The Caribbean is one of the most beautiful and popular destinations in the world. Its unrivaled crystal blue waters and pristine beaches keep us dreaming of the warm coconut breezes as we're in our offices waiting for our vacation to start.
Because water surrounds the region, it's important to ask yourself, when is hurricane season in the Caribbean? It is vital to know how sneaky mother nature may affect your trip.
So, when is hurricane season in the Caribbean? The national weather service marks the beginning of the season on June 1st and the end of November 30th. Hurricanes are notoriously unpredictable, and even if you're wondering "when is hurricane season in the Caribbean?" you should know that you might experience one outside those months: but this is the time they're most likely to strike.
Geography further splits hurricane season. Along the east coast of the US, the worst storms occur from mid-August through mid-September. They usually hit the western Caribbean between mid-September through early November. Eastern area storms are stronger than the rest of the region.
So why should you ask yourself, "when is hurricane season in the Caribbean?: It can affect your vacation in bad (and also good) ways.
We see the worst hurricanes unfold on television each year, and it paints a picture of peril all season long. Television weather professionals are always anxious to talk to answer questions about when is hurricane season in the Caribbean. The risk of a major hurricane happening while you're on vacation exists, but the actual odds of encountering one are very slim. During an entire typical season, an average of eight to eleven tropical storms happen in the Caribbean, but only five to seven of those turn into full-fledged hurricanes.
Most hurricanes lose steam before coming ashore and end up as different levels of rainstorms after dying out at sea. Spanning over one million miles of ocean, there's a solid chance a hurricane at sea will end up being tropical weather wherever you are.
If you want to play the odds, statistically there are safer islands to visit. Just keep in mind that mother nature doesn't abide by these stats. Caribbean islands that are historically the least affected during hurricane season include those listed below:
Islands Most Often Affected
Some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean make this list. Even the most affected islands only get hit every one and a half years and may have only been brushed by a big storm. Just because an island lands on this particular map doesn't mean you should cross it off your bucket list.
It might seem counterintuitive to travel during a time when storms are most likely to hit, but the risks are very low, and the rewards can be tremendous.
Most travel agencies don't advertise hurricane season specials since it's not great PR to call attention to this kind of weather in an already slow time of the year. You can search and ask for summer and fall specials and will soon find deeply discounted specials.
The Caribbean is hot - like, really hot. Those tropical storms that never make it to land can turn into refreshing, short bursts of rain on the beaches. Beaches get less rain than mountainous regions, so you'll enjoy a quick shower to break the heat.
Keep your eye on great specials. You'll want to set alerts on your favorite travel sites for changes in airfare from your home airport and surrounding ones to destinations that have caught your eye. Keep your options open and pick two to three destinations you're interested in. If you're working with an agent, ask them to flag certain fares.
Hotels and Resorts
On your travel site, search different date ranges during those hurricane-prone months and see how prices fluctuate during certain timeframes. Check the more upscale resorts as they can afford to slash prices when their property isn't even approaching capacity. These resorts will offer you more in the way of water sports, dining choices, and rainy-day events and activities.
These resorts are newer than the smaller, locally owned hotels and have been built to withstand strong winds and inclement weather adding a layer of security between you and the unlikely storm.
We all want to try new things while we're on vacation, even if it's between pool time. Check out what you want to do while you're there ahead of time. You know when hurricane season is in the Caribbean and so do the companies that furnish activities for the area, so make sure that merchants will be open.
When you're on the ground, that's the time to book. They advertise many of the activities along the beach so you can walk up and check out their prices. Don't be afraid to barter. They'd rather you pay something than nothing at all, and the worst they can say is no. You could also ask the concierge to book the best price for you; just tell them the amount you want to spend.
If you're more of a sea than a land person, peruse cruise lines and voyages you're interested in. They will often run summer and fall specials to lure passengers during their less populated sails. Call them and ask for unadvertised specials like two for one or onboard credits.
Cruise ships have been running their business for decades in the Caribbean. They're outfitted with state-of-the-art satellite systems to track storms and are committed to avoiding bad weather over facing it head-on. You may miss some ports to avoid a storm, so don't plan a big event like a wedding or family reunion while you're visiting a port for the day.
So, you've made the choice to enjoy the deep discounts offered to travelers during hurricane season. While the chances of running into trouble are small, you should still take precautions and always ask yourself, when is hurricane season in the Caribbean?
Read the Fine Print
Most resorts will reschedule or cancel your reservation in the event of a hurricane. What you need to understand is how long they'll give you to reschedule if they refund in the form of resort credit. If it's 30 days, can you swing that? A year is probably doable but just make sure you're clear.
Buy Travel Insurance
This is the biggest favor you can do yourself. Make sure the insurance you buy includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warnings and alerts. Most policies include trip cancellations if they deem a destination unsafe or inhabitable. Buy the policy ahead of time, because it'll only cover you if you purchased the policy before they name a storm, and they name them before you even know they exist.
Sites like InsureMyTrip.com and TravelInsurance.com allow you to price different policies to choose what works best for your trip. It's not as expensive as you may think. The price tag is generally between 3 and 10 percent of the total cost of the trip.
What to Do If a Hurricane Hits While You’re on Vacation
So, you've decided not to buy travel insurance and flew to your beautiful island with a storm looming you didn't know about. There's no need to panic. The businesses and governments of these islands are used to keeping an eye on storm activity. They know about a storm as soon it forms and has contingency plans in place to get you to safety or keep you occupied.
Most resorts even boast their customer service levels go up in a hurricane scenario. They know their guests are nervous and need a little extra TLC. If you need to evacuate, you will know well ahead of time and won't have an issue getting out. The resort or hotel where you're staying will coordinate with the airlines to schedule your outgoing flight.
When All Else Fails, Ask
For things like activities or exclusive dinner reservations, ask about their weather cancellation policies. If you're dealing with a strict rain or shine policy, think twice before booking ahead of time unless you can take the financial hit if you need to cancel.
Will Everything Be Available during Hurricane Season in the Caribbean?
Not necessarily everything will be available during hurricane season in the Caribbean. Some restaurants, bars, and shops will close for a few weeks or even a couple of months for a part of the stormy season. That's when they'll do renovations, upgrades, or just close due to lower sales. If you have your heart set on a certain restaurant, it's best to call before you leave.
We recommend signing up for the U.S. State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Not only will this app keep you up to date on travel warnings and alerts at your destination, but it will also make it easier for the US embassy there to find you in case of a mass evacuation.
Just keep your eye on the weather. Even Siri gives you a pretty accurate 10-day forecast. If you see ominous weather on the horizon, look deeper into the weather on more specific sites like weather.com. You can then call your resort and see what they're planning for. They may have seen this all before and it will only be a downpour for half the afternoon. They'll give it to you straight.
We hope this article has helped shine some light on steps you should take to stay safe and has answered the question, when is hurricane season in the Caribbean?
Jane is news writer presenting the latest trending information as it's released. She's spends most of her time sourcing premium news from our top sources bringing fresh updates to her loyal subscribers. She loves ice-cream and her dog Sally!