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

Anse la Raye - tropical beach on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. It is a paradise destination with a white sand beach and turquoise sea

Simon Dannhauer / Getty Images

By all accounts, May is one of the best times to take a Caribbean vacation. The tourist season of winter has come to an end and travel deals are aplenty, so keep an eye out for cheap flights and rooms. The Caribbean never really gets cold, but May is the final month before the rainy season starts, meaning you can expect tropical temperatures with clear skies. To top it all off, you can also find great events happening all over the region, just in case you need an extra reason for booking a trip.

Hurricane Season in the Caribbean

Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, so it's unlikely that your trip in May will be affected by inclement weather. Hurricanes are unpredictable though, and peak season can vary according to geography. The season is typically busiest between mid-August and mid-September.

Caribbean Weather in May

Temperatures in the Caribbean stay fairly constant throughout the year, so you don't ever have to worry about it being too hot or too cold. Humidity does start to go up in May which can make it feel hotter than it is, but it's not as muggy as it is in the summer months.

  Average Low Temp. Average High Temp. 
Antigua  85 F (30 C) 74 F (23 C) 
Aruba 89 F (32 C) 80 F (27 C)
Bahamas  85 F (30 C)  70 F (21 C) 
Barbados  87 F (31 C)  76 F (24 C) 
Cuba   88 F (31 C)  79 F (26 C) 
Dominican Republic  85 F (30 C)  74 F (23 C) 
Jamaica  85 F (30 C)  74 F (23 C) 
Puerto Rico 87 F (31 C) 76 F (24 C)
St. Lucia  87 F (31 C)  76 F (24 C) 
St. Martin 86 F (30 C) 78 F (26 C)
U.S. Virgin Islands  85 F (30 C)  76 F (24 C)

The rainy season really begins in June and May is fairly dry, but thunderstorms are always a possibility. However, rain usually comes in short and intense bursts on an otherwise sunny day, so even if you do get some wet weather it shouldn't hamper your trip.

What to Pack

Packing for your Carribean trip in May deserves some special consideration. Regardless of where you're visiting, loose-fitting cotton layers will keep you cool during the day, while a light sweater and slacks will be just right for the cooler evenings. Don’t forget swimsuits, plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. You’ll want dressier clothes for visiting nice restaurants or clubs along with more formal footwear than just flip-flops and sneakers, although casual resort wear is widely accepted.

May Events in the Caribbean

Tourist season may be coming to an end, but the Caribbean is still putting out all kinds of events to keep visitors and locals entertained after the busy Carnival season. The islands are hopping with concerts, sailing and fishing tournaments, end-of-season Carnival parties, and more.

  • Barbados holds its well-known Crop Over Festival each year from May through August. The long-running event celebrates the end of the sugar-cane season with three months of festivities.
  • The Grenada Chocolate Festival is a nationwide event in Grenada celebrating everyone's favorite confection. You can also take part in this sweet event by seeing how chocolate is made from start to finish, and the cacao farms across Grenada all host activities to accompany the festival.
  • If you missed the Carnival celebrations earlier in the year, you can still catch St. Maarten Carnival, which is the longest and the latest celebration in the region. Bring your colorful outfits and party spirit for this event which lasts until early May.
  • The other biggest late-season Carnival festival is Batabano on the Cayman Islands, which primarily takes place in the capital city of George Town. Throughout the first week of May, take part in one of the island's biggest celebrations with music, street parties, and West Indian cuisine.
  • For a taste of Puerto Rican arts, the Campechada is a multi-disciplinary festival that showcases the best of local music, painting, photography, theater, film, and all other mediums. It takes place in a different city on the island each year, but always during the beginning of May.
  • Antigua Sailing Week is the biggest regatta in the region and a must-see event for those who love being on the sea. It's held annually from late April into early May. (Antigua Sailing Week was canceled in 2021 and returns April 30 to May 6, 2022.)

May Travel Tips

  • If you want to see several Caribbean destinations at once, consider a cruise. In addition to good weather, May is the off-peak season which means that prices will be lower than your typical winter cruise.
  • While May is never extremely crowded throughout the region, coming earlier in the month will ensure that there are fewer kids as schools get out for the summer later on into May.
  • May is warm and sunny overall, but the region can experience a brief rainy season during this month so come prepared with raingear.

To read up on visiting these tropical islands throughout the year, check out the best time to visit the Caribbean.

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