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

Paula Negromonte CC by 2.0

The weather is excellent, there's no threat of hurricanes, resorts are into the low-season mode with great rates and last-minute bargains, and there are plenty of events and festivals designed to bring visitors down to fill up those empty hotel rooms. So, what's not to like? Some destinations may feel a bit "dead" at this time of year, and not every attraction may be open, but overall, May is an excellent time to visit the Caribbean.

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

With average daily temperatures ranging between 76 degrees F and 86 degrees F and just 4.8 inches of rain, you really can't beat the May weather in the Caribbean. It's great beach and swimming weather, not baking hot as in the height of summer, and even more northerly destinations like Bermuda are starting to warm up. Additionally, since hurricane season doesn't begin until June, you don't have to worry about a storm spoiling your trip. You will see some minor temperature variations throughout the region:

  • Antigua: 85 F (30 C) / 74 F (23 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)
  • St. Lucia: 87 F (31 C) / 76 F (24 C)

It rains an average of nine days across the region during May, which is much drier than during the late summer or early fall months.

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 a swimsuit, plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. You’ll want dressier clothes for visiting nice restaurants or clubs—and bring more formal footwear than just flip-flops and sneakers.

May Events in the Caribbean

May in the Caribbean signals the end of the Easter season, but the islands are hopping with concerts, sailing and fishing tournaments, dive events, and more.

  • Antigua Sailing Week is the biggest regatta in the region. It's held annually, from late April into early May.
  • Barbados hold its well-known Crop Over Festival each year from early May through August. The long-running event celebrates the end of the sugar-cane season with two months of festivities.
  • The Grenada Chocolate Festival is a nine-day event celebrating everyone's favorite confection. The dates vary year-to-year, but it's typically held from late May into June.
  • St. Maarten touts its St. Maarten Carnival as the "biggest and best" in the northern Caribbean. The celebration runs from the end of April through the first week of May.

    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 from 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.