Grace Lower | Sep 14, 2018
This blog post was updated on June 24, 2020.
Summer is coming to a close, which has many travelers-to-be eager for one final beach vacation. But as autumn approaches, so too does the height of hurricane season. Although the Atlantic hurricane season officially extends from June 1 to November 30, its peak period falls between mid-August and late October.
During this particularly volatile time of year, the Caribbean may seem like the last place you’d want to travel. However, there are many Caribbean islands that are fairly well-sheltered from hurricanes, due to their location and climate. For the best chance at a relaxing tropical vacation (without the worry of an incoming storm) consider a historically low-risk destination like the options below:
The first of the “ABC” islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao), Aruba sits significantly south of the “hurricane belt” — which makes a direct hit from hurricanes very rare. In addition to its tranquil weather, Aruba boasts white sand beaches and breathtaking limestone cliffs. Aruba is also home to the SS Antilla: a German freighter that was sunk during World War II. The Antilla is now one of the largest shipwrecks in the Caribbean — and Aruba’s most popular dive site. This and other attractions make Aruba a must-see destination for divers, snorkelers, and history buffs alike.
To many, Barbados is associated with pop star and actress Rihanna (and who can blame them?!). The island is also home to stunning landscapes and rich cross-cultural traditions. A former British colony, Barbados is often referred to as “little England” because of its blend of Caribbean and English influences. Though Barbados has been independent from England since 1966, high afternoon tea and cricket remain popular in many parts of the island. As an added bonus, hurricanes rarely affect Barbados. The island hasn’t been hit by any major storms since Hurricane Janet in 1955.
Along with its fellow “ABC” islands, Bonaire is situated well below the hurricane belt. Often referred to as the “diver’s paradise,” the island’s clear waters and extensive reefs make it an ideal destination for underwater exploration. Its star attraction is the Bonaire National Marine Park, which is home to 89 public dive sites, 350 unique species of fish, and miles of pristine coral reef.
As the “C” in the “ABC” islands, Curaçao is also well-shielded from major storms. Although Curaçao experienced localized flooding during Hurricane Tomas in 2010, the chances of a direct hit from a hurricane remain very slim. Beyond its tranquil climate, Curaçao is known for its pastel colonial architecture and carefully curated museums. While its Dutch influences are unmistakable, given the island’s colonial past, Curaçao retains the picturesque shorelines and forests unique to the Caribbean. Curaçao has over 35 different beaches that are accessible to the public, many of which are tucked away in secluded coves. And of course, no trip to Curaçao would be complete without a sample of the island’s signature blue liqueur.
Grenada has earned the nickname “the spice isle of the Caribbean” for good reason: visitors can often smell nutmeg in the air upon arriving, and organic local cocoa is incorporated into many of the island’s dishes. Beyond its culinary treasures, Grenada has miles of white sand beaches and, among other attractions, a remarkable underwater sculpture park. Grenada was last impacted by a hurricane in 2004, when Hurricane Ivan passed over the island. Hurricanes remain very rare in Grenada, and the island boasts sunshine and steady breezes year-round.
Because it’s hurricane season, not as many travelers means that beaches will be less busy just in time for your vacation. You’ll have the chance to explore famous beaches of the Caribbean, like Eagle beach of Aruba or Crane Beach of Barbados, without all the traffic. This also means that popular tourist attractions, like dive boats, sailing tours or ATV tours that lead to a natural swimming pool, will be more available.
Due to the increased rainfall, the surrounding areas will be green and lush. Whether it’s the perfect family photo or the perfect shot to make all your Instagram followers jealous, there will be plenty of picture-perfect opportunities to be had.
The idea of more rain may ruin your plans of spending your time exploring islands and beaches, but this doesn’t have to completely ruin your vacation. There are a ton of indoor activities to do while you wait for the rain to pass. It might not be ideal but at least you’re still on a tropical island, right?
Grace Lower has a love for all things writing and travel. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.