If you want to avoid the hurricane season and skip the tourist crowds, it all comes down to this: What is the best time of year to go to the Caribbean? There are a lot of things that can ruin a perfectly good vacation: hurricane warnings, heavy rain, staying at an overcrowded resort, and having to put up with loud spring breakers on your laid-back vacation. The key to a successful trip to the Caribbean is choosing the right time of year to go.
What’s The Best Time Of The Year To Visit The Caribbean?
The best time of year to go to the Caribbean is October to early December and May through early August. This helps travelers avoid the busiest tourist months, which start at the end of December and pick up again during March and April when students head down for spring break.
The official hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from June to November. The rainiest months are August and September.
Tourists should avoid visiting the Caribbean during the wettest time of the year. However, certain islands are safer to visit than others. Bonaire and Aruba experience relatively mild weather, even during hurricane season, so you can safely book a trip without worrying about being stormed out.
What Are the Best Months To Go To the Caribbean?
The best months to vacation in the Caribbean are October, November, early December, May, June, July, and early August. If you visit during these months, you will dodge the tourist season when prices go through the roof and you will avoid the rainy season when there is a high risk of a hurricane.
Should I Visit the Caribbean During Tourist Season?
The official tourist season in the Caribbean starts in mid-December and runs through April.
You may be tempted to visit the Caribbean in the winter to get away from the chilly weather and snow at home. You may also think about visiting the Caribbean over Christmas and New Years because it is a fun and different way to celebrate the holidays.
That is what everyone does. The winter holidays are actually the worst time to visit the Caribbean because everyone else has the same idea as you.
The key to skipping the crowds is to plan your trip so that you leave before the winter holiday rush; it starts in mid-December.
Other months that you should avoid are April and March because this is when most colleges have their spring break.
During spring break season, everyone goes to the Caribbean and the islands get taken over by college students who want to party. If you are traveling with children, this is not the best environment for a family vacation.
When is Hurricane Season in the Caribbean?
In addition to avoiding the tourist season, you should also try to avoid hurricane season when you plan a trip. According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the Atlantic Hurricane Season includes the Caribbean runs from June 1st until November 30th each year. The worst months for hurricanes are August and September. June is typically the rainiest month for the southern Caribbean.
Travelers should avoid taking a trip to the Caribbean during August and September because this is when the risk for hurricanes is the highest. However, it can still be perfectly safe to plan a trip that falls within the June to November hurricane season.
For example, Puerto Rico’s weather can be a gamble if you visit in November. Some years, Puerto Rico has experienced unusual amounts of rain and storm warnings in November; in other years, Puerto Rico is perfectly dry for almost all of November.
If you decide to take the risk, then you should get travel insurance for your trip. There are a few different types of travel insurance. Some policies will reimburse you for pre-paid costs and any deposits that you can’t get back if you have to cancel due to hurricane risk. Other policies are for trip interruption; this means that you will be refunded for anything that you miss if your trip is delayed.
In recent years, including in 2022, the Caribbean has experienced an above average hurricane season. Travelers should take precautions and ensure that they can get their money back if they are unable to take the trip due to storms.
What is the Safest Caribbean Island to Visit During Hurricane Season?
You may have heard of the ABC islands; these are Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Due to their positioning close to the northern end of South America, they experience far milder weather than the rest of the Caribbean islands.
Other islands located outside of the hurricane belt are Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines. Belize is also a safe option, although it is a country, not an island. Because these destinations have a much lower risk of severe weather during hurricane season, they are some of the safest islands to visit on a Caribbean vacation.
In fact, Bonaire is world-renowned for its diving, which requires calm water. The diving season overlaps directly with the Caribbean hurricane season. Even when the other islands are issuing hurricane warnings, the southern islands like Bonaire remain warm, tropical, and great for watersports.
When travelers book all-inclusive resort packages, flights, and activities at the ABC islands, they can worry far less about being rained out. While some cautious travelers may still purchase travel insurance when visiting the southern islands, it is not quite as necessary as it would be in a hurricane-prone place like Abaco.
When Should You Visit the Caribbean To Experience Festivals and Holidays?
The Caribbean is famous for all the festivals, exuberant holiday celebrations, and the international events that it hosts. Travelers who love a good party will want to come to the Caribbean at the right time to witness the joyful, colorful celebrations and to experience the culture.
If you visit the Caribbean during the ideal travel mouths, October to early-December and May to early-August, there are 5 festivals and events that you will be able to see during your trip:
1. December 6th: St. Nicholas Day
This originally Dutch holiday is very similar to Christmas. It is celebrated every year in Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, and other formerly Dutch-colonized islands.
On St. Nicholas Day, there is a parade featuring performers dressed up as Sinterklaas and his assistant, Pieten, who give out candy and presents. It is traditional for families to get together for a feast, so hotels and resorts offer a special St. Nicholas Day feast for tourists to experience.
2. Second Week of June: Caribbean Fashion Week
Caribbean Fashion Week normally takes place during the second week of June. It is a celebration of Caribbean and African art, style, and design.
The purpose of Caribbean Fashion Week is to highlight the unique beauty of Caribbean style and showcase the innovative art from native stylists, designers, and models. CFW is a must-see for anyone who loves art and fashion; it is also suitable for children who are interested in fashion and modeling.
3. July to August: Crop Over Carnival in Barbados
Barbados is famous for its on-going harvest festival. During this event, the locals dress up in extravagant costumes that include feathers, wings, rhinestones, and headpieces. Barbados is filled with music, dance, food, and a celebration of the culture. Crop Over is a don’t-miss party for travelers from around the world
The events kick off at the end of July with the Pic-O-De-Crop music competition finals, an all-night party in which everyone is covered in paint and mud, the Bridgetown Market, and the Cohobblopot, which features over-the-top performances.
Crop Over ends August 1st with Grand Kadooment Day, where there is a huge parade through the streets and a music performance competition.
4. Third Week of July: Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica
Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, Jamaica is another must-experience party for music lovers and party animals. It is a multi-night event with big-name musicians headlining and an afterparty on the beach. Reggae Sumfest embraces all forms of reggae, including ska, dancehall, and dub.
5. August 20th and 21st: Aruba International Regatta
At the end of August, sailors flock to Aruba to race all different kinds of boats. There are sailboat races, stand-up paddle board races, races for miniature boats, and a yacht race.
This event is great for children, especially kids who like playing with toy boats and trucks. During the regatta, there is plenty of seating for spectators as well as booths with food, boat-themed toys, and hands-on conservation education.