From May to late December, prices for Caribbean vacations drop, and the bargains get so tempting one almost forgets the H-word.
Officially, hurricane season stretches from June 1st to November 30th, and hits not only the Caribbean islands but also parts of Mexico, Florida and the Texas coast. Within that time frame, August to October are peak months. The official Caribbean hurricane season occurs from 1st June through to 30th November but the hurricanes are not evenly distributed across the region during this time.
Although there's not really a totally safe zone, the southern ABC islands -- Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, in the Dutch Caribbean near Venezuela -- are considered the best bets. Also, Trinidad and Tobago are below the hurricane belt.
Cruise ships are a practical way to visit the Caribbean during the risky season, as they can simply re-route if a storm threatens.
Regular travel insurance comes in many varieties -- such as Trip Cancellation or Interruption-- and some policies may also offer protection against weather; check with your travel agent or insurance company.
Once May rolls around, low rates beckon at resorts in the Caribbean and on Mexico's Caribbean coast (Cancun and the Riviera Maya) ; yet every few years, one of these popular spots is pummeled by a tropical storm. Florida too is vulnerable: on the Gulf Coast, on the Atlantic coast, in the Keys in the south; even tourist powerhouse Orlando -- in the middle of the state-- gets an occasional blast.
Even though the Caribbean hurricane season is from June through to November, there are still times when hurricanes are unusually quiet. If you visit the Caribbean in July, you'll be happy to know that hurricanes rarely effect the region. October has by far the largest number of hurricanes. The second most frequent occurrence for hurricanes is in June.
Hurricanes occasionally form in May so don't be fooled into believing that they can't form outside these dates.