Katie Lockhart, Insider
Tourism brings a lot of money to the Caribbean islands, but many are still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
While Barbuda, Antigua, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands were severely impacted, other locations are still able to welcome tourists seeking a getaway.
Learn more about the travel opportunities in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, and Grand Cayman.
The Caribbean Islands have long been a destination for Americans looking to get away from the long, cold winters, honeymoon or just get out of the office. Last September, when Hurricane Irma barreled into the Caribbean Islands, as it strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane, Barbuda, Antigua, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands were among those hit hardest. Over six months later, many of the islands are still recovering from the devastation.
Tourism is one of the Caribbean’s main sources of income, and since the hurricanes, almost all the islands have felt financial strain. There are many countries currently able to welcome tourists that you can and should still visit since tourism is one of the best ways to help the islands recover financially.
Provided that you are respectful to people who may still be struggling in the aftermath of the hurricanes, it’s not only appropriate but important that tourists return.
Here are five islands perfect for a romantic getaway, girls weekend, or some rest and relaxation.
This island is a must-visit. The famous Sandals Resorts has its flagship property in Montego Bay and it is the ideal spot for a romantic getaway. There are white sand beaches, turquoise waters to snorkel in, and endless food and drinks in a luxurious all-inclusive resort. Plus, you don’t have to travel to Bora Bora to stay in an overwater bungalow because they’re now at Sandals South Coast.
Venture off the resort for ziplining or tubing down a lazy river, rum punch in hand with Island Routes. Try the island’s most famous jerk chicken and jerk pork at Scotchies.
The sprawling resort destination of Baha Mar in Nassau has almost fully opened with 2,300 rooms, villas, and suites across three different hotel brands, Grand Hyatt, SLS and Rosewood Baha Mar (coming June 2018). There are countless beaches, pools, spas, bars, restaurants, stores, a golf course and the largest casino in the Caribbean. Baha Mar has something for literally everyone.
The Bahamas also has 40 shipwrecks to explore via snorkeling or diving. The Sugar Wreck is especially popular because it has a wide variety of colorful fish and is not too deep.
Known for its rum, the island also has dozens of pristine beaches to choose from. Sandals Resorts has two properties in the St. Lawrence Gap area. Between the two of them, there are five pools, 12 bars, and 17 restaurants showcasing local delicacies to indulge in. The gorgeous white sand beaches lends itself well to water activities including snorkeling, sailing, paddle boarding, tubing, and more.
Besides sipping cocktails by the beach, you can explore the islands history and jungle via Island Safari or traditional Bajan Bus. If you’d have had too much local rum, stop by Bank’s Beer to find out how they brew it.
The locals saw a lot of flooding after the Hurricanes hit, but after a recent visit, the island is definitely welcoming tourists back. Near Punta Cana, is Tortuga Bay, a stunning Leading Hotels of the World resort on five miles of perfect beaches.
There are golf courses, a spa and luxurious plantation-style rooms designed by Oscar de la Renta.
arther down the island, near La Romana is Casa de Campo Resort & Villas. This luxury property offers a legendary golf destination, as well as a spa, shopping, beautiful beaches and incredible food.
For an off-the-beaten path experience, spend a half day riding through the Dominica countryside on a buggie with Macao Adventure Buggies. You’ll definitely get a little dirty, but there will be fresh cigars and coffee waiting for you, as well as a local beach to wash off in.
With the hurricanes having virtually no impact on the island, this ritzy British territory has been open for business all along. Located on famed Seven Mile Beach, the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, is the latest bit of luxury on the strip. This chic and youthful property has gorgeous infinity pools, incredible restaurants and an award-winning spa. Sit by the beach and sip on a truly delicious pina colada or lounge in a poolside cabana.
For a bit of fun off the resort, book a boat for nearby Stingray City. You’ll venture out to a sandbar where dozens of harmless stingrays play. You can hold them and even grab a kiss or two. After that, head to the Northern part of the island for Rum Point. Here you can relax on a hammock by the water or grab a drink and some food with friends and family.