Puerto Rico in November

Truly, Puerto Rico is beautiful all year long, and it’s definitely a tropical paradise in November. I mean, there’s a reason why we islanders say, “I live where you vacation!”

This article provides unique details and helpful insights from our Puerto Rico local:

Is November a Good Time to Visit?

Although the environment barely changes with the seasons, November is one of the best times to visit Puerto Rico. The temperatures are pleasant, crowds are low, hurricanes are rare, and winter holiday festivities begin. The air starts to fill with joy, parties, celebrations, and cultural unity during this month.

Tour and Activity Tips

We love outdoor activities in Puerto Rico. The ATV Adventure from San Juan is our absolute favorite. We did this one three times so far!

Weather in November

Paseo del Morro Boardwalk (San Juan) on a sunny day in November and the average high temps. Google Maps Location 

In November, the weather starts to get slightly colder in Puerto Rico. During the day, it is around 30°C (86°F) which is wonderful weather for taking a stroll around the city, hiking, and dipping your feet in the ocean. It rains 17 days on average, but the downpours are rather short.

November has the following average high temperatures:

  • Early November: 87°F (30°C)
  • Mid-November: 86°F (30°C)
  • Late November: 84°F (29°C)

I am sure you will visit or stay in the capital city, San Juan since it is full of historical sites, local cuisine, and vibrant nightlife.

Mornings and days in San Juan:

Mornings are particularly cooler in November (22°C / 77°F). Just cozy enough to drink a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise and the night fade away. It’s amazing how you start to feel the day getting slightly warmer as the hours pass. Noon arrives with mid-80 temperatures that stay through the day (85°F).

Evenings in San Juan:

The night comes again with light cold breezes (26°C / 78°F). Keep that in mind and dress accordingly when exploring areas in the evening.

💡 Check out our helpful and detailed ‘What to Wear’ section further below.

This weather pattern stays this way throughout the month, but once you reach late November, temperatures can drop 1 or 2 degrees more (about 29°C / 84°F). And trust me, it makes a huge difference!

This varies very little in the southern city of Ponce. Even though the air changes and you feel less humidity during the afternoons, locals barely notice these drops.

Ponce average high temps:

  • Early November: 89°F (32°C)
  • Mid-November: 89°F°F (32°C)
  • Late November: 88°F (31°C)
Rain
Clouds over San Juan

When planning your visit during November, it’s important to know that it’s still hurricane season which ends later in the month. The warm waters that surround Puerto Rico and its location in the Caribbean make it easy for tropical storms and hurricanes to pass through and create disasters.

💡 Hurricanes are not as common as people may think, especially during this particular month. It is rare to get big storms in November, so you should be fine.

Fun fact: Before hurricane Maria in 2017, the strongest hurricane that hit Puerto Rico was in 1989, and before that, in the 1930s. Usually, Puerto Ricans have time to prepare for them.

With 17 days of rain on average in November, November is one of the rainiest months in Puerto Rico. However, the rains don’t usually last long, and the sun always comes back up. So, be prepared and have an umbrella in hand.

💡 From my experience of living here my whole life, it usually doesn’t rain the whole day, a maximum of 1 or 2 hours at its worst. And then the sun comes back up and dries everything.

But still, you should always check the local weather forecasts before going out since normal conditions can change pretty quickly. It can go from a sunny day to a rainy one in a matter of minutes.

Humidity and Heat

The heat in general is decreasing in November in Puerto Rico. Humidity is pleasant in San Juan, and as the temperature drops, that mugginess in the environment also decreases. The highest humidity can be 100% when the month starts and then slowly lower to 96-95% as the month progresses.

If it rains during the day, the night will feel more humid, especially if you’re in the city or metro area (San Juan, Bayamón, Caguas, Guaynabo, etc.) If you’re higher up in the mountains, the winds are a bit faster, and the temperatures are lower. You might want to consider cities like Naranjito, Corozal, Aibonito, or Cayey for your housing accommodations during your stay.

In general, humidity becomes more bearable for everyone because of the winds and rains. During the middle of the month, winds can go up to 10mph. Which definitely helps refresh the body.

Water Conditions | Swimming

Luquillo Beach and a surfer in Rincón

The swimming conditions are generally great during November in Puerto Rico. The water is cooler than in the summer months, which is definitely a plus. While rains vary during the month, keep an eye out for the currents and tides, both on beaches and rivers, since they can be dangerous for swimmers.

The water temperature in the ocean at San Juan averages 81°F (27°F) during November.

What to Wear and Pack

Wear long pants and sleeves at higher elevations, especially in the mornings.

Bring comfortable and loose/lightweight clothing for your daytime activities during November in Puerto Rico. Wear Cotton, linen, or dry-fit shirts and pants. They will be helpful if you’re planning to do sightseeing in a town square, take a tour around San Juan, or visit different locations on the same day.

💡 Light materials or even dry fit work great. In my experience, most visitors get uncomfortable with how warm it actually is and just sweat a lot. So cool clothes and light fabrics are a must!

In my personal experience, tourists that come from colder climates just tend to be hot all the time. Even if for locals us it feels cold in November sometimes.

Jacket: Do you need to bring a jacket? I’d say it depends on the person. Light jackets are good (I’d definitely suggest that) since it can get chilly, especially in the mountains.

Long sleeves and long pants? That truly depends on the person and the activities. Especially for early morning activities and for hiking or other outdoor activities at higher elevations-

Shoes: It is my humble recommendation that you choose comfort over style (at least when you can). You will probably walk a lot, and your feet will thank you in the long run.

Of course, you can’t forget your swimsuit! Whether it’s the beach, a pool, or a river, you will definitely want to have one handy.

Hats, sunglasses, and sunblock will be your best friends in and out of the water. Even when you don’t feel the sun, it is there hitting your skin. I mean, I live here, and I’ve had bad sunburns!

This is our recommended packing list for Puerto Rico in November:

  • shorts or skirts
  • t-shirts or tank tops
  • long pants or jeans for slightly cooler mornings and evenings
  • long sleeve shirt for slightly cooler mornings and evenings
  • sundresses (for day or night wear)
  • nightlife outfit for nights out in San Juan
  • sweater, hoodie, or light jacket for colder mornings/evenings (especially in late November)
  • bathing suits, swimwear
  • daypack
  • cover-up
  • light rain jacket
  • hat
  • pair of flip flops or flats
  • comfortable shoes for walking
  • sturdy shoes for hiking
  • sunglasses

Crowds

Rincón: No other tourists at dusk at the beach

While not as quiet as September or October, November is not a high season for tourists, except for those who are visiting family on the island. Thus, you won’t find crowded places or high rates during this month.

The winter holidays are very important for Puerto Ricans because it is a time for celebration and unity. Some locations tend to open later, like the town squares. They usually have holiday events that attract local crowds and/or internal tourism.

Good to know: Puerto Rico beaches are not as crowded as beaches in the US in general. So, regardless of the month, there is always a chance to find an uncrowded spot here.

Things to Do

Trust us when we say this: in Puerto Rico, you can go to the beach any day of the year. And while you want to dive into the warm waters (or cold ones if you like rivers), we encourage you to attend local events that only occur during the winter (starting in November).

The Food

Although traditionally, Puerto Ricans eat rice and beans on a daily basis, in November cooks all over introduce the holiday season menu: traditional roasted pork (or chicken), rice with gandules (pigeon peas), and pasteles.

It is a feast locals have all through November until the season ends!

If you want to enjoy this local cuisine and have a good time with music and a celebration vibe, you have to do La Ruta del Lechón Asado (The Route of the Roasted Pork). It takes you along Route 184 in the city of Cayey up to the mountains. This is known as Guavate.

You will find the best lechoneras (places that sell slow roasted pork) in the whole island.

Keep in mind, this experience is available every week. But, during the holiday season, it may be crowded due to an influx of visitors, such as yourself, and Puerto Ricans that are visiting their families from abroad.

The Holidays

In case you didn’t know, people say that Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas season in the world. And that’s because we start in November and end almost in February.

November brings a lot of festivities that you might enjoy as soon as you arrive. Especially, if you like to immerse yourself in the culture of the destinations you visit.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are a big deal to locals, and you’ll notice it in the decorations and the music. You will start to see Christmas decorations in almost every town square. One of my favorite ones is La Plaza de Mayagüez, in the west side of Puerto Rico (2 and a half hours from San Juan).

Almost every town puts up Christmas lights and decorations around City Hall and the plaza, sets up stages for live music and performances, and hosts different activities for families. And obviously, there’s glorious local food! It is our own version of a “winter wonderland”.

National Festivals

2 national festivals that you don’t want to miss in November:

  • National Indigenous Festival (Festival Nacional Indígena)

It’s a celebration (in the last week of November) of the taíno roots of Puerto Ricans that’s been celebrated for more than 50 years. The event is held in the mountainous town of Jayuya, located in the center region of the island. It’s usually a 10 day celebration that hosts a fair with artisans and vendors that specialize in indigenous woodwork and sculpting.

The event also has live performances, like a beauty pageant in which participants dress up to resemble their taíno ancestors. And, there is a live band that plays folk music that takes you on a journey to the past.

The cultural significance of this festival lies in that islanders are a blend of races that consist of Taínos, Spaniards, and Africans. Research conducted by Prof. Juan Martinez Cruzado, who was actually my Genetics Professor at University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez Campus, revealed that 61% of Puerto Ricans carry “native blood” in them.

This festival helps to preserve, honor, and remember the country’s indigenous history and heritage.

  • Poinsettia Festival (Festival de las Pascuas)

The flor de pascua (in English known as Poinsettia) is a beautiful plant with big red flowers and vibrant green leaves. It is commonly used during the Christmas season. This festival is held at the Rio Piedras Botanical Garden and celebrates the iconic flower that graces us every holiday season.

Visitors from around the island come to get their pascuas to decorate their homes during the winter or as a gift for loved ones. And since it’s the holidays: you can make this a family activity by spending the day shopping around the farmers market that’s full of local products. If you’re a fan of coffee, cheese, traditional sweets and confections, you’ll have a blast. You can also visit the different craftsmen and women that have beautiful pieces of art, clothing, and memorabilia.

Whether you choose to do these activities or go the traditional “beach paradise” way, I hope you make beautiful memories during your stay in Puerto Rico.