Best Time to Go to Aruba: When is Hurricane Season?
The best time to go to Aruba is most months of the year except during the peak of the Caribbean hurricane season.
Aruba weather makes this southern Caribbean island one of the most attractive vacation spots in the region.
That's because the island of Aruba lies at the southern edge of the Caribbean hurricane belt. So it avoids most of the storms and hurricanes that roll through the Caribbean from the Atlantic Ocean each year.
As a result, the best time to visit the island is most months of the year. But some months are better than others.
The annual hurricane season officially starts June 1 and runs through November 30, although the months with the most active storms and hurricanes usually are September and October.
Aruba lies 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela. It is one of the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.
These islands of the Netherland Antilles draw relatively more tourists in the fall than most other Caribbean destinations because of weather conditions.
However, they are not entirely immune to bad weather because storms and hurricanes do pass nearby - and sometimes through - these three islands on rare occasions.
Hurricane Season: Matthew Strikes
The arrival of Hurricane Matthew in the south central Caribbean Sea is a rare and surprising event for the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
The ABC islands are usually popular in September -- the worst month of the Caribbean hurricane season -- because they lie on the edge of the hurricane belt. They rarely experience tropical storms or hurricanes.
Not this year. The islands are experiencing high winds and heavy rainfall this week as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
The event shows that the ABC islands have some protection from bad weather, but they are not totally immune. Visit them in September at your own risk.
Aruba Tips on Video
Best Times to Go
Many people will claim any time of the year is a good time to spend a week in Aruba or cruise to Aruba.
I can assure you from multiple visits to the island that any time is not the best time to go.
Aruba's average high temperature during the day reaches the 80s most months of the year and often into the 90s during the summer.
But water temperatures can become a bit cool in the winter months of January and February. (My family found this out during a visit in February when few people went into the water. I found the water too cool for swimming in the mornings and tolerable in the afternoons.)
Go then if you want to get away from northern winters, but know that the water is often uncomfortable for lengthy swims in the water. The odds of good weather are high. But the weather is less than ideal during this time of year.
The rain chart below shows the number of rain days and total rainfall by inches. It reveals that there is slightly more rainfall in October through December. That means the best months to go are March through September.
Average Rainfall by Month
The chart above shows the total rain days (the number of days each month it rains) and the total rain inches per month.
The rain days are the blue columns and the rain inches are in red.
Rain is not normally a factor in Aruba because the island is arid and averages only 16 inches a year. Rainfall reaches more than three inches in October through December, but the totals are still low compared to the rest of the region.
For January through September, rain averages only about one inch a month.
Despite only a modest climb in rainfall in September, Aruba has a steep drop off in visits because of the fear of Caribbean hurricanes.
The chart also shows that someone who goes to Aruba in March through May will have a 7 percent chance of seeing rain. Someone who goes in December will have a 37 percent chance.
Aruba Temperatures by Month
Average Air Temperatures
Aruba has one of the warmest climates in the Caribbean with an average monthly high temperature of nearly 89 degrees Fahrenheit, says the Meteorological Service of Netherland Antilles and Aruba.
The average monthly high temperatures rise above 90 degrees in August and September, making those two months less comfortable for shopping or hiking.
Inland temperatures with protection from strong trade winds will be warmer than coastal temperatures, even though the island is small.
The average low temperature is 78 degrees and varies from this average only about two degrees each month.
Poll: Best Months to Visit Aruba
What month do you want to go? If you have been there, when did you go?
Average Water Temperatures
For people who like swimming and sunning, the Aruba water temperatures average 81 degrees and again vary slightly each month.
During the winter, the water is usually warm enough for swimming, but sometimes it is cool enough in the morning to keep swimmers in the water only for short periods of time.
Water temperatures almost always hover between the average daily high temperatures and the average daily lows.
Water temperatures stay comfortable almost year round except sometimes in the early mornings during the winter months.
They average in the high 70s Fahrenheit and sometimes climb into the low 80s, which is balmy.
Aruba Hurricane Season
Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao lie on the southern fringes of the hurricane belt.
On average, only one major tropical cyclone passes over or just south of the islands every 100 years, according to the Meteorological Service of the Netherland Antilles and Aruba.
A tropical cyclone passes within about 100 miles of the islands once every four years. The storms mostly pass to the north without causing serious bad weather. But they bring an increase in rain and cloud cover.
The odds of being in Aruba at the same time as a nearby cyclone are extremely small. Although visiting the island in September or October during the height of the Caribbean hurricane season increases the risk of experiencing bad weather, the chances of decent weather are still fairly high.
Weather Impact on Visitors by Month
Caribbean tourism has definite peaks and valleys that depend heavily on the weather and on family schedules based on when children are on vacation from school.
Aruba is no different from most destinations in that the fall months usually have the lowest number of visitors because of concerns about storms and hurricanes.
The chart above clearly shows that visits to Aruba reach a low point in September because of the risk of more rain.
But smart travelers also know that it's often a time of deeper discounts in hotels and resorts, and they will look for last-minute vacation deals while keeping an eye on the weather forecast at the same time.
A few other months are worth considering because they have fewer tourists and decent weather, such as May and especially June, which has one of the lowest levels of vacationers out of the entire year.
Aruba Weather in ...
Aruba weather in January is warm enough and dry enough to make this month the most popular time of the year to visit the island. Visitors may find the sea water cool at times despite average high air temperatures of 86 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 Celsius. Rainfall averages only one inch.
The next month is slightly warmer and just as dry. One February visitor found that the sea was cool enough to keep most people out of it. Some currents were comfortable and others were chilly.
Spring break from schools increases tourism to the second highest level of the year. But Aruba weather in March is nearly the same as February except for average rainfall that drops close to zero. It is a bone-dry month.
Temperatures rise again in April while total visitors decline. It’s the best month to visit so far during the year because of warming weather, warming seawater and fewer crowds on the beaches.
The month of May is another good time to visit Aruba because it has more of the same as April. Temperatures are warmer and crowds are even lighter than the previous month.
Heat starts to become a factor for Aruba. Temperatures in June average more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius for the first time of the year. The arid interior is becoming hot and uncomfortable during the afternoons, which makes land activities less enjoyable. Land lovers may want to avoid this month and the next two. June also has the second lowest number of visitors during the year.
July is the third most popular month to visit Aruba. It has weather nearly the same as June with hot temperatures and little rainfall. Heat once again is a factor for land activities, especially in the arid and treeless Arikok National Park where most of the land excursions take place.
Average temperatures stay above 90 degrees Fahrenheit in August. Tourism declines versus July. Beach sand is scorching at times, but the seawater feels like a warm bath.
The least popular month of the year to visit Aruba has weather much like the previous three with hot temperatures and an average of only one inch of rain. September is the worst month of the Caribbean hurricane season, so visitors avoid most of the region. It also is the hottest month of the year.
If Aruba has a rainy season, it begins in October and brings an average of only three inches of rain. The total is similar to many other islands during their dry season. Some visitors avoid the island because October is the second most active month of the region’s hurricane season.
The second month of the rainy season usually delivers another three inches of rain. The number of days that it rains during the month jumps to 11.
Aruba weather in December continues the same trend as the previous two months. Rainfall is higher than normal at three inches. The average high temperature is 87 Fahrenheit or 31 Celsius and warm enough for pleasant days on the beach. But the month has the highest number of days that it usually rains at an average of nearly 12 out of 31 total.
My Own Experiences
Multiple visits to Aruba have made me a believer in Aruba's reputation for great weather. I can tell you that the island's interior is hot during the day, so it's best to plan shopping or land-based excursions in the morning when temperatures are cooler. Beaches also get hot in the afternoon, but they have the added advantage of cooling trade winds.
Vacation planners who want to improve their chances of good weather should look at March through August because of comfortable temperatures and lower chances of rain, storms or hurricanes.
August and September will be more uncomfortable because of warmer temperatures. October, November and December have higher chances of rain and the rare chance of either a tropical storm or hurricane.
Visitors can rely on warm temperatures throughout the year. But they can't always count on avoiding storms and hurricanes, especially in the fall.
It is highly unlikely that a hurricane or storm will pass over Aruba. It is slightly more likely that one will pass nearby and even more likely that the island will have fewer dry days than usual during the fall months.
© 2011 Scott Bateman
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