News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Mon. Oct. 2, 2017: Canada and the UK is still warning against travel to several Caribbean nations following the devastation wreaked by Hurricanes Irma and Maria but what is the current state of these nations as they try hard to pick up the pieces after the storms? Here are 10 things you should know:
1: The Anguilla government has announced that significant progress is being made on the restoration of the electrical grid across the island, adding that power lines to many villages on the central line through Crocus Hill and The Valley have been restored in the three weeks following Irma. Roads and beaches have been cleared, there are no longer queues at petrol stations, and grocery stores are well provisioned. Many local restaurants have reopened, along with a number of hotels that are housing relief workers and UK government officials.
Plans are in place for the expansion of the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) and the reconstruction of the Blowing Point ferry terminal.
And Seaborne Airlines has resumed service between Anguilla and San Juan as of Sat. September 30th.
The Carimar Beach Club in Anguilla has announced a grand re-opening for December 21st but the CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa and the Four Seasons Resort & Residences Anguilla will not reopen before the end of 2017.
2: In the British Virgin Islands, a majority of the hotels in the territory are currently closed and will share updates after more extensive assessments in the coming weeks. However, BVI ferry companies (Road Town Fast Ferry and Native Son) have resumed operations between the islands allowing BVI Islanders, residents and work permit holders to return to the country and several charter operators will be operating during the winter 2017/2018 season including: The Moorings: December 2017; Marine Max Vacations: December 2017; Festiva Sailing: December 2017 and Horizon Yacht Charters: January 2018.
The BVI Ports Authority also said they are on a fast track towards the restoration of Tortola Pier Park’s cruise and shopping facility with a targeted date of reopening at least 50 per cent of retail and food and beverage stores by November 1st.
3: The Dominica government has announced that many fax and telephone landline services are back up in the northern town of Portsmouth, and that the main Princess Margaret Hospital continues to function, along with most of the major type 3 healthcare centers on island. However, it says only some of the wards are currently functional and occupied, water and electricity have been partially restored and only emergency/life-saving surgical procedures are being performed.
The ferry company L’Express Des Iles has resumed service between Dominica and Saint Lucia but at least two hotels remain closed. The Fort Young Hotel is closed and there is no word to date on a possible reopening date while Secret Bay Dominica is assessing damaged and an update is expected soon on restoration of grounds and structures.
4: Cuba’s Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz was quoted by the official Granma newspaper as saying power, water, and communications were restored in 100 per cent of the country’s tourist resorts, including the northern Santa María, Coco and Guillermo keys, and that tourism facilities in the territories of Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Cienfuegos, Mayabeque, Artemisa, and Pinar del Río, did not suffer any damage, and have been operating without any difficulties.
He described the damage suffered by facilities in Sancti Spíritus, especially in the north, Las Tunas, the northern coast of the province of Holguín, and Camagüey, as minor, while the damage in Havana and Varadero as minimal.
According to Granma, the minister said of the 18 hotels located on Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, the latter of which suffered less damage, 14 will be fully recovered by November 1st, while the local airport will also be fully operational, and in better condition than before the hurricane struck. The remaining four hotel facilities will be completely restored to reopen their doors by November 15th.
Of the 52 hotels in the country’s main tourist destination of Varadero, all except five are open.
5: The Puerto Rico Tourism Company, (PRTC), said the resumption of normal flight operations at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) is being delayed for safety reasons due to radar functionality limitations impacting the number of arrivals and departures.
The airport is operational again but on a limited schedule from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. until further notice. There are approximately twelve commercial flights scheduled daily. International flights have not yet been authorized. Airport authorities are working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to resolve this situation while ensuring safe operations.
The following airports are operational and offering limited service:
- Rafael Hernández Airport (Aguadilla)
- Mercedita Airport (Ponce)
- José Aponte de la Torre Airport (Ceiba)
- Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (Isla Grande)
- Antonio Rivera Rodriguez Airport (Vieques)
The following ports are open with restrictions (daylight transit only):
- San Juan Harbor
The following hotels are closed and are not taking new reservations until further notice. Contact the hotel directly for rebooking.
- Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
- W Retreat & Spa in Vieques
- Gran Melia
- Coral by the Sea Hotel
- Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa (planning to reopen at the end of the year)
- Royal Isabela
The following hotels are open, but are not taking new reservations prior to October 15th:
- Hyatt Place San Juan
- Hyatt House San Juan
- Verdanza Hotel
The following hotels are open, but are not taking new reservations prior to October 22nd:
- Hyatt Hacienda del Mar (Dorado)
- Hotel El Convento
- Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino
- Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
- AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado
- La Concha Resort
- InterContinental San Juan in Isla Verde
- San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
- The Wave Hotel
- Holiday Inn Express San Juan Condado Hotel by IHG
- Canario Boutique Hotel
- Coral Princess Hotel
- At Wind Chimes Boutique Hotel
- Best Western Condado Palm Inn & Suites
- Comfort Inn San Juan
- Hotel Miramar
- Hotel Villa Montaña & Spa
The following hotels are not accepting existing or new reservations through October 31st:
- Caribe Hilton
- The Condado Plaza Hilton
- Embassy Suites by Hilton Dorado del Mar Beach Resort
- Embassy Suites by Hilton San Juan Hotel & Casino
- Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort
- Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan
- El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Juan
- El Conquistador, a Waldorf Astoria Resort (no longer accepting existing or new reservations through 31 December)
6: At least three major hotels in St. Barthelemy remains closed. Eden Roc has postponed its October opening until further notice while the Hotel Le Toiny is currently closed with no reopening date set and Le Guanahani is currently closed with a reopening set for Summer 2018.
7: In Dutch St. Maarten, Minister of Aviation Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher told The Daily Herald this week that there is no official date for the resumption of commercial flights into St. Maarten, according to the minister.
The Minister said the management of Princess Juliana International Airport was still carrying out in-depth assessments of the internal and external facilities, the majority of which suffered heavy to severe damage and estimated the airport would not be back at full operation capacity for another 35 weeks, but would be able to function optimally much sooner .
The entire airport perimeter fencing was destroyed and all four jet bridges sustained substantial structural damage. The swing cabs were blown off all four bridges and all metal entrance doors attached between the bridges and the terminal building were blown in.
All runway and taxiway lights and precision approach path indicators were destroyed. The shoulders and a section of the runway were under water due.
The majority of the roof was destroyed in the terminal building exposing the terminal to outdoor elements with water found on all four levels of the terminal.
Meanwhile, the following hotels remain closed: Royal Islander Club: Hotel will be closed through the end of 2017; Coral Beach Club / Oyster Bay Beach Resort and the Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach: currently closed while Sonesta Resort suffered significant damage from Hurricane Irma and started to process refunds for 2017 reservations with refunds issued progressively based on the date of travel. Refunds will continue through March 31, 2018.
8: In French Saint Martin, La Playa – Orient Bay hotel remains closed as does the Belmond La Samanna hotel, which does not anticipate opening until at least April 2018 while the Alamanda Resort will reopen for Autumn 2018
9: In the Turks & Caicos Islands, residents have seen water and power restored in Providenciales, North & Middle Caicos and South Caicos. All roads on these islands have been cleared and as ofSeptember 23rd, the Providenciales International Airport and Grand Turk International airport were back to full operation and all flights in and out have resumed.
Many hotels and resorts are already welcoming guests, including Seven Stars, The Atrium, Caribbean Paradise Inn, Grace Bay Suites, The Sands and Somerset and Windsong.
Additional hotels have set opening dates that run now through the end of the year as follows:
- October 5: Gansevoort
- October 12th: Ocean Club West
- October 16: Coral Gardens
- October 20: Amanyara
- November 1: Blue Haven, Beach House, Royal West Indies, Meridian Club
- November 15: Alexandra Resort
- November 20: Ocean Club
- November 25th: Ports of Call
- November 30th: Club Med
- December 14: Beaches
10: In the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, Governor Kenneth E. Mapp said the restoration of power, he added, was “inching its way forward” while the Federal Emergency Management Agency, working with local counterparts, was progressing with its provision of water to homes.
Mapp also reported that St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas opened to commercial flights as planned last Thursday, Sept. 29th with both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines operating services to the mainland United States.
The governor also said cruise ships would like to return to St. Thomas and St. Croix as of late October. The following hotels are closed across the islands:
- The Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino
- The Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa
- The Sand Castle On The Beach
- Sugar Bay Resort Club & Resort
- The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas resort
- The Westin St. John
- Margaritaville St. Thomas
- Bluebeard’s Castle Resort
- Elysian Beach Resort
- World Mark St. Thomas – Elysian Beach Resort
- Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
- Caneel Bay and.
- The Palms At Pelican Cove.
- The Bucaneer
- Club Comanche Hotel
- Estate Lindholm.