Traveling to the Caribbean During Hurricane Season

09.20.23 by Travelex Insurance
Image credit: Getty Images

The Caribbean hurricane season rolls around every year, and dangerous storms can come with it. So, the question of whether it’s safe to travel to the Caribbean or other hurricane-prone areas during the summer and early fall may be top-of-mind for many travelers planning their upcoming vacations.

 

When is hurricane season in the Caribbean? 

The Caribbean hurricane season tends to fall from June through November each year. Ahead of booking your vacation, it’s smart check if the Caribbean hurricane season may affect your trip based on the current year’s weather patterns. 

 

How often do hurricanes occur in the Caribbean? 

When considering booking a trip to the Caribbean during hurricane season, it’s important to consider the likelihood of a hurricane and how it may affect your travel plans – and even your safety. 

On average, about fourteen named tropical systems may have an impact somewhere in the Caribbean each year. Of those storms, around seven may reach hurricane intensity (sustained winds over 74 mph), and about three may reach major hurricane status (sustained winds over 110 mph). 

However, the Caribbean is vast and there is a lot of regional variances in those numbers. Looking at historical storm data for the past 100 years for the region can help us quantify the hurricane risk more directly. 

Region/Islands 

Named Storms 

Hurricanes 

Major Hurricanes 

Leeward Antilles  

(Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) 

17 

100 

Windward Islands 

(Barbados, Martinique, St. Vincent) 

10 

33 

Central Caribbean 

(Jamaica and the Cayman Islands) 

Leeward Islands 

(Antigua, Guadeloupe, US/British Virgin Islands) 

Eastern Greater Antilles 

(Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico) 

Western Greater Antilles 

(Cuba) 

Northern Caribbean 

(Bahamas and Turks & Caicos) 

Western Caribbean 

(Belize, Eastern Mexico/Yucatan, Roatan) 

If you want to know how often a particular island or region gets hit by a hurricane, you can visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website. There, you can use the Historical Hurricane Tracking Tool to see the frequency of named storms and hurricanes in the country you’re interested in traveling to. 

If you’re planning to travel to the Caribbean during hurricane season, you may want to consider visiting an island such as Aruba, Curacao, or Bonaire, as they experience a major hurricane only once every 100 years (on average). 

Conversely, in the Bahamas, for example, storm frequency is relatively high. A hurricane-strength storm has occurred there about every two years, and a major hurricane about every five years. Historically, those islands can expect a named storm to occur just about every year. 

In any given year, the chances that there’ll be major hurricane disruptions to a Caribbean vacation may not be high. However, keep in mind that these statistics don’t mean the islands impacted one year are out of the woods for storms in ​the following year​. These are long-term averages, and every hurricane season brings some element of risk to your trip planning. 

Travel insurance can help mitigate that risk when you travel to hurricane-prone areas such as the Caribbean. 

 

Other hurricane-prone regions 

Other areas susceptible to hurricanes and typhoons have their own risk levels, and some are lower than you might think. 

Hawaii has only been hit by two hurricanes in the past 100 years: Hurricane Dot (1959) and Hurricane Iniki (1992). Other locations such as Indonesia and Singapore are south of the typhoon belt and have a very low risk at any time of the year. 

If you’re ​​​traveling to the tropics ​in the summer or fall, there may be a good chance that your vacation will be unaffected by hurricanes. However, it’s a good idea to check the details of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you’re adequately covered for the unlucky chance that you run into a storm. But remember: It‘s essential to keep in mind that you need to buy travel insurance early for hurricane coverage eligibility— once a storm is named, it’s too late for coverage to apply for claims related to that storm. 

If you decide to travel to the Caribbean during hurricane season, you may want to review our hurricane safety tips before you depart.

Consider protecting yourself from the unexpected. Get a quote for a travel protection plan today.  

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