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Our hearts go out to those island nations that suffered so badly from recent storms—St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, Barbuda, among them. But by assuming that all such islands were equally affected, and by then canceling our general plans to vacation in the Caribbean, we increase the suffering of that area.
It’s important to realize that some Caribbean islands were totally or primarily bypassed by Hurricane Irma, and should not suffer from a cessation of tourism (a fate that some of them now face). Here’s a quick rundown of those Caribbean locations that suffered no damage or suffered only slight damage having no real impact on the enjoyment of your vacation there this coming winter.
First, the so-called “ABC Islands”—Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao—were untouched by the recent tragedy. Long regarded as outside the "hurricane belt,” they remain fully able to provide you with the vacation features you crave during winter months. And because all three enjoy a large number of hotel rooms, they remain free to satisfy the vacation desires of a great many Americans.
Jamaica—another huge vacation destination—was also spared by Hurricane Irma and apparently suffered no damage at all. This winter, it will be available to you as if nothing happened.
The two French islands—Guadeloupe and Martinique (pictured above)—report no trouble from hurricane winds or water. And this winter, the same as last winter, Norwegian Airlines will be operating low-cost U.S.-originating flights to one or more of these French-speaking islands (with their superb cuisine, in addition to excellent beaches).
Puerto Rico, whose financial situation has caused many recent problems, was apparently spared the full brunt of Hurricane Irma. Although high winds and heavy rainfall was experienced there, neither weather conditions were so severe as to impinge on that island’s ability to satisfy large numbers of winter visitors. In fact, Puerto Rico has recently been pressed into service as a sanctuary for citizens of badly affected islands that needed to transfer to a more comfortable location. We can all rejoice that long-suffering Puerto Rico has been spared further problems and can enjoy a normal winter season.
Add St. Kitts and Nevis to the list of islands that suffered no grave damage. Add, also, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, reached from Barbados, which itself is another island untouched by Irma.
And finally, the Dominican Republic suffered hurricane damage only in confined areas, which did not include that island’s important Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. As a result, its famous all-inclusive resorts can welcome a large number of winter tourists in the coming months.
We should all consider a winter booking at one of the above unscathed islands. And by doing so, we will advance the recovery of the Caribbean as a vacation destination.

It deserves no less.


Update, September 19: Since this writing, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, and Martinique have encountered Hurricane Maria.


Tags: Caribbean, hurricane irma, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, st. kitts and nevis, st. vincent and the grenadines, barbados, Dominican Republic, Safety

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