For most of the year Punta Cana is a reliably dry and sunny Caribbean destination, so much so that it has become a year-round vacation draw and grown out of having a truly recognizable low season.
But, no matter how awesome Punta Cana gets as a destination, its location means the threat of hurricanes is real.
So, should travelers be worried about hurricanes this summer?
Although in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic and its island neighbors fall into the path of the Atlantic hurricane season which runs from early June to late November.
On average there are 10 named storms in the Atlantic each season, with 6 growing into full hurricanes.
Punta Cana Sneaks By
When hurricanes strike the Caribbean it’s common to see the horrific destruction they cause in the media. Lives are lost and homes and livelihoods are destroyed, they are a reminder that there are more powerful things than us on this planet.
With that being said, Punta Cana amazingly manages to escape the majority of hurricanes, this is thanks to an almost divine protection from its geography and atmospheric makeup.
The winds and rains of hurricanes are met by opposing atmospheric pressure when they near Punta Cana, these pressures act like the shovel on a snow plow, angling the hurricane away from the Dominican Republic.
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But even with that protection other places with similar atmospheric protection still have the worry of huge ocean swells and flooding of the sea-level coastlines.
And that is where Punta Cana’s protective coral reef comes in, this natural structure on the ocean floor sucks the power out of the approaching swells, and while it doesn’t stop them completely, it reduces their destructive power massively.
In fact, there is so much faith in the natural protections in Punta Cana that homeowners insurance here is generally cheaper than in the north of the Dominican Republic thanks to the reduced risk of hurricane damage.
Safety Isn’t Guaranteed
Since 1894 only 14 hurricanes have had an effect on land in the Dominican Republic. Although worries that climate change may be affecting the protected status in Punta Cana.
The most recent two hurricanes to hit Punta Cana were Hurricane Fiona in 2022 and Hurricane Maria in 2017.
With just 5 years between both, it has caused worry that things may be changing, although it is still far too soon to say if that’s the case or if it was just a freak occurrence, as there have been similar cases in the 1980s.
Hurricane Ready Resorts
One thing that the Punta Cana authorities and tourism industry have done very well is preparing for the worst-case scenario.
All new construction in Punta Cana (the majority of buildings here are less than 20 years old) must meet extremely strict building codes.
They are subject to soil tests to determine the safety of where they’re built and must adhere to comprehensive hurricane, flooding, and earthquake codes.
This commitment to superior building practices is often cited by locals as the reason why the area receives minimal damage when a storm or hurricane does arrive.
Furthermore, the destruction that does occur is normally to services such as power and telephone lines, although the response to restore these services is rapid, as was seen during Hurricane Maria when power was restored to most areas in just a day.
An Unnecessary Worry
The threat of hurricanes shouldn’t place highly on travelers’ concerns when visiting Punta Cana. Even during the height of hurricane season, the risk of one affecting Punta Cana is low.
But on the off-chance that one does arrive while in the country, tourists should take comfort in the fact Punta Cana has taken huge steps to make sure the impact is minimal and the vacation can continue as soon as possible.
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