December is the time for snowbirds escaping North America and Europe. February is for the college breakers looking to party in San Juan and Cancun. Summer is beset by hurricanes. But what about the spring? Check out our guide to the best Caribbean islands to visit in April for tips on where’s hot and where’s not at this point in the calendar.
It runs through seven islands in the sparkling Caribbean Sea that we think hit something of a peak when March gives way to April. Low rainfall counts, decent levels of sunshine, but also dips in the visitor numbers are all in the offing, as are some seriously enticing islands.
Yep, our list of the best Caribbean islands to visit in April hops from the volcano-topped reaches of St Lucia to the picture-perfect sands of Grenada. It also throws in plenty of zingy jerk chicken and partying in the rowdy towns of Aruba for those looking for samba dancing until dawn. Let’s begin…
Aruba makes it onto this list not because it’s a particularly great island to visit in April but because it’s a particularly great island to visit just about any time in the year. You see, little Aruba of the ABC isles might officially be a Caribbean island, but it actually sits just off the coast of Venezuela in South America. That keeps it neatly out of the main path of summer-fall hurricanes, and bathed in good warmth and sunshine for much of the calendar.
More than that, though, Aruba is a bit of a fav among North American snowbirds and spring breakers. They come down from December to March for the rambunctious nightlife and casino gambling that’s offered by the island’s capital, colourful Oranjestad. By April, most will be back at home in the stars and stripes nursing their rum-induced hangovers.
That means you’ll get the beaches largely to yourself. And what beaches they are! Check out award-winning Eagle Beach, where you can laze on sugar-white sand under the shade of divi-divi trees. Or head to Arashi Beach, which has waters that are positively swimming-pool-esque.
Let’s get this cleared up: St Lucia is a stunning, jaw-dropping island no matter the time of the year. With its volcano-carved coastline and arrowhead shoreline mountains, the Pitons, it looks wonderful bathed in sunshine but also haloed in wet-season mist. And there are hot springs to enjoy if the temperatures do dip a touch, which they very rarely do.
But April actually happens to be a sweet spot for visiting St Lucia, anyway. It’s the tail-end of the official peak season, which hits its own zenith with New Year and January. Temperatures sit steady at about the 28 C mark. Plus, and here’s the kicker, April is the driest month of the lot, with a mere 20mm of rainfall from the 1st to the 30th.
If that screams beach weather then that’s because it is! So, stick to the west coast, which has the most incredible string of white-tinged bays under soaring mountains. The best of them are Rodney Bay, Castries, and Soufriere, which is the home of those aforementioned Piton mountains and some of the most romantic honeymoon hotels this side of the Maldives.
Calling all culture vultures – there’s almost no better place in the whole Caribbean if you’re into music, art, and real, raw human stories than Cuba. Once a land denied to Western travelers, it’s been slowly opening since the early 90s and now offers a glimpse at a unique country of tobacco plantations, vintage Cadillacs, jazz bars, and Communism.
Ask any local here and they’ll tell you: April is a fantastic time to come to the isle of smoking cigars and Cuba Libre cocktails. It’s the hottest month of the traditional high season, which runs from December to April in all, but doesn’t yet have the soaring humidity counts of the main summer months.
The upshot? You’ll probably want to work in at least some beach time between walking tours of Havana. For that, head north to Varadero, a whole spit of a headland that’s encompassed by sugary sands and coral gardens.
The Dominican Republic is one of the larger countries in the Caribbean, occupying one half of colossal Hispaniola Island. The size means that there’s plenty to get through here, no matter if you’re after whale-filled bays or tobacco-covered sierras.
The vast majority of arrivals make straight for the resort strips of Punta Cana. That’s good and all if you want uninterrupted sunbathing sessions and luxury hotels. But there’s so much more to see that it almost seems wrong to while away your DR vacation in those parts and those parts alone.
Head to Samana Bay in the north and you can tread secret beaches of black sand topped by crowds of lanky coconut palms. Go further along the shores there to find Cabarete, a mecca for windsurfers that gets great swell in April. Or there’s the wild Parque Nacional Jose Armando Bermúdez, a land of lonely mountains stalked by parrots and wild pigs.
With a nickname like the Spice Isle, you’re surely expecting something special from Grenada. Well…you’re expecting right, because this is one seriously stunning member of the Caribbean chain. Made up jungle-tufted mountains and lush rainforests, it’s long been known as a center of cultivation for cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and just about everything else that smells downright lovely.
They waft through the air and mingle with the balmy see breezes in April, a month which sees hardly a jot of rain to bring the mood down. In fact, April is the driest month of all in this corner of the Carib sea, with an average of just three days of the wet stuff.
On the coast, the elegant curve of Grand Anse Beach takes the biscuit. It’s got powdery sands that look like they’ve been dusted with bit of that homegrown cinnamon powder, and fringing of sea grapes and coconut palms. Be sure to add in at least one day’s adventuring in the Annandale Park, too, which has gushing waterfalls between pockets of colossal ferns and orchids.
Ah, Barbados – the island has become something of a byword for luxurious holidaying. Jet setters go for champagne on the quayside of Bridgetown; yachters crowd the harbors with their 100-million-dollar vessels. But it doesn’t have to cost a bomb. Vacation in April and you’re likely to find that hotel rates and flight prices in Barbados are about 20% lower on average.
The bargains come because most of the crowds here depart after spending the winter under the Bajan sunshine. April is when they call anchors aweigh and skim back to the Greek Islands or the Adriatic for the warmer months. It’s not really anything to do with the weather, because this island remains balmy and dry until around the middle of May.
That’s perfect for seeking out the eye-wateringly-wonderful beaches of the southern and western shores. We’re talking award-winning sands like Holetown, Crane Beach, and Bottom Bay. Said sands are pure, talcum white, and the seas are turquoise. Enough said.
The home of spicy jerk and bumping reggae is another joy for April travelers. The reason? The early spring sits neatly between the two peak vacation times for Jamaica, which means crowds – usually the number one enemy on this coveted isle – dip to a nice low, taking everything from flight prices to hotel rates with them.
There are two main choices when it comes to Jamaica. You can stick to the north shore around Montego Bay. Most will do that, because there’s a 57-mile stretch of shoreline that runs through a stream of impeccable beaches, including the James Bond-worthy Ocho Rios and big Discovery Bay. The other option is to go off the beaten path, up to the Blue Mountains to seek out coffee plantations, or over to Boston Bay for unexpected surf spots.
The only downside to a Jamaica trip in April is that the weather can’t be guaranteed. Stats show that there’s roughly a 59% chance that you’ll score a day of perfect sunshine at this time of year. Our two cents? That might just be a wager worth taking for accommodation costs that are a fraction of what they are in January.
The best Caribbean islands to visit in April – our conclusion
Our list of the best Caribbean islands to visit in April highlights a pretty enticing mix of destinations. You’ve got the reggae-bopping towns of Jamaica, the R&R meccas of Grenada and Barbados, and the adventure hubs or honeymoon mainstays of the Dominican Republic and St Lucia.
Most of those find a good balance between crowds and weather in April. It’s a month that’s typically warm but not too humid, dry throughout, and not as expensive as the high winter in December and January. Get a-booking folks!