Climate/Weather – Dominican Republic

Climate/Weather – Dominican Republic

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase ‘tropical climate?’ Well, that is the best way of describing the weather conditions on the island of Hispaniola. The eastern part of that island, two-thirds of it to be precise, is occupied by the Dominican Republic.

Haiti fills the western third of Hispaniola. As the island is located in the Caribbean Sea, it experiences a lot of different weather patterns. Here is a closer look at what to expect when traveling to the DR.

Actual weather DR

Hot, Dry and Wet – Depending On The Time of Year

Expect it to be hot all year round in the Dominican Republic. The northern coast is rainy all year as it is exposed to trade winds but the rainfall is reduced from June to September. The rainy season for the eastern and southern coasts runs typically from April to October. The trade winds, which blow from the northeast from November to March will leave north facing slopes damper than those facing south. Mountain ranges do have an impact on those winds which results in humid conditions in some parts of the country and barren land in other parts.

Rain, Rain Go Away, Come Again Another Day

You pretty much have to expect to experience wet conditions when talking about the weather – the Dominican Republic stats also verify this. For example, the capital city of Santo Domingo is located on the south coast of the island. It has an average rainfall of 1,445 millimeters per year over the course of 115 days. Puerto Plata, which sits on the north coast, has an average annual rainfall of 1,515 millimeters over 116 days. The main difference is that on the south coast the wettest months are May to November and on the north coast they are from October to May.

Here Comes The Sun, Here Comes The Sun

Although the stats make it out to say that there is a damp climate – Dominican Republic does have a great deal of sunshine as well. In fact, the rain that falls is generally showers or thundershowers. The rainy season is when heavier rain and long periods of it occurs. But the sun does come out and it comes out frequently. If anything, the Dominican Republic does promise you a lot of sunshine. On the north coast, there is an average of 84 hours of sunshine compared to 90 in the south with most daily totals ranging from 7 to 8 hours per.

Hot Town, Summer In The City, Back Of My Neck Getting Dirty And Gritty

If you are visiting the Dominican Republic from a somewhat cooler climate, you will not be disappointed. For example, you can leave your winter clothes at home and that includes your long johns. Temperatures are what would be considered as being hot all year long. However, from May to October they are particularly scorchin’ hot. In Santo Domingo, the average daily high temperature ranges from 29 C/84 F to 32 C/90 F. The nights are far from chilly with average lows of between 20 C/68 F and 23 C/88 F so be sure to pack a fan with you.

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine

If you don’t pack a pair of swim trunks or a bikini with you, you are missing out on one of the major perks of being on a tropical island – the swimming in warm waters. In fact, the water that surrounds Hispaniola is always warm. It is never cold. The average water temperatures recorded at Santo Domingo show August to October as the warmest months with averages of 29 C/84 F. The rest of the year the water is between 26 C/79 F and 28 C/82 F so you can forget about ice fishing, skating or impromptu games of ice hockey breaking out when you are on the water.

Extreme Weather

hurricane_sandy

Well, we can’t really talk about the weather in the Dominican Republic region without discussing the harsh reality that typically plows through the area in the form of a hurricane. The hurricane season is from June to November and the island of Hispaniola can be impacted by these fierce storms between August and October. However, they are not frequent visitors to the island. In other words, destructive hurricanes designated as Category 4 or 5 are very rare. Tropical storms occur often but only hit the island an average of once every couple of years.

I’m Leaving On A Jet Plane

Okay, so when is the best time to visit the Dominican Republic? Well, if the weather and climate are not concerns of yours, anytime is a good time to be on this tropical island. However, if you are aiming for a time when it is not as wet and damp as the rest of the year, you will want to head to the south coast between December and April. On the northern coast the rains let up from June to September but that’s pretty much in the middle of hurricane season. February to April is best.

When Packing Your Bags…Remember These Items

It really depends on when you are traveling and where you plan to spend most of your time in the Dominican Republic. If you are traveling from May to October you can take light clothing plus a sweatshirt and water-resistant light jacket in case of rain. If you venture to the mountain ranges, have a jacket, sweatshirt, and hiking boots. Dress in layers regardless. From November to April dress for the warmer weather and don’t forget sunscreen and headgear for sun protection.

Aside From All The Rain And Threat of Hurricanes

You can’t miss with a trip to the Dominican Republic. The food, the people, the sights all makes the trip worthwhile. The rich history and culture that will welcome you with open arms exist even during the rainy season. So don’t let a little cloud activity change your mind about spending time in this stunning jewel in the Caribbean Sea. It will impress you and impress upon you that for such an affordable getaway, you can’t afford to not have the DR on your must-see list.