If you want to escape the rampant consumerism of Christmas, there is nowhere better in the world to go than Cuba. As the rest of the world shuts down for the festive season, Cuba is very much open for business, which can make a refreshing change. If you’re looking for a non-traditional Christmas, Cuba in December is the place to be.
December falls right in the middle of the Cuban dry season, so you can expect blue skies and plenty of sunshine on Christmas day. While Christmas in Cuba might not be like anything you have ever experienced before, Christmas Eve is an important family celebration known as “Noche Buena” in Spanish. This is usually marked with a big family feast and dancing into the small hours.
If you’re heading to Cuba in December, don’t be fooled by the time of year. The sun still packs a punch so you should wear sunscreen when outdoors and keep your head and shoulders protected during the hottest part of the day
Cuba doesn’t have four seasons like most places, instead, there are just two seasons. Rainy and dry seasons. December is right in the middle of the dry season which makes it a very popular time to visit the island. If you are planning to spend Christmas and New Year in Cuba, make sure you book your casa particulars well in advance as you may struggle to find somewhere to stay if you just show up.
Cuba weather in December is typically hot, dry and sunny. The humidity should be kept at bay by the cooling breeze and the temperature is unlikely to ever drop to single figures. Throughout the island, the average temperature in Cuba in December is around 23°C which is very pleasant for sightseeing and sitting on the beach.
|Santiago de Cuba||29°C||21°C|
The average temperature in Cuba in December is around 23°C, but this can vary depending on where you are visiting. For example, the North of the island typically gets more rainfall due to the direction of the wind. The South is typically warmer and more humid. The humidity and wind can all have an impact on how warm or cool it seems.
In Havana, you can expect highs of 27°C and the temperature will rarely drop below 19°C, so you can leave your warm clothes at home. In Holguin, the temperature will be between 20°C to 28°C with a cool breeze and warm seas at the coast. In Santiago de Cuba, you can expect highs of 29°C and lows of 21°C. And finally, in Trinidad, expect temperatures of 33°C and lows of 22°C.
Leave your expectations of a normal Christmas at the airport, because you really won’t need them! Even without the usual Christmas entertainment, there’s plenty of things to do in Cuba in December. Read on to find out our favourite picks…
In Havana’s exhibition centre Pabexpo, December sees the arrival of the International Craft Fair. This brings together artists and crafters from around the country for lectures, exhibits, fashion shows and an incredible market.
Havana also plays host to the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, an international film festival shining a light on the immense breadth of talent in Latin America. It’s also host to an International Jazz Festival which is a must-see for music fans.
If you’re looking for Christmas Eve plans, you could also follow other travellers on a sort of pilgrimage to Remedios, a small town in the Villa Clara province. Legend has it that during the 1820s, a young priest from the town decided to have a group of children make a noise with whatever they had to hand in an effort to awaken lazy parishioners to attend mass in the chilly mornings of 24th December. From then on, neighbours would go out into the streets on the nights prior to Christmas for music and merrymaking. This has now become a bit of a legend among the travelling community.
For more events taking place in Cuba in December, check out our Cuba Calendar.
You can also catch a Vamos Cuba group tour, or create your bespoke Cuban experience with a private tour. Here are our picks of the best things to do in Cuba in December with Vamos Cuba.
It’s too hot to just sit on the beach, so we recommend getting out and seeing the sights with our small group tour of Cuba, taking in the sights of Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Vinales. Find out more…
Take advantage of the cooler weather to practice your salsa moves without working up too much of a sweat. Our solo salsa holiday is perfect year-round.