When envisioning life on an idyllic island paradise, you’re probably dreaming of soft sand, clear water, and hot and sunny days. And for the most part, you’d be spot on. While the locals will tell you that the monotonously perfect weather in paradise will grow old to you, that’s only part of the story.
For those who move, even part time, to these tropical dream locations are often caught off guard by hurricane season. According to the Hurricane Research Division of the Atlantic Oceanic & Meteorological Laboratory, there are three major hurricane strikes to the U.S. every five years and 88% of major hurricanes have hit either Florida or Texas, so U.S. residents aren’t unaware of the ferocity of these storms, but the severity in the Caribbean is on a different scale.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to avoid these storms altogether? Get to enjoy the sun and the sand, but never worry about the next “big one” coming in? It turns out, you can have your paradise and keep it too with these tropical paradises that lay outside the hurricane belt.
**Note: These are the islands that are generally considered safe from hurricanes and many haven’t been hit for decades or even centuries, but the weather is an unpredictable force and there’s never a 100% guarantee that these islands won’t be affected in the future.
This small Dutch island nation set just nine miles off the northwestern coast of Venezuela is home to blond sand beaches and soft tradewinds making it the postcard perfect island location. With an area of about 69 square miles and a population just over 100,000 this nation is comparable in size to the Midwestern mini-metro area of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but packs a diverse punch. Aruba is home to 90+ nationalities and ethnic groups whose native traditions and cultures are celebrated on the island. Looking for a more active experience? Aruba is the shipwreck diving capital of the world and boasts the most sunny days of any island in the Caribean.
After seeing Aruba on a hurricane-free list, it should follow that Curaçao is next. Located approximately 50 miles east of Aruba, Curaçao covers an area about the size of Honolulu, Hawaii’s metro area, but has about one-sixth of the population. Visitors to Curaçao are delighted by the traditional Dutch architecture, the Old Town of Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as the incredible natural features like world-renowned SCUBA sites and other points of attraction like the floating market in the Punda district, museums, and more.
No discussion of the ABC islands would be complete without Bonaire. The westernmost island in the group, Bonaire lays approximately 100 miles east of Aruba and 30 miles east of Curaçao. This island nation has a population just under 20,000 and is well known for eco-tourism. Bonaire is home to many lizards, donkeys, and bird who call the immense Washington Slagbaai National park home. Those interested watersports often find Bonaire the perfect place for divers and
snorkelers because of the massive coral reef, designated a national park, located just off the island’s shoreline. Arguably the best part about Bonaire? The island is home to the Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary, one of only four places in the world where flamingos breed.
Trinidad and Tobago
Located about 10 miles off the northeastern coast of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island nation known for beautiful beaches, rowdy Carnival celebrations, and incredible weather. The nation has seen more hurricane activity than others in the region, due to its location between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, but is still generally considered safe and mostly hurricane free. Whether you’re looking to kick back to the sounds of a traditional steel drum band or are looking to paddle amongst the twinkling particles of a bioluminescent beach, Trinidad and Tobago have something for everyone.
Bocas del Toro, Panama
This island chain off the Caribbean coast of Panama has never experienced a hurricane. The crystal clear waters, including the popular Starfish Beach and excellent surfing conditions, make this a popular spot for adventure-seekers. Nine islands make up the chain meaning you can choose from a variety of accommodations ranging from luxury resorts to off-the-grid lodges and there’s no shortage of incredible beachfront views.
Still worried about a hurricane derailing your Caribbean good time? It’s worth keeping in mind that hurricanes are more likely to hit Miami than anywhere in the Caribbean. To keep your plans even more secure, plan your visit outside the traditional hurricane season (May to December), choosing one of the locations above, and purchasing the proper insurance can put you at ease.