If you're looking for an exotic getaway before the summer holidays start then look no further than the Caribbean Islands. Located near the equator, the Caribbean is renowned for its tropical climate resulting in hot temperatures all year round. May is the perfect time of year to visit the Caribbean and its location is particularly popular due to the warm and dry weather.
Caribbean Weather in May
The southern islands are warm and sunny with slightly higher temperatures and humidity levels compared to the northern islands. On the Island of Aruba for example, temperatures hover around 29°C on average with highs of 31°C in the peak of the afternoon and lows of 26°C at night. Combined with an average rainfall of less than 20mm in May, 100% chance of sunshine and its position outside the hurricane belt, Aruba is one of the hottest and most temperate islands in the Caribbean.
St Lucia is also a fantastic destination if you're planning to visit the Caribbean in May. Often chosen for it's romantic and upmarket ambience, it boasts impressive landscapes and striking scenery. The majority of the island is mountainous and covered in the rainforest with the emerald green volcanic spires of Petit Piton and Gros Piton rising out of the turquoise blue ocean in the south-west. Their presence results in the silvery volcanic sand on the south coast in contrast to the golden beaches of the north. St Lucia's climate is similar to Aruba's, experiencing highs of 31°C in May, averaging 28°C and lows of 25°C. With the sea temperature remaining consistently warm throughout the year, at 28°C in May it's perfect for enjoying the crystal blue waters.
Visiting the Caribbean in May
Visiting the Caribbean in May has many advantages, mostly due to the guaranteed warm weather and very low hurricane risk. It's a perfect time of year to enjoy the sun and cooling winds without having to endure the excessive heat. Being the last month of the dry season rainfall remains low, which significantly increases from June.
If you're a couple looking for a quiet escape, then May is a great time of year to go as schools have recently returned after the Easter break. Prices are often highest during peak season (mid-December to mid-April) so by visiting the Caribbean in May (known as the 'shoulder season') you'll see prices reduce by as much as a third and are more likely to find a bargain or last-minute deal. You'll also save on flight costs when travelling in term time.
Resorts often make an effort in the quieter months to promote local events so you may even find you can negotiate on ticket prices to events, tours, guides and attractions. With the sea temperatures also beautifully warm and inviting during May you enjoy a wide range of activities and watersports such as swimming, snorkelling and jet skiing when it is relatively quiet.
However, despite the many advantages of visiting the Caribbean in May, there are a few downsides you should know about. You will see a slight increase in humidity levels from May but with average nighttime temperatures of 23°C even the most humid of islands shouldn't be too bad to cope with. However, it does depend on which island you visit, as the climates do vary. The northern islands such as the Dominican Republic and Jamaica tend to receive slightly higher rainfall than their southern neighbours during May, but with highs of 30°C in Jamaica, for example, there is little chance the odd shower will dampen your holiday spirits. For some islands, rainfall actually peaks in May but if anything, it may add to the tropical experience!
The official 'hurricane season' falls between 1st June to 30th November, so generally visiting the Caribbean in May is considered low risk when it comes to hurricanes. However, it is worth noting that some regions are more likely to be affected than others, such as the islands within the northern region. Hurricanes occur most frequently in the northeast of the Caribbean, around islands such as the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
With the majority of resorts still buzzing from the Easter festivities marking the end of the peak season, the smaller resorts may close at this time of year and not every attraction will be open. It is worth doing your research before you travel as if you're after a lively and entertaining holiday then some islands will be more suitable than others in May.
May Events and Festivals
May in the Caribbean signals the end of the Easter festivities, but some islands are still very much alive with celebrations. There are plenty of events throughout the Caribbean in May such as carnival parties, parades, boat races (regattas), concerts, sporting events, and much more.
St Lucia Jazz Festival
St Lucia holds a Jazz festival in early May with concerts, street parties and fashion shows taking place across the island in the southern Caribbean. The festival dates back to the turtle-fishing season, and the Islanders take part in costumed street parades and parties. Music genres include jazz, calypso, soca and R&B.
Visit the official site for more information: http://www.stlucia.org/jazzfestival/
Grenada Chocolate Festival
For the food lovers, Grenada holds an annual Chocolate Festival in mid-May where visitors can learn about cocoa and chocolate production. There are trips arranged to cocoa plantations, chocolate making workshops and opportunities to sample chocolate and cocoa-inspired cuisine.
See the full schedule of events here: http://www.grenadachocolatefest.com/