Should You Cancel Your Belize Trip Because of a Hurricane?

by Caribbean Lifestyle Editorial Team

What do you do when a hurricane is within the region of your vacation destination, like Belize? As Hurricane Iota bears down on Central America, making landfall as a powerful Category 4, it’s time to take a closer look at your Belize trip. After all, the course of action for canceling a trip and/or trying to get a refund varies, depending on the trip and even the hurricane. From buying travel insurance to rescheduling flights, here’s what you need to know about hurricanes and traveling to Belize.

Hurricane Iota & Belize

The National Meteorological Services of Belize advises that although Hurricane Iota is forecast to hit Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala before rapidly weakening over mountainous areas. Although Belize is outside the area of concern, Belizeans are still asked to continue following the developments of Iota, considering the country may see heavy rainfall in the next few days. Specifically, on Wednesday and Thursday of this week where rain may amount to 10-20 inches, especially over Southern Belize. Although this may put a damper on your Belize vacation, conditions are expected to improve into the weekend.

What could this mean if you’re planning to visit Belize this week, or are already here? Well, there will be small craft warnings out for mariners, so you’ll need to postpone your fishing or snorkeling trip for a few days. If there’s anything a good captain respects, it’s the sea; be sure to talk to your tour operator or Gold Standard hotel about shifting your itinerary to indoor activities for the next few days. Additionally, be sure to get hurricane and flood updates from official channels. At time of writing, Hurricane Iota has since weakened to a Category 1.

Airlines

All airlines follow the same general pattern. If your scheduled flight to/from an airport within a specified impact zone within a stated period is cancelled due to a hurricane at either end of the flight, you have two general options: rebook or refund. Airlines have become quite pro-active in severe weather events, cancelling trips as soon as a threat is recognized rather than waiting until the event actually hits. Less than two weeks ago, Hurricane Eta dumped as much as 25 inches of rain in Belize; as a result of water on the runway, Belize closed its international airport on November 6 for one day.

Hotels and Vacation Rentals

Escape Away Belize, a beachside rental in Belize.

No rules or regulations other than general contract law cover your rights with hotel and rental bookings. However, since the onset of COVID-19 and many resorts operating at a low capacity, majority of accommodations have adapted to be as flexible as possible. Essentially, matching the fluidity of the situation for both COVID and the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Speak to your booking agent or rental owner—they want you to have the best Belize vacation, just as much as you do. Rentals, like Escape Away Belize, will even rebook entirely for free if you test positive for COVID-19 within your travel window.

Travel Insurance and Hurricanes

belize caye caulker

Caye Caulker, Belize. Photo by Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock

Travel insurance can minimize financial risks of having a hurricane hit your flight or vacation destination. Natural disasters such as hurricanes are a “covered reason” for cancellation on almost all policies, and they pay whatever you can’t recover from an airline, hotel, or vacation rental. However, if you wait to buy it until after a hurricane or major storm has been identified or named, insurance won’t cover you. Nonetheless, safe travel should always remain a priority. Stay updated and remain in contact with your Belize accommodation.

Header photo via ABC News. Source: National Hurricane Center

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