November in the Caribbean: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

View of a villa with pool overlooking blue waters of the Virgin Islands

Christian Wheatley / Getty Images

Although the Caribbean has pretty much become a year-round tourist and romantic destination, the peak winter travel season doesn't start until December. November is still considered the shoulder season when you can find killer airfares and great deals on accommodations. Or if you've ever wanted to try a Caribbean cruise, several cruise lines offer special promotions to entice would-be travelers during the tourist low season.

Even though the dry season across the region is from December to April, you'll pay a lot less to travel in November and the weather overall is still perfect for sitting out at the beach. However, some islands get significantly more rain than others, so take a look before booking that too-good-to-be-true deal.

Hurricane Season

The official end of the hurricane season in the Caribbean is on November 30 and storms are always a possibility. However, November is the least active month in the Atlantic hurricane season and the probability of encountering a storm is very low. Just in case, make sure your accommodations include some type of guarantee in case you need to cancel due to weather, and consider buying travel insurance. You can also look into islands that are less likely to experience storms, such as Aruba or Barbados.

Caribbean Weather in November

Temperatures across the Caribbean are warm and balmy in November, making it an ideal escape from the oncoming winter up north. While there is a remote possibility of a hurricane, more likely than not the biggest issue you'll come across is rain. November is the transition month from the rainy season to the dry season, so even though the occasional downpour is likely, there's much less precipitation and lower humidity than visiting in the peak of summer.

  Average High Temp. Average Low Temp. Average Rainfall
Dominican Republic 85 F (29 C) 74 F (23 C) 4.6 inches
Jamaica 88 F (31 C) 73 F (23 C) 2.6 inches
Puerto Rico 86 F (30 C) 75 F (24 C) 6.4 inches
Bahamas 82 F (28 C)  69 F (21 C) 3.2 inches
Aruba 90 F (32 C) 78 F (26 C) 3.1 inches
St. John, USVI 86 F (30 C) 73 F (23 C) 5.9 inches
Barbados 85 F (29 C) 76 F (24 C) 3.7 inches

Even though November is generally still considered a wet month, rain typically comes in short and intense downpours instead of long days of nonstop showers. Even if your trip is punctuated with daily storms, you should still be able to enjoy plenty of sunshine throughout the day to make the most of your vacation. The water temperature of the Caribbean Sea hovers around a constant 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) all year long, so even in November, you can comfortably swim and hang out at the beach.

What to Pack

When packing for the Caribbean in November, you'll definitely need to bring all your beach gear. Even if you're fleeing winter weather back home, you won't need any heavy jackets or sweaters on the islands. However, at least one lightweight and waterproof jacket is necessary in case you get caught in a rainstorm. If you're planning to eat out in finer restaurants or spend a night out in the clubs, you should also pack some dressier items and not just resort wear.

Summer may feel over by the time November arrives, but don't forget to bring other warm-weather essentials like sunscreen and a hat. Since you'll be in the tropics, mosquitoes are ubiquitous regardless of what island you visit. Don't forget insect repellant and even some lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs.

November Events in the Caribbean

Despite being the shoulder season, there are plenty of events happening around the Caribbean to keep visitors entertained in November. From pirate festivals to several different boozy events, don't miss out on the region's most popular activities.

  • Pirates Week: The annual ​​Pirates Week in the Cayman Islands celebrates the nation's cultural heritage and pirate legends. Spectators are treated to parades, firework displays, street dances, and costume contests. Each of the three Cayman Islands holds individual Pirates Week celebrations, with the biggest festivities taking place on Grand Cayman from November 19–24, 2020.
  • Barbados Food & Rum Festival: The three-day Barbados Food and Rum Festival is a series of culinary experiences with acclaimed chefs, rum experts, and mixologists. There are food and rum pairing events, fine dining that pairs local chefs with international ones, and a beach party at the Hilton Resort Barbados with live music and food tasting stations. It typically takes place during the first weekend of November, but the festival is canceled in 2020.
  • Divali (Diwali): The Hindu Festival of Lights is a public holiday on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where about a third of the population traces its roots back to India. But for Divali, the whole nation comes together to celebrate, not just Hindus. The Divali Nagar—or City of Lights—in the city of Chaguanas is one of the largest holiday celebrations outside of India. The festival takes place over days and the exact dates change each year, but the main festivities revolve around November 14 in 2020.
  • Thanksgiving: Just because you're leaving home during the Thanksgiving holiday doesn't necessarily mean you're willing to give up the typical feast. If you want to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home, you'll have no trouble finding turkey dinners in restaurants of U.S. islands, such as Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Even many resorts in other islands host Thanksgiving meals for American guests.

November Travel Tips

  • Although November overall is considered the low season for tourists, the Caribbean is a popular destination for Thanksgiving getaways. Be sure to plan ahead if you're traveling during the holiday weekend.
  • Keep a close eye on the weather forecasts right before your trip to make sure no storms are expected.
  • If you'll be island hopping, book inter-island flights online and in advance to get the best deals.
  • Between the heat, humidity, and piña coladas, it's easy to get dehydrated. Always pack bottles of water when going to the beach or sightseeing to stay refreshed.