Travel During Caribbean Hurricane Season

It's surprisingly safe, affordable and fun

••• Hurricane Isabel in the Atlantic Ocean. Courtesy of NASA

Hurricane season in the Caribbean officially runs from June 1 to November 30, peaking in August, September and October. Summer comes in hot and humid on most of these tropical islands, then the weather actually starts to cool a few degrees as autumn arrives. But daytime air temperatures remain fairly consistently in the mid- to upper 80s year-round. The frequency and intensity of Caribbean storms vary greatly from year to year, but even in the most intense hurricane season, the odds of your vacation being disrupted by weather remain quite low.

Some destinations almost never get hit by hurricanes or tropical storms.

Take Advantage of Geography for Your Hurricane-Season Trip

The southernmost islands experience fewer dangerous storms than those in the Atlantic "hurricane belt" through the central and eastern portions of the Caribbean. Bonaire offers the best chance of avoiding a hurricane, with a 2.2 percent annual risk of a hurricane striking the island. Your odds of being called to "Come On Down" on "The Price is Right" game show beat the likelihood of a hurricane ruining your vacation on Bonaire, even during the height of peak season in September.

Tucked in near Venezuela, Bonaire's sister islands of Aruba and Curacao, along with the dual-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, also make safe bets for trouble-free hurricane-season travel.

Book Hurricane-Season Travel for the Best Deals

You might not see candid advertising of hurricane season deals -- most island marketing experts opt against calling attention to potential bad weather -- but you should be able to secure reduced rates on lodging, transportation and activities during the low season.

Ask about summer and fall specials when you book your accommodations, and watch for flight discounts, especially after school resumes in late August or early September in the United States.

Once on the ground in your destination, look for deals on activities, which typically attract fewer crowds at this time of year.

Caribbean "locals" do more inter-island traveling during the region's low season, so ask them for insider suggestions too.

Don't Let Rain Dampen Your Plans

Obviously, hurricane season correlates to rainy season, which encompasses the entire Caribbean. But outside of an actual tropical storm event, the rain typically falls in bursts, with hours of sunshine possible in between. By most weather records, it's reasonable to expect up to nine hours of sunshine a day during the summer. More significant rainfall takes place in mountainous regions rather than at the beach, where short showers can provide welcome relief from the heat. It rarely rains on desert-like Aruba, and on many other islands, measurable precipitation usually falls in the late afternoon or early evening. Unless lightning accompanies a rain shower, you can usually just go about your day as planned. Just consider the drops your island-host's cue to head inside for a bite to eat.

For more information, see:

Caribbean Hurricane Guide

Caribbean Tropical Storm Guide

Caribbean Weather Guide

 

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