October in the Caribbean: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Off-Season Promises Fewer Travelers, Warm Weather

Loading produce for floating market in Willemstad, Curacao

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Hurricane season is in full force in the Caribbean in October. 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 your safety, but not so great 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. Also, jazz festivals, sailing regattas, and other cultural and sporting events entertain locals and visitors this month.

Weather

October is still very warm, with afternoon highs typically ranging from about 77 to 87 Fahrenheit (25 to 31 Celsius). 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 about the possibility of a big storm, look into getting travel insurance; it isn't terribly expensive and may 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.

Bring business casual clothes for visiting nice restaurants or clubs, along with appropriate shoes, and that doesn't mean flip-flops and sneakers.

Events 

Cultural and sporting events make an October visit to the Caribbean an especially fun proposition. On the downside, it is one of the few months during which no Caribbean island is celebrating Carnival. Note many of these events have been canceled or altered for 2020; check official event websites and below for details.

  • Dominica's Anniversary of Independence: Celebrate Dominica's 42nd Anniversary of Independence throughout October with a combination of live and virtual events. The live-streamed opening ceremony on October 10, 2020, will be followed by Dominica History Week from October 12-16, which focuses on the island's traditional cuisine, and Creole Day on October 30.
  • Halloween in the Caribbean: Check out the spooky sights in store for Halloween in the tropical paradise. Get frightened by everything from ancient Mayan temples in Mexico where humans were sacrificed to the haunted Eden Browne estate on Nevis.
  • Bonaire International Sailing RegattaThis event has been canceled for 2020. A long-running (and week-long) regatta, this 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.
  • Nos Zjilea: This event has been canceled for 2020. Held at the Mangazina di Rei Cultural Park in Bonaire, this October gathering features local arts and crafts, educational presentations, food, live music, plants, and more.
  • Dominican Republic Jazz Festival: No information about the 2020 event was available by early October. For two days in October, the jazz festival comes to Santo Domingo and Santiago in the Dominican Republic.
  • St. Lucia Billfish TournamentNo information about the 2020 event was available by early October. The longest-running continuous sport fishing tournament in the Southern Caribbean, this tournament features anglers hooking 150-pound-plus marlin and sailfish.

Travel Tips

  • Hikers, adventurers, bikers, and travelers who like to exercise may enjoy a Caribbean trip this month. If you want to do more than hitting the bars and suntanning on the beach, October is a great time since you will have milder weather and fewer tourists.
  • Another major benefit of traveling during the off-season is that you get to experience the true essence of the place, the locals, 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.
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