; ;

2021 Hurricane Season: Damage and Travel Updates for the Caribbean Islands

By Kit KieferJuly 16, 2021

Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

It’s been almost four years since hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the Caribbean, yet the threat of more damaging storms looms as the region enters what promises to be a very active hurricane season.

The lingering pandemic hasn’t helped the area’s recovery tourism prospects, 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 how the Caribbean is navigating the dual recovery challenges of a pandemic and hurricanes.

For the latest pandemic-related information on many of the islands and countries mentioned here, as well as ones not included in this update, consult the State Department’s country-by-country COVID page.

In addition, you should consider specialty travel insurance for any travel to the Caribbean. A low-cost, spur-of-the moment jaunt can be covered with simple flight protection, while a Caribbean cruise can benefit from cruise insurance.

Photo by Ashok Munde on Unsplash

Hurricane Damage Travel Update For Anguilla

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear

Anguilla is recovered from the 2018 hurricanes but is currently under a level-3 travel advisory (“reconsider travel”) due to COVID. 

Anguilla requires masks on ships and in other spaces where persons can’t socially distance.

For the latest news on reopening, visit the Ministry of Health & Social Development on Facebook.

Hurricane Damage Travel Update For Antigua/Barbuda

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear (finally)

Antigua and (especially) Barbuda were among the hardest-hit islands in 2018, and while rebuilding and recovery took years, the infrastructure is almost entirely in place to welcome back tourists.

The State Department has given the islands a level-1 (“exercise normal precautions”) rating; still, wearing a face mask is mandatory in all public places.

Beaches are open roughly from dusk to dawn, though picnics, music, drinking alcohol, and parties are prohibited.

You can get updates on the situation in the islands on the tourism ministry’s Facebook page.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Hurricane Damage travel Update For The Bahamas

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear

The Bahamas have fully recovered from the hurricanes, but are currently at level-4 status (”do not travel”), according to the CDC and the State Department. Incoming visitors need to supply proof of a recent negative COVID test.

For information on the latest developments, visit the U.S. Embassy's COVID page for The Bahamas.

Hurricane Damage travel Update For British Virgin Islands

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear

Properties and attractions on the islands are back to their pre-hurricane status, and the islands are open to American tourists, though the country remains on level-2 status (“reconsider travel”) due to COVID.

The BVI’s COVID-19 page has full details.

Photo by Yap Chin Kuan on Unsplash

Hurricane Damage travel Update For Dominica

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear

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 allowing travelers from the U.S., which it considers to be a high-risk country.

Vaccinated travelers will have to supply proof of a negative COVID test and vaccination, while unvaccinated travelers will be subjected to multiple rounds of testing.

For more information, check out the updates provided by the Discover Dominica Authority.

Hurricane Damage travel Update For Dominican Republic/Haiti

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear

The countries have recovered from the hurricanes but were hit hard by the pandemic. The Dominican Republic has had the highest case count in the Caribbean, and Haiti has been in the top five.

The Dominican Republic is welcoming tourists, but expect to take a COVID test in the airport upon arrival. The State Department recommends that travelers not travel to Haiti because of COVID.

For information on the Dominican Republic’s return to tourism, consult the country’s tourism website. Information on Haiti is available from the U.S. Embassy's COVID page

Photo by Susan Mohr on Unsplash

Learn more about our travel insurance plans

Hurricane Damage travel Update For Puerto Rico

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear (finally!)

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 reopened and has been a popular destination for mainland American tourists.

Virtually all hotels are open, though some still have strict social-distancing measures. 

Many restaurants, golf courses, and other basic facilities have reopened as well.

Perhaps the best news out of Puerto Rico is that after years of storm-related cleanup, the entire El Yunque National Forest and its scenic rainforest trails are open and ready for exploration.

For the most up-to-date information, visit Discover Puerto Rico.

Photo by Tatiana Rodriguez on Unsplash

Hurricane Damage travel Update For St. Maarten/St. Martin

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear

Though the island has recovered from the hurricanes, the Dutch side is at level-3 status, and the French side is level-4. 

You need to supply proof of a recent negative test, and a seven-day quarantine is recommended for visitors to the French side of the island. The Dutch side requires travelers to buy a travel medical plan onsite. 

In addition, travel from other Caribbean islands is banned, and cruise ships are not allowed to dock. 

The St. Martin website has the most recent information on COVID-related restrictions.

Hurricane Damage travel Update For Turks and Caicos

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear

The Turks and Caicos have fully recovered from the hurricanes, and are open to tourists, though travelers must obtain pre-authorization through the TCI Assured website.

Cruise ships remain banned from the islands.

Photo by Joel Casilla on Unsplash


Hurricane Damage travel Update For U.S. Virgin Islands

Year hurricane damage sustained: 2018

Status: All clear

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.

However, like Puerto Rico, the USVI are welcoming mainland tourists once again, and encouraging them to follow the same sorts of cautions they would if traveling anywhere else in the U.S. 

The USVI Department of Health has updated information for travelers considering a visit to the islands.

Hurricane Damage travel Update For Other Islands

All other Caribbean islands can be considered to be recovered from the 2018 hurricanes, though due to the pandemic only a handful are completely open as of this writing. For up-to-date information, follow the updates on Travel & Leisure, find the country you wish to travel to on the State Department’s country-by-country COVID page, or consult your travel professional.

Travel safely!


QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE?

Check out our online guide, "What Is Travel Insurance All About?" We’ve provided in-depth answers to all your travel insurance questions, starting with the basics.

CHECK OUT THE GUIDE!
Kit Kiefer
Kit Kiefer

Kit Kiefer is a former travel writer for The New York Times and has more than 30 years of freelance experience writing about domestic and international travel. He blogs and produces content for Winbound, a content marketing firm.

READY TO SHOP FOR TRAVEL INSURANCE?

GET A QUOTE

Please visit our Disclaimer page for underwriter info. Policies have exclusions and limitations. For complete details of coverage, contact BHTP by calling 844-411-2487, or emailing us at assist@bhtp.com.

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) is a registered trademark and a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI), a leader in specialized casualty and liability insurance.  The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable.  BHTP disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information.  The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

View More Like This

Want to become a safer traveler? Sign up for our monthly newsletter.