Five Reasons You Should Vacation in the Caribbean Now

The Caribbean has been wiped out by hurricanes, right? Wrong. Not only is most of the Caribbean alive, well, and awaiting your next beach vacation, in many ways this is the perfect time for you to make an island getaway. Here’s why:

Fall is Bargain Travel Time in the Caribbean

A lot of travelers assume that because the weather stays warm in the Caribbean even as fall temperatures arrive up north, prices on Caribbean hotels must stay high at this time of year, too. Not true. In fact, the fall is low season in the islands, with summer-like prices, because business traditionally stays slow through Christmas week with the kids back in school and family vacations dropping off. So if you’re looking to escape the cold, do it between now and mid-December — after that, you really will be paying top dollar.

You Won’t Need to Fight for a Spot on the Beach

Here’s another reason you need to ignore the hype about the “devastated” Caribbean: you’ll enjoy fewer crowds on the beach, on the buffet line, and at the bar. As noted, fall is a quieter time of the year in the islands, anyway, and some people have undoubtedly been scared off from taking a trip from the images of destruction on the news.

Don’t be those people. Not to minimize the severe impact that the 2017 hurricanes had on places like Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Dominica, and Barbuda, but the storms affected only about a quarter of the islands of the Caribbean at all, and many of those have cleaned up and reopened for business. Got questions? You can get a status update on your favorite Caribbean island destination here.

Hurricane Season is Over (Hurrah!)

You don’t need me to tell you that 2017 has been a hell of a year for hurricanes in the Caribbean. I think we’ve all heard quite enough about the terrible trio of Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The good news is that the Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on Nov. 30, and while the summer saw quite a flurry of big storms, the fall weather pattern has been relatively normal, with the volume and intensity of tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes dropping off noticeably. In fact, since 1851, there have been eight major Atlantic hurricanes during November, and none during December. So the odds of your fall vacation being impacted by a big storm are pretty low indeed.

You’ll Be Helping the Islands Affected by the Storms

Can sipping a rum drink on a Caribbean beach be a force for good? Of course it can! The islands of the Caribbean have rallied behind the victims of Irma and Maria in a variety of ways, including sending relief packages, putting up people from other islands in their own homes, and donating much-needed cash to those in need.

The Caribbean hotel and tourism industry has been especially active, with groups like the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Sandals Foundation setting up relief funds. Go to practically any Caribbean hotel website right now and you’ll see a link where you can donate to help. 

Moreover, some hotels have gone the extra mile and pledged to donate a portion of proceeds from guest bookings to hurricane relief, such as the Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain, and BodyHoliday resorts in St. Lucia, the Graycliff hotel (and restaurant) in Nassau, Bahamas, and the Calabash Hotel in Grenada. The Belize Tourism Board is donating $1 to Caribbean relief for everyone who visits through the end of November, and Belize hotels will make matching donations, too.

Your Travel Dollars Are Appreciated Now More Than Ever

The people of the Caribbean have always provided a warm welcome to visitors, but this season you can expect an even more grateful embrace when you visit the islands. Book a Caribbean trip this fall or winter and you’re sending a signal that you believe in the islands and their people, that you’re not going to be scared off by the storms, and that life goes on even in the wake of tragedy.

Maybe you can’t rebuild someone’s home or get their power or water turned back on, but you really can make a difference by traveling to the Caribbean for a great vacation and an even better cause — the recovery of our favorite tropical paradise.

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Robert Curley

Rhode Island based travel writer, author of Rhode Island: Off the Beaten Path, and an active member of the American Society of Travel Writers.

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