How Big A Risk Is There? And What To Do If Disaster Strikes On Your Vacation
The Mexican Caribbean may seem like paradise, but its heavenly weather and stunning natural beauty do come at a cost. The Caribbean as a whole spends a significant portion of the year in what is known as hurricane season – a period of high cyclonic activity that makes that most dreaded of weather systems a recurring threat.
While the season technically starts in June, the most active period of time starts on September 10th, running through until the end of October, meaning the worst of any potential hurricanes are likely to arrive in the coming weeks.
Cancun and the rest of Quintana Roo are no exception, and the region has been the victim of its fair share of catastrophic hurricanes. Because of this, Fall is generally a little quieter in the area, which can be a huge positive for those willing to risk it. But what is the actual risk of a hurricane hitting? And what should you do if one does hit?
How Likely Is A Hurricane To Hit?
Thankfully, despite being affected by hurricane season, Cancun has only dealt with two catastrophic hurricanes in recent history, which were seventeen years apart. This means the likelihood of you arriving when the next one hits is very slim.
What you can expect is some less predictable weather. Usually, when a tropical front forms in the region, Cancun deals with some higher levels of rain, stronger winds, and some less-than-ideal weather. While this may put a bit of damper on your trip, there’s a good chance you’ll still enjoy some sun, too – the big benefit being fewer crowds.
In short, you’re increasing your risk of being stuck in a hurricane by traveling during this period. But it’s more likely you’ll just be dealing with a little more rain.
What Should You Do If One Does Hit?
Although it’s unlikely, it’s still possible you might find yourself in the scary situation of a hurricane bearing down on the Mexican Caribbean. Precautions for this should start long before your trip even begins, as the added forethought can go a long way in an emergency.
Checking the weather forecasts should be a given before leaving for your trip. Hurricane predictors are well-documented days and even weeks before they hit. While many of the predictors may turn out to be false alarms, if some of the systems start to look serious, it might be time to reconsider your travel. Many hotels have policies for those who cancel within seventy-two hours of a hurricane striking, meaning any cancellation fees might be waived.
If you feel confident enough, let your nearest embassy or consulate know you’ll be in the area. This will help with any potential evacuation efforts and ensure you’re not lost in a diplomatic sense.
Your hotel will have its own procedures for a hurricane, and you should make yourself aware of them when you arrive if they don’t do it for you. This could mean evacuation zones, safety routes, and emergency service providers that can help. Follow these instructions to the tee, and you’ll be fine. Remember, many of the people working in the hotel have grown up with the threat and understand it more than you.
When they do hit, sitting tight and remaining safe and patient is key. Don’t linger around outside. Make sure everything is charged and on battery saver mode to last for a day or two in case the power goes out. Make sure to take some cash out before it hits, as ATMs or electronic payment options could also be out for days.
Keeping in touch with authorities is important. If you’re in a hotel, they will most likely do this for you, but understanding the severity of the situation is good for peace of mind and preparation.
One of the biggest problems for tourists is being stranded in a destination after the hurricane hits. Insurance can be a huge help at this point, as some come with policies that offer relief during natural disasters. Some may be annulled if you’ve consciously decided to travel to a hurricane-prone area, though, so make sure what your policy entails. If you’re lucky enough to be offered passage out of the country, whether via evacuation or other means, take it. You don’t know how long it could be until the next option arises.
For more info, check out this post on Cancun’s hurricane safety protocols.
Be careful out there!
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