What do you do when a tropical storm or hurricane is within the region of your vacation destination, like Belize? As Tropical Storm Lisa heads towards Belize, expected to make making landfall as a hurricane, 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.
Tropical Storm Lisa & Belize
The National Hurricane Center advises that at 11:00 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Lisa was about 175 miles (285 km) South of Kinston, Jamaica. Lisa is moving toward the west near 14 mph, and a westward to west-northwestward motion is expected over the next few days. On the forecast track, the center will pass south of Jamaica today, Monday October 31st, reach the south of the Cayman Islands Tuesday, November 1st, and approach Central America on Wednesday November 2nd . Maximum sustained winds remain near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Slow strengthening is forecasted during the next few days, and Lisa could become a hurricane over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. The storm is projected to gradually intensify into a Category 1 hurricane with landfall somewhere in Belize, though Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador where all can expect impacts in the form of heavy rainfall. Although this may put a damper on your Belize vacation, conditions are expected to improve into the end of the week.
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 hotel concierge about shifting your itinerary to indoor activities for the next few days. Additionally, be sure to get hurricane and flood updates from official channels.
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. In preparation for Tropical Storm Lisa, Maya Island Air has advised that its last flight will be Tuesday November 1st at 12:00 noon.