Where Can you Go in the Caribbean Now? How to Plan a Trip to the Caribbean Post-Hurricanes

Note: This information was sourced from Virtuoso, Caribbean Tourism, and hotel press releases/Facebook posts. Updated: September 28, 2017. This post contains affiliate links.

Unless you live under a rock, you are aware of the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria on many islands in the Caribbean this September.  I hope you have already donated to the various hurricane relief funds. If not, you can do so at TourismCares.org.

But another way to help is to plan a trip to those islands most affected this winter or coming spring. And even though some of the islands will take longer to recover, many Caribbean resorts and businesses are teaming together in a “One Caribbean Family” initiative to donate a portion of their revenue to their sister islands.

As islands and hotels are struggling to recover, there is a lot of aid in the area, but the only way they are going to truly bounce back will be if tourists return, and quickly. So I encourage you to help by spending some of your vacation dollars in the Caribbean in the next year. If you want some help picking an island and resort that is right for you, just let me know and I’d be happy to help you find and book the right option. And, as a Virtuoso Travel Advisor, I can also offer you additional perks and amenities at many of these properties.

Eden Roc beach

Where Can You Travel Now?

Keep in mind that the Caribbean is a very large region. Fourteen Caribbean areas were impacted, which is only about 15 percent of all the hotel rooms in the region. For the rest of the region, it is still business as usual. Some of the islands that were not affected are: Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Granada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. Flights to some of these islands may still be challenging until the airports in St. Maarten and San Juan can get back online, but those with direct flights are ready to welcome you.

Where to Go in December and Beyond

Many affected islands are also quickly coming back online. I’ve put together the following updates on affected islands, along with some recently announced re-opening dates for major resorts on those islands. This information will change rapidly so I encourage you to also check out CaribbeanTravelUpdate.com, although I will try to update this post regularly.

Anguilla

Many of the hotels sustained damage, which they are still assessing. A few have announced reopening dates including:

Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua was spared the brunt of the storm and the airport and businesses are reopening. However, it is unknown if and when Barbuda will be back after the extreme devastation that island sustained. With just 100 hotel rooms, this doesn’t have a major impact on tourism but it is life-changing for the 1,600 residents of Barbuda.

  • Curtain Bluff was closed for a six-month renovation but will be reopening on October 28, 2017.
  • Hermitage Bay was also closed for an annual refresh, but will be reopening on October 10, 2017.
  • Cocobay Resort remains open for business
  • Sugar Ridge Resort didn’t sustain any damage and will reopen on October 6, 2017.

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands were spared a direct hit from Hurricane Maria, but still suffered damage. At this time, essential services are coming back online with banks and grocery stores starting to reopen. People’s Hospital on Tortola is open and schools will be reopening in October. The Virgin Gorda airport will soon be open and the resorts will be ready for festive season. Many properties were closed for seasonal closures and hotels, restaurants, and shops will reopen by Thanksgiving, others in February/March, and the rest by early summer 2018.

Dominica

They are still working to get humanitarian relief to Dominica so it will be a while before we have a more detailed status update on the resorts on that island.

Dominican Republic

Fortunately, the Dominican Republic sustained very minimal damage from wind and rain and everything is operational.  I was glad to see that the Eden Roc at Cap Cana, where we had such a lovely stay this summer, is undamaged and open for business.

Guadeloupe

The Guadeloupe Islands suffered no substantial damage. Roads and beaches have already been cleaned and the airport has been reopened. All hotels are currently open and those closed during the off-season or for refurbishment/renovation have reported that they are on schedule to re-open as planned.

Nevis

Fortunately, Nevis suffered just minor wind and rain damage and many of the resorts were already closed for seasonal refurbishment. Most will be re-opening very soon.

Puerto Rico

As you are hopefully aware, Hurricane Maria had a devastating impact on Puerto Rico. The storm compromised the electric grid, leaving most residents without power, connectivity, fuel, and water. San Juan’s commercial port has been reopened to receive aid and supplies, but the airport is still restricted. Since San Juan is a major gateway to many islands, travel to some of the smaller islands may still be challenging until this is restored. Rebuilding and recovery is underway but there are still major challenges. Hotels are currently being used for first responders and a curfew has been issued from 6pm to 7am. Even hotels that didn’t suffer much damage are remaining closed until the area is suitable for visitors.

  • Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve didn’t sustain structural damage, but it is not taking reservations at this time.
  • St. Regis Bahia Beach is still assessing damage and is not taking reservations at this time. We will know more about its reopening in a few days.
  • W Retreat, Vieques is not taking reservations at this time.
  • El Conquistador is closed through December 31, 2017.
  • The Caribe Hilton, Condado Plaza, Embassy Suites, Hilton Ponce, Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan, El San Juan Hotel, and DoubleTree San Juan are not accepting existing or new reservations through October 31, 2017.

St. Barth’s

St. Barth’s sustained major damage, but primarily from Hurricane Irma, so they have been able to recover a bit faster. Electricity and running water has been almost fully resorted and the airport is open. However, St. Maarten is still closed so getting there from international destinations is still challenging. The ports are reopened and cruises will be back online by the end of October.

St. Martin/Sint Maarten

St. Martin was one of the worst hit islands and nearly 90% of the buildings on the Dutch side of the partitioned island were damaged. The French side wasn’t hit as hard, but they are still without electricity and clean water.

Turks & Caicos

Turks and Caicos is composed of 40 different islands. Grand Turk and South Caicos sustained significant damage, but the area near Providenciales and Parrot Cay felt less of an impact. The Providenciales airport has reopened, and normal operations across the island are expected to resume by the end of September and early October, with some exceptions (see below.) Since many of the newer resorts have been built to new standards, they therefore didn’t suffer as much damage. The tourism board expects that 90 percent of their resorts will be back online by late-October and all restaurants will be open by mid-October.

  • Amanyara weathered both storms with minimal impact and is reopening November 1, 2017 (note that a 10-night minimum stay is required over the festive season.)
  • COMO Parrot Cay was not badly damaged and will be opening November 19, 2017.
  • Gansevoort Turks and Caicos is expected to reopen on October 5, 2017. (Note there is an 8-night minimum stay over the festive season.)
  • Grace Bay is reopening in October.
  • The Palms and The Shore Club will be reopening on September 30, 2017.
  • Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sailrock Resort will be re-opening in mid-December. (Bummer since I was scheduled to go to Beaches in mid-October but that will now be pushed back until next year!)

U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands were very hard hit by Irma and Maria. St. Croix, which was largely spared by Irma was hit by Maria at its strongest as a Category 5 hurricane.

Kari Loya, the head of Good Hope Country Day School on St. Croix has an important message to send and made sure it was large enough for the world to see.

Please contact me if I can help you plan a trip to the Caribbean!

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4 Comments on “Where Can you Go in the Caribbean Now? How to Plan a Trip to the Caribbean Post-Hurricanes

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  1. This is a great reference. I’m saving it to share for when people ask me about any guidance on their hotel plans. Do you know anything about the Nickelodeon Hotel in the DR?

      Yes, they didn’t suffer any major damage and reopened on September 23rd.

    This is helpful, thank you! We are currently planning a winter trip down there!

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