5 Caribbean Islands (Generally) Not Hit by Hurricanes

Hurricane season doesn't mean your summer getaway can't involve the Caribbean.

The NOAA seasonal outlook is forecasting a near-normal 2016 season in terms of activity. What that seasonal outlook can't tell you (unfortunately) is whether any particular land areas will be hit and what those impacts would be, stresses Dennis Feltgen, meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center. "Whether one occurs at a specific location this season is impossible to predict. That kind of long-range forecasting does not exist," he says.

But those months are the best as far as rates for hotels and flights, as well as fewer crowds, so it may be worth it to take the chance. No matter which island you decide to visit, "The best advice for those traveling to a hurricane-prone region is to make sure that the hotel facility has a hurricane plan in place for its guests. And to buy travel insurance," says Feltgen.

So while prediction is an imperfect science, and taking basic precautions is always smart, some islands in the Caribbean are historically less likely than others to see hurricanes, thereby reducing your worry and increasing your fun. Here they are.

NB: Frequencies noted are approximate, and based on Hurricane City research, which defines a hurricane hit as "hurricane force winds for a few hours."

1. Aruba

Hurricane Frequency: Every 28.8 years

What Makes It Special: A German freighter shipwreck

Aruba is south of the hurricane belt, making direct hits from hurricanes rare. The last hurricane to even touch the island was Hurricane Felix in 2007, which was a Level 2 hurricane causing minor damage.

Hotel Pick: Holiday Inn Resort Aruba - Beach Resort and Casino

2. Bonaire

Hurricane Frequency: Every 28.8 years

What Makes It Special: Nature, Unspoiled

Hotel Pick: Buddy Dive

3. Curacao

Hurricane Frequency: Every 28.8 years

What Makes It Special: Blue Curacao

Okay, that's not all that makes it special, but the sweet, striking spirit, made exclusively from the island's native citrus fruit related to Valencia oranges, is definitely a plus. Another is that Curacao, like Aruba, hasn’t been touched by a hurricane since Felix. While that could mean the island is due, it’s far enough away from the hurricane belt that the chances of a hard hit are low.

Hotel Pick: Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club

4. Dominican Republic

Hurricane Frequency: Every 11.08 years

What Makes It Special: Cabarete Beach

You can’t mention the Caribbean without mentioning the Dominican Republic, a country that takes up a bit more than half of the large island of Hispaniola (Haiti has the other side). It's growing in popularity, thanks to increasing awareness of its Instagram-ready beaches and reasonable cost. It has a historical record, too, with Spanish colonial architecture easy to find here. Its record with hurricanes isn't half bad either. Only 11 reached DR in the past 80 years. It’s naturally protected by Puerto Rico to the east, and the Mona Channel, where the island’s varying temperatures create a pressure system that (usually) pushes storms toward the sea.

Rum, chocolate, coffee, and amber jewelry, among other goodies, are for sale everywhere as you stroll through the colonial city of Santo Domingo. Plus, Cabarete Beach at the northern end is famous for its kiteboarding and windsurfing. "D.R. was a great family late-summer vacation, and affordable for the four of us," says Debra Buser of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. "The people were friendly, and it was easy to fly to out of Philadelphia. We hated to leave, and ran down to the beach to dip our toes one last time after we checked out."

Hotel Pick: Sanctuary Cap Cana

5. Barbados

Hurricane Frequency: Every 20.57 years

What Makes It Special: Rum and Leatherback Turtles

Being on the southeast end of the Caribbean region puts this island just outside of the main hurricane alley, so it is often spared. The rocky coasts and reefs surrounding the island provide somewhat of a barrier. In fact, it’s so well protected that mother nature's wrath comes calling quite infrequently, with the last time being in 1955. The island was touched by Hurricane Tomas in 2010, but that caused little damage.

Rihanna may be the most famous export, but rum is a close second. The island lives and breathes the elixir, having over 1,500 rum shops across its 66 square miles. Beaches come in two varieties: the ones with the gentle waves on the west coast (best for swimming, especially with kids) and the options on the east coast with rougher seas (ideal for surfer). On top of that, you can swim with Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles. Dawn Rossetti, a teacher in Marietta, Georgia, is a repeat Barbados customer. "I love it, without a doubt, better than any other island I've been to," she says. "The beaches are stunning, the island overall seems really clean and welcoming, and the weather is always great. With my job, I can only take vacation in July, and I've been there three Julys; I've never had any storm problems."

Hotel Pick: Island Inn Hotel

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