When planning a trip to Mexico, you should be aware of the usual climate conditions of the season you're going to be traveling and the weather forecasted for your stay. Hurricanes can be a concern during several months of the year in many (but not all!) tourist destinations. Hurricane season in Mexico officially lasts from the beginning of June through the end of November, but you're at greatest risk of encountering a hurricane between the months of August and October. Hurricanes and tropical storms can affect weather on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Gulf Coast, and the Pacific coast. Inland destinations may get substantial rain during a hurricane's passage, which in extreme cases can cause flooding and mudslides, but in general, they're much less affected than areas along the coastlines.
Before you rule out travel to Mexico during hurricane season entirely, consider this: there are some advantages to traveling to Mexico during hurricane season. There are fewer crowds this time of year, and hotel rates and airfares may be much lower. If you look carefully, you can find some great travel deals. This season also coincides with the summer holidays in the northern hemisphere, and it may be tempting for families to take advantage of lower prices to enjoy a family get-away. There are, of course, risks involved in traveling during hurricane season that you should keep in mind. The likelihood that a hurricane will hit while you are on vacation may be low, but if one does strike, it can completely ruin your vacation. If you do decide to travel to a beach destination during hurricane season, there are some precautions you can take that will minimize the risk of your vacation being entirely spoiled.
Before you go:
- Purchase travel insurance and make sure you're covered in the case that you must cancel or cut your trip short due to a hurricane. Shop around for a policy that meets your needs and know what is and isn't covered in case of a hurricane.
- Find out if the hotel or resort where you will be staying has a hurricane policy or hurricane guarantee, and what the terms are.
- Register your trip with your country's embassy. Here's how to register your trip with the US Department of State.
- Monitor the weather. During the time leading up to your trip, you should check the National Hurricane Center Web Site for current tropical storm and hurricane conditions as well as forecasts of the weather to come.
- Leave a detailed itinerary of your trip with a friend or family member at home, and scan and email copies of your important documents (passport, drivers license, flight tickets and hotel reservations) to yourself so you can access them online in case you lose the physical copies.
There are also some choices you can make that will help ensure your vacation is hurricane-free:
Take a cruise. A cruise ship can change its course and itinerary to avoid hurricanes and tropical storms. You may end up skipping a destination you had hoped to visit, but at least you will give a pass on bad weather.
Choose an inland destination. Mexico has much more to offer besides beaches. Consider one of its beautiful colonial cities as an alternative. You can still experience warm weather and as a bonus you can learn about Mexico's fascinating history as well.
If a Hurricane Strikes During Your Trip
It is very rare for a hurricane to strike completely by surprise. You'll have advance warning and time to prepare if a hurricane is approaching. Although its exact trajectory may be unknown, there will be forecasts and a warning for the general area the hurricane is expected to hit. Keep up on weather reports and if you're in an area that may be affected, consider evacuating beforehand. If you do get caught in a hurricane while you're in Mexico, remember that there are protocols in place to keep you safe, so follow the instructions of safety personnel. Carry your personal documents in a resealable bag to keep them dry. Charge your cell phone when you can and when you can't, try to conserve its power by only using it for essential communication.