The Caribbean entices all types of travelers for its extraordinary beaches, tranquil sea, and laidback charm. Most trips are slotted for the winter and early spring to escape frigid northern latitudes for reliable sunshine, yet visiting at this time also coincides with the most crowds and priciest accommodation and airfare. Visiting during summer and fall will see considerable savings, but there’s an increased chance of tropical storms, especially in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. Though a severe hurricane is unlikely to happen during your trip, it’s nice having peace of mind heading into a Caribbean getaway. Read on to find out which 9 islands are your safest bet to visit during the Caribbean hurricane season.
Trying to decide which Caribbean island is right for you? Check out our ultimate cheat sheet on where to go in the Caribbean.
Barbados has been hurricane-free since devastating Hurricane Janet hit in 1955. The island is situated farther south and east of the Caribbean’s typical hurricane trajectory. Travelers should expect reliable sunshine and temperatures in the mid-80s punctuated by heavy, yet brief, rainfall between June and October. This means that visitors will have ample time to explore Barbados’s beautiful beaches. The west coast’s sandy beaches enjoy gentler conditions, though the east coast boasts less development and an incredibly scenic boulder-adorned beach in Bathsheba. The island’s history is easily accessible, too. For starters, Barbados’s capital, Bridgetown, is a Unesco World Heritage site for its well-preserved British colonial architecture and garrison. To the north, St. Nicholas Abbey stands as one of the Caribbean’s oldest plantations, comprising a rum distillery, Jacobean-style mansion, and immaculate gardens.
Situated on a golden stretch of sand on Barbados’s western coast, Waves Hotel & Spa by Elegant Hotels totes exceptional all-inclusive amenities in a serene, natural setting. Guests can relax by one of two pools surrounded by tropical fruit trees, take to the sea with free water sports equipment, or unwind at the spa.
Lying just 15 miles off Venezuela’s coast, Aruba’s southerly location is well below the hurricane belt. The most recent storm to graze Aruba was Hurricane Felix in 2007, and at 60 miles away, the storm only caused minor damage to the Dutch territory. Summer in Aruba sees temperatures in the mid-80s, though reliable winds provide a refreshing breeze. Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, is characterized by picturesque Dutch architecture and brightly-hued facades housing local eateries and shops. The surrounding west coast beaches are best for swimming in the calm turquoise sea, including the resort-lined golden strand of Eagle Beach and Hadicurari Beach. For smaller crowds, make the trek to Aruba’s southern tip for Baby Beach – a stunning horseshoe-shaped bay lined with powdery white sand. Swimming on the more rugged east coast is restricted on many beaches. However, the region is a hiker’s paradise, especially in Arikok National Park. A network of trails leads through desert landscapes of cacti to extraordinary coastal scenes of craggy cliffs and deserted beaches. The six-mile roundtrip trek to Conchi is worth the effort to swim in a natural pool protected from the crashing waves by a ring of weathered rocks.
The Paradera Park Aruba offers secluded sanctuary in Aruba’s interior away from the heaviest tourist traffic. The hotel’s tropical gardens, gorgeous pool, and guest rooms with furnished balconies and kitchens make for a restful base for self-catering travelers to explore Aruba.
Bonaire’s most recent encounter with a hurricane was back in 2007 just like Aruba. Average daily highs in the summer reach the mid-80s, while September and October experience the most rainfall. Although Bonaire’s desert-like interior may appear sparse, below the surface lies one of the Caribbean’s most accessible and magnificent coral reef systems. The entire coastline and immediate offshore area is protected within Bonaire National Marine Park, which includes numerous dive and snorkel sites accessible from the shore. Farther offshore, divers will find the sunken 236-foot Hilma Hooker and Sampler – a reef full of seahorses, sea turtles, and eels among towering sponges and coral reminiscent of the island’s desert landscape. On land, Bonaire has more on offer than it’s usually given credit for. For instance, Washington-Slagbaai National Park contains salt ponds, mangrove forests, volcanic rock formations, and isolated beaches in an area comprising 20% of Bonaire’s landmass.
The Harbour Village Beach Club packs a wealth of amenities on one of the most beautiful sand beaches in Bonaire. The property features two pools, a spa, a restaurant, plush beachside cabanas, and a vibrant coral reef just offshore.
The third of the Dutch Caribbean’s ABC islands, Curacao has the same track record with hurricanes as the neighboring islands of Aruba and Bonaire. Curacao receives fewer visitors than Aruba, but packs more cultural offerings and beachfront development than unspoiled Bonaire. The capital, Willemstad, features immaculately-preserved Dutch colonial architecture with bright pastel hues, especially along the waterfront of St. Anna Bay. The downtown Pietermaai District is home to numerous museums, galleries, cafes, and the quintessential Blue Curacao Experience, where visitors can sample and learn about the island’s famed liqueur. Outside of town, the island’s striking topography unfolds into rocky peaks, groves of cacti, and a stunning craggy coastline full of isolated sandy beaches and caves. Christoffel National Park dominates island’s northern end, with several hiking trails crisscrossing the arid terrain and summiting Curacao’s highest point, Christoffel Mountain. There’s also ample diving and snorkeling opportunities, especially off west coast beaches like Daaibooi Beach and Grote Knip.
Where to Stay:
The Sunscape Curacao Resort Spa and Casino is ideally situated along a gorgeous sand beach on the outskirts of Willemstad’s historic center. The all-inclusive property has multiple bars, restaurants, and pools. There’s plentiful activities on offer too, including snorkeling and kayaking right offshore.
Located just off the coast of Venezuela, Trinidad’s southern location means it rarely sees hurricanes. The most recent was Hurricane Isidore in 2002, though it’s worth noting that the storm was classified as a tropical depression when it passed the island. The only notable hurricanes to impact Trinidad happened as far back as 1933 and 1963, so it’s still an unlikely scenario. Trinidad is quite large by Caribbean island standards, meaning that most travelers stick to a region or two during their visit. The dual island nation’s capital, Port of Spain, is located on Trinidad. The port city is a bit industrial due to trade and oil, but don’t discount its diversity of museums, historic sites, markets, and lively bars and restaurants. The city also sees one of the most exciting carnival celebrations, though you can still find calypso music and other festival throughout the year, such as the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival in September. Trinidad’s mountainous and jungle-clad interior affords excellent hiking, bird-watching, and other nature-based activities. The Asa Wright Nature Centre comprises 600 hectares of protected forest teeming with biodiversity and some well-marked trails. The northern coast has some of Trinidad’s most picturesque beaches. Las Cuevas Beach lines a calm half-moon bay that’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling, while more remote Grande Riviere sees leatherback and hawksbill turtles arriving in mass to lay their eggs until as late as August.
Guests at the Salybia Nature Resort & Spa will have both white-sand beaches and gorgeous jungle scenery right at their doorstep. All guests have private balconies and access to a serene infinity pool, while Luxury Suites and Superior Deluxe rooms come with hot tubs. The property is located along Trinidad’s remote northeastern coast on Saline Bay.
Tobago’s location is a bit more exposed than its big sister island, but it’s still far to the southeast from the Caribbean’s hurricane alley. The most recent devastating hurricane to reach Tobago was Hurricane Flora in 1963. Tropical storms do periodically impact the island, though the primary concern is flooding from heavy rainfall rather than strong winds. Tobago is much more tourism-oriented than Trinidad — but still maintains its pristine nature and laidback charm. Tobago’s main town, Scarborough, is smaller and less industrial than Port of Spain. King George serves as a scenic backdrop to the town’s buzzing bars and markets. Even Tobago’s most popular beach, Pigeon Point, has just a few beach bars and water sports outfitters along its idyllic arc of golden sand. Head farther east to find solitude in the lush protected jungle of Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve or along stunning beaches like Englishman’s Bay and Pirate’s Bay. The latter requires a short, but steep trek from the quaint town of Charlotteville.
Bacolet Beach Club occupies a picturesque perch above Rockly Bay, which guests can enjoy from the comfort of private balconies. With only 20 guest rooms, the property’s two pools, two restaurants, and private beach remain uncrowded. Also, downtown Scarborough’s restaurants and shops are just 15 to 20 minutes away on foot.
Tiny, square-mile Little Corn island was devastated by Hurricane Joan in 1988, but has not experienced any extremely severe weather events since. The local Afro-Caribbean culture is unique in this part of Central America and much more evocative of other Caribbean island nations than mainland Nicaragua. The island’s perimeter is almost entirely ringed by white-sand beaches and can be easily traversed between breakfast and lunch. Though the beaches are all public access, hotels make an effort to keep lounge chairs and hammocks for guest-use only. Little Corn’s eastern coast has easily accessible and shallow coral reefs offshore for snorkeling. Come nightfall, travelers congregate at the handful of bars near the ferry port. Each venue takes turns hosting parties and theme nights per each night of the week. Its tranquil beaches and remoteness are perfect for unplugging.
The stand-alone cottages at Little Corn Beach and Bungalow have well-furnished terraces facing out towards the ocean and palm groves strung with hammocks. The Turned Turtle Restaurant serves a rotating menu of fresh seafood and international items.
This Colombian territory is a popular getaway for mainland Colombians despite lying 500 miles offshore in the western Caribbean. The westerly location means that San Andres is well outside the hurricane belt, though summer and fall see increased cloud cover and afternoon rain showers. San Andres is far removed from any neighboring islands, save for some gorgeous uninhabited cays just offshore. To the north, Johnny Cay draws day-trippers to snorkel its reefs and lounge on its pristine white-sand beaches encircling the entire island. Boats depart regularly to make the one-mile journey from San Andres Town – a surprisingly bustling town for such a remote island. More seclusion can be found farther south, especially on the island’s rockier west coast, which features a sea water geyser – El Hoyo Soplador. Avid snorkelers should head out to Haynes Cay and Cayo El Acuario, which see fewer crowds than Johnny Cay.
The Decameron Isleño is situated just across from the golden sands of Playa Principal and within walking distance of Aeorpuerto Internacional Gustavo Rojas Pinilla and downtown San Andres’ shops and restaurants. The property features a number of scenic pools with designated adults-only and kids’ sections, as well as a variety of water sports and restaurant options included as part of the all-inclusive rates.
Located between St. Lucia and Grenada, St. Vincent constitutes the largest island of the 32-island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. St. Vincent hasn’t seen a direct hit from a hurricane since 1955, though its being closer to hurricane alley means that there’s a chance of storm’s outer bands bringing heavy rainfall to the island in summer and fall. Thus, summer and fall are still opportune times to visit St. Vincent’s diverse topography of sandy beaches, volcanic peaks, and serene waterfalls enshrouded in jungle. The best way to take it all in is by foot. The La Soufriere Cross Country Trail begins at sea level and ascends to the volcano’s 4,000-foot peak, granting extraordinary views of the crater, surrounding valleys, and Caribbean Sea. The southern coast’s golden-sand beaches are the busiest, especially spots like Villa Beach and Indian Bay Beach due to their proximity to the capital of Kingstown. A selection of black-sand beaches up the west coast grant more seclusion, such as Peter’s Hope and Kearton’s Bay. The east coast is far too rough for safe swimming, but there’s a handful of gorgeous waterfalls with swimmable pools below, including Dark View Falls, Falls of Baleine, and Wallilabou Falls. Taking a catamaran or sailboat tour to the outlying islands like Bequia and Union Island will take in even more breathtaking beaches.
Set on St. Vincent’s southern coast, Beachcombers Hotel is a charming colonial-style property with direct beach access, lovely tropical gardens, and a well-maintained pool. Young Island and Fort Duvernette lie just offshore the hotel’s beach and make for a great day-trip to tour the remains of its 19th century fortifications.
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