Waves rolling across the turquoise ocean, birds gliding in clear blue skies… mega yachts docked in full splendor. These images of paradise might seem like a dream, but in the Bahamas, exceptional is a way of life. So is simplicity, and good old fashioned fun!
You might have heard rave reviews about this part of the globe, but how much do you really know about the Bahamas, and when is the best time to visit?
Although the beaches are more crowded, the best time to visit is during high season, which runs from December to mid-April, making it a great spot for a well-deserved spring break. Bahamian summers are generally warm and sometimes rainy, with daytime temperatures reaching about 89.7°F. Hurricane season lasts from June to November.
Read on to find out more about the best time to visit, and what to expect!
In this article on the Sandals Blog:
The Bahamas in a nutshell.
When to go to the Bahamas: Seasonality.
What if I booked a cruise?
The weather in the Bahamas.
Sunshine hours in the Bahamas.
Major events in the Bahamas.
Featured activity: Swimming with the pigs!
Before you go...
Located to the East of Florida, the islands of the Bahamas (over 700 of them!) have always been promoted as the ultimate vacation destination. This tropical archipelago is blessed with a natural beauty that is almost beyond belief, and coupled with its melting pop of people, features sights and sounds that are packed with a unique history and culture.
Many of the islands of the Bahamas remain uninhabited. That in no way slows the flowing traffic of curious tourists – because of its proximity to the United States, the islands have a constant flow of arrivals from the US. Most visitors arrive via the Lynden Pindling International Airport (Nassau) by plane.
Popular island destinations in the Bahamas include New Providence Island (Nassau/Paradise Island), Grand Bahama Island, The Exumas, The Abacos, Eleuthera, Long Island, Harbor Island, and San Salvador Island.
There are lots of things you need to keep in mind when planning a Caribbean vacation, and finding the right time to go is one of them. In travel industry terms, the year is made up of three very important seasons which are detailed below. Here are the pros and cons for each:
• The islands of the Bahamas are their liveliest at this time, with lots of festivals, regattas and other events. This is a great time to travel with kids, as there are lots of activities across the islands around this time.
• These months are outside of the hurricane season so you can expect good weather and lots of sunshine.
• The months of January and February are great for traveling to the Bahamas for people who love the sun, but not extreme heat and humidity. There is also a great balance of heat and cool in March. Keep in mind that the evenings may get a little Caribbean chilly*, so pack appropriately.
• Traveling to the Bahamas between December – April in general tends to be more expensive.
• You may find yourself stuck in lines for longer than usual at various attractions.
• It may be more difficult finding accommodation, particularly if your heart’s set on a specific villa or resort, and not open to exploring alternatives.
Not to be confused with chills in winter-prone areas! On breezier than usual Caribbean nights, light-weight long-sleeved shirts or jeans/pants will do.
• With a slightly lower volume of arrivals than peak season, the shoulder season can be great for exploring the best of the Bahamas in a more peaceful setting.
• Flight prices tend to be moderate to low cost, so this is a great time for family travel.
• There’s lots of Spring break related activities happening on the island so there’s no short supply of things to do.
• If you’re into snorkeling or scuba diving, this is an ideal time to visit the islands as the warmer than usual waters attract various species of sea life you might not see at other times.
• The Bahamas is party-central during spring break, so if you’re looking for a completely Zen vacation or a romantic getaway, this may not be the best time to go. Good to know: Sandals resorts in the Bahamas are couples only, so nothing will stand in the way of undisturbed romance!
• The hurricane season in the Caribbean begins in June so the weather may be less than optimal at this time. The hurricane season in the Caribbean spans from June through November.
• The best flight deals tend to be in the slow season, so if you’re on a budget, this is the ideal time to travel.
• Resorts and hotels tend to offer great deals at this time to attract more visitors.
• The island is less crowded, which is great if you desire a more personalized experience.
• As this is the off season there’s less happening and you may have to settle for what’s available as opposed to what you’d really like to do.
• These months are smack in the middle of the hurricane season so you’re more likely to run into poor weather.
Insider tip: Get travel insurance
It’s always a good idea to get travel insurance when flying to the Caribbean, particularly during the hurricane season. In this case, a little extra spending really won’t hurt! Sandals offers a non-mandatory travel insurance to cover you in case of such events.
Flying isn’t the only option for getting to the Bahamas. Caribbean cruises are also popular, and at least four cruise lines come and go regularly from the bustling Prince George dock in the Bahamas. When planning for your cruise, it’s important to pay attention to the weather. Though cruise ships are able to navigate bad weather, in the hurricane season for example, stable weather conditions make it easier to explore the various destinations on route. The best time for a Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas is between December and April when conditions are moderate (not too hot or humid).
On the downside, if you choose to embark on a Caribbean cruise during the hurricane season you may be setting yourself up for a rockier than usual ride. Also, when arriving at the various ports, you may or may not be able to fully explore the islands if the weather is too poor. Staying at a resort gives you more flexibility and time to explore the islands and takes away the hassle of stopping off at often crowded ports for just one day.
Insider tip: While selecting the cruise option, keep in mind that the compact schedule may take away from the time you actually get to spend enjoying the beauty of the Bahamas! To fully enjoy the Bahamas book one of the all-inclusive resorts on the islands.
There are more considerations when traveling to the Bahamas. You need to learn about the Caribbean’s ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ seasons. The dry season spans from February to June, while the wet or rainy season starts in July and ends in January. When traveling during the wet season, expect to see an increase in rainfall. Typically, August and September tend to be the rainiest months in the Bahamas.
Though this Caribbean territory does not experience winter, months like January tend to be cooler than most with lows of 63°F. Highs in January are typically around 79°F. Notably in December, Nassau (the capital) receives the lowest daily average of sunshine – but on the grand scale of things, the temperatures remains mostly on the upside in this part of the globe.
It helps knowing when to expect the sunniest conditions ahead of embarking on any Caribbean adventure. In the Bahamas, the sunniest month is April, marking on average 9.2 hours of sunshine, while the least sunny month is December, with a recorded 6.9 hours of sunshine per day.
Keep in mind the dry season spans from February to June, while the wet or rainy season starts in July and ends in January (see graph further up this article).
Now that you’re well versed with Bahamian weather, now comes the fun part. Bahamians love to share their very mixed culture, and for this reason, there are a wide range of activities happening in the islands throughout the year. Here are some of the most popular events which may help you decide on the best time to visit:
A Mardi-Gras-style festival usually held on Christmas Night into the early hours of Boxing Day (the day after), with a second round held on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day.
It is a big national pride event where local groups compete for boasting rights. If you win both days it is a big deal for the group (in terms of pride and bragging rights).
An annual festival held every February in the Exumas for yachtsmen.
A weeklong tournament in March for avid deep sea fishers!
This event held in George Town in April, in the Exumas, features boat races and lots of onshore activities.
Split into four different venues and times, this event happens between April and June.
Pineapples, a parade, arts & craft… what more do you need? This event happens in the first week of June.
Parades, fireworks and lots of entertainment. July 10, throughout the islands.
Authentic Bahamian seafood is on display at this festival held in October.
Three day celebration at Nassau and Paradise Island in the last week of November. Lots of live performances!
There are loads of other regattas and festivals happening in the islands throughout the year. If you’re vacationing in the Bahamas, you’re bound to find something to do!
Tourism officials promote Pig Island as having something to do for everyone. One of the most interesting things to do in the Exumas, which has gained popularity over the years, is swimming with the pigs that live there.
Picture this: The most adorable pigs and piglets swimming out to your boat to greet you on arrival to a tropical paradise. The pigs are, for the most part, friendly, and this is a must do activity particularly if you’re traveling with kids. Sunny days are best for this adventure, so pay attention to the season. Interestingly, the Exumas are one of the only places in the world where you’ll find flying – oh, we mean swimming, pigs.
Insider tip: Want to vacation close to the swimming pigs? Book Sandal’s luxury resort in Exuma!
Traveling at the time which matches your expectation is a sure way to ensure you get the most bang for your buck!
Keep in mind that seasonality is something to consider when planning the ultimate Caribbean vacation in the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. Luckily, when traveling to the Bahamas, the odds are in your favor for some fun in the sun. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be better prepared for your Caribbean vacay.
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