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Islands in August & September

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Hello,

I was hoping to get some suggestions on islands to stay on during the months of August, September or October. I realize this is peak hurricane season, but I wasn't sure if there was a time within these 3 months, which would be better than the others i.e. would have less rain, less chance of hurricanes.

I stayed in Playa Del Carmen in the first week of September and it rained every day for a large chunk of the day. Next year I am hoping to visit somewhere that has less rain and more sunshine!

I would prefer an island with some good snorkeling spots right off the beaches. Lush jungles would be great too!

Any insight you may have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!

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    The official Atlantic/Caribbean Hurricane Season runs from june 1 through November 30 with the peak time for storms being mid-to late August through the end of October. That said, it's impossible to predict when or, even, if a storm will form and if it does whether it will strike a particular island during the week or so you are on vacation. For instance, so far this year there have been 11 named tropical storms/hurricanes but only one has affected a few islands in the Caribbean and one affected islands in the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos.

    While no Caribbean island is hurricane free the conventional wisdom is the further south you go the less chance there is of encountering a storm.

    As far as rain goes, the same caveat regarding predictions is true - no one's crystal ball is clear enough to give you any assurances. Again, the past two months have been very dry throughout the Caribbean - how long that will last is anyone's guess.

    The more important factor is many resorts, restaurants and excursion operators in the Caribbean are closed during September and October so your options are somewhat limited during that period. On the other hand, you won't find any crowds if you travel during that period so that's the tradeoff.

    So, given that you seem to have flexible dates you'd probably want to make your trip in early August - the chances you'll have good weather are excellent, it's Low Season so there will be fewer tourists on most islands, most, if not all, resorts, restaurants, and excursion operators will be fully open, and you'll benefit by finding some of the lowest room rates of the year.

    Now, you've asked for an island with less rain, more sun, good walk-in snorkeling and lush Jungles (the correct term is rainforest). This presents a bit of a problem. First, islands don't get "lush" without copious amounts of rain, hence the term "rainforest". Second, lush islands normally do not have very good snorkeling because the tend to lack comprehensive near shore reef systems. You usually find better snorkeling on the flatter arid islands which are scrubby and more dessert like. So that's the tradeoff.

    All is not lost, however. The US and British Virgin Islands are hilly enough to get some rain at the higher elevations so you get a somewhat lush look and there are numerous close in reefs that offer ample places for some very good to excellent snorkeling. Look at St. John and St. Croix (USVI's) or Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke (BVI's).

    If you are willing to give in on the "lush" part of your wish list check out Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos, any of the Bahamas Out Islands, Aruba and Bonaire. FYI - on these islands you'll probably find enough "man-made" landscaping around your hotel/resort to give you a "lush" feel.

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