Welcome to IslandsofPuertoRico.com

This article is a guide for visitors seeking for an update on tourism on the island and what to expect when you visit.   But before we give you an update, allow us to say Thank You.

Thank you in advance for your interest in visiting Puerto Rico and supporting our recovery by simply vacationing on the island.  A great vacation in Puerto Rico for your family, helps thousands of families relying on tourism dollars to feed their families and hold on to what they have left.  Tourism has helped the economy bounce back from such a devastating disaster.  If you’re a repeat visitor, we appreciate your continued support.

Puerto Rico is still as enchanting as ever…your visit is a gift to yourself and to the people on the island.   Thank you!! 

June 2018 – Puerto Rico Tourism After Maria Update

Puerto Rico & The Media

We speak to many visitors on the island as we travel around to write our guides, among their questions and comments, they all say have one thing in common… they’re surprised at how nice the island looks.  Many tell us they came to Puerto Rico to support the island with their vacation dollars, but the images of the media led them to believe the island was still in bad shape.


Everyone in Puerto Rico is grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support that various media outlets and amazing journalists have given to the island and its residents.  However, as they continue to show images of destruction and down electrical lines, it gives the impression that Puerto Rico is still in shambles, sadly keeping more visitors from coming.

Please keep in mind that the news are reporting on residential areas that have yet to receive electricity.  Thousands of families lost their home, blue tarps are still covering thousands of homes, especially in the central mountains.

If you were to drive around the main roads, visit beaches, tourist areas, town squares, and places tourists frequently visit, you will see a very different picture of what the news media shows.   

Among the negatives you will find since Hurricane Maria:

  • More pot holes on roads, all the rain and flooding damaged the asphalt, quite honestly they were already in need of repair.
  • Flora – Our island is green again, but it is still noticeable that it suffered significant damage.
  • Weeds & Grass – Weeds and grass are overgrown along major highways, roads and streets where municipalities are responsible for clean up.  Please understand that personnel, funds and most resources have been allocated to taking care of vital needs in the communities during this recovery / re-building process.

Most importantly, you will find residents that are happy and appreciative of visitors to the island.  There’s not better time than now to experience the warm culture and witness the resilient spirit of the Puerto Rican people.

Top Articles – Tourist Ready Places to Visit

Tourism Updates

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.

Hotels

Airports

Cruises

  • Cruises began arriving to the San Juan piers back in November wowing visitors as it always has, with most attractions in the city ready for tourists.

Beaches

We often get asked… Are the beaches safe for swimming?   Yes, our beaches are ready for beach lovers to enjoy, and some of the them are more beautiful than ever.

Some of our beaches were ready as soon as one month after Hurricane Maria.   Community organizations worked really hard to clean up debris, fallen trees and seagrass on the shores.  Beach life feels quite normal, it is summertime in Puerto Rico, and all the beaches are getting normal traffic by locals and visitors alike throughout the main island, Vieques & Culebra.

Puerto Rico participates in the Blue Flag program, and not long after the Hurricane, Puerto Rico got 7 Blue Flags, a pretty impressive recovery by our little island in such a short time.   

The public beaches in Puerto Rico (managed by a government agency) have flags indicating the safety of the water.

General Beach Safety Issues & Tips

Generally it is not safe to swim after a storm, the beaches in Puerto Rico and any island that was hit by a hurricane or storm were not safe.  If you were to visit a beach right after a storm, you may find a lot of seagrass, driftwood, and trash.  The color of the water is typically brownish.  Right after a hurricane comes flooding, which may also cause sewage treatment facilities to overflow and end up into bodies of water that flow into our shores.  The beaches with the most contamination were the ones with rivers flowing towards the sea.  During heavy rain, a beach can become contaminated, again, please check the flags at our public beaches for peace of mind.

You should always practice safety when going to the beach, at every destination you visit.  If you have any open wounds in your skin, you should always get information on the safety of the water.  The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage recommends that after heavy rain swimming on beaches is avoided for a day and up to 3 full days at estuarine swimming areas.

A few recent cases in the media NOT IN PUERTO RICO with examples of water safety issues.  We provide this information to simply educate our readers that you should take precautions at any beach you intend to visit.

  • Florida, USAFlorida beaches are notorious for being contaminated with flesh eating bacteria and other contaminants.  People have gotten very sick and sadly some have died from the bacteria.
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – A couple got parasitic worms on their feet while vacationing.   Always protect your feet while at the beach by wearing sand beach shoes.

Hotel Updates

Opening Dates for Popular Hotels & Resorts re-opening after Hurricane Maria

  • Caribe Hilton – “Making its debut after over a year of comprehensive rejuvenation, the iconic Caribe Hilton will be accepting reservations from December 21, 2018.”
  • Dorado Beach A Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Opening and taking reservations for October 1, 2018
  • El San Juan Hotel – “The El San Juan Hotel will once again be welcoming guests for arrivals starting on June 1, 2018. Reservations will be accepted for available guestrooms, suites, and villas. The Hotel will be offering a selection of limited services including daily housekeeping, restaurant, beach, pool and cabana access, along with weekend lobby bar service featuring live entertainment. Additional amenities will be added as our restoration progresses, with a projected completion of Fall 2018.”
  • St. Regis at Bahia Beach Resort – The St. Regis Bahia Beach to Reopen October 29, 2018. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort is undergoing a major renovation and will reopen October 29, 2018, with many exquisite new enhancements. We look forward to welcoming guests to the resort and are currently accepting reservations for stays beginning October 29, 2018. For reservations made previously through September 2018, we are waiving cancellation fees. For assistance, kindly contact us at 1.866.961.3326 or contact your local reservations specialist.
  • W Retreat & Spa- Vieques Island – Re-opening in December 31, 2018
  • Melia Coco Beach – Currently closed.  Website shows you can make reservations starting in December.
  • Condado Plaza Hilton – The hotel is undergoing a comprehensive restoration program to continue delivering our recognized hospitality in Puerto Rico.

+ Services & Amenities at Condado Hilton Plaza

During this time, we are providing the following select services and amenities:

Environmentally tested appointed guest roomsClean linen and bath towels
Full electricity – back-up generators are available in both TowersFresh, clean flowing water & Hot water available
WiFi in-room and public areasAir conditioning
Check-in located at Mezzanine Level of the Laguna Tower24-Hour security
Housekeeping Services offered every other dayCable TV channels
Coin laundry available in the Ocean Tower, Pool Level24-Hour Fitness Center in the Lagoon Tower, Lobby Level
Pools in Ocean and Lagoon TowersFully dedicated Event Management and Culinary Team
10 flexible event spaces

Food and Beverage options:

  • Denny’s – Always Open
  • Starbucks – Open daily 7am – 7pm – Breakfast/Coffee Spot
  • Eight Noodle Bar – Open Thursday to Tuesday from 4pm to 10pm (Dinner)
  • Moon Bar – Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6pm to midnight
  • Paseo Caribe, across the bridge walking distance, is open with several Food & Beverage venue options – Lunch and Dinner
  • Viaggi store with Grab & Go items available. Open Monday to Saturday 7am to 7pm and Sunday 10am to 7pm

Enterprise Rent-A-Car on site available. Open daily 8am to 5pm.

Self-Parking rate of $20 + tax, per day – as room charge

During this restoration period, resort charge is waived until all our services and amenities are restored. There may be some minimal noise as a result of the restoration process taking place.

  • Verdanza Hotel – Re-opening August 1, 2018
  • El Conquistador –  The hotel is undergoing a comprehensive restoration program to continue delivering our recognized hospitality in Puerto Rico.

+ Services & Amenities at El Conquistador

During this time we are providing the following Services & Amenities:

Environmentally tested appointed guest roomsClean Linen and bath towels
Full electricity / back-up generators on siteFresh clean flowing water & hot water available
Air conditioningComplimentary WiFi available in lobby
Check-in and Concierge at Front DeskFront Desk available from 6am-10pm
Housekeeping Services offered every other dayCable TV Channels
Laundry Services available at a cost per bag24-Hour Fitness Center
Pool Available / Main Building18 Hole Golf course Tues-Sun
Seven flexible event spacesFully dedicated Event Management and Culinary Team
24-Hour SecurityATM located on-site in lobby

Food and Beverage Options:

Meal Plan: is available to be added to your reservation and includes daily breakfast (served from 4:30am to 8:30am) and dinner (served from 4:30pm to 8:30pm). Breakfast is served continental style with assorted pastries, bread selection, fruits, coffee, tea and an egg dish. Please check with the Front Desk for pricing.

Snack Bar: available from 4:30pm-9pm serving limited menu of pizza, hamburgers, wings and steaks.

Bar 21/ Ultra Lounge: limited food service: Bar open daily from 6pm-12am / Food 6pm-9:30pm.

Convenient Store-Signature Shop: open daily from 8am to 9pm.

During this restoration period resort charges is waived until all our services and amenities are restored. There may be some minimal noise as a result of the restoration process taking place.

March 2018 – Puerto Rico Tourism After Maria Update

+ March Tourism Update

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.

Tourism Update

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.

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, world class attractions and amazing activities, Puerto Rico is ready to welcome you.

Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico –  Tourist ready after Hurricane Maria

Best things to do in Puerto Rico / Top points of interest - 2018

It took us quite a bit of time gathering information and putting together this list for our readers.  Nature sure has a way of healing, land is green, the water is clearer than ever.  In comparison with most of the islands that were heavily hit by the hurricane, Puerto Rico counts with a tremendous amount of natural treasures and attractions, making tourism recovery easier since it can still offer our visitors plenty of amazing places and extraordinary experiences for every type of traveler.  Thank you for considering Puerto Rico as your tourist destination, it will be a great vacation for you, and a great help towards the recovery of the island and its people.

New Hotel in Condado Opens

Serafina Beach Hotel

Serafina Beach Hotel - Condado - New hotel opened in San Juan Puerto Rico

February 2018 – Puerto Rico Tourism After Maria Update

Update on the Beaches of Puerto Rico

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.

Puerto Rico wins 2 Spots on the Caribbean’s Best Attractions List of USA Today 10 Best

The long awaited list of USA Today’s Best is out.   Puerto Rico was hit hard by Hurricane Maria, but these awards and recognition are a testament to the resilience of our island, working hard to get back up and continuing to shine as an extraordinary Caribbean vacation destination.  (Link to full article below)

El Yunque took the number one spot for Best attraction, USA today readers made it #1 and it certainly deserved to get that spot honoring all the years it brought magic to all that visited.  Hurricane Maria destroyed our beloved rainforest, it will take many years to recover, it is currently closed.  As soon as it opens we encourage visitors to go in order to see a world class attraction come back to its glory.   For updates on hurricane recovery, how you can help and areas open, visit official website.

Old San Juan – It is not surprise to those that have visited Old San Juan, that it made it to the top 10 list.  Old San Juan can be described as an open air museum filled with exciting attractions, places to shop, fantastic restaurants, rich culture and vibrant nightlife. Old San Juan is a place best explored by foot, a map is helpful, but much more fun to simply get lost to find your treasure.

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico   ⎜  Old San Juan Hotels  ⎜  Old San Juan Attractions

January 2018 – Puerto Rico Tourism After Maria Update

Beach in Isabela, Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

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 San Sebastian 2018 - San Juan, Puerto Rico

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.

2017 – Puerto Rico Tourism After Maria Update

December Update

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.

Puerto Rico Tourism After Hurricane Maria - Christmas

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.

December Update

(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.”

December Update

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.