Believe it or not, you can have a great trip to the Caribbean even during hurricane season. Here’s what you need to know before you go.
Hurricane season spans from June 1 to November 30 and normally peaks in August and September, but that doesn't mean a hurricane is guaranteed. When hurricanes or tropical storms do occur, they usually affect only a small part of the Caribbean islands at a time. Even if a hurricane is impacting one region of the Caribbean, another area could be having ideal weather.
Now that most of the Caribbean has reopened to travelers, many people are interested in visiting in 2021. However, if you plan to go between now and November, it’s important to be prepared for the chance of storms and bad weather. Here’s what you need to know about traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season.
The Caribbean is included as part of the Atlantic hurricane season, which also impacts states in the southern United States. In 2020, the Atlantic region recorded more storms than the previous year. Forecasters predict that 2021 will also see above average storm activity, but not to the extent of 2020. To be prepared, check updates from the National Hurricane Center before your trip and throughout your vacation. You want to stay aware of any hurricane or tropical storm warnings.
What To Take
Even if there are no reports of hurricanes in the weather forecast, you may have rain at your destination. Be prepared and use weather proof luggage, pack a rain jacket, and consider bringing a waterproof plasitc bag to keep important items like your camera and wallet dry while out and about.
Best Islands to Visit
The Caribbean islands closest to South America usually see fewer hurricanes and are generally the best to visit during this time. They include:
Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, known as the ABC islands
Barbados, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Trinidad and Tobago, popular for their music and culture
Grenada, known for its beaches and rum distilleries
On all of these Caribbean islands, wildlife, swimming, and ocean conditions during hurricane season are usually much as they are any other time.
Another great reason to visit the Caribbean during hurricane season it because it's more affordable to visit from June to November. The demand is lower because many are choosing not to visit during this time. However, the risk is low, the rates are good, and there are fewer crowds. Flight deals and resort offers are also abundant during this time.
Purchase Travel Protection
Be sure to buy travel insurance if you're traveling this time of year. Most travel insurance covers cancellation or interruption if a destination is hit, as long as the policy was purchased before the hurricane or tropical storm was named. Purchasing travel insurance is critical and it's more affordable than you might think. While prices vary depending on destination, trip cost, desired benefits, and even travelers’ ages and residences, travel insurance costs between 3 and 10 percent of the trip being covered.
Consider Booking a Cruise
Cruise ships will reroute when they receive storm warnings, meaning that unless you had your heart set on a particular island, your vacation will be unaffected by storms. Some Caribbean cruises have already started sailing again, but check out the individual line to make sure the cruise sailing is still operating. If it is, check for any potential travel requirements, such as COVID testing and/or vaccine requirements.
What To Do If a Hurricane Strikes
If you booked a trip-and didn’t buy travel insurance-don’t panic if a hurricane hits. Local governments and hotels keep a close eye on storms’ developments and have detailed plans in place for evacuating or sheltering guests. If an impending storm looks serious, hotels and airlines usually let guests cancel or reschedule without penalties. You will be well taken care of by the resort and staff.