Although some of the beautiful Caribbean islands were hit badly by powerful hurricanes in September 2017, many others were unaffected and are ready for tourists. Planning a vacation to one of the islands that can still be accessed is a great way to help the whole region’s recovery. There are still a plethora of choices for people who want to take advantage of the good deals often seen during the fall season. Here’s an overview on which Caribbean islands you can still visit safely.
Best Caribbean Islands to Visit Right Now
Islands with Little or No Storm Damage
Many people are under the impression that the Caribbean is a small cluster of islands; however, you might be surprised to know that it’s more than 1 million square miles. Thus, just 25 percent of the area was affected by the storms, and many islands escaped entirely.
Islands that were spared from any storm damage and are very much open for business include: Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
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Islands with Moderate Damage
A number of islands suffered a moderate amount of damage but are expected to be up and running in the near future. Which islands will soon be back in business?
Although Antigua did see some destruction from Hurricane Irma, the international airport and most of the island’s hotels had reopened by the middle of September. According to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), some properties were already closed for refurbishments and will reopen as previously planned.
St. Kitts and Nevis
These two islands also suffered only minor damage and most hotels are either fully operational or will reopen by the end of October 2017.
Turks and Caicos
The islands of Turks and Caicos are seeing a quick recovery from the storms. Providenciales, one of the most developed and populated areas, is steadily recovering from the damage it suffered during the hurricanes. The international airport is already back to normal operations and many resorts and hotels are ready for visitors.
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Islands with Major Damage
Unfortunately, a number of Caribbean islands were devastated during the storms, and the recovery process is likely to take weeks or months. Here’s an update on some of the islands that sustained the most harm.
Although it’s reported that the recovery effort is going well, Hurricane Irma significantly damaged Anguilla. Several hotels are hoping to reopen in October or November, while others are aiming for early 2018 openings.
More than 95 percent of Barbuda’s properties were destroyed in the storms. With less than 100 hotel rooms on the island, the overall effect on tourism is minimal compared to some other destinations, but the personal loss for the island’s residents is huge.
British Virgin Islands
Although commercial flights to Virgin Gorda have started again, Hurricane Irma devastated much of the idyllic BVIs. Many essential services are back up and running, but the majority of hotels and resorts are still assessing damage and will report updates when they can.
Puerto Rico suffered tremendously when the storms hit. There has been serious infrastructure damage, and full recovery will be a long and arduous process for the island. The San Juan International Airport has resumed normal flight service, while other airports are providing limited flights. Some hotels are accepting reservations for October and November 2017, but many others will stay closed until further notice.
The island was badly affected during Hurricane Irma. Whilst they are hoping to rebuild everything in time for the high season, which starts in December 2017, many hotels and resorts are reporting reopening dates in 2018.
St. Martin/St. Maarten
The island’s Princess Juliana International Airport was damaged during Hurricane Irma, but it has recently started accepting commercial flights again. Many local hotels and resorts also suffered severe damage and are trying to make quick repairs; however, most won’t be open again until 2018.
U.S. Virgin Islands
St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas are working hard to repair the destruction caused by the storms, but many resorts will remain closed until at least the end of 2017.