Where to spend a Caribbean vacation now

Wednesday, September 13 2017 @ 10:20 PM AST

Contributed by: michaelariston

For persons who had been planning a vacation in the Caribbean long before Hurricane Irma 2017, options remain available. The affected islands will begin to recover as fast as tourists return. However, in the short term, here is a list of where you can still go now from an email from Alan Fox, Chairman & CEO, Vacations To Go:


Numerous islands sustained significant damage but their tourist infrastructure emerged intact and they are--or will soon be--open for business. Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Nevis, St. Barts, Anguilla, Antigua, Haiti, St. Kitts, the Turks and Caicos and Cuba fall in this category.

Fortunately, Irma missed some islands completely. Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Grand Cayman, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago are among those that were not impacted at all. Cruise ports in Mexico and Central America were also not affected.

SOURCE: Central Bank of Curacao & Sint Maarten


The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and
the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) continue to receive updates from their
members in the northern Leeward Islands and the northern Caribbean following the passage of
Hurricane Irma.
Following is an update regarding Irma’s impact on Caribbean destinations, as well as reports
from CHTA-member hotels.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua was not impacted minimally by Hurricane Irma with electricity being restored to the
capital, St. John’s and most parts of the island. The V.C. Bird International Airport opened for all
flights on Thursday, 7 September.
On the other hand, Barbuda, with its approximately 1,800 residents, was severely impacted by
the hurricane which passed directly over the small island, resulting in one fatality. The prime
minister, Gaston Browne said 90 per cent of homes were destroyed. Barbuda’s hotel
infrastructure was also damaged, but with less than 100 hotel rooms the overall effect on tourism
as a whole is minimal.
Updates from individual hotels on Antigua are as follows:
• Curtain Bluff: The property emerged from the storm without any damage, and all staff
and their families are unharmed. The clean up of the property has begun and
communications will soon be restored.
• Cocos Hotel: No long term damage
• Galley Bay: Guests are safe. An in-depth assessment of the property will take place on
September 21.
• Hermitage Bay: A little waterlogged from the swells, otherwise all is well.
• Jumby Bay Island: There is no structural damage to any of the resort or homes. A
landscaping clean-up will be needed, however. Jumby Bay Island is currently closed as
part of its annual maintenance programme and therefore no guests were on the island
when Hurricane Irma passed. The reopening remains on schedule for 9 October, 2017.
• Keyonna Beach Resort: No long term damage.
• Pineapple Beach Club: Guests are safe. Scheduled to welcome guests starting 14
September .
• St. James Club: Guests are safe. Scheduled to welcome guests starting 14 September .
• Verandah: Guests are safe. Will reopen as scheduled on 14 October after renovations.


Anguillians are breathing a sigh of relief as Hurricane Jose largely bypassed the island, which
was under a tropical storm watch on Saturday, 9 September. Islanders are moving swiftly to
rebuild. The Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) is now open from sunrise to sunset
for charters and emergency flights. The Road Bay Port at Sandy Ground has also reopened and
can now receive cargo.
The governor and chief minister are continuing to assess the damage, identify priorities, and
coordinate the response through the National Emergency Operations Centre. Aid from the United
Kingdom in the form of food, water, medical supplies and technical support has begun to arrive
on the island. Community volunteers are fully engaged in the massive clean-up campaign, with
centres for the collection of debris from the storm established in key areas around the island.
Many properties are still conducting assessments, but following is a brief update from select
stakeholders on island. Additional property updates will be issued as they are made available.
Anguilla Resort Hotels
Carimar Beach Club Management and staff are safe and Carimar is standing strong. The
garden looks a little worse for the wear and a few doors and windows were damaged. The cleanup
has begun and management will advise of the reopening date, now that Jose has passed.
CeBlue Villas & Beach Resort - Staff are safe and the resort had no guests as it was already
closed for the season. The villas and resort buildings held up well against the hurricane and they
are all structurally sound. The resort has begun the clean up process, and looks forward to
welcoming guests for the season.
Fountain Anguilla The Fountain buildings and grounds are structurally intact. A few of the
units suffered some damage from debris. Assessment and clean up are under way and the resort
is expected to open for the season.
CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and The Reef by CuisinArt This property was significantly
affected, and engineers are currently assessing the full extent of the damage. The ownership and
management have said they are steadfastly committed to restoring, rebuilding and reopening, as
well as doing everything possible to help and support their employees through this most difficult
Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort Upon preliminary review there appears to be no major
structural damage to the resort. The team is now assessing the extent of the clean up required and
will advise on their proposed reopening date.
Quintessence Boutique Resort The property sustained a fair amount of damage, but nothing
that can’t be repaired. However, the proposed 1 November opening will be delayed.
Zemi Beach House Zemi Beach had closed to guests in advance of the hurricane. The property
held strong during the storm and will be able to welcome guests before long, although the timing
is still uncertain. .
Anguilla Villas
Neveah Villa This property suffered only cosmetic damage. A clean up of the grounds is under
Sunset Homes Properties Spyglass Hill will be ready for reopening on 1 November; Little
Butterfly survived intact.
Bird of Paradise Bird of Paradise was designed to withstand r 200 mph winds. There was no
structural damage to the buildings or to the roof, nor was there any damage to the contents of the
Anguilla Restaurants
Blanchards received moderate damage and Blanchards Beach Shack is in great shape, requiring
just a little clean-up. The owners expect to be able to open both restaurants as soon as the major
resorts are open.
daVida Restaurant & Bayside The main restaurant is still intact. However, the canape on the
second floor of the loft was lost. The Bar at the Bayside is still intact, but the dining area will be
rebuilt. The staff are all safe.
Garveys, Pumphouse and Mango’s were devastated, while Dune Preserve, Elvis’ Beach Bar,
Dolce Vita and Ripples also suffered severe damage. Jacala, Geraud’s Patisserie and Grands
Vins de France all survived. Johnno’s, Dads, and Picante are still standing, but will require some

The Islands of The Bahamas

The Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau is open and international flights are
beginning to return to The Bahamas. The remaining airports will resume operations once they
have been assessed and cleared for opening by aviation officials.
Additionally, the Port of Nassau reopened on Sunday,10 September. However, no vessels are
expected to arrive until Wednesday, 13 September. All other ports remain closed at this time.
Cruise reservation holders should check directly with their cruise provider for updates on
departures and itineraries.
There are currently no reports of severe damage to the tourism product throughout the islands.
Below is information on hotel status at this time. Reservation holders should contact properties
directly for complete information.
Nassau and Paradise Island
• Atlantis, Paradise Island – open
• Sandals Royal Bahamian – open
• Warwick Paradise Island – Bahamas – open
• Breezes Resort & Spa – Bahamas - Open
• Baha Mar Resort and Casino – open Tuesday, 12 September
• Melia Nassau Beach Resort – open Wednesday, 13 September
The Exumas
• Sandals Emerald Bay – open

British Virgin Islands

The destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands has been devastating,
according to a statement from Sharon Flax-Brutus, the director of tourism. With cell phone
towers down and power outages, communication to, from and within, the territory has been
difficult, impacting the ability to fully assess the damage. The destination has lost entire
structures and many homes are without roofs, or have been diminished to mere foundations.
The Government has begun to coordinate humanitarian relief efforts and an initial clean-up
operation. The United Kingdom government has sent relief and support.
Updates from individual hotels in the British Virgin Islands are as follows:
• Anegada Reef: Anegada is fine.
• Bitter End Yacht Club: The hotel was not operational due to annual closure.
• Guana Island: Closed at the time All guests and on-island staff are safe.
• Rosewood Little Dix Bay: Rosewood Little Dix Bay is currently closed for renovation
and therefore no guests were present at the resort.
• Scrub Island: All guests and associates are safe.
• Sugar Mill Hotel: The hotel has suffered some damage but so far it appears manageable.
The restaurant is expected to open as planned on 12 October, 2017 and 14 October for the


Hurricane Irma passed over the northern portion of Cuba. It has been reported that Havana has
experienced major flooding, power has been knocked and widespread wind damage has
impacted the area. Ten people have died in Cuba, according to state television reports issued on
11 September.

Dominican Republic

Punta Cana International Airport has resumed normal operations following the passage of
Hurricane Irmat. The area’s hotel sector is reporting no major damage. Damaged homes and
flooded streets in Cabarete and Sosua have been reported.
Barceló Resorts: Barceló Hotel Group confirmed that all of the brand’s resorts in the Dominican
Republic are fully operational.
Viva Wyndham Playa Dorada: The hotel is open and operating.


Haiti was relatively unscathed. All services remain in operation and the country continues to
welcome visitors. Travellers are advised to contact their local travel or booking agent for detailed
arrangements about their bookings.
Moulin Sur Mer has advised it was not affected by Hurricane Irma.

Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) is reporting that major tourism infrastructure and
attractions are operational and the island can continue to welcome new visitors. The PRTC said
while there have been power outages, many hotels, as well as essential services such as hospitals,
have generators and are operational. The majority of hotels throughout mainland Puerto Rico are
ready to welcome new guests. Attractions such as parks and beaches are currently being assessed
to ensure a committed focus on quick clean up in the coming days.
Flights to and from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport have resumed. Puerto Rico’s port is
operational and started receiving ships on 9 September.
Updates from individual hotels in Puerto Rico are as follows:
• Condado Plaza Hilton: Minor damage.
• El Conquistador Resort: El Conquistador Resort is operational. Las Casitas Village will
reopen when electricity is restored.
• El San Juan Hotel: The hotel received minimal damage and will reopen as soon
as power is restored.
• Hotel El Convento: The hotel escaped damage. Operations were due to resume on 11
• Hyatt House San Juan: The hotel is open and operating.
• Hyatt Place Bayamon: Open and operating.
• Hyatt Place Manati: Open and operating.
• Hyatt Place San Juan City Center: Open and operating.
• Hyatt Residence Club Dorado: Open and operating.
• InterContinental San Juan: Business as usual.
• Rincon Beach: Open for business.
• San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel: Sustained no damage, have full power, and open
for business.
• Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar: Open and operating.
• Wyndham Grand Rio Mar: Sustained minimal damage and is currently open.

St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts & Nevis sustained minimal damage overall and both St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw
International Airport and Nevis’ Vance W. Amory International Airport have reopened.
Hotels in St. Kitts reported no structural damage while Nevis’ hotel updates include:
• Four Seasons Resort Nevis - The resort is in fine shape
• Hermitage Inn General debris, but no structural damage
• The Great House and Cottages at Nisbett Plantation Beach Club in excellent
condition. However, there was damage to the Sea Breeze Beach Bar, the decking and the

St. Barthelemy

It has been reported that St. Barth’s was heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma which destroyed
government buildings and badly damaged private homes The French government has sent people
and supplies to the country to assist with recovery efforts.

St. Maarten (Dutch) / St. Martin (French)

The recovery effort continues. Director of tourism for Dutch St. Maarten Rolando Brison is
reporting that Sun Wing has evacuated some visitors to Montreal, Canada, while other guests
have also been evacuated. The Princess Juliana International Airport has been receiving flights
that are bringing in relief supplies, and evacuating guests. No passengers, including media, are
being allowed in at the moment due to a shortage of staff to man the airport. The airport
reopened on Sunday 10 September for relief flights after the passage of Hurricane Jose in the
Updates from St. Maarten / St. Martin hotels are as follows:
• Beach Plaza: Badly damaged
• Belair Beach Hotel: Sustained damage and it will take time to repair. Phone service and
internet down. .
• Esmeralda Resort: Hotel 70 per cent destroyed.
• Hotel Mercure : Damaged
• La Vista Hotel: The Beach building is relatively in decent shape. The roof tiles came off
but the roof itself in still there. Some water damage and missing doors and windows.
• Oyster Bay Beach Resort: Significant damage.
• Princess Heights: Minor damage.
• Riu Palace St. Martin: Infrastructures severely affected. All guests and employees are
fine. .
• Summit Resort Hotel: Due to extensive damages, the Summit Resort will remain closed.
• Westin Dawn Beach: Suffered significant damage.·
• Sonesta: Resort damage is severe. All further reservations from now through the end of
2017 have been cancelled.
Both the French and Dutch governments have sent people to the country along with supplies and
vital aid.

St. Eustatius

Director of Tourism Charles Lindo says St. Eustatius was spared the worst by Hurricane Irma.
Telephone, electricity and internet are back up and both the airport and seaport are open.

Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) has announced the reopening of the
Providenciales International Airport (PLS) for scheduled flights as of 11 a.m. on, Monday, 11
The department of disaster management and emergencies is currently conducting assessments
throughout the islands. Initial reports indicate localized flooding, and damage to roofs and some
property but no reports of loss of life. fe.
Several of the hotel properties were scheduled for annual closure PRIOR to Irma; some
properties have now elected to remain closed, to assess any damage to their properties and
looking to reopen by the beginning to middle of October 2017.
Updates from individual properties in the Turks & Caicos Islands are as follows:
The Palms Resort
Shore Club
Seven Stars
CLOSED One to Two Weeks
The Regent Grand
Villa Community
CLOSED FOR TWO Months as of 1 September, 2017
Gansevoort TCI
West Bay Club
Point Grace
Royal West Indies
Club Med
Beaches TCI
Parrot Cay (scheduled closer August 26th to November 18th, 2017)
The Alexandra Resort
Beach House TCI
Blue Haven
La Vele
Seven Stars
The Sands
United States Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas)
The Virgin Islands Port Authority’s Executive Director, David Mapp, provided the following
updates regarding the airports and seaports in the US Virgin Islands.
The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix is open and fully operational. American Airlines is
expected to resume flights to HERA tomorrow, 12 September. The Cyril E. King Airport on St.
Thomas received extensive damage during Hurricane Irma. CEKA is only open to emergency
relief flights. VIPA is currently conducting assessments and cleanup, with a tentative date of 16
September, 2017 to resume daily commercial flights to St. Thomas.
All seaports on St. Croix are open and fully operational. There is currently no seaplane service
available. VIPA will announce when service resumes. All seaports in the St. Thomas/St. John
district are open. However, service between Cruz Bay, St. John and Red Hook, St. Thomas is
limited to daylight hours only.
The following updates have been shared by individual properties in the U.S. Virgin Islands:

St. Croix

• The Buccaneer: Open for business. Facilities are in good shape, but there may be some
limitation of services over the next few days.
• Club Comanche Hotel St. Croix: Open and accepting guests as of Friday, 8 September
• Hotel Caravelle: The hotel is open and accepting guests.
• Hotel on the Cay: The resort will be accepting guests beginning Tuesday, 12 September

St. John

• Caneel Bay: Complete power outage at the resort. Team assessing the damage.
• Westin St. John Resort Villas: The resort and the surrounding areas experienced some
damage and overall impact is being assessed.

St. Thomas

• Bluebeard's Castle Resort: Sustained major damage, .
• Marriott Frenchman’s Reef: Those planning to visit the hotel should check the news
for the most current information The resort is waiving hotel cancellation and change fees
for specific arrival dates. Customers should call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more
information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States
seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in
their country.
• Margaritaville Vacation Club:. Recovery efforts to begin
• Point Pleasant Resort: Currently assessing damage, and will share new information
when available.
• Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas:. Those planning to visit the hotel should check the news for
the most current information and amend their travel plans accordingly. The resort is
waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates. Customers should
call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more information about their reservations. Those in
countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should
call the Marriott toll-free number in their country.
• Secret Harbour Beach Resort: No major structural damage to the buildings. The
generator is still working.
• Sugar Bay Resort & Spa: The damage is being assessed and an update will be provided
when available.
• Windward Passage: Will close for six months.

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