Caribbean hurricane season occurs roughly from the end of May to the beginning of December, with the peak season being from August through October. The Caribbean’s different regions—eastern, western, and southern—have varying amounts of risk during the Caribbean hurricane season, so be sure to check the Caribbean hurricane forecast before making travel plans and consider the risk of storms at your preferred destination.
Because the Caribbean is a popular travel destination throughout the year, many travelers are concerned about specifically when is hurricane season for Caribbean islands. In the eastern Caribbean, which consists of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the chain of island nations stretching roughly from Anguilla to Grenada, the peak season is slightly earlier than in the Western Caribbean, roughly from mid-August through mid-September. During that time of the year, the islands in this part of the region can have up to a 25 percent chance of tropical storms.
If you’re wondering when is hurricane season for Caribbean islands in the western part of the region, its peak is a bit later: September and October. The western Caribbean, which includes Hispaniola, Cuba, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Central America, and the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, has about a 20 percent chance of tropical storms during this time of year.
In the past decade, the hurricane season in the Atlantic has averaged about fourteen tropical storms and eight hurricanes per season, and though there have been major storms, not all are catastrophic, and in fact, the Caribbean has a significantly lower chance of being struck by a hurricane than the city of Miami or the Gulf Coast of the United States.
Although travelers should keep an eye on the weather forecast and be cautious about booking nonrefundable trips during the peak hurricane season, that doesn’t mean the region should be totally avoided. Cruise vacations can be a safe way to travel at this time of year, as the ships can usually steer around major storm systems, and it’s actually the perfect season for last minute trips to the Caribbean—take a look at the Caribbean hurricane map or forecast a few days before you go, and you can take off for your destination safely and knowing what to expect.
If last minute travel doesn’t appeal to you, but you still want to take a trip to the Caribbean in early fall, the best places to go are the southern islands. The twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire are generally outside the Caribbean hurricane belt, meaning that these destinations have as low as a 2 percent chance of being struck by a hurricane, even during the peak time of year.
For the most current hurricane information, visit the National Hurricane Center.