Index


Introduction



The archipelago of the Bahamas is stretched along a northwest-southeast axis: the northernmost islands are located to the east of Florida, while the southernmost ones are located to the northwest of Haiti. The climate is tropical, with a hot and rainy season from May to October (in which, however, the breezes temper the heat) and a cooler season from November to April, which is felt more on the north-western islands.
Proceeding from north-west to south-east, there is an increase in the winter temperatures as well as a decrease in the summer precipitation: this means that the north-western islands (Grand Bahama, Little Abaco, Andros and New Providence, where the capital, Nassau, is located) are cooler in winter and rainier in summer.
In fact, rainfall amounts to almost 1,500 millimeters (60 inches) per year in Freeport, in the north-west, while it drops to 1,200 mm (47 in) in Nassau, to 1,100 mm (43 in) in Eleuthera and San Salvador, to 800 mm (31.5 in) in Mayaguana, and to just 650 mm (25.5 in) in Inagua. On the south-eastern islands, not only the total amount of rainfall is quite scarce, but also there is a fairly significant decrease in the summer rains, especially in July.
As for the temperatures, the main differences occur in winter, which is cooler in the northwest and warmer in the southeast, while summer is hot and muggy everywhere.
In the coolest months (January and February), the average daily temperature is around 20 °C (68 °F) on the northernmost islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco), around 21 °C (70 °F) in New Providence and Eleuthera, 22.5 °C (72.5 °F) in San Salvador, 23 °C (73.5 °F) in Mayaguana, and 24.5 °C (76 °F) in Inagua.
In winter, from December to March, cold air masses from the United States can lower the temperature for a few days, especially on the north-western islands, so much so that at night it can get cold, even below 10 °C (50 °F) in Freeport and Nassau; in addition, weather fronts can bring a bit of rain, clouds and wind.
On the other hand, the temperatures in the warmest months (July and August) are similar throughout the islands, in fact the daily average is everywhere around 28 °C (82 °F).

North-western islands


Freeport

In Freeport, located on the island of Grand Bahama, the most northwestern of the archipelago, the temperatures resemble those of West Palm Beach (Florida), which is not far away. Normally, in winter the temperatures are pleasantly warm, but the island is particularly exposed to cold air outbreaks because of its location. The temperature dropped to 3 °C (37 °F) in January 1977 (and it seems that there was also a brief snowfall), to 6 °C (43 °F) in January 1981, and to 5 °C (41 °F) in February 1996 and in January 2010.
Here are the average temperatures in Freeport.
Freeport - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)161618192123242423211917
Max (°C)242426273031323232302725
Min (°F)616164667073757573706663
Max (°F)757579818688909090868177

In Freeport, 1,500 mm (60 in) of rain fall per year, with a maximum in August and September. However, even in the driest period, from December to April, some rain showers can occur. Here is the average rainfall.
Freeport - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)8575956510517516521021514595751495
Prec.(in)3.333.72.64.16.96.58.38.55.73.7358.9
Days9887111416191811109140

Nassau

As mentioned, Nassau is located on the island of New Providence, a little further to the south than Freeport, and at the same latitude as Miami. Here too, from December to March there may be short cool periods, sometimes a bit cold. The temperature dropped to 7 °C (44.5 °F) in January 1977, to 6 °C (43 °F) in January 1981, to 7 °C (44.5 °F) in February 1996, and to 9 °C (48 °F) in January 2010. Here are the average temperatures.
Nassau - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)171718192123242424222118
Max (°C)262627283031323232302826
Min (°F)636364667073757575727064
Max (°F)797981828688909090868279

In Nassau, the rains are still quite abundant; however, they are a bit less frequent than in Freeport. Here is the average precipitation.
Nassau - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)3545458011516015013516516585401220
Prec.(in)1.41.81.83.14.56.35.95.36.56.53.31.648
Days665611141616171599130

The summer rains fall mainly in the form of showers and thunderstorms, in late afternoon or in the evening, so the sky doesn't remain overcast for a long time. So, the amount of sunshine in the Bahamas is good throughout the year. Here, for example, are the average sunshine hours per day in Nassau.
Nassau - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours788998997777

The sea is warm enough for swimming all year round, even though on the northern islands it is slightly cooler, at least in the winter months: in Nassau the water temperature ranges from 24 °C (75 °F) in February and March to 29 °C (84 °F) between July and September.
Nassau - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)252424252628292929282726
Temp (°F)777575777982848484828179

South-eastern islands


Abrahams Bay

Here are the average temperatures of Abrahams Bay, on the southern island of Mayaguana: as you can see, in winter the temperatures are a little higher than on the northwestern islands, especially at night.
Abrahams Bay - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)202121222324252524242221
Max (°C)262727283031313231312827
Min (°F)687070727375777775757270
Max (°F)798181828688889088888281

In Abrahams Bay, 800 mm (32 in) of rain fall per year, and rainfall exceeds 100 mm (4 in) per month only between September and November. In July and August, there are only short showers, quite frequent but not intense.
Abrahams Bay - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)454030457080456510513010560820
Prec.(in)1.81.61.21.82.83.11.82.64.15.14.12.432.3
Days767711111112131497115

Matthew Town

On the arid island of Inagua, the southernmost one, the rains are even scarcer. Here is the average precipitation in Matthew Town.
Matthew Town - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)5035354085302050851207035660
Prec.(in)21.41.41.63.31.20.823.34.72.81.426
Days654564457108670

In Inagua, the temperatures are generally high even in winter, as can be seen in the following table.
Matthew Town - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)212121222325252525242322
Max (°C)282929303031323231302928
Min (°F)707070727377777777757372
Max (°F)828484868688909088868482

On the southern islands, the sea temperature is a little higher in winter than in the northern ones, in fact it does not drop below 25/26 °C (77/79 °F).

Bahamas

Hurricanes



From June to November, the Bahamas can be affected by hurricanes, the tropical cyclones of the Atlantic and the Caribbean, which, however, are more likely to occur from August to October.
Some intense hurricanes that hit the archipelago were the «Nassau hurricane» in late July 1926, the «Bahamas hurricane» (or Great Abaco hurricane) in September 1932, hurricane Betsy in September 1965, Andrew in August 1992, Floyd in September 1999, Frances in September 2004, Wilma in October 2005, Irene in August 2011, Joaquin in October 2015, Matthew in October 2016, and Irma in September 2017.

Best Time



In general, the best time to visit the Bahamas is the dry season, from late November to mid-April. However, on the north-western islands, from December to March the temperature is often not high enough for a beach holiday, and sometimes there are also some cool and windy days. On the southernmost islands, however, and in particular in Inagua, the winter is warm enough to enjoy the sun and the sea, while on the northernmost islands you may prefer April and May (though in the latter month the rains are a bit more frequent).
From May to October, the weather is hot and muggy, and thunderstorms can be intense (at least on the northern islands), although the sun is still frequent. If you want to choose the summer, the month of July is preferable both because there's a relative decrease in the rains (though this not happens in Nassau and on the north-westernmost islands) and because hurricanes are less likely than in August.

What to pack



From November to April, on the northernmost islands, bring light clothing, but also a sweatshirt or sweater, a scarf for the breeze, a jacket and an umbrella. On the southern islands, bring light clothes, a sweatshirt for the evening, a scarf for the breeze.
From May to October, bring light, tropical clothing, possibly a light sweatshirt and a light raincoat for thunderstorms.
When going to the reef, you can bring snorkeling equipment, including water shoes or rubber-soled shoes.

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