The official hurricane season in the Caribbean is from June 1 through the end of November, and this fact alone is one reason why most people prefer to stay away from the islands. On the surface this makes sense, but if you really look at the statistics you’ll realize that the risk is extraordinarily low, and the benefits of traveling during this time are great.
The season is much shorter, most years
While it’s true that the official season lasts 5 months, the peak season is really only in September and early October. The chances of being in the path of a powerful hurricane outside of those times is very low, and even within those times it’s much lower than you think.
Also, the weather from July through October is generally great in the Caribbean. Considering that it’s the hurricane season you might think that it’s also the rainy season where the skies open up every afternoon even with no major storm around. Well, it’s true that in Central America they do have a problematic rainy season during this period, but for most Caribbean islands you might only see a few downpours per month, and some of those might be late at night.
So really, you can expect brilliant sunshine most of this time of year, and even when you do get clouds it usually means wonderful sunset views more likely than heavy rain.
Hurricanes are never a surprise
Many decades ago some islands were surprised by hurricanes, but these days they are tracked from the moment a small storm forms near the equator, and it usually takes at least a week for them to even get near the Caribbean. For this reason, the chances of actually being hurt in a Caribbean hurricane are basically zero, so the only real concern is having to cancel or cut your trip short.
In a typical hurricane situation the resorts can wait until 3 or 4 days before it might arrive before deciding to shut down and send guests away. With this much time, there is always plenty of airplanes that can be called in to take all the tourists away with days to spare. The locals might have to hunker down and hope for the best, but tourists are never in harm’s way.
Book cheap and buy trip insurance
So with the above in mind, the autumn in particular is the ideal time to visit the Caribbean. The temperatures have cooled off a bit, but you still get warm breezes, and the chances of thunderstorms are also even lower. The same resort that might charge US$500 per night in January can be booked for closer to US$200 per night in October, so you can actually afford two different trips per year for less than one if you go in high season.
When you are buying a flight or hotel you’ll be offered Trip Cancellation Insurance, or you can buy it on your own. Most times of the year it might be a waste of money, but if you have saved up for a big trip and you can’t bear the tiny possibility of having to cancel it or cut it short, you can buy insurance for under 10% of the total price to make sure you have no risk at all.