Punta Cana- Lowest Chance Of Caribbean Hurricanes

Punta Cana- Lowest Chance Of Caribbean Hurricanes



GREAT NEWS!  In addition to Punta Cana/ Bavaro being one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean crime-wise, the East coast is also one of the safest and most protected Islands in the Caribbean. 

The unique combination of Punta Cana and Bavaro's ideal East coast geographic location and atmospheric conditions have historically shown the East Coast of the Dominican Republic has experienced the least amount of hurricanes, when comparing other Caribbean destinations, including the U.S. coastlines.

Late July, through late October is typically the hurricane season in the Caribbean, with September historically as the peak month for the storms. 

However, on September 19, 2017, the East Coast of Punta Cana / Bavaro did get sideswiped with "Hurricane Maria", a category 3.  I'm personally not happy the name "Maria" was chosen... but what can I do?   See our Media page, for the Punta Cana Homes TV episode, that aired shortly after Hurricane Maria passed over.

Several U.S. media outlets reported this area was destroyed; Not surprising, they are incorrect.  Rather the very small country (Island) of Dominica was hammered, not the Dominican Republic.  Dominica is located near Guadalupe.  It covers 750 sq. meters (290 sq. miles) of land, V.S. the Dominican Republic, encompassing 48,671 sq. meters (18,792 sq. miles) of land; The Dominican Republic is the 2nd largest Island in the Caribbean, next to Cuba.

Tropical Storm Fiona (Sept. 18, 2022) surprised us.  It picked up momentum after sweeping through Puerto Rico, increasing its size from a Tropical Storm to a catagory 2 hurricane.  What was especially surprising was its change of course heading SW, then stopping, and suddenly changing its projectory (direction) to NE.  Hence, going straight through the Eastern part of the Dominican Republic. Most all billboard signs were destroyed.  Several trees came down.  The worse damages occured near Higuey (further inland), then in Samana (North Coast).  Smaller villages near the coastline and rivers were flooded.  2 lives were lost.  1 from a fallen electrical pole, and another from a fallen tree.

Hurricane Maria, in September of 2017, left her mark, but differently.  The East Coast was slightly affected by tail of this hurricane catagory 3, that especially swept along the North East coastlines.  In Bavaro. Punta Cana, there were some downed trees, broken branches, some metal fences toppled that were used during new construction, and several road signs and billboards were destroyed.  A few downed electrical wires with some low-lying areas that were moderately flooded, but still passable.

Clean up after both storms occurred immediately, and electricity was restored within 1-15 days (longer recovery for  more remote areas. Phone lines & internet service recovery was between 1-4 days and varied by the service providers.

One important fact media reporting misses, is our Protective Coral Reef surrounding nearly the entire 30+ mile Eastern coastline.  This reef is an underwater wall, naturally taming strong ocean surges.  This coral reef is so protective, that when strong surges slam against this reef, it can sound like a jet engine airplane in your yard... yet, surprisingly, the water level only rises 1- 2 ft. higher along the shoreline.  I witnessed this personally during a passing of a Tropical Storm in 2010.  Another reason why homeowners’ insurance is more affordable on the East Coast than on the North or South  coastlines of the Island.  This strong coral reef barrier shields the East Coast from devastating floods and/ or drownings.  

Those of us on the East Coast can confidently say, "the chances of Bavaro and Punta Cana getting a DIRECT land hit from a hurricane is very unlikely".  However, a hurricane projectory can sometimes be difficult to predict.  The loss of electric, phone and internet services is always a concern worldwide.  For example, Florida and Puerto Rico were challenged with the recovery of needed services for several months after Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico, the neighbor to the DR, is approximately 85+ miles from our East Coast.  98% of the time, the seismic category drops significantly after crossing over Puerto Rico, while the jet streams and atmospheric pressures pull the hurricane to the North or the South of the Dominican Republic.

Here's some scientific reasoning: by Elvin Calcaño Ortiz, Atmospheric Scientist:

"Threatening hurricanes generally begin to deviate when they approach Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.  This is because during the wetter months, from July to October, atmospheric pressures, or bands of rain and wind already exist, especially in the north- to northwest.  Atmospheric pressures are the primary contributors in either starving or feeding hurricanes. Strong pressures are important in pushing the storms away.  What made Irma initially appear to directly impact the East Coast of the Dominican Republic on September 7, 2017, was a low-pressure zone north of both islands that pushed her to the south.  Since early dawn that low pressure moved away, forcing Irma to take a more north-northwest course away from the Island of the Dominican Republic. 

Depending on the path of the hurricane, the strong jet streams created by the sharp radius of the East Coast of Punta Cana more often navigate hurricanes to the North or South of the the Island. Puerto Rico additionally buffers the degree of intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms from greatly affecting the East Coast of the Dominican Republic".

This is the message is carried down from generation to generation in the DR.  “The East Coast is Kissed by God".  The Locals believe one of the biggest reasons the East Coast is not really affected by Hurricanes is due to all the prayers, and their strong FAITH that these prayers will be answered.  They say the East Coast is the "tear of God"... meaning a tear of joy.  There could be some truth to this ... after all, the Dominican Republic is the ONLY COUNTRY that proudly bears the Bible and the Cross on its country flag.

Some Travel agencies seem to agree with the locals, noticing when hurricanes are developing, it is almost always "business as usual".  The residents know it's rare that a hurricane actually finds its way to land on the East Coast. It could be this unique strategic location in the Caribbean, or perhaps sheer luck, or lots of prayers combined as to the reason the Dominican Republic, as a whole, has been spared the onslaught of a monstrous hurricanes for over decades.

I often tell my clients God owns real estate on the East Coast.  lol

Residuals of hurricanes in Punta Cana (Bavaro), primarily cause mere inconveniences by interrupting vacations and flight plans.  However, I'd suspect most vacationers would rather be stuck in a resort or in a hurricane proof rental property than in some other "older Caribbean" destinations, or even along the East Coast of the U.S.

USA Today highlights the Dominican Republic as having a lower possibility of being affected by hurricanes than most neighboring Caribbean islands like, Antigua, Jamaica, Bahamas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico Cuba, the Florida Keys and gulf, as well as other Coastlines of Florida.

According to the list below, over the last 128 years (since 1894), the entire country of the Dominican Republic has only had 14 hurricanes that affected land. 6 of 14 were a category 4-5.   Only David, in 1979, was a category 5.  FOUR (4) Hurricanes moderately affected the Punta Cana / Bavaro touristic areas (Hortense 1996, Jeanne 2004, Maria 2017, and Fiona 2022).  

HISTORICAL HURRICANES Dominican Republic – by USA Today

Fiona. (Category 1-2) September 18, 2022, E. Coast, Cap Cana, Punta Cana, Higuey, to Samana (N. Coast)

Maria. (Catagory 3-1) 19 September 2017, E. Coast, Punta Cana, to the N. Coast, to Santiago & San Francisco,

Jeanne. (Category 1-3). 16 September 2004. East Coast, Samana and Puerto Plata.
George. (Category 4-3). 22 September 1998. Santo Domingo and La Romana.
Hortense. (Category 3-1). 10 September 1996. East coast, Punta Cana to Samana.
Gilbert. (Category 3). 11 September 1988. Barahona on the southwestern coast.
Emely. (Category 4-2). 22 September. Bani on the southwestern coast.
David. (Category 5-4). 31 August 1979. Santo Domingo.
Eloise. (Category 1). 13 September 1975. Landfall on the northeast coast.
Beulah. (Category 4). 10-11 September 1967. Barahona on the southwestern coast.
Inez. (Category 4-3). 29 September 1966. Barahona on the southwestern coast.
Edith. (Category 2). 26-27 September 1963. La Romana on the southeastern coast.
Katie. (Category 1). 16 October 1955. Barahona on the southwestern coast.
San Zenon. (Category 4). 3 September 1930. 200 km/h. Santo Domingo.
Lili.  (Category 3). 21 September 1894. Santo Domingo and the southwestern coast.

HURRICANE AND EARTHQUAKE PROOF CONSTRUCTION MANDATES – The Dominican Government impliments construction mandates, regulated by the Ministry of Rublic Works and the Ministry of Environment an Natural Resources.  The regulations factor seismic risks.  Infrastructure on the East Coast, specifically in Punta Cana and Bavaro, is not that old.  2007- to under-construction now.  New construction must first pass strict geolocial land tests, and must meet hurricane, flooding, and earthquake codes for masterplans to be approved by the government and before construction can even begin.  There are 5 Building permits required in the Dominican Republic.  Individual property titles cannot be granted if masterplans showing structural, electrical, and plumbing engineering plans have not been approved. Additional rebar is used inside the concrete block, along with deeper pylons and footing requirements ... footings that flex a bit to avoid settling cracks from tremors "Earthquake burps". Seismic activity of a level 4 to even 5 are actually good.  Long periods of no earth shifting or gas releases is bad!

Developers and Builders provide insurance during the construction phase.  However, after the condo communities are completed and HOA Bylaws go into effect, a monthly HOA fee is then established by the owners.  In some condo communities, the HOA may agree to include individual property insurance, rather than establishing a "Special Assessment fund". 

All insurance plans here cover catastrophic claims for earthquakes, hurricanes or Tropical Storm damage, fire, floods, etc. Please ask us to provide you with a trusted (English & Spanish speaking Insurance Broker, for the best Insurance providers qoutes.

Because the East Coast 30 mile coastline (as of 2022) encompasses over 60 all-inclusive resorts, the Dominican government also heavily invest in the electrical infastructure on the East Coast.  In fact, although we were sideswiped by “Maria” in 2019, Punta Cana did NOT lose power for very long. 

The explosion boom on the East Coast (Punta Cana / Bavaro) has been incredible since just 2012.  Punta Cana alone has expanded its PRIVATELY OWNED PUNTA CANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 6 times since 2013 to accommodate this boom, and since 2023 services nearly 20,000 visitors A DAY! (According to Statista).

Since Punta Cana is considered the most popular vacation destination, we continue preparing for a very, very busy vacation rental and real estate buying seasons!

In the unlikely event you are here during a hurricane, rest assured, all the resorts in Punta Cana, Cap Cana, Bavaro and Uvero Alto are more than equipped to handle this situation.  Leaving only the inconvenience of rain, no beach-time and possible flight delays or cancellations.

For those looking to save money while on vacation, consider visiting Punta Cana/ Bavaro during low season of late June to November.  Vacationers can save 30% - 40%, rather than coming during the busy December - April, the high season months.  This applies to both Resorts and booking a vacation rental condo on or near the beach. See Our Vacation Rental Properties at:  www.vactionrentalspuntacana.com 

Sellers are more open to selling price negotiations during this time as well.

Yes, Hurricanes can affect the East Coast, BUT PLEASE, DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR OR READ FROM THE MEDIA.  Educating the world about the facts is vital.  Also understanding the Dominican Republic is NOT a 3rd world country.  The DR is instead a Rapidly Developing Country with solid infastructure.  

AGAIN... In over 128 years (since 1894), only four hurricanes have affected our Eastern shore.  Of course, we don't have a crystal ball, and understand Mother Nature is menopausing :)

Living and/ or owning property on an Island will always be the ultimate dream for most everyone, so why not invest in the Caribbean island where the least number of natural disasters historically... And safer from crime too.

P.S. Your chances of winning the lottery are much greater than your chances of experience a hurricane in Punta Cana/ Bavaro.


WRITTEN BY MARIA WILLIAMS: Broker- Co-owner of Reliable Realty SRL in El Cortecito, Bavaro, Punta Cana Dominican Republic (established in 2008). Maria is a Consultant to North American investors and has been featured in several episodes of HGTV Caribbean Life, on ESTV and Punta Cana TV (Punta Cana Homes). She is the author of "Punta Cana Revealed" from 2010 - 2015" (SOLD OUT in 2015).  Reliable Realty is a Pioneer in the Punta Cana/ Bavaro area, and is considered by others, as an authority and primary influencer to the rapid exposure and growth of this amazing area.