Is there any better way of starting off the year than with a vacation overseas? We don’t think so!
But is Cuba the sort of place you should be visiting in January? Or would you be better off heading somewhere else instead?
Read on to discover everything you need to know about visiting Cuba in January and what to expect.
Why we recommend visiting Cuba in January
There are numerous benefits of traveling to Cuba in January. You can visit cooler western areas like Piñar del Rio, discover southern treasures like Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba, and enjoy the northern beaches of Varadero all in one vacation without the oppressive summer heat.
There are fewer crowds at this time of year
In Havana, January is high season, and hotels fill up rapidly, but most places are still quiet outside the capital. For instance, Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa in the far east are likely to have deserted streets. Plus, you’ll enjoy less expensive lodging.
Even in January, people celebrate the holidays and the new year. The top performers from the island perform during the annual Havana Jazz Festival in January, joined by well-known international acts.
The Marcha de las Antorchas, honoring Jose Marti, Cuba’s national hero, will also take place on January 27. To honor his legacy, students march from Havana University carrying torches that are ablaze.
There are some great sight-seeing opportunities
Tours in Havana provide great city sights in a relaxed environment.
Explore Malecon by eating Cuban food and listening to live music in one of the numerous authentic restaurants in the capital city.
To get a sense of genuine Cuba, stroll the cobblestone streets of Trinidad. And, if it becomes too hot, explore the vibrantly colored churches in Camaguey.
It’s the perfect time to go hiking
Take in the lush surroundings of Viales, which are made up of deep woods and tobacco plantations.
You can also enjoy hiking around this UNESCO World Heritage site. Or, you can explore the underground cave system during this time of year, thanks to the cool temperatures.
What’s the weather like when visiting Cuba in January?
One of the finest times to travel to Cuba is in January. Clear, sunny skies, warm temperatures, and low humidity are the norm.
Cuba experiences an average of 7-8 hours of sunshine each day and maximum temperatures that range from 78 to 86°F in January.
The capital Havana and Varadero on the north coast are somewhat cooler (80°F) than Santiago de Cuba and Trinidad on the south coast (86°F).
In the Caribbean, there is always a little probability of rain. However, January is a generally dry month, and rain usually comes in short, rapid bursts. Many days of cloud cover and drizzle won’t be present.
Around 79°F, the sea will be ideal for swimming.
The costs and crowds when visiting Cuba in January
Due to the high travel season, prices for hotels and flights increase during this time of year. Even while many casa particulars (private B&Bs) raise their prices at this time, they continue to provide affordable lodging, especially when compared to state hotels.
It is advisable to book preferred lodging early on. The same goes for reservations at the most loved paladares (private eateries) and for rental cars.
The major plazas of Havana can appear crowded. However, Cuba does not appear to be particularly crowded elsewhere.
What are some of the best things to do in Cuba during January?
For Cubans, the month of January is particularly significant since it marks the anniversary of the Triunfo de la Revolución on January 1 (Triumph of the Revolution).
To commemorate this significant day for Cubans, recreational and artistic events are held year after year throughout the whole month of January, primarily during its first two weeks.
Discover live music performances by bands, performances by legendary Cuban troubadours, children’s songs, and shows, among many other things, that you may take in as if you were a native Cuban.
But January doesn’t stop there since on January 28, the nation’s hero Jose Mart’s birth is remembered, as explained above.
Many events are held on this day to honor his life and contributions, including competitions, exhibitions, the customary Marti pioneer parades, museum visits, vigils, and walks.
Cuban students are organizing the Marcha de las Antorchas, which is a Torchlight March. This will take place on January 27 during the evening, as they go from the University of Havana to the Fragua Martiana. If you want to learn more about the real feelings of the Cuban people, you can attend.
The Festival Internacional Jazz Plaza, or the International Jazz Plaza Festival, takes place in January in Santiago de Cuba and Havana.
You can listen to the top international and Cuban bands performing this amazing genre of music at this festival.
You’ll typically find that the event takes place during the second and third week of January at the biggest theatres in these two cities. You won’t regret taking in some of the greatest jazz artists the world has to offer.
The best parts of Cuba to visit in January
There are lots of beautiful places in Cuba. Three places we highly recommend visiting during this month include:
The third-largest city in Cuba, Camagüey, has an amazing collection of historical structures and a thriving art scene that will appeal to everyone who enjoys history and culture.
The largest UNESCO site in Cuba is located in the city’s historic center, where there are many charming plazas where you can relax and take in the ambiance.
In January, Camagüey is the ideal place to avoid the hustle and bustle, and get lost exploring the city’s numerous side streets and obscure alleys while taking in the stunning architecture.
Lovers of movies can take a stroll down the appropriately called Cinema Street, which features five different theatres and a variety of other companies associated with the film industry. Or, you can see a ballet performance with the locals at the charming old-fashioned theatre, Teatro Principal.
Varadero is the ideal beach spot if you want to go all out on a Caribbean vacation. In fact, Cuba in January is well known for this reason. The 20 km-long resort town is filled with hotels, exclusive beaches, and a wide variety of tourist-friendly restaurants and pubs.
Varadero is brimming with activities, from boating at Josone Park to exploring the Cueva de Ambrosio caves.
Yet, the area is referred to as the “Blue Beach” for a reason. Because of the area’s crystal blue waters, it is one of the best locations on the entire island for swimming in the sea.
You can take advantage of the nice weather by visiting the quieter town of Baracoa on the east of the island, since the central parts of Cuba tend to be somewhat crowded with tourists in January.
The amazing nature around this location, which includes lush rainforests, waterfalls, and coconut groves just waiting to be explored, is the main draw for tourists.
The beaches of Baracoa are brilliant, and they’re certainly not as crowded as the beaches in central Cuba. On the beachside promenade is a statue of Christopher Columbus, who arrived in the town in 1492, which history buffs can appreciate.
January is definitely a great time to visit Cuba
So there you have it: everything you need to know about visiting Cuba in January and what you should expect.
There’s no denying that January is a great time to visit this part of the world. The weather is great, and there are a lot of events going on in Havana and other areas too!
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