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Where to this winter? 

After Irma and Maria

Highly prized by those looking for warmth and sun to recharge their batteries for a few days or weeks as temperatures drop: are the Caribbean islands, or Florida and Mexico, ready to welcome you this winter?

That is what many southerners have been wondering since Irma and Maria hit last September and left more or less devastated islands behind.

Here is a summary of their path 

They hit -

Very strongly: Anguilla, Barbuda, Dominica, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Bart’s, St. Martin / St. Maarten, St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas.

Moderately: Antigua, Bahamas, Cuba, Florida, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts Nevis, Turks and Caicos.

Not at all: Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Yucatán (Mexico).

Today?

Taking the moderately affected destinations into consideration, it seems that they have recovered well and are quite ready to receive travelers.

The carriers even offer new destinations. So from Montréal-Trudeau, as of November 26 Sunwing will fly to Antigua and Antigua and Barbuda, while Air Transat will offer flights to Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic as of December 23.

As for Cuba and its Cayos, it seems that they are quite ready to welcome those who wish to take advantage of their magnificent beaches, which have even been enlarged following the hurricanes - some have even received up to eight meters of new sand - just like the flora all around that have greatly benefited from the rains that followed the storms.

For example, Air Canada Vacations has scheduled the start of the season in Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Coco for Christmas.

Florida

In Florida, the Keys were also affected by Irma, and the western parts of those island chains are still heavily affected. Nevertheless, although some hotels will remain closed until spring, 90% of hotels have reopened to date.

Turks and Caicos

In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Beaches will reopen in December and Club Med in late January, both of which suffered the assaults of Irma and Maria.

The Bahamas

Things have returned to normal in the Bahamas. Major tourist areas, such as Nassau, Paradise Island, Grand Bahamas Island and The Exumas, rely on normal hotel operations and now welcome visitors. Cruise operators also have resumed their itineraries, which stop in the Bahamas.

Guadeloupe and Martinique

Here it is "Business as usual".

The Dominican Republic 

A premier tourist destination in the Caribbean, the country suffered very little damage. The island has only been exposed to strong winds and heavy rainfall. Popular tourist areas including La Romana, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo and Samana have resumed operations

St. Martin and St. Bart's

Without doubt one of the places that was most affected by the passage of Irma, St.Martin is only at the beginnings of its progression toward recovery.

Tour operators have abandoned the destination for a whole season. All Sunwing flights departing from Toronto and Montreal to St. Martin Island have been canceled until May 2018.

In St. Bart’s, it seems that reconstruction has been faster than in St. Martin and that some luxury hotels are going to be partly open for Christmas.

Puerto Rico

Tour operators, including Air Canada Vacations and Transat, have written off the destination and suspended flights to Puerto Rico for the 2017-2018 winter season.

In addition, Air Transat will increase its offer to Mexico.

Asking for help

The Puerto Rico Tourism Board (PRTC) recently launched a campaign called "Rebuild Days" to invite travelers to do their part and help them restore some hard-hit sites.

Thus, volunteers are expected from 7 am on the beach Luquillo, northeast of the island, November 27-28.

It is a great way for the traveler to "give back" through their own contribution.

Cruises

For its first season in Puerto Rico, however, Transat plans to resume flights - mainly for cruises here, too - but as of February 18. In this regard, most of the tour operators' ship departures have changed only somewhat since several of their home ports were barely affected.

In fact, only some routes have had to be redrawn, especially in the eastern Caribbean, which was more affected. In addition to Puerto Rico, stops at St. Martin, St. Bart’s, Tortola (British Virgin Islands), St. Thomas and St. John (the U.S. Virgin Islands) and the Turks and Caicos Islands have been removed or delayed.

A word of advice 

Checking with your cruise line or travel agent is the best advice we can give you!

Christiane Théberge
 

After Irma and Maria

Today

In Dominican Republic 

 

   

 

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