It’s that time again folks. Hurricane season in the Caribbean will begin in less than a month on June 1, 2011, and will continue through November 30, 2011. It is possible for Tropical cyclones to form before or after the official season, depending on ocean temperatures. The water must be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit for a hurricane to form, so if this happens before June or after November a hurricane could occur outside of the season.

After Hurricane Wilma, in 2005

For the people living in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya, tropical cyclones are a fact of life, just like tornados or earthquakes are for people living in other places. However, they may seem frightening and daunting if you are planning a vacation, but if you are well informed about hurricane season you will be able to make good decisions about your trip.

August, September and October are considered to be the peak months for hurricanes, which coincides with low tourism season, when airfare and hotel prices are lower, so it’s actually a great time to visit the area. Generally if you visit during tropical cyclone season everything will go smoothly. The weather will be fine, albeit maybe a bit hotter than in let’s say, January. It may rain a little more often, but this generally means that there is a quick downpour once or twice a day and the rest of the time the sun is shining.

The Yucatan Peninsula, which is home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya, has experienced many tropical storms/depressions and hurricane watches/warnings, but Cancun was “born” in 1970, and only 4 hurricanes have made landfall in 41 years. That is pretty encouraging news. If you visit from June through November, chances are you probably won’t run into any hurricanes.

These are the 4 hurricanes which have actually made landfall in Cancun:

Inez (October, 1968) - Category 4

Gilbert (September, 1988) - Category 5

Roxanne (October, 1995) - Category 3

Wilma (October, 2005) - Category 5

Tourists in a provisional shelter during a hurricane

If you would like to monitor the weather in the weeks leading up to you vacation, here are 3 helpful websites: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Weather.Com & Weather Underground.

Of course, there is always the possibility that a tropical cyclone could occur before or during your vacation so it is a good idea to buy trip insurance. If a hurricane should threaten the area during your vacation, rest assured that your hotel or resort has an emergency plan for its guests and employees. The good thing about hurricanes is they don’t just pop up, they need time to organize so there is always plenty of warning.

So by all means, go ahead and book your vacation!

Have you ever experienced a hurricane while visiting Cancun or the Riviera Maya?


kristin busseKristin Busse is an American expat who has been living in Cancun, Mexico since 2001. A wife, mother, singer, salsa dancer and now writer, she has worked in many different industries but is currently enjoying exploring the Yucatan Peninsula and sharing her expertise and experience with readers around the world. Follow Kristin on Twitter.

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