Is any island REALLY lower hurricane risk?

Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:37 AM
  #1  
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Is any island REALLY lower hurricane risk?

I need some help and clear thinking on this. Any actual data would be an extra plus.

The situation: I'm trying to plan a tropical, Caribbean honeymoon for August with both hands tied behind my back. My fiance wants Caribbean (amazing beaches, turquoise waters), and she wants short flight from the East coast of the US because we only have five days (and that isn't flexible, regrettably). BUT, she also doesn't want to risk the thing getting cancelled because of a hurricance. And the issue isn't it getting wiped out financially, because we can get it insured. It's that she doesn't want for our wedding to end and for a natural disaster to wipe out our honeymoon and have nowhere for us to go for that week but home to sit in our apartment. And we all know that finding a back-up destination literally at a moment's notice in August is going to be impossible--any decent place will be booked.

So, given those restrictions, she's acquiesced to me considering Barbados and Aruba and Bermuda, because she's heard those are lower risk. And she's said okay to Riviera Maya in Mexico because she sees that as Mexico and not the Caribbean, so not a threat. And the result is that it wildly limits the amazing beaches to choose from (I'm thinking Bahamas or Cayman-style beaches as far as the eye can see), and I think the distinction we're drawing is pretty flawed. We're closing ourselves off from the islands with the best beaches, allegedly because we want lower risk of hurricane, but I'm seriously wondering if we've really lowered that risk at all.

Any thoughts? Are Aruba or Barbados or Bermuda really lower risk, or are we actually splitting hairs and should just decide if we're going to go to the region or not, and then pick the place we REALLY want to go. I don't REALLY want to go to Bermuda, and it seems like an awful lot of money for a place I don't have a great interest in. Anyway, thanks for the hurricane insights.
ftrain is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:45 AM
  #2  
 
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No island is hurricane free and though I don't have the stats in front of me the risk for the ABC island (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) is very low. I am not familiar with Barbados in this regard.
jacketwatch is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:06 AM
  #3  
 
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Of the places you mentioned ONLY Aruba is pretty safe from hurricanes. As a previous poster stated the ABC (Aruba, Bonnaire and Curacao) are pretty much risk fee. ALL the others including Mexico can be hit and have been hit by hurricanes. Bermuda is NOT lower risk. Barbados has not been hit by a major hurricane recently but is not risk free. Riviera Maya would be lower risk than Bermuda BUT it has been hit by hurricanes.
semiramis is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 11:23 AM
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While the risk in Aruba (and other islands south of 12 degrees latitude) is lower, it is not zero. Grenada and Hurricane Ivan certainly dispelled that myth last year. Also, even if a storm does not hit your island directly, that doesn't mean your trip won't be impacted. Flights throughout the region can be cancelled, preventing you from getting where you want to go.

(BTW, the Riviera Maya is on the Caribbean Sea. Any storm that threatens Jamaica or the Caymans, or Central America, is also a threat to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.)

That having been said, and knowing that you will have insurance, I will tell you from personal experience that it is not impossible to re-book a trip if your plans need to be changed (an unlikely event, by the way, because the risk of YOUR PARTICULAR destination being hit is quite small).

Back in 2002, my husband and I were booked to go on a sailing trip in the Abacos (Out Islands of the Bahamas). The day before departure, Hurricane Michelle was headed right there. I called my charter company and my airline that day and re-booked for other dates. In the meantime, wanting to take advantage of a cleared desk at the office and the psychological need to go somewhere, I got on the internet and on the phone and managed to book an entirely new trip, including air, hotel and yacht charter (with a completely different charter company than the one I would have used in the Abacos), to the British Virgin Islands. The next morning, I was off on an island vacation -- but to an entirely different destination. And this was November, not August, with less availability.

My suggestion is to plan to go where you REALLY want to go. It is, after all, your one and only honeymoon. It should be special. If you're worried about having to go somewhere else, do some research in advance and have a back-up plan in mind -- preferably in a different region. Then, in the highly unlikely event that you have to change your plans, you'll know where to start.

(I honeymooned in August in the Caribbean myself. Back in 1989, we weren't overloaded with information via the internet and other sources. We just went, and didn't even think about hurricane risk. Nothing bad happened -- as it probably won't to you. I sometimes look back fondly on that blissful ignorance; but then again, if I had known then what I know now, I never would have chosen that particular island ... but that's another story...)
Callaloo is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Another story to help make your case. In 1995, I was supposed to go sailing in the Grenadines in September, starting in St. Lucia. The day before departure, our airline and our charter company called, cancelled our trip because of the threat of Hurricane Marilyn (we got the option of getting our money back or rebooking later; we re-booked). Again, with the calendar clear, we wanted to take a vacation, so on a day's notice, we booked a trip to Seabrook Island, SC. Because we drove (a 10 hour drive), it was easier to re-book since we didn't need airline tickets, but again, we were able to find a desirable destination on very short notice. And started a love affair with the South Carolina sea islands.

BTW, Hurricane Marilyn didn't even come close to St. Lucia. All those changes were for naught.
Callaloo is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 02:47 PM
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ftrain,
COngrats on the upcoming wedding! You have been working so hard on this trip to make it special, and as risk free as possible! It is getting close, so avalibility could become an issue too. Not to throw in another island for more confusion--but I wonder if Parrot Cay Turks and Caicos is in your budget? A neighbor of mine is planning on investing on Provo(we both were there in April) and says he researched hurricane history, and they seem to have not been having a bad history. I know there are others that post here that can comment to this better than me. The beaches, waters, spa, romantic, this is all there. I assume summer rates would help keep down, altho it is pricey. Just a thought for you.
Of the 3 choices you mention, I would choose Tara Suites at Bucuti on Aruba, if the flight from where you are doesn't eat into your time too much.You already know to get the insurance. Do let us know what you choose, and definitely post a trip report on return, please!!! hope this helps some, Carol
beachluver is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 03:54 PM
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I was married 17 years ago in late August. We went to Paradise Island because it was cheap and had no hurricane issues.
Plan to go where you want or can afford. I have been to Aruba and the sand is white and the water is green. It was a fun vacation, but it is a long flight. We come from VA and flew to Atlanta and then another 4 hours from Atlanta to Aruba.
If you want Grand Cayman, go there. Buy the insurance and hope for the best. If it gets cancelled, you can always go a month later. Not ideal, but you get to where you want. I believe the Westin hotel offers a hurricane guarantee.
girlonthego is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 03:56 AM
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Like Callaloo said no guarentees as Ivan proved last yr. I live in Pittsburgh, Pa and Hurricane Ivan had a major impact on us. Try being 30 miles from home ending your work day and finding out a major artery has been closed which you planned to use because the back roads aka short cuts are flooded ? How to get home? Zigzag just like when flights in/out of the Caribbean when bad weather hits. Who would ever think a hurricane would impact a city in southwest Pa? But it did and we are still dealing with the after effects. Port Charlotte in FL had not been hit in 40 yrs. My bro relocates and voile 3 wks later along comes Charlie.
My point is you can try and 2nd guess till kingdom come. Life is a crap shoot everyday. The other thing you might need to consider is travel time since your days are limited.
If you are trying to avoid hurricanes I wouldn't advise Bermuda. Just being off the coast of the Carolinas even if not hit directly will experience much of the same weather the Outer Banks has been subject to in recent yrs.
Have you thought about maybe a resort in the US? I travel to St Augustine FL on a regular basis, it is very romantic, beautiful beaches, horsedrawn carraiges, many fine restaurants and accomodations to fit any budget. I believe the web site is www.oldcity.com
The waterfront in town is breath taking with the Bridge of Lions. Golf World is nearby if interested. AND the area is not a usual landfall destination for hurricanes.
Good Luck on your choice and congradulations.
vinceygirl is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 05:03 AM
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Yes, there is a real difference in the hurricane risks of islands in the Carribean. Barbados and Aruba have had only a dozen large hurricanes in the last 150 years, while Bermuda has had more than twice as many.

Still doesn't say anything about where any given hurricane will go, but it does show the odds.

The data is from an interesting site about hurricane frequency.

http://stormcarib.com/climatology/freq.htm

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

Ken
Ken_in_Mass is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 05:10 AM
  #10  
 
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I misread the data on the frequency of the hurricanes... Didn't check the column headings correctly.

Head to the site and check it out for yourselves.

Ken
Ken_in_Mass is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 05:16 PM
  #11  
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This is madness. Insane. You look at that chart and even the islands with greatest risk aren't THAT high a risk. Especially in August.

This is nuts. We should either make the whole region available or none of it. This just sucks. I hate this. It's not fun. Even a little.
ftrain is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 05:20 PM
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Just pick an island that you really want to go to. Then buy insurance. Don't plan to go somewhere just because. You will not be happy. If a hurricane happens to hit on your wedding, than you will have to change your plans. You can't worry about something you can't control.
girlonthego is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 05:48 PM
  #13  
 
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Calm down and check out the ABC islands like Jacketwatch recommended...while there is a possiblity that they could get hit...its ALOT less likely than some of the other islands in the Caribbean.They tend to be south of the hurricane belt.Im sure everything will be fine. Also, Aruba is more flat and dry (not sure about Bonaire and Curacao)but the odds of the weather being sunny and beautiful are probably good.
christiegr is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 06:35 PM
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ftrain
When in August is the honeymoon? I would personally pick the island that fits most of your requirements and go for it unless you want to go to another region instead and forego the risk. I agree with vinceygirl that life is a crapshoot. You really never know what will happen whether it be a hurricaine or other life changing event such as the sudden illness of a family member. Wish I could remember the phrase for "seize the moment" Is it carpe diem or something like that? I only wish my crystal ball worked better!
brenandg is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 06:51 PM
  #15  
 
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Where would you be flying out of on the East coast? Because of your time constraints you need to give thought to your destination. If the island you choose is a high tourist choice you might luck out with a direct flight, if a little more out of the way it can take as long as 10+hrs. I travel to the Grenadines and don't think I've ever made it under 10 hrs. Usual connection is Pgh.-Philly-Barbados/San Juan-SVG or Pit/JFK/SJU/SVG. Cancun usually always a direct flight via Apple Tours or comparable, same with Barbados and Aruba. As much as my preference is SVG if I was limited to 5 days I'd look for something with a direct flight or at least closer to home with connections. Otherwise you waste 2 of your days in travel, and most likely would not be able to catch a flight until very early AM the day following your wedding.
Have you checked out Orbitz or Expedia?
Also do a web search of various islands to help give you an idea. Also USAirways and American Airlines have package vacations.
Don't give up just try to relax and take your time. Most places want to fill their resort during the off season which can result in a good bargain at a wonderful place.
What about a cruise of some sort? Personally I would not go on a mega liner but something smaller and more intimate. Many sail from FL so your travel time might be better managed.
THINK POSITIVE. and good luck.
vinceygirl is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 04:08 PM
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If you want quiet and 90% safe of hurricanes my vote is Curacao. There are 2 resturants-LaRouse (owner&chef)and Avalon that we eat at twice each only 8 weeks ago. Several beaches are pretty and in the West End of the island the snorkeling and diving is very good. Golf is out and it is to warm in most places unless you play at 8:00 AM.The Marriott is very nice but lot's of children, especially in Aug. when kids are off from school and rates are low. I only suggest you stay away from Breezes. Have a great time wherever you go!!
StanKase is offline  

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