Monday, December 11, 2017 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Caribbean Islands You Can Still Visit after Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused the most widespread hurricane devastation in Caribbean history. With so many tropical destinations affected by the hurricanes, you may think that your Caribbean vacations are on hold for the time being.

But this is not so! Not only can you still visit the Caribbean in the wake of Irma and Maria, you can visit many of the islands that were hit. Although the media paints a dark and dreary picture of life after the hurricanes, the reality is that the Caribbean’s sunlit shores are already prepared to offer sand, surf, and sangria for the Caribbean vacation of your dreams.

Here are some of the islands you can visit after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria:
Saint Martin / Sint Maarten

Saint Martin/Sint Maarten was one of the hardest-hit islands. However, after only a month of rebuilding, Sint Maarten is already ready to host visitors! Princess Juliana Airport has reopened and commercial service began on the 10th of October. American Airlines and KLM are some of the first to start regular service to Sint Maarten.

While many of the larger resorts are not yet ready to offer service to tourists, a good number of the smaller hotels are ready for visitors. You can also help out a local family by staying at an Airbnb on the island.

Many bars and restaurants are open, and, of course, the beaches are as beautiful as ever! Spread out a towel on the pristine sand and soak up the tropical rays.

Saint Martin/ Sint Maarten
Saba

You may never have heard of tiny Saba. However, this island should be on your travel bucket list! Although it’s only about 5 square miles, every square inch of this island is an adventure. The island is a volcano that rises abruptly from the sea. It has some of the best diving in the world and incredible hiking opportunities! In fact, you’ll find only a single road for cars, but a huge network of footpaths.

Because of its shape, the communities located on Saba were protected from the worst of the Hurricane Irma’s fury. You can take the ferry to Saba from Sint Maarten now, and you’ll be able to take an island hopper plane before long.

Saba
Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao

The “ABC Islands,” as Caribbean locals have dubbed these three Dutch destinations, were totally unaffected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. In fact, many people from Saint Martin and other affected Dutch islands have relocated their children to these islands.

Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire have always been popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. Here, you can enjoy the architectural remnants of the Dutch colonial era, eat great food at your choice of hundreds of restaurants, and swim in a crystal-clear sea.

Aruba, Bonaire, And Curacao
St. Lucia

St. Lucia has been called the Caribbean’s most beautiful island by frequent island hoppers, and we’re inclined to agree. This emerald gem is the tropical destination of your dreams. Enjoy long nature hikes and dips into a warm sapphire ocean!

St. Lucia was totally unaffected by the hurricanes. It’s located in the southern Caribbean, which was spared the wrath of the storms.

St. Lucia
Antigua

Beautiful Antigua saw minimal damage from the 2017 hurricanes. Although the power was out on the island for a short time, the situation was quickly rectified. Now, Antigua is back to normal! You can take a trip here and get the usual Antiguan experience.

This island has everything you could ask for, from fascinating historical sites to sparkling beaches. Enjoy a uniquely tropical British charm in the towns alongside the warm Caribbean culture.

Antigua
Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands were far enough away from of the path of the hurricanes that they didn’t see any damage. In fact, The Caymans were a significant part of the relief efforts to other British overseas territories in the Caribbean.

If you visit the Cayman Islands, prepare to be delighted by the natural wonders all around you! The beaches are beautiful, and the ocean is perfectly intoxicating. Be sure to snorkel or dive while you are there! Don’t neglect the island parts of the Caymans, either—there’s plenty of natural beautiful and cultural experiences to be enjoyed.

Cayman Islands
The Bahamas

Although some of the islands in the Bahamas suffered damage from the hurricanes, the problems were minimal. The major resorts hardly saw any damage, and almost everything that was destroyed has already been fixed or replaced. You’re not likely to notice any storm effects if you visit the Bahamas!

The Bahamas have countless vacation-worthy islands to choose from. No matter where you go, you’re sure to have a wonderful time! You can swim with the pigs at Exuma, walk the pristine beaches of Grand Bahama, or enjoy the flashy vacation life of Nassau.

The Bahamas
Jamaica

Jamaica narrowly escaped the destruction of Hurricane Irma! It experienced heavy rains as a result of the crazy weather, but was not affected by high wind speeds. Tourism in Jamaica has proceeded as usual, so you have nothing to worry about if you want to visit Jamaica.

Jamaica is a wonderful Caribbean destination, full of colorful culture and beautiful scenery. Take a long hike into the rainforest to find a glistening waterfall, or just spend your days relaxing by the beach. From caves to mountains to Bob Marley attractions, you’ll want to stay forever so you can see it all.

Jamaica
Don’t skip your Caribbean plans! You could take a trip to the Caribbean this afternoon, if you like. There are many islands that didn’t see a single gust of wind from Irma or Maria.  Several of the islands with heavy destruction are already rebuilt enough to welcome tourists, and the rest will be up and running before long. Support the Caribbean economy and have the time of your life! A trip to the Caribbean is always a good idea.

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