Caribbean hurricane update - Active Caribbean travel article

Caribbean hurricane update

As at end-March 2018, a Caribbean hurricane update on those islands affected by hurricanes Irma & Maria

Report by Linda Jackson, Editor of Active Caribbean

This is a Caribbean hurricane update (as at end-March 2018) reporting on the recovery of the severely damaged Caribbean islands affected by the 2017 hurricanes. It’s surprising how quickly the Caribbean islands can recover after receiving a blow from a hurricane. We’ve been checking up once again on the situation so here is our latest Caribbean hurricane update on what’s what.

Islands severely affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria were Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Dominica, Puerto Rico, St Barts, the dual nation island of St Martin (French) and St Maarten (Dutch), and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).

Caribbean hurricane update with regards to Antigua, the Bahamas, parts of Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, St Kitts & Nevis, and the Turks & Caicos Islands – these islands suffered moderate damage were .

Unaffected Caribbean islands were Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines as well as all the islands further south, so there is nothing to report on these islands for this latest Caribbean hurricane update.

CARIBBEAN HURRICANE UPDATE

ANGUILLA Caribbean hurricane update

See our Anguilla hurricane update as at 15 February 2018. The only addition we have to that update is that the beach on Sandy Island (which was swept away by Hurricane Irma) is very gradually recovering, with sand now returning and building up with each tide.

BARBUDA Caribbean hurricane update

There is still a lack of power, schools, houses, and accommodation in Barbuda which was totally devastated by Hurricane Irma. Utilities (water and electricity) has been restored the important buildings – namely to the hospital, police, and government. Most of the evacuated residents of Barbuda are still in Antigua and access to Barbuda is not reliable due to problems with ferries and flights. The hurricane recovery progress of Barbuda is very slow.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS (BVI) Caribbean hurricane update

See our BVI hurricane update as at 15 February 2018. Since then, for this latest update, we have been advised that ferries are now operating within the BVI and also between the BVI and St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

The bases for Sunsail and The Moorings yacht charters have now re-opened, and Horizon Yacht Charters, Conch Charters and TMM are all operating again. As stated in our last BVI hurricane update, there are around 1,000 charter yachts berths open with around 30 yacht charter functioning again. Many BVI marinas are open for business, as well as water sport companies.

DOMINICA Caribbean hurricane update

Dominica airport (Douglas Charles) is open with flight connections from Barbados, the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo), St Lucia, St Kitts, St Thomas, Anguilla, Tortola, St Maarten, Guadeloupe, San Juan and Antigua. The French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, as well as St Lucia, are operating fast ferry services to Dominica.

A lot of people, villages and business still have no electricity, with communication services (internet and telephone) still suffering badly.

Although some hotels have partly re-opened this year, they will not be fully open until later this year or not open until late 2019.

Caribbean cruise lines making Dominica a port of call later this year are Carnival, Costa and the Holland America Line. TUI Cruises made Roseau a port of call at the beginning of 2018.

A couple of beaches on the north coast of Dominica are now open, so there are water sports available there (Mero and Toucan beaches), and nearly all the island’s natural sites are now open (19 out of 23) – including the botanic gardens, Trafalgar Falls, Emerald Pool, Indian River, and the Syndicate Nature Trail.

PUERTO RICO Caribbean hurricane  update

As at 5 April 2018, Puerto Rico’s airports are operational, as are all the hospitals. The majority of the island has now been reconnected to electricity, telecommunications and water. It is hoped that full power will be restored to the whole island by May 2018.

Hotels that have just re-opened, about to re-open, or will open in the next few months include:-

  • Caribe Hilton & Condado Lagoon Villas
  • Cofresi Beach Resort, Cabo Rojo
  • Comfort Inn San Juan
  • Condado Plaza Hilton
  • Embassy Suites (both Dorado del Mar Beach & Golf Resort and their hotel and casino in San Juan)
  • Holiday Inn Express San Juan Condado
  • Serafina Beach Hotel
  • Verdanza Hotel
  • The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort

As for Puerto Rico’s attractions, there are around 135 open, including 13 golf courses and over 4,000 restaurants. The Rio Grande rainforest zipline is running, as are the Vieques luminescent excursions and Toa Baja Bacardi distillery tours. The El Yunque National Forest is not officially open as yet.

ST BARTS’ Caribbean hurricane update

St Barts now has water and electricity restored island-wide, and the internet is available in most places. A lot of shops have re-opened as have 49 restaurants.

The cruise terminal is open. There are daily flights to St Bart’s from Anegada, San Juan, Guadeloupe and St Maarten, and the express ferry between St Barts and St Martin is operating, as are a couple of boat charter companies.

As for accommodation on St Barts there are a number of private villas that have re-opened, as well as a number of bungalows and villas at Villa Marie Saint-Barth, and the Manapany Hotel.

Dutch ST MAARTEN Caribbean hurricane update

Water is available throughout the island as are telecommunications, but not all areas have electricity as yet (that’s 95% complete). Airlines operating into St Maarten’s Princess Juliana Airport include JetBlue, American and Delta but service at the airport is still limited.

Around 50% of the island’s accommodation has re-opened, as well as a number of bars, cafes and restaurants. Adrenaline junkies can now experience what St Maarten says is the world’s steepest zipline (appropriately named the Flying Dutchman); there’s also a Sky Explorer chairlift operating as well as the Schooner SXM Ride.

French ST MARTIN Caribbean hurricane update

Water, electricity, and telecommunications are up and running to all households. There are now flights to the airport (Grand Case) from St Barts, Guadeloupe, Martinique and San Juan.

Just a third of the total accommodation room count is now available – there were 1,200, now just 400, but more will continue to become available during the coming months. The majority of docks are open at Marina Fort Louis.

Head for lovely Orient Beach – it’s open with its beach chairs and parasols in place. Lots of restaurants, shops and bars have re-opened. Windsurfing is happening again, as are some private yacht day trips.

UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS (USVI) Caribbean hurricane update

Airlines now operating into St Thomas include JetBlue, United, Delta, American and Spirit, while LIAT is expected to reinstate its flights from Antigua to St Thomas in July. Several airlines operate between St Croix and San Juan, St Thomas and Fort Lauderdale. The ports of St Croix and St Thomas are open to cruise ships.

Reportedly all utilities have been restored to the USVI. Some villas, inns, and apartments accommodation is available, but many of the large hotels suffered considerable damage so re-opening dates are not available as yet. More than half of St Thomas’ restaurants are now open but less than half on St John, while many restaurants have opened again in St Croix.

As for USVI attractions: on the island of St Thomas the Skyride up to the mountain top is open, island tours are running and there are yacht charters available. Quite a few activities and excursions are available on St Croix, and the Virgin Islands National Park on St John is open.

Other islands – Caribbean hurricane update

In this Caribbean hurricane update we have not covered those islands which suffered moderate damage as the majority of them have now recovered.

Images on this Caribbean hurricane update page are copyright of www.activecaribbean.com, Travel Writer Linda Jackson