As we wrote in the fall, Puerto Rico was destroyed by storms in 2017, and sadly much of the island is in disarray, and its people suffering. Still, parts of Puerto Rico are without power and fresh water, and congress can’t seem to prioritize helping the people. Our hearts go out, and this article is in no way meant to discourage tourism. Puerto Rico is going to need the economic boost it gets from tourists, and those who want to go should still try to do so.
Having said that, we may be looking ahead at a year in which Caribbean tourism in general could decline. A year ago, we still looked at it as one of the top tropical destination regions on the planet. The Caribbean is home to countless cruise lines and routes, innumerable gorgeous islands, and resorts galore. Gaming sites run promotions for players to enjoy Caribbean cruises absolutely free, and college basketball teams spend November playing tournaments there. In short, whether you plan a cruise with friends for spring break, win a trip while playing a game online, travel to see your favorite team, or you just want some beach (and surfing) time, the Caribbean has still been a major draw.
That could conceivably not be the case in 2018 however. The same storms that devastated Puerto Rico thrashed and threatened much of the region, and many believe that storms of this size could represent a new normal thanks to global warming. Again, those who can get to the Caribbean and feel safe doing so still should – the local economies need it. But if you’re looking for a surfing getaway in this general part of the world and the Caribbean doesn’t seem like a safe or feasible option anymore, these are a few destinations you might want to think about.
Cocoa Beach, Florida
This is a famous surf destination – probably the most famous in Florida – so you may already know it. And truth be told, any storm that makes the Caribbean dangerous might threaten Cocoa Beach as well. Nevertheless, if you just want to be on the mainland, it’s a nice alternative. The waves are almost always good, there are surf shops and lessons for anyone you may bring along with you, and it’s about as close to Caribbean surfing as you can get in the area without actually being on the islands.
Costa Rica generally mostly escapes hurricane wrath. What’s more, its Pacific Coast has been written up as one of the world’s best alternative surf destinations, which ought to make it interesting regardless of storm concerns. There are numerous specific beaches to look for, but keep in mind that the Pacific side of the island is less populated, and more of a getaway.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
We’re getting a little farther from the Caribbean here, and you won’t get the same tropical flavor on the coast of North Carolina. That said, the Outer Banks – basically a thin strip of beach land that exists offshore – is a wonderful surf destination. The Kitty Hawk area, famous for being where the Wright brothers launched the first airplane, is particularly well known to surfers.
Montanita was featured on a list of places to go surfing in South America, and isn’t ultimately that far from the Caribbean (though it’s out of range of hurricane weather). It’s a fairly relaxed destination, but the Pacific swells won’t disappoint you.
Nuqui came up on the same list referenced regarding Montanita, Ecuador, and it’s another destination close enough to the Caribbean with Pacific coastline and protection from the worst tropical storms. It has a little bit more of a local town than some of these other destinations, but is still a wonderful place to go surfing. And as a bonus, you might even do some whale sighting while you’re out on the water.