Hurricane season is in full force in the Caribbean in October, and while the odds of your vacation being affected by a tropical storm or hurricane are exceeded only by August and September, the overall danger is small because forecasts can predict many days in advance if a storm has the potential to strike your destination. This is good for you safety, but not so good if you have to cancel or postpone a highly anticipated vacation.
On the plus side, October is considered the low season in the Caribbean so prices are among the best of the year. Rates don't start spiking again until mid-December. Crowds have thinned out. And, warm, mid-summer temperatures remain throughout the region even as things begin to cool down in the northern latitudes. This is a great time to travel if you don't want to share your resort with kids and if you prefer a warm vacation to a sweltering hot one.
October is still very warm, with afternoon highs typically ranging from about 77 to 87 F, and summer humidity levels linger on many islands. On average, rain may occur 12 of the month's 31 days. So while it may be hurricane season, don't let it dissuade you from booking a trip.
You can hedge your bets by traveling to the Dutch "ABC" islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) or Trinidad and Tobago, the southernmost destinations in the Caribbean and generally considered outside the hurricane belt. If you're still unsure or worried about the possibility of a big storm, look into getting yourself travel insurance; it isn't terribly expensive, and it might help relieve your stress when booking your trip.
What to Pack
Loose-fitting cotton layers will keep you cool during the day, especially on islands where the climate is more tropical and humidity can be an issue. Don’t forget a swimsuit, plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. It also would be wise to pack some rain gear, just in case.
You’ll want business casual clothes for visiting nice restaurants or clubs, along with appropriate shoes, and that doesn't mean flip-flops and sneakers.
Fall food festivals make an October visit to the Caribbean an especially tasty proposition. On the downside, October is one of the few months during which no Caribbean island is celebrating Carnival.
- Dominican Republic Jazz Festival. Two days in October, the jazz festival comes to Santo Domingo and Santiago in the Dominican Republic.
- St. Lucia Billfish Tournament. The longest running continuous sport fishing tournament in the Southern Caribbean, at this tournament anglers hook 150-pound-plus marlin and sailfish.
- Bonaire International Sailing Regatta. This long-running (and week-long) regatta features races close to the coast of Bonaire. The festival around the races includes many events for sports fans, including softball, beach volleyball, and even a dominoes tournament. And of course lots of partying, including a street carnival.
- World Creole Music Festival. Held at the end of October, this is the highlight of sleepy Dominica's annual cultural calendar with Creole music like cadence-lypso, Kompas, zouk, soukous, bouyon, and even Louisiana zydeco. The festival typically coincides with Dominica's independence celebration, meaning even more parties and fun for visitors.
- Caribbean's spooky sights. Check out what is in store for Halloween in the Caribbean.
- Hikers, adventurers, bikers, and travelers who like to exercise take note: If you want to do more than hitting the bars and lay on the beach on your trip, October is a great time to do the more strenuous activities since you will have milder weather and fewer tourists with the same idea.
- Another major benefit of traveling during the off-season is that you get to experience the true essence of the place. You are getting the true local vibe of a destination, the inhabitants, and island living. It is a more genuine experience than if you were crammed at an attraction with hundreds or thousands of other people.
- You can get started with planning or do more research for your October trip to the Caribbean with TripAdvisor.