Averages for Havana in May
The month of May in Havana is filled with a lot of bright sunshine, rising temperatures and an increase in precipitation. By the start of May, the tourism high season in Havana is over, and while the temperatures are higher, there is a quieter atmosphere that settles across the capital city. Due to the drop in tourism, May is a month of deals and discounts on flights, accommodation, car rentals and resorts. It can be a great month to visit Havana before the high temperatures and possible hu...
The month of May in Havana is filled with a lot of bright sunshine, rising temperatures and an increase in precipitation. By the start of May, the tourism high season in Havana is over, and while the temperatures are higher, there is a quieter atmosphere that settles across the capital city. Due to the drop in tourism, May is a month of deals and discounts on flights, accommodation, car rentals and resorts. It can be a great month to visit Havana before the high temperatures and possible hurricanes of summer arrive.
The month of May sees an increase in precipitation over the previous spring months of March and April. As the summer progresses in Havana, this trend will continue and the summer months will see more and more rain. Throughout May visitors can expect an average of 70 mm of rain, making the only months that receive more precipitation June and October.
While Havana does not receive a lot of precipitation during any given month, visitors should expect May to have an average 8 wet days. This means there is a 60% chance of rain on a given day. However, humidity is lower than in the upcoming summer months, and May is the last opportunity for tourists to visit before the true rainy season begins.
Temperatures continue to creep higher throughout May. The average temperature rises to 26°C (79°F) throughout the month of May, which is an increase over the other spring months of March and April. By the end of May, it is obvious that summer is on the horizon and Havana is about heat up.
The average high temperature for the month a hot 31°C (88°F). From midday through late afternoon, the days can be very hot and are best spent in the water or in the shade. However, a cool trade wind blows through Havana to provide some relief. Overnight and early morning can be cooler, with an average low temperature of 21°C (70°F).
Havana is situated directly on the coast, and the charm of this capital city lies in the historic architecture and culture located right on the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout May the temperature of the Gulf waters steadily rises to reach a very warm seawater temperature of 28°C (82°F). Despite the warm water temperature, the Gulf of Mexico can still be a relief from the hot white-sand beaches stretching outside Havana.
Where to Stay
The month of May sees temperatures rise from comfortable to stifling in Havana, and it is time for guests to seek options outside Old Havana and along the seaside. Fortunately, one of the best hotels in Havana is located in the residential neighborhood of Miramar, just along the water. The 5-star Melia Habana has a great swimming pool, and every other modern amenity and service offered by a large hotel. It is also the hotel most recommended for business travelers to Havana.
Visitors to Havana are often seeking more than a beach vacation, and something new, weird and wonderful is easy to find with a stay at Hotel Los Frailes. This interesting and unique hotel is religious themed, and even the staff dresses like monks. From the lobby to the guest rooms everything is decorated in soothing warm earth tones that add to the sense of serenity within this central hotel. Despite the quirky theme, the management and staff at Hotel Los Frailes are serious about providing a great guest experience.
Kitsch to classic, the expanse of accommodation in Havana is finally developing to include all levels and types of guest experience. One hotel that has watched Cuba change, develop, retreat back and rebuild is the Mercure Hotel Sevilla. The Mercure Hotel Sevilla opened in 1908, and its history is as complicated and interesting as Cuba's. Once owned by a gangster, now expertly run by the Mercure management group, this hotel provides a personalised and luxurious guest experience. Be sure to book your stay over a Friday night to listen to the opera from the hotel's rooftop.
What to Do
Cubans love to celebrate, and before the steaming weather of summer descends on Havana, the more manageable heat and humidity of May are a perfect time to hold festivals across the city. Visitors can see the Havana International Guitar Festival, which gives a chance to all the upcoming guitarists to demonstrate their skills.
There is also the International Poetry Festival, where poets from around the world gather at the Convento de San Francisco de Asis. Known as the Cubapoesia, this poetry festival was first organised in 1996, and the topics to be read vary each year. As well, visitors and locals flock to the Cubadisco, which is a music extravaganza and trade fair that ends a with glamorous award ceremony.
Hit the Beach
While most visitors to Havana stay on the main island of Cuba and spend their beach days lounging along the Playas del Este outside Havana, there are other options for sunseekers. Cayo Levisa is an island located west of Havana. Travel time to Cayo Levisa from Havana is around two hours, so visitors will want to get an early start if you plan to make this a day trip (however multi-day trips are available). Transportation should be booked through a travel agent in Havana or in the nearby town of Vinales.
Where to Eat & Drink
El Templete is a monument in central Havana that symbolises the founding of San Cristóbal de la Habana in 1519. Of course, San Cristóbal de la Habana later became Habana (or Havana in English), and the monument still stands. The restaurant El Templete that takes its name from this important monument is located just around the corner. El Templete reopened in 2004, and began to serve the seafood the restaurant was famous for decades before. The restaurant features artwork by several Cuban artists, and the menu changes to reflect the works hanging on the walls.
The Sociedad Asturiana Castropol has been called the best restaurant in Havana, and visitors will not be disappointed if they test this theory for themselves. The restaurant is split into two levels with two different menus. On the first floor visitors can order delightful Italian dishes, however it is the second floor where the kitchen serves traditional Cuban food. The tables situated on the balcony offer a flawless view of the Malecón and water.
The trendy Vedado neighborhood is teeming with new restaurants and bars, most of them catering to the stylish residents of this central neighborhood. Standing out among the pack is Mediterraneo Havana. Opened in 2013, this steak house is located in a former private mansion. The view is excellent and it is worth requesting a table on the second floor balcony, particularly to enjoy the last cool evenings in May.