Island life outside the eye of the storm
Hurricane season is one of my favorite times to conquer the Caribbean. Before you write me off as a crazed, storm-seeking traveler, know this: I’m simply a warm weather wanderer who has honed in on a trio of islands outside the hurricane belt! Enter Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao (the ABC Islands), sitting so far south in the Caribbean Sea it’s as though they’re part of South America.
Storm season sweeps most of the Caribbean between June and November. As a precaution, travelers tend to avoid the entire region in fear of getting caught in a hair-raising, wind-blowing, and storm-frenzied pickle, yet the bulk of the foul weather occurs in August and September, above the ABCs.
I don’t want to sprinkle Vitamin D-infused fairy dust on this topic; Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire can get a little rainy and windy between August and October. However, the storms are few and far between, and the deals are plentiful because very few people know the Caribbean has islands outside the eye of the storm.
After heavily researching hurricane season travel, I spent a month in the ABCs at the tail end of storm season. At this time, it’s one of the Caribbean’s best value visits, and the crowds are lean. As a result, I’m in the process of plotting a yearly trip.
Value and crowdless beaches aside, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao provide an ideal introduction to the tropics. Formerly members of the Netherlands Antilles, they are safe, English-speaking, accept US Dollars, and have ribbons of white-sand beaches that stretch into the sunset.
If you’re going to conquer the Caribbean during hurricane season – or any time of year – start in Aruba. The biggest island in the ABC trio has a long history welcoming sun seekers, a tourism infrastructure focusing on both visitor needs and local flavor, and an impressive international aptitude – most residents speak at least four languages! When you touch down, beeline to your hotel, don your most casual resort wear, and head to one of the umpteen piers stretching over Palm Beach for a bevvie. It’s bliss.
Bevvies on a Palm Beach pier
Bonaire is the ABC’s smallest and most sporty isle, home to some of the world’s best diving. Part of my heart resides here; it’s floating somewhere in Lac Bay, a mile-long, waist-deep salt water lagoon with the temperature of a hot tub. The first night I got there, I grabbed a beer from the bar, ran into the ocean, and crouched down until the water covered my shoulders. As I settled into the sandy ocean floor and sipped my beer, a flock of flamingos flew by. I’m not gonna lie, I shed a tear; this moment was too “travel perfect.”
Viewfinder Tip: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao are outside the Caribbean’s hurricane belt, meaning you can visit year-round!
Travelers seeking a medium-sized, city-meets-sea experience will develop a life-long crush on Curacao. Candy-colored like an Easter egg basket full of goodies (the buildings are painted in pastels), it’s a bright and boisterous isle welcoming tourists because they want to, not because they have to. Curacao has one of the Caribbean’s most important shipping centers; the main industry is its deep-water port. Start in Willemstad for a dose of culture, followed by a multi-day interlude beside some of the Caribbean’s most crystal-clear waters. Ah, I wish all storm seasons looked like this.
Would you travel to the Caribbean during hurricane season?
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