The official Caribbean hurricane season stretches from June 1 – November 30. It’s rare to see a large storm in either June or November and most major hurricanes occur between August and October, with the peak season usually being September.
The upside is that prices are lower for the Caribbean during this time and resorts are less crowded. So what do you do if you want to get away during hurricane season?
Buy Travel Insurance
You must buy the trip cancellation insurance before the storm is announced, otherwise it will be deemed a pre-existing condition, so always purchase insurance the same day you book your trip to be safe. Most travel insurance policies will cover a trip disrupted because of a hurricane when you are forced to arrive late or leave early for your trip, but you’ll be reimbursed only for the affected days until the airport or resort reopens. You will usually be reimbursed for the days you are forced to stay at a resort during a hurricane, but be sure to always read the fine print on your policy to make sure you know what they will actually cover.
Try to Avoid the Storms
Track hurricanes online with weather websites during the season. Some good sites include:
The National Weather Service – National Hurricane Center
Hurricane & Storm Tracking for the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans
Hurricane News and Information
Weather.com Tropical Storm Center
Pick Your Location Well
When planning a trip to the Caribbean during hurricane season, it is good to know that hurricanes are less likely the further south you go. The islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and St. Vincent, including the islands below them, are the least hit by hurricanes. However, as Grenada discovered in 2004 with Hurricane Ivan, never say never and keep in mind that hurricanes are unpredictable.
Go on a Cruise
The good thing about cruises is that they can usually sail around the worst of a storm. And today’s ships are extraordinarily safe and with the advanced weather tracking available today, bad weather is something they can avoid. The downside is that the cruise line always reserves the right to reschedule port calls and change itineraries for weather-related reasons and therefore you may not get to visit the places you had hoped to.
Pick a Resort That Offers a “Hurricane Guarantee”
Recently, many of the largest resorts and resort chains, have started instituting a “hurricane guarantee,” offering guests their money back for days lost to bad weather. For example, in the unlikely event that hurricane force winds (as defined by the U.S. National Weather Service) directly hit the Sandals or Beaches resorts while you are a guest, interrupting the use of all the included activities, Sandals or Beaches Resorts will offer a free replacement vacation to be taken at any Sandals or Beaches Resort of your choice. Go to http://www.best-family-beach-vacations.com/caribbean-hurricane-season.html for more resorts that offer hurricane guarantees.
Make the Best of It.
If you do get caught on vacation during a hurricane, try to make the best of it. As long as there is no danger present, relax indoors and focus on other activities.
My husband and I got caught in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico during hurricane Keith in 2000. He was still my boyfriend at that time and unbeknownst to me, he planned to propose on our second evening there. We got dressed for dinner and arrived at the hotel restaurant to find it boarded up. We saw the line up in the hotel lobby, everyone was being evacuated from the hotel to one farther up the coast. We ran back to our room, packed and got on the next bus out – not the evening my husband had planned!
When we checked into our room at the new hotel a few hours later, he still had the engagement ring burning a hole in his pocket. The winds were blowing and it was raining so the romantic walk on the beach he had been hoping for was out. He couldn’t put it off any longer so he dropped to one knee and proposed then and there. It was definitely a memorable evening, hurricane and all!