curacao: This event closes out the month with some of the hottest names in music such as past performers Prince, Rod Stewart, Alicia Keyes, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, India Arie, Sting, Carlos Santana, Sam Cook, and others joining the island's best homegrown talent for three days of nonstop entertainment.
August Travel Tips
Consider purchasing travel insurance to cover your expenses in the event that a storm cancels or interrupts your trip. Pay attention to the fine print, though, as some policies specifically exclude hurricanes.
Inquire about package deals in August that bundle excursions with your hotel accommodations at a favorable rate, for example, or let you book an adjoining room for the kids at a discount.