Caribbean Update: Which Islands Are Ready for Travel?

by  Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | Dec 20, 2017

Many travelers love to shake off the winter blues with trips to sun-splashed Caribbean islands. There’s nothing more magical than the pairing of winter festivities with tropical landscapes, but after the ravages of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which islands are equipped for visitors? Follow these guidelines to help decide your Caribbean travel plans:

Islands That Were Not Impacted by Hurricanes and Are Completely Open For Business

  •   Jamaica
  •   Aruba
  •   Curacao
  •   St. Lucia
  •   Barbados
  •   The Cayman Islands
  •   Grenada
  •   Haiti
  •   Trinidad & Tobago

Islands That Were Minimally Impacted and Are Open

Antigua: The island sustained minor damage from the hurricanes and only one hotel, Galley Bay Resort and Spa, remains closed but is expected to open a few days before Christmas.

The Bahamas:  The main tourism centers of Nassau and Grand Bahama weren’t affected and remain open for cruises and travelers. However, the Out Islands of Acklins, Ragged, and Crooked Islands are currently not open to tourists.

The Dominican Republic: The minimal damage to a few hotels and resorts has been repaired and all hotels and airports are open.

Islands That Were Impacted By The Hurricanes and Are Mostly Open

Cuba: The iconic malecon seawall that runs along the coast of Havana received some damage and flooding in half of the city but everything has been cleared and ports, hotels, and attractions are open. Resorts in the Varadero area were slightly damaged but have been repaired.

St. Kitts and Nevis: The hurricanes ripped through the sister islands and damaged a few resorts, but all are now open.

Turks and Caicos: Power outages and considerable damage to some resorts have affected the island, although the airport and majority of hotels are now open. Beaches Turks and Caicos and Amanyara Resort recently reopened on Dec. 15 and Club Med Turkoise is closed until Jan. 31, 2018.

Islands With Major Damage and Only Partial Openings

Anguilla: A major portion of the island’s infrastructure was damaged but re-building has been steady and 30 percent of hotel, apartment, and villa rooms are now available, as are most restaurants. A majority of resorts are scheduled to reopen by spring 2018. The airport is open and most ferry services have been restored.

Barbuda: Irma tore apart 95 percent of this tiny island's infrastructure, and restoring the island’s airport, water, and the island’s frigate bird population are still in process. Robert De Niro is helping efforts by moving ahead with his plan to build the Paradise Found Resort on the island.

British Virgin Islands: Airports and seaports are open but power has not been completely restored on all the islands. Most resorts are still re-building, but the cruise ports and yacht harbors are open.

Puerto Rico: While power has been restored to 68 percent of the island, 9 percent of the population still doesn’t have water or roofs on their homes. Cruises have returned to the port, some hotels are open, and tourism is returning to Old San Juan. Many travelers are volunteering to help clean up through voluntourism organizations.

St. Barts:  Electricity has been restored and some hotels and villas are open. The St. Barts Music Festival is still scheduled to kick off  in January.

St. Martin/Maarten: The airport is open but minor repairs are still being done in phases. 70 percent of hotels were damaged on the Dutch side of the island and many beaches were also damaged. Cruises returned to the island in early December.

St. Croix and St. Thomas: The power and water infrastructure has been restored to almost half the population on both islands and airports and cruise ports are open. Many of St. Croix’s hotels are open, including The Buccaneer, Club Comanche Hotel St. Croix, Cottages By The Sea, Frederiksted Hotel, and Sand Castle on the Beach. On St. Thomas, Bellavista Bed & Breakfast and At Home in The Tropics Bed & Breakfast Inn are open as well as restaurants and shops in the main shopping areas on both islands. Festivities for the Crucian Christmas Festival on St. Croix are scheduled through Jan. 6.

St. John: Cleanup on the island is continuing, although iconic beaches of Trunk Bay, Honeymoon, and Hawksnest are cleared and open for visitors. Hotels including Sea Shore Allure and Gallows Point Resort are also open for guests.

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