The 2017 Hurricane Season was particularly devastating to a number of popular destinations in the Caribbean Basin, while others were relatively or completely untouched. A year later, many of the islands that were hard hit by the storms are back to business as usual. As the 2018-2019 Caribbean Peak season approaches, here’s a quick rundown of how each destination is recovering.
Caribbean Islands Unaffected by 2017 Hurricane Season
The “ABC Islands” (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao) lie outside the hurricane belt and were not affected. Other popular destinations such as the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic were also mostly bypassed by the storms.
Caribbean Islands That Are Open for Business After 2017 Hurricane Season
St. Martin/Sint Maarten
It’s estimated that 75 percent of the tourism facilities including resorts and restaurants are back in operation, along with the restoration of most of the island’s infrastructure. The international airport, important not only for access to the island but also to the surrounding islands, is operating at limited capacity from tent structures until renovations are completed.
Belmond La Samanna hotel is estimated to complete a $25 Million renovation and is slated to reopen December 2018.
The Puerto Rico Tourism board estimates 90 percent of Puerto Rico hotels and more than two thousand restaurants are back in operation after the storms. Major tourist attractions like El Yunque National Forest are also fully operational.
Recently reopened resorts include Dorado Beach, Ritz Carlton Reserve and St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort. El San Juan Hotel is accepting limited reservations and Caribe Hilton is expected to reopen in December, while Melia Coco Beach is slated to reopen in March 2019. W Vieques Island and Condado Plaza Hilton remain closed for renovations.
The popular “St. Barths” was a direct hit by last year’s storms, but much of the island’s infrastructure and many of the intimate resorts and boutique hotels are ready to welcome guests.
While directly hit, the majority of the islands electric cables are buried, which made restoring service faster than some neighboring islands. The island’s tourist authority estimates that the full slate of hotels except one will be open by the end of the year and 100 percent of tourism infrastructure, restaurants and retail outlets will be open by the end of November. Hotels already open include:
- Hotel Christopher
- Hotel Manapany
- Eden Rock – St. Barths
- Cheval Blanc Isle de France (December 15)
- Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa (Offering a €100 credit as a “welcome back” bonus)
- Hotel Le Toiny
- Le Sereno (December 1)
Anguilla was also hard hit by the 2017 storms, but most resorts and restaurants were back in at least limited operation by the first quarter of 2018. Facilities on Anguilla are expected to be 100 percent operational in time for the upcoming 2018 Festive Season. Belmond Cap Juluca is slated to reopen in December 2018 and has been reimagined and remodeled by a new creative team. CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa is already open, and Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort will reopen on December 15, 2018.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands were hit hard by the storms but the islands are back in business and better than ever before. After impressive effort and large-scale renovations on many properties, more than 1,000 rooms are ready to receive guests for the close of 2018 and 2019 Winter Season. Many beach resorts and hotels took the hurricane as an opportunity to make both necessary and luxury upgrades. No properties on Jost Van Dyke have reopened following the storms, but many small island resorts and a number of the hotel properties on Tortola and Virgin Gorda are back in operation.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Necker Island, Oil Nut Bay, Eustatia Island and Sugar Mill Hotel are all open for business. The popular Rosewood Little Dix Bay and Peter Island Resort are currently slated to reopen near the end of 2019.
BVI Traveller keeps an updated list of the properties that are open for business for the upcoming season.
Turks & Caicos
Turks and Caicos was hit hardby Hurricane Irma, but the majority of the island’s infrastructure and resorts have recovered and are open for business, notably the Grace Bay Club, which underwent $1 Million worth of upgrades following the storms. Luxury resort Amanyara is also fully operational and COMO Parrot Cay is open following $15 Million in renovations and improvements.
Smaller Grand Turk, a popular cruise port and diving destination, has also returned to full operational capacity.
Caribbean Islands That Are Still Recovering From 2017 Hurricane Season
U.S. Virgin Islands
Throughout the territory, including the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, the majority of tourism infrastructure has been restored and storm debris has been removed. Half of the lodging in the territory is back in business, although it varies by island. The USVI Tourism Authority created this document for hotel updates.
All of the beaches and 90 percent of the attractions, restaurants and shopping throughout the territory are ready to receive visitors.
St. John was one of the harder hit islands in the territory, although 40 percent of the lodging units are now open and accepting leisure guests. Larger properties like the Westin St. John Resort Villas need more extensive renovations but it’s expected to reopen in January 2019. On St. Thomas, 45 percent of the pre-storm lodging has reopened. Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove, Wyndham Margaritaville St. Thomas, and the Ritz-Carlton Club, St. Thomas have reopened for guests while the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas is slated to reopen in the Summer of 2019.
On St. Croix, 75 percent of lodging units, including a number of smaller inns and resorts have reopened. The Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa is planning to reopen in late 2019 or early 2020.
Antigua & Barbuda
The two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda was a direct hit by the hurricanes and smaller Barbuda was completely evacuated, leaving the island uninhabited for the first time in over three centuries. Resorts and services on Antigua have mostly returned to normal operation. Tourism on Barbuda has officially recommenced as of November with the reopening of the eight-unit Barbuda Belle Luxury Beach Hotel. The Barbuda Ocean Club and Barbuda Cottages anticipate reopening in December 2018.
How You Can Help
Regardless of which island you’re visiting for your beach getaway, the most important thing visitors can do is simply show up. Tourism is the lifeblood of many Caribbean islands, and while many of the islands have their basic needs and infrastructure restored, it is the restoration of visitor confidence that will sustain long-term economic recovery. In areas like the British Virgin Islands, which may be short on accommodations, visitors can experience the islands on yacht charters through outfitters on the BVI Tourism Website.
Visit, share positive social media posts about your experiences and encourage other visitors that the region’s beautiful islands and unforgettable beaches are open for business and eager for visitors to return.