Perhaps you were planning on spending your vacation in Puerto Rico or you may have already booked your stay in the coming weeks or months in order to enjoy all the good things that a tropical destination can offer. On September 20th, Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, ravaging through the island, leaving thousands of residents without a home, and damaging the island’s infrastructure.
All the headlines about Puerto Rico on the media are chaotic and not vacation inspiring, you read the news and all you see are photos of destruction, flooding, distraught residents with lack of power and other essential resources.
Please keep in mind that the news are reporting on the parts of the island that were heavily hit by Hurricane Maria, islanders living in the mountains, residential areas that were affected with flooding are the ones facing the most challenges.
Most parts of the island have made tremendous progress with clean up, there is still much work to be done in many communities. Residents mostly await on the restoration of electricity. If you were to drive around the main roads, visit many of the beaches and tourist areas, you will see a very different picture of what the news media shows.
The tourism industry is committed to continue sharing the beauty of Puerto Rico and providing excellent service to visitors. Tourism certainly took a big hit the first months after Hurricane Maria, but hotels, communities and organizations have been hard at work restoring tourist areas in order to continue offering guests fantastic experiences.
- Most of the hotels are fully operational, various resorts are still closed but began taking reservations for later dates.
- Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU) is fully operational, welcoming domestic and international visitors.
Your travel dollars will certainly make a great contribution to the island during this difficult time. It will help thousands of families be able to keep their jobs so they can support their families. If you’re a repeat visitor, we appreciate your continued support, just traveling to Puerto Rico is making a difference…a vacation you can feel good about.
As you travel around the island and venture into residential areas, you will see there’s still much work to be done, but Puerto Rico will certainly may come out better after recovery is completed.
Already booked your vacation? Should you cancel your trip, rebook for a later date?
We encourage you to call your hotel and ask as many questions as you need. Reading the news is not encouraging because the focus is on electricity, politics and issues that may not really apply to tourist areas. If you’re seeking for sunshine, beach time and fun activities for a few days, don’t cancel, Puerto Rico can still offer that and much more, on top of that, your visit is GIVING to the island and helping Puerto Rican families.
February 2018 Tourism Update
We drove quite a bit to come up with this beach guide. Hurricane Maria damaged some of our beaches, some beaches became very narrow, some of the houses that were sitting back from the beach are now on the sand, some beaches gained beach space, some of our favorite palm trees and trees are gone. Those that have been here before, would notice the changes in landscape, but visitors coming to Puerto Rico for the first time will find beauty and experience the enchantment of our beaches. Most of the balnearios (government managed beaches) are still closed, the facility buildings suffered damage and clean up is still underway. Our Guide to Best Beaches in Puerto Rico 2018 include beaches ready for visitors we’re confident will not disappoint.
January Tourism Update
- The Capital City of San Juan is currently the best vacation destination in Puerto Rico and tourist ready. The beaches of San Juan and nearby Isla Verde are beautiful. Take a look at the following video created by SilverSea Cruises. We just spent a few days in San Juan, attended a symphony, went to the beach, dined at our favorite restaurants, visited El Morro, walked the streets of Old San Juan and had a marvelous time. We believe you will enjoy your stay.
- Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian in Old San Juan were not cancelled (and why should they?). We are proud of Mayor Carmen Yulin for making this happen. If you’re in Puerto Rico at the time, be sure not to miss visiting Old San Juan, be sure to take a taxi there, parking is close to impossible. Event info will be posted on the official municipality facebook page.
- Various top attractions are still closed. Although you won’t be able to visit some of our favorite places, there are plenty more attractions and fun things to do in Puerto Rico to keep visitors busy for weeks. Major attractions such as El Yunque, Camuy River Cave Park, the Arecibo Observatory & Las Cabezas de San Juan are still closed.
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company made the official announcement that Puerto Rico is Open and Ready for Tourism as of December 20th. The weather is amazing, the Christmas spirit is alive, the resilience of the Puerto Rican people is admirable and inspiring.
Major tourist attractions Island-wide have been cleaned up and restored. Below are details relevant for tourists, you may also check status.pr for more up to date progress on services around the island.
- All airports are fully operational.
- Hotels: 75 % of hotels are open, operating and taking reservations. You will have a hard time finding a guest room through New Year’s Eve. Relieve worker are freeing up rooms as they depart the island and more guests rooms will be open for tourists. Many Puerto Ricans living in the states and Puerto Rico lovers are eager to visit Puerto Rico after the hurricane, so book your hotel and flights fast if you find availability.
- Most of the restaurants in top tourist destinations are open.
- Casinos: 85% of casinos are open and operational.
- Major attractions are getting cleaned and preparing for re-opening their doors. Community organizations and residents have worked to clean up facilities in order to welcome locals and visitors. All major attractions in Old San Juan are open.
- Cruise ships resumed arrivals to the piers of Old San Juan. You’ll find rave reviews from visitors expressing how surprised they were to find Old San Juan so beautiful and functional.
- The beaches are looking beautiful, the water is clearer than ever in many of the beaches we have visited. Isla Verde Beach looks great, visitors and locals have resumed enjoying the beaches. Many local beaches are returning back to normal, communities and organizations are coming together to clean up debri along the shores. We go to the beaches without rivers flowing into them for safety reasons. As a precaution we advise visitors not to bathe / swim in beaches where rivers flow. By the end of the month, we hope all the effects of hurricane Maria and heavy rain subside on the rivers.
- Getting around is normal for those wanting to explore. There are plenty of car rental companies at the airports and near hotels in the tourist districts.
- Vieques & Culebra – residents are still struggling. Given the additional challenges of needing to put all supplies on a ferry boat or plane, the islands will take longer to recover. Culebra has electricity. There are various small inns open in Culebra, we suggest you call and request information. The traditional New Year’s Eve Festivities will take place in Culebra. Vieques is still reconstructing the electrical grid which suffered major damage, most visitors to the island are volunteers helping in the recovery efforts.
- December has always been one of the best months to visit Puerto Rico. Christmas season kicked in by Thanksgiving as always, not even Maria stopped Puerto Ricans from celebrating Christmas. We expected that Puerto Rico would celebrate Christmas and life more than ever after enduring and overcoming such difficult challenges and we were right. Many plazas are lit up, music is playing, delicious food is served, artisans have come up with crafts highlighting the resilience and spirit of the Puerto Rican people in the face of adversity. Visitors, relief workers and volunteers can all attest to the resilience of spirit of the Puerto Rican people, there’s always a reason to celebrate as long as there is life, family, community and music. Most residents are still without electricity and much work has to be done for island residents to feel back to normalcy, but the spirit of Christmas is indeed alive and present.
(November 2nd update – Many hotels, small inns and resorts are open and taking reservations, however most of the rooms are reserved by hurricane relief workers and volunteers. Beaches are looking prettier, the waters are returning back to their color and clarity. Community organizations are working on cleaning the beaches.
If you booked a trip to Vieques or Culebra, be advised that they still have no electricity or running water. We suggest you cancel and re-schedule for a later date in order to help the island recover with your tourism dollars support. The little islands will need more time to recover in order to provide visitors with a great vacation experience.
The National Hurricane Service stated on their facebook page: (translated from Spanish) – There is not a single tropical wave in the Atlantic today. Africa is stopping producing tropical waves. Signs that the end of the 2017 hurricane season is near. Currently the conditions in the central Atlantic are very hostile for development. So between Africa and the Caribbean, you do not have to worry about anything until the summer of next year. – “No hay ni una sola onda tropical en el Atlántico actualmente. Africa está dejando de producir ondas tropicales. Señales de que el fin de la temporada de huracanes 2017 está cerca. Actualmente las condiciones en el Atlántico central son muy hostiles para desarrollo. Así que entre Africa y el Caribe, ya no hay que preocuparse en nada hasta el verano del año que viene.”
If you booked your vacation for travel through the month of October, be sure to call your hotel or booking agency for an update on the conditions of hotel. You may also consider re-booking for a later date when things have normalized further on the island. The beaches of Puerto Rico, Vieques & Culebra are not ready for visitors and we certainly want everyone to experience their beauty and allure.
Keep Exploring Puerto Rico
- Home - Puerto Rico
- Best Vacation Destinations in Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico Flag
- Puerto Rico Islands
- Puerto Rico Attractions
- Puerto Rico Beaches
- Vieques, Puerto Rico
- Culebra, Puerto Rico
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Hotels & Resorts in Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico Facts