It’s been almost three years since hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the Caribbean, yet there is still work to be done in places like Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and the Virgin Islands.
A pandemic hasn’t helped the area’s recovery, but the good news is that barring any major storms this summer and fall (fingers crossed!) the region should be back to almost 100% and ready to welcome back guests when guests are allowed to return.
While you should check with your travel professional for advice on specific destinations, here’s a high-level, island-by-island update on the Caribbean most affected by the storms, and how they’re recovering from both hurricanes and the pandemic.
Hurricane Damage Update For Anguilla
Anguilla declared itself 100% recovered from the hurricane in November 2018.
However, the island remains closed to visitors until at least June 30. For the latest news on reopening, visit the Ministry of Health & Social Development on Facebook.
Hurricane Damage Update For Antigua/Barbuda
The islands reopened to tourists June 4 – but what will tourists find when they return to the islands?
They’ll find differences in room sanitation, restaurant service, and public areas, for instance, but they’ll also find that almost all properties have been rebuilt three years after the hurricanes and are welcoming tourists again.
Barbuda, which took the brunt of the damage, was a little slower to come around, but it was almost back to 100% when the pandemic struck. Now both islands hope to reap the benefits of opening early to attract tourists.
You can get updates on the situation in the islands on the tourism ministry’s Facebook page.
Hurricane Damage Update For The Bahamas
The Bahamas have fully recovered from the hurricanes, and will be reopening for tourists July 1.
For information on the latest developments, visit the official Bahamas tourism page.
Hurricane Damage Update For British Virgin Islands
While properties and attractions on the islands are back to their pre-hurricane status, the islands are not yet open to tourists. The plan is to reopen mid-June for British citizens and island residents, with a full reopening to follow at a later date.
The BVI’s COVID-19 page has full details.
Hurricane Damage Update For Dominica
Dominica’s neighborhoods felt the brunt of the storm, and were just rounding back to something approaching normal when the pandemic hit. The country is currently in lockdown, with no timetable for reopening.
For more information, check out the updates provided by the Discover Dominica Authority.
Hurricane Damage Update For Dominican Republic/Haiti
The countries have recovered from the hurricanes but have been hit hard by the pandemic. The Dominican Republic has the highest case count in the Caribbean, and Haiti is in the top five.
As a result, both countries have closed their borders and are not welcoming tourists. Mask laws and a curfew are in place, and there is no timetable for reopening either country.
Hurricane Damage Update For Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria and a subsequent earthquake was very nearly complete when the pandemic hit. Now the island is trying to manage a gradual, phased reopening.
Not all hotels are open, and the ones that are have implemented strict cleaning and social-distancing measures. There’s a mask law in place, as well as a 7 p.m. curfew. All flights to the island are being rerouted to San Juan International Airport.
Many restaurants, golf courses, and other basic facilities have reopened, albeit with limited hours.
Large parts of the El Yunque National Forest remain closed because of lingering storm damage.
For the most up-to-date information, visit Discover Puerto Rico.
Hurricane Damage Update For St. Maarten/St. Martin
Though the island has recovered from the hurricanes, you can’t get there from here. At least, not yet.
There are no flights to the islands, which just had a “shelter in place” edict lifted, and there are no plans for reopening the French/Dutch territory anytime soon, according to Travel & Leisure.
Hurricane Damage Update For Turks and Caicos
The Turks and Caicos have fully recovered from the hurricanes, and will reopen to tourists on July 22, though cruise ships will be banned from the islands until at least late August.
Hurricane Damage Update For U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands had a long road back from the hurricanes, and they had almost made it all the way back when the pandemic struck.
Like Puerto Rico, the USVI are embarking on a phased reopening, with new rules for cleaning and housekeeping. However, the islands are under a state of emergency through July 11, with mask regulations and restrictions on gatherings.
The USVI Department of Health has updated information for travelers considering a visit to the islands.
Hurricane Damage Update For Other Islands
All other Caribbean islands can be considered to be recovered from the 2017 hurricanes, though only a handful are completely open as of this writing. For up-to-date information, follow the updates on Travel & Leisure or consult your travel professional.
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