Post-Irma Guide to Caribbean Vacationing

Image: PHOTO: The Dominican Republic. (photo via Pixabay/MustangJoe)
Image: PHOTO: The Dominican Republic. (photo via Pixabay/MustangJoe)
Monica Poling
by Monica Poling
Last updated: 9:08 PM ET, Sun September 10, 2017

Life in many parts of the Caribbean is moving from defense mode to recovery mode.

A number of islands were savaged by the storm, as is the widely reported case of Barbuda, where some 95 percent of the island's entire infrastructure was destroyed. Others, such as the Dominican Republic sailed through with the tourism industry relatively unscathed.

With the Caribbean approaching its peak tourism season (December through Easter), it is likely that a great deal of tourism infrastructure won't be ready to accommodate visitors that quickly. The region could be facing billions of dollars in lost tourism business said Jack Richards, the president of tour operator Pleasant Holidays (h/t Reuters.)

It is important to note, however, that Hurricane Irma was not a one-size fit all problem. While some hotels and resorts may have temporarily gone dark or even permanently closed, plenty of others are up and running as normal.

[READMORE]READ MORE: Full Post-Irma Caribbean Rebuilding Report[/READMORE]

And one of the best ways to help with the Caribbean's recovery in the days, weeks and months ahead is to not cancel any travel plans to the region if you are still able to safely complete your travels.

If you're unsure whether your travel plans need a tune up, here's a brief guide to preliminary findings, compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. Of course, as always, TravelPulse recommends you consult with your travel company and your travel professional to determine the best course for your vacation.

UPDATE: The below information was updated September 14, 2017.


Although Anguilla's airport runway and most roads leading to the airport have been cleared of debris, some 90 percent of government buildings, business structures and electricity infrastructure have been damaged. The main water supply also received significant damage.

The Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) is open from sunrise to sunset for charters and emergency flights. The Road Bay Port at Sandy Ground is open to receive cargo.

Aid from the United Kingdom in the form of food, water, medical supplies and technical support has been arriving.

Carimar Beach Club: Clean up is ongoing; a reopening date is pending.

CeBlue Villas & Beach Resort: The resort was closed for the season; all villas and resort buildings held up well and are structurally sound. The resort will re-open as scheduled for the regular season.

CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and The Reef by CuisinArt: The property had significant damage, which engineers are now assessing. Ownership and management are committed to restoring, rebuilding and reopening and fully support their employees during this difficult time.

Fountain Anguilla: The buildings and grounds are structurally intact, although some units suffered damage from debris. Clean up is underway and the resort is expected to open for the regular season.

Frangipani Beach Resort: The resort was closed for the season and no guests were present during Hurricane Irma. They are currently in the recovery mode and making progress already. The resort hopes to reopen in December 2017.The resort has also launched the Frangipani Employee Relief Fund: which has already received more than $100K in donations, all of which will go towards employee rebuilding efforts.

Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort: There appears to be no major damage, but teams are conducting a full assessment. A reopening date is pending.

Quintessence Hotel: suffered damage during the hurricane and will delay its anticipated November 1 re-opening.

Antigua and Barbuda

Barbuda and its approximately 1.800 residents have perhaps become the most covered destination during early Hurricane Irma reporting. According to the prime minister, Gaston Browne, some 90 per cent of homes were destroyed. Barbuda's hotel infrastructure was also damaged, but since the island's entire room inventory is less than 100 hotel rooms, the effect on tourism will likely be minimal.

Antigua, on the other hand, was not impacted by Hurricane Irma. Electricity has already been restored to most parts of the island and the V.C. Bird International Airport re-opened to all flights on Thursday, September 7.

Carlisle Bay: Carlisle Bay, which was closed for the season, did not sustain any significant damage and all staff members are safe. The resort will re-open as planned on October 15, 2017.

Curtain Bluff: All staff and their families are unharmed. The property has already started to clean up and communications will soon be restored.

Galley Bay: An in-depth assessment of the property will take place on September 21

Hermitage Bay: The hotel reports that all is well other than a little water damage from the swells.

Jumby Bay Island: The resort was closed as part of its annual maintenance program, so no guests were on the island when Hurricane Irma passed. The resort will re-open, on schedule on October 9, 2017.

Pineapple Beach Club: Is scheduled to start welcoming guests on September 14.

Sandals Grande Antigua: Sustained superficial damage but a complete assessment will take place soon. The resort, which was closed for maintenance, will remain closed until December 20.

St. James Club: Will welcome guests starting September 14.

Verandah: Will reopen as scheduled on October 14, after renovations.

The Islands of The Bahamas

The Bahamas is getting back to business, although some of the southern islands were more heavily impacted with damage ranging from cosmetic to severe structural damage.

All airports are open in Nassau, Grand Bahama Island and on nearly all Out Islands. International flights have resumed, including service to some Florida airports. While airlines are operating international flights out of Grand Bahama International Airport, U.S. customs and border pre-clearance will be reinstated at a later date. Out Islands International service has resumed from Exuma International Airport in The Exumas and Marsh Harbour Airport in The Abacos. All ports have also re-opened and are ready to welcome cruise ships.

The majority of hotel and resorts throughout The Islands of The Bahamas are operating as usual or are expected to reopen on their regularly scheduled dates. Nassau and Paradise Island hotels received no damage. Hotels on Grand Bahama Island received no damage.

Atlantis, Paradise Island; Baha Mar Resort and Casino; Bay View Suites Paradise Island, Bahamas; British Colonial Hilton, Nassau; Breezes Resort & Spa; Comfort Suites Paradise Island; Graycliff Hotel; Marley Resort and Spa; Melia Nassau Beach Resort; One & Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island; Paradise Harbour Club & Marina; Paradise Island Beach Club; Sandals Royal Bahamian; Sunrise Beach Club & Villas; Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas - All Inclusive are all open.

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar: Following the implementation of its emergency plan during Hurricane Irma, the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar resumed full hotel operations on September 12.

Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan: The resort fared well during the storm and re-opened its doors on Friday, September 15. "Aside from the loss of a few trees, no damage resulted from the storm at Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan," said Veronica Clarke, hotel manager. "We are relieved to be re-opening quickly and our thoughts remain with our neighbors in the Caribbean who are not as fortunate.

Sandals Emerald Bay in the Exumas is open.

The British Virgin Islands

As the Government of the British Virgin Islands continues to assess the significant damage sustained during Hurricane Irma, all travelers in need of assistance are encouraged to consult with the BVI Tourist Board office. The priority remains ensuring all visitors are safely transported out of the territory. The country is also working to restore communications including mobile phone and internet service.

Anegada Reef: Anegada is fine

Bitter End Yacht Club: The hotel was not operational due to annual closure.

Guana Island: The resorts is 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, Part of the Autograph Collection: the resort is closed until further notice.

Sugar Mill Hotel: The hotel has suffered some damage but so far it appears manageable. The hotel is expected to reopen on October 14.

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands were spared by Hurricane Irma. "We continue to welcome visitors to our shores," said the Hon. Moses I Kirkconnell, Minister of Tourism, The Cayman Islands. "Our beautiful beaches, quality accommodations, wide variety of attractions and warm, Caymankind welcome, make us one of the world's premier places for relaxation and recreation." Minister Kirkconnell also offered his "heartfelt thoughts and prayers [to] our fellow Caribbean people, who have been impacted by this devastating hurricane. We understand all too well the effect these storms can have on life and livelihoods, and we stand in solidarity with them in the rebuilding process and healing of their communities."


Cuba sustained extensive damage, especially along its coastal region. Cuba's Civil Defense troops relocated visitors from 17 hotels in the keys to safer places such as Havana and Varadero, according to the Havana Times..On September 13, the U.S. State Department updated its travel warning for Cuba.

" Large parts of the country, including many areas of the capital Havana, are without power and running water," read the text. "Transportation is difficult and many roads remain impassable due to downed trees and power lines."

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic's Ministry of Tourism reports that the country's visitor destinations were not affected by Hurricane Irma. Roads, ports and airports are operating without interruption as are public services, such as water and electricity in hotel facilities. Hotel facilities in all destinations, including Punta Cana/Bavaro, Samaná, Sosua, Cabarete, Puerto Plata, La Romana-Bayahibe, Juan Dolio, Santo Domingo and Samaná are operating normally. All airports are operational and receiving flights from the Americas and Europe. Cruise ports were not damaged and are re-establishing operations. All visitor attractions and excursions are operating normally.

AMResorts: The resorts experienced no damage and all are fully operational.

Barceló Resorts: All of the brand's resorts in the Dominican Republic are fully operational.

Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana: The resort sustained no damage and has been fully operational since Friday, September 8.

Riu Hotels: All six properties in Punta Cana are operating normally. Two Riu hotels in Puerto Plata have are also 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. Travelers are advised to contact their local travel agent for detailed updates.

Moulin Sur Mer: was not affected by Hurricane Irma.


Montserrat emerged unscathed following the passage of Hurricane Irma. All services are operating normally and the island continues to welcome visitors.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's tourism infrastructure and attractions have been largely untouched and are fully operational according to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC.) While there has been significant coverage about power outages in Puerto Rico, most hotels have their own generators and are not affected by those outages. Essential services such as hospitals also have generators. Flights to and from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport have resumed and Puerto Rico's port is also operational. The Puerto Rico Convention Center and most of the island's hotels are fully operational and ready to welcome guests. No groups or site visits have been canceled. Puerto Rico is focused on a quick debris clean up in the coming days.

Condado Plaza Hilton, El Conquistador Resort and El San Juan Hotel are all reporting minimal damage.

Hotel El Convento: Operations have resumed, including at the Patio del Níspero & Alegría Patio Bar..

Hyatt Hotels: Hyatt House San Juan, Hyatt Place Bayamon, Hyatt Place Manati, Hyatt Place San Juan City Center, Hyatt Residence Club Dorado are all open and operating normally.

InterContinental San Juan, Rincon Beach; Royal Isabela, A Destination Hotel; San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel, Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar are all open and operating normally.

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar: Sustained minimal damage and is currently open.

St. Barthelemy

St. Barth's was heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma, which destroyed government buildings. Private homes and resorts were also badly damaged, including the Eden Rock Hotel.

St. Barth's Gustav III airport has reopened for commercial operations and is accepting flights from Air Antilles (out of Guadeloupe) and Tradewind Aviation (out of San Juan). Electricity has been restored in Gustavia and St. Jean and the island's water production is back to normal levels. France's President Emmanuel Macron visited the country on September 13 to assess the damage..

St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts & Nevis sustained minimal damage and both St. Kitts' Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport and Nevis' Vance W. Amory International Airport have already reopened for business.

No structural damage has been reported for hotels in St. Kitts. Nevis' hotel updates include:

Four Seasons Resort Nevis and Hermitage Inn are reporting no structural damage.

The Great House and Cottages at Nisbett Plantation Beach Club are also in excellent condition, although there was some damage to the Sea Breeze Beach Bar.

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

The Princess Juliana International Airport, which sustained massive damage, has been receiving relief flights that are bringing in relief supplies and evacuating guests. No passengers, including media, are being allowed in the country due to staff shortages at the airport. The airport temporarily closed, pending the passage of Hurricane Jose, but reopened to relief flights on Sunday, September 10.

Rolando Brison, the Director of tourism for Dutch St. Maarten is reporting that Canadian tour operator Sunwing evacuated some visitors to Montreal, Canada, while other guests were also evacuated.

Beach Plaza; Belair Beach Hotell; Esmeralda Hotel; Hotel Mercure, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Riu Palace St. Martin and Westin Dawn Beach are all reporting "significant" damage.

La Playa Orient Bay: The resort, which was closed for renovations, was severely damaged. Reopening of the hotel has been postponed until further notice.

La Samanna: The resort will remain closed for the remainder of the year.

La Vista Hotel: The Beach building is relatively in decent shape. The roof tiles came off but the roof itself is still there. The resort suffered some water damage and missing doors and windows.

Princess Heights: Suffered only minor damage.

Sonesta: The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa, Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino suffered severe damage, but all guests are unharmed. The resorts have canceled all reservations through the end of 2017.

Summit Resort Hotel: The hotel received extensive damage and will remain closed

Westin Dawn Beach: The resort suffered significant damage. As of September 11, Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice.

St. Eustatius

Other than a few downed trees and missing roofs, the island suffered minimal damage. Both the airport and the seaport are operational. Phones, the internet, electricity and water are also operational.

The Turks and Caicos Islands

Tourism director Ramon Andrews reported that the Turks and Caicos Islands experienced flooding, some structural damage, damaged roofs and downed trees, but no loss of life. All visitors are safe. Providenciales International Airport (PLS) was temporarily closed but has now re-opened for business.

Alexandra Resort, Blue Haven Resort and Beach House: The resorts sustained some wind and water damage and will be closed through October 8, 2017.

Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa: The resort will begin accepting guests on December 14.

Club Med Turkoise: A full damage assessment is pending and the resort is delaying the arrival of new guests through September 30.

Gansevoort Turks & Caicos: The resort will begin accepting guests starting November 1.

Grace Bay Resorts: After a brief closure, Grace Bay Club is scheduled to reopen on September 30 while West Bay Club will reopen October 1. In the meantime, both resorts are working tirelessly to clean up and repair damage.

Ocean Club Resorts received no structural damage. Ocean Clubs West will re-open for the season, as scheduled, on October 12 and Ocean Club will follow suit shortly thereafter.

The Palms Resort, The Shore Club on Long Bay Beach and The Sands: The resorts sustained no major structural damage and will conduct a brief clean up. The Palms and Sands will reopen September 23 and The Shore Club will reopen September 30.

Seven Stars Resort & Spa: The resort is fully operational.

United States Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has announced that while St. Croix is getting back to business as usual, visitors are being encouraged not to visit St. Thomas and St. John.

Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty, said "The island of St. Croix did not receive the full brunt of the storm, and St. Croix's Henry E. Rohlsen Airport received its first commercial flight" a JetBlue flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday, September 8, 2017.

The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas received extensive damage and is only open to emergency relief flights. VIPA has tentatively announced daily commercial flights will return to St. Thomas on September 10.

All seaports on St. Croix are open and fully operational. There is currently no seaplane service available. 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.

St. Croix

The Buccaneer: Open for business, but limited services may be available over the next few days.

Club Comanche Hotel St. Croix; Hotel Caravelle; and Hotel on the Cay are all open for business.

St. John

Caneel Bay: The resort remains without power. A team is assessing the damage.

Westin St. John Resort Villas: Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice.

St. Thomas

Bluebeard's Castle Resort: The property sustained major damage.

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort: The resort anticipates welcoming guests on November 12.

Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort: Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice.

Margaritaville Vacation Club: Recovery efforts are underway.

Point Pleasant Resort: The resort is currently assessing damage.

Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas: Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice.

Secret Harbour Beach Resort: The buildings received no major structural damage and the generator is still working.

Sugar Bay Resort & Spa: Damage is being assessed, an update is pending.

Windward Passage: The resort will close for six months

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