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We would like to visit a Caribbean island (currently looking at either somewhere in the Bahamas or Puerto Rico, but totally flexible) in the last week of August (EG Smack in the middle of hurricane season). I have seen some stats that suggest the 2016 season will be the most active since 2012 with the potential of 14 named storms.

Given that the risk of encountering a hurricane is a percentages game, what measures would you take to mitigate the possibility of a hurricane hitting my destination for the desired dates? (Or is the risk high enough that somewhere else would be a better destination.)

EG Is standard travel insurance enough to protect me financially? Should we prefer North/South/East/West in the Caribbean?

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The NOAA has some month-by-month hurricane incidence maps on their website. They're only meant to be qualitative, but they can give you a sense of what you're up against:

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From this we see:

  • The ABC islands, along with Trinidad & Tobago, are less commonly affected by hurricanes than most of the rest of the Caribbean. All of these islands are relatively close to the South American mainland, and so take a little longer to get to from the continental US; but the extra travel time might be worth it in this case.

  • Cuba is relatively less-frequently hit than other Caribbean islands (perhaps due to the sheltering effects of nearby Hispaniola?) US citizens will have trouble traveling here, of course.

  • If you want to avoid hurricanes, Puerto Rico and the Leeward Islands are not the best choices during the months of August and September. The Bahamas, Jamaica, and Hispaniola are better, but probably not much.

Finally, note that hurricane tracks can go pretty much anywhere in the Caribbean (warning: huge image file); just because you decide to go to Aruba doesn't mean you won't be affected by a hurricane. I would probably buy travel insurance for peace of mind in a case like this, but YMMV.

  • I'm not a US citizen, so I can easily get to Cuba .. but my wife wouldn't be happy with me going by myself .. specially as it's for her birthday! (BTW a US cruise ship docked there today). Also I consider travel insurance a must for any sort of international travel. – Peter M May 2 '16 at 18:18
  • I probably don't buy travel insurance as often as I should, to be honest. I've been lucky so far, but my luck will probably run out some day... – Michael Seifert May 2 '16 at 18:18
  • Given the % cost of travel insurance in the total travel cost I see it as a no brainer. Last christmas we spent $USD7K just on flights alone for 2 people just to get to Australia for Christmas (damned high season) so $300 for travel insurance is nothing. – Peter M May 2 '16 at 18:22
  • A few months later, my advice to travel to the ABC islands in September does not look so sage. – Michael Seifert Oct 3 '16 at 18:35
  • The fun thing is that right now I am in Ft Lauderdale for work and how Mathew acts will directly affect what I am able to do! – Peter M Oct 4 '16 at 1:48

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