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Shoulder season for many sun destinations has its perks: islands are generally quieter, you have more selection at resorts – several spots have new hotels – and the temperatures are better, of course. But with climate change, hurricane season can affect plans. Though the peak is typically August and September, it can run as late as November. That being said, there are ways to book to ensure its effect on your holiday will be minimized. Here are four sun destinations to consider, and some tips on getting there.

Curacao

The Curacao capital of Willemstad is famous for its World Heritage-listed Dutch colonial architecture.Handout

Why it’s worth the trip: This island is a hidden gem, says Natalia Weidner, a virtuoso travel advisor with Travel Professionals International based in Oakville, Ont. “It’s always pretty warm, there’s always a breeze, and beautiful, beautiful water.” And major bonus for this time of year: it’s just south of the hurricane zone.

What kind of weather to expect: Pack for daytime temperatures in their low 30s. Nights typically don’t get much cooler, with an average of 26 C. Rain typically only hits 5 days in September, 10 in October and 12 in November.

How much you can save: Hotel rates in September through November range from $100-200 cheaper a night than in high season.

Where to stay:Sunscape Curacao is the best deal for an all inclusive in Curacao,” Weidner says. “It has an amazing location, four-star accommodation, has its own nice beach and is really close to some other spectacular beaches, like Mambo Beach.” Renaissance Wind Creek Curacao Resort & Casino underwent a US$12-million renovation right before the pandemic hit. Aside from its saltwater lagoon, its location is the big draw – guests have walking access to the heart of historic Willemstad, the country’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Turks and Caicos

Ritz Carlton, Turks & Caicos.Handout

Why it’s worth the trip: This destination has a buzz, Linton says, because there’s a lot of new development happening on the islands, including a new Ritz-Carlton resort which opened last year. Plus, there are direct flights from Toronto and Montreal.

What kind of weather to expect: Temperatures run from the high 20s to low 30s, with the water also very warm, typically between 23 and 26 C. Rain showers are frequent, but typically brief and the country is known for having 350 days of sunshine a year.

How much you can save: Resort stays are $700-$1,000 a week cheaper during the fall than in peak season.

Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos is located in Grace Bay, a hub with plenty of restaurants, bars and shops to explore. On site, enjoy residential suites for longer stays and catamarans for sailing lessons. Club Med Turkoise adults-only resort has recently debuted refreshed deluxe guest rooms and a new pool, plus there’s currently a promotion for savings of up to 45 per cent off stays. Wymara Resort and Villas this year added one-bedroom villas and is known for having one of the best restaurants in Grace Bay Beach: Indigo. Until Oct. 15, guests who book three nights or more will receive a $300 dining credit.

Holbox, Mexico

Isla Holbox is only 40 kilometres from toe to tip, tucked into the north edge of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Why it’s worth the trip: A direct flight or 90-minute drive from Cancun, Holbox is off the beaten path, Linton says. “It’s absolutely gorgeous and very small.” The island is comprised of fishing villages and pristine beaches, and the area is rich in marine life. Part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, the island is car free. It’s possible to catch the tail end of whale shark migration season during the first half of September, and the dark skies in late September are prime for spotting bioluminescent beaches.

What kind of weather to expect: High 20s to low 30s depending on how late into fall you travel. The big appeal, Linton says, is that the beaches are protected, so chances of excessive seaweed washing up on the beach will be lessened, as will the effects of hurricane season.

How much you can save: Hotel stays in September and October are typically $150-200 lower a night when compared with high season.

Where to stay: The Margaritaville St. Somewhere by Karisma Punta Coco is a recent addition to the island. With only 39 rooms, you can easily have a private experience. Some rooms are swim up, others have plunge pools. Mystique Hotbox by Royalton is a five-star beachfront resort. The 38-room property offers many nature-based activities, worth taking advantage of given it’s in the nature reserve.

St. Lucia

Sunny escapes in Saint Lucia.Saint Lucia Tourism Authority

Why it’s worth the trip: St. Lucia is a luxe, lush, tropical and smaller island that’s still under the radar for many travellers, and “you can get culture when you go,” says Jasmin Linton, a travel advisor based in Toronto. “They have street parties, and you can experience that with ease. Sometimes it’s tough to experience culture authentically.” Plus, there are direct flights from Toronto.

What kind of weather to expect: Rainy season is June through November, and September is historically the rainiest month, but temperatures are steady in the low 30s. Because it’s a tropical island, you might find rain in the interior but sun on the coast, or different weather patterns on different sides of the islands. In other words, you can likely find a way around the rain if it hits while you’re there.

How much you can save: For hotel stays in September and October, rates are generally $100 less a night than they are during high season.

Where to stay: The Hideaway at Royalton is an adults-only resort with a private beach, cooking and dance classes, and a tennis program. Sol Sanctum, a new addition, is an intimate eight-room boutique hotel that specializes in wellness – something the island is known for. They have a yoga studio, comprehensive movement classes and a vegetarian menu.

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