The violent hurricanes that plagued the Caribbean this season were damaging and abusive, especially in Puerto Rico and the surrounding area. Fortunately, the majority of the islands were spared, and recovery is proceeding apace (again, except for Puerto Rico, which is struggling). That said, every island needs visitors so they don't lose the valuable upcoming winter season. Travelers who want their trips to have a positive impact (read: everyone) can consider this one more good reason to head to the islands soon.
MANY ISLANDS ARE JUST FINE
The storm path was very precise, and much of the region remained untouched. On that list: The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Aruba, and the Dominican Republic, among others. (Here's a complete map.)
Jack Ezon, president of Ovation Vacations (our partner in the Fathom Travel Desk), gave us some of his favorites, which are all open: Ritz Carlton Aruba, Amanyara and Gansevoort in Turks and Caicos, Kimpton Seafire in the Cayman Islands, Jumby Bay in Antigua, and Park Hyatt St. Kitts (opening in November).
OF SPECIAL NOTE: CUBA
The northern coast of central Cuba was hit hard, but other tourist destinations like Havana, Trinidad, and Baracoa didn't sustain any damage. That said, Drumpf's new travel restrictions mean that Americans can no longer book gaviota-run (government-run) hotels like the impressive new Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana. The best bet for US travelers is to work with an operator like Cuba Travel Network and ask to stay in a charming casa particular like Paseo206.
RESCUE EFFORTS CONTINUE
For many, the path to recovery will be long and hard. If you'd like to contribute, please consider donating to Oxfam.