The Caribbean's most popular islands for travelers have one big claim to fame: year-round tropical weather. February in much of the United States is a least-favorite month. Everyone's tired of winter, and the worse it has been, the more they want to escape to the sun, sand, and warm tropical breezes of the Caribbean. The winter season is high season for the islands, and the promise of escape, weather-wise and otherwise, is the main reason.
If you're seduced by sunny skies and warm tropical breezes in February, here's what you need to know before you go.
Weather Across the Islands
The weather across the Caribbean in February is relatively similar, but there are some variations. Here are the facts for a few of the most-visited islands scattered across the region. Generally speaking, wind can make the ocean choppy throughout the month. You can pretty much depend on good beach weather most days, but it's not a 100 percent guarantee.
- Bahamas: The low temperature in the Bahamas in February generally is in the upper 60s Fahrenheit, with highs about 10 degrees warmer. Pretty much perfect tropical weather. But on the sunny front, it's a little bit negative. It's at least partly cloudy a lot of the time, and there's a chance of rain every day, with the monthly average rainfall around an inch. February is relatively humid but doesn't reach the muggy level. You'll experience a nice breeze on most days, with the average wind speed about 13.5 mph all month. The sun is coming back to the Bahamas in February and adds 36 minutes to the day by the end of the month when there are 11 hours and 38 minutes of daylight.
- Cayman Islands: It's noticeably warmer in the Cayman Islands in February, with daily lows around 74 degrees and highs in the low 80s. As in the Bahamas, clouds fill the sky much of the time in the Caymans. But you won't experience much rain in the Caymans in February. It's likely to be humid, even muggy, throughout the month, but a dependable breeze of about 14 mph eliminates a lot of that discomfort. The sun gives the Caymans 27 more minutes of daylight by the end of February when it's around for 11 hours and 45 minutes.
- U.S. Virgin Islands: Temperatures in the U.S. Virgin Islands also have about a 10-degree spread, with lows around 73 and highs touching 83 degrees, similar to the Caymans. As on other islands across the region, clouds are pretty much constant over the U.S. Virgin Islands. Days will be mostly dry, though, with rainfall rarely totaling more than 1.6 inches in the month. It will feel humid but not muggy during February, with the trend toward comfortable levels as the month goes on. Wind averaging 15 mph makes for pleasant days that have daylight for 11 hours and 46 minutes by the end of the month, 25 minutes longer than at the beginning.
- Barbados: In Barbados in February, the thermometer moves just a little. Lows hover around 76 degrees, and the thermometer rarely rises above 84 degrees in the afternoon. It's typically less cloudy on Barbados than on many Caribbean islands in February. It's not likely to rain, with monthly average rainfall at .2 inches. It's almost certain to be muggy, but it will also be windy, with it blowing at an average speed of between 17 mph and 17.6 mph all month. February picks up 18 minutes of daylight, with the last day of the month seeing the sun for 11 hours and 52 minutes.
What to Pack
You'll want to pack swimsuits, summer-weight clothing, and sandals and lightweight shoes for daytime in the Caribbean, and you might also want to pack a light sweater for nighttime—though it doesn't get significantly cooler when the sun goes down.
Pack a light jacket for the occasional cool down at night and take a poncho or raincoat if you plan on being there for a week or longer because you'll likely catch at least one seasonal storm during that time.
Pros and Cons of Visiting in February
There's a reason this is the most popular time of the year to visit the Caribbean: The weather is warm and relatively sunny while snow and cold are the norms up north, making the islands a perfect getaway from one of the coldest months of winter.
There's also no better time for a romantic trip to the islands than on or around Valentine's Day when many Caribbean resorts offer special packages designed to woo couples, and of course, February is when Lent begins and the frenzy of Carnival hits its peak on many Caribbean islands.
As far as festivals go, St. Martin, Jamaica, Curacao, St. Barts, Martinique, Trinidad, and Dominica are among the islands celebrating Carnival in February, and the International Love Festival invites romantics to warm up in Bermuda, while Jamaica celebrates the life and music of Bob Marley on his birthday (Feb. 6, 1945) each year.
Perhaps because of this conflation of great activities and attractions available during the month, February is high season in the Caribbean—the third busiest month behind March and April—so you can expect crowds and rates on the high end for hotels and flights. February school vacation brings lots of families down to the islands, so avoid school vacation weeks if you're looking for a romantic getaway and book rooms and packages well in advance.