Guardalavaca lies on the northeast coast of Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean. The town lies on the Bahia Naranjo, giving access to several beaches with white sands. The climate is tropical with high temperatures year round, and little variation in the temperatures. The seasons are more clearly marked by rainfall, making a summer or spring-like climate all year long.
The average temperature ranges from 21°C in January to 27°C across all of the summer months, when there is very little change in the weather for the whole period. The temperatures are tempered somewhat by the trade winds. While rain may fall here, it is generally only very light. This resort still sees a somewhat unique climate, as its sheltered location brings a different pattern of rainfall to what you would find in other nearby resorts.
Rainfall occurs mainly in the wet season months between May and October. Annually rainfall averages around 1300mm and most of this falls in the wet season. Lying on the north coast of Cuba, this resort sees a little more rainfall than towns on the south coast although not as much as the hilly areas of the island that can see double the amount. Rainfall is generally brief and never tends to take up more than 12 days of the month.
The weather between March and May falls within the spring climate. This time of year is generally dry until May, when the rainy season begins in earnest – just ahead of the peak temperatures. Average highs and lows can range between 18°C and 30°C, providing a varied outlook from day to day. You should certainly pay attention to the weather forecast at this time of year.
The averages creep up just a degree at a time, with the hottest of this season being May at 25°C. This correlates to the increase in daily hours of sun, with 8 in March, 9 in April, and 10 in May. With each extra hour in the day, the sun can get just that little bit hotter.
The sea is mild and pleasant, averaging between 26 and 28°C across the three months – absolutely lovely for swimming. The waves are quietest during the first part of the spring and before the rainy season returns, but there is still a good degree of safety so long as you pay attention to the weather. Make sure that you are on the lookout for warning signs such as choppy waves.
From June to September, the summer months kick in. There is a very interesting pattern here, as the climate is more or less unchanged throughout the summer season; the only variation is in the amount of rainfall that you will see. This also has an impact on humidity levels, which will rise and fall in correlation to the summer storms.
The average temperature in June, July, August, and September is the same at 27 °C. This includes a range of 23°C to 31°C when highs and lows are taken into account. It is all very steady, meaning that any of these months is a great choice if you want to enjoy spending some time in the sun.
As for the rain, this comes down heaviest in June, with September as a strong runner-up. These two wet months, which see just above 160mm of rain each, bookend the slightly drier summer months of July and August. Here the rainfall drops to around 130mm, though that really translates to only one less day of rain per month on average.
Sunshine is at its peak in July with 11 hours a day, dropping to 10 hours in June and August and back down to 9 in September, although this still offers plenty of sun. Don’t worry about the sea temperature either as this remains constant at 29°C. This is very comfortable for swimming and will feel luxurious – no shivering in the waves at this resort.
Autumn covers just October and November here in Guardalavaca, as the longer summer means the colder months are shorter. The sea temperature holds at 29°C until November, when it drops to 28°C. 8 hours of sunshine a day is the norm in autumn, bringing the average daily temperatures to 25°C in October and then dropping to 24°C. The average range for these two months is from 20°C to 29°C, still very hot, particularly compared to northern Europe.
The rainy season has a last hurrah in October with around 147mm falling, but just under half that comes in the following month. 79mm in November signals the approach of winter and the dry season, allowing you a good chance of a fully dry holiday if the clouds line up right during your stay.
From December to February, a very mild winter takes hold, allowing you to enjoy a warm climate which may be a strong contrast to what you can expect at home. The rainfall is only slight with a peak in January at 69mm, so this is most definitely the dry season.
Average temperatures move between 21°C and 22°C, with January being the coldest month all year round. Even that is not much of a worry, with lows of 17°C and highs of 26°C throughout the winter. Though this may be the coldest the resort gets, it is certainly not chilly at all by the standards of many resorts elsewhere in the world.
A steady 8 hours of sunshine per day gives you plenty of time to explore, and the sea temperature remains pleasant at 26°C to 27°C so you can still swim throughout winter.
The main weather hazard here is the sun, which is relentless year-round and can easily cause sunburn or sunstroke if you are not prepared to deal with it. This means hats, sunglasses, and copious amounts of sunscreen, even if you visit in the winter.
Guardalavaca lies in the Caribbean hurricane zone and can occasionally be threatened by these tropical cyclones. Thankfully for Guardalavaca it lies on Cuba’s north coast which is generally less vulnerable than the south. September and October are the main hurricane months although they can strike from June to November. Most hotels are well prepared for the event of a hurricane and are built to withstand the storms.
When hurricanes appear in the region, they do normally pass by – though this brings strong winds and rains which follow the storm, so there are still a few hazards at those times. Hurricane Wilma in 2005 provides an example of what can happen when they do hit. This was a record-breaking storm - 760,000 Cubans had to be evacuated across the island and the storm caused nearly $700 million worth of damage. Luckily, these events are rare!