Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!
Caribbean Islands Without Hurricanes: Where to Vacation Without Major Storms | Frommer's MasterPhoto / Shutterstock

Caribbean Islands Without Hurricanes: Where to Vacation Without Major Storms

When it's hurricane season in the Caribbean, the risk may not be bad if you're on the best islands. These Caribbean countries are usually safe.

When Frommer's once asked an expert at the National Hurricane Center about the Caribbean's so-called "hurricane belt," an area said to experience frequent and severe storms, he scoffed. 

"There is no such thing as a hurricane belt," meteorologist Dennis Feltgen assured us. "Hurricanes can and will hit most anywhere in the Caribbean."

That's an important truth to keep in mind for those considering a tropical vacation. Hurricane season in the Caribbean lasts roughly from June 1 through November 30 each year, usually reaching a peak in August, September, and October. 

No matter which island you choose to visit during that time, it's wise to study up on airline and hotel cancellation policies, consider getting travel insurance, and monitor weather forecasts in the run-up to your trip. Even if your destination isn't hit directly by a hurricane, the island could still get high winds and heavy rains, and flights could be disrupted. 

That said, no one can deny that some Caribbean islands are affected by hurricanes more often than other places in the region. 

Keeping in mind that anything can happen, and that increasingly warmer oceans are making weather more severe everywhere, there are, historically speaking, a handful of islands that have only been hit by hurricanes on extremely rare occasions due to weather patterns and geographic location. 

Islands in the southernmost reaches of the Caribbean Sea—the ones closest to South America—have fared best, hurricane-wise. Spots in the northeast Caribbean have sustained the most damage. 

So if you're planning a Caribbean getaway for late summer or early autumn, here are the places with the lowest risk. 

(Willemstad, Curaçao | Credit: sxrx_mas / Shutterstock)

The ABC Islands

Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, clustered in the most southerly part of the Caribbean Sea just north of the Venezuela coastline, have had famously few run-ins with hurricanes. The first letters of the islands' names make them easy to remember, but here's a rhyming mnemonic device anyway:


We added that last line just for the National Hurricane Center.

Despite the ABC Islands' proximity and similar political histories connected to Dutch colonialism, each isle has its distinct attributes to recommend it, from Aruba's lively beach resorts and awe-inspiring cave pools to Bonaire's first-rate diving and Curaçao's cosmopolitan vibe and candy-colored capital city (pictured above). 

[Related: What to Do in Aruba When You're Tired of Sunbathing]

(Colin's Rum Shop at Sugar Bay Barbados | Credit: Sugar Bay Barbados)


The easternmost Caribbean island doesn't always go unscathed during hurricane season. Heavy rains and storm surges have been known to occur, even if direct hits and major damage are pretty much unheard of. 

Beyond the island's upscale resorts and powdery beaches, Barbados rewards visitors with a rich and varied cultural heritage that encompasses renowned rum distillers, a Jewish quarter dating to the 17th century, enormous baobab trees originally from Africa, and traditions such as cricket and afternoon tea adapted from British colonizers. 

[Related: Experiencing Eclectic Barbados Without All the Tourists]

(Pigeon Point, Tobago | Credit: Peter Krocka / Shutterstock)

Trinidad & Tobago

The risk is low for a direct hurricane hit on both of the islands that make up this nation just off Venezuela, although autumn storm systems sometimes result in "robust" showers.

But that prospect doesn't stop diverse, fun-loving Trinidad from throwing one of its famous festivals in fall—the island's Diwali celebration, honoring the holiday observed by Indian religions, takes place annually in October or November. Meanwhile, tiny Tobago presents the tempting lures of uncrowded beaches and lush rainforests.

(Garden at Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve in Grenada | Credit: Lisa Belle Larsen / Shutterstock)


Proving meteorologists' point about the Southern Caribbean not having total immunity from hurricanes, 2004's Hurricane Ivan dealt a heavy blow to Grenada, which floats to the north of Trinidad. But that was an anomaly. Grenada gets through most years without major incident, leaving travelers free to laze on silky-soft Grand Anse Beach or head into the interior to behold waterfalls, jungles, and the fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg farms that give the Spice Isle its nickname.  

(Overwater dining at Petit Saint Vincent resort | Credit: Petit Saint Vincent)

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

North of Grenada and to the west of Barbados, this 32-isle archipelago that includes the paradise of Bequia likewise escapes getting struck directly during most hurricane seasons. Due to limited international flights to St. Vincent's Argyle Airport (SVD), the chain escapes getting inundated with crowds most of the time, too. That creates an exclusive, Edenic feel beloved by yachters and celebrities, who are especially fond of the privately owned Mustique

As long as you're aware of the risks and take necessary precautions (starting with travel insurance), you might want to give more northern Caribbean islands some consideration during late summer as well, particularly if you're looking for a discount on hotels and airfare. 

Even Feltgen of the National Hurricane center agrees. "September is a great time to visit the Caribbean," he told us. "The rates are great, the weather's terrific, the water the perfect temperature."