Puerto Rico is welcoming visitors to the island, following the devastation and re-building after both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017. We have Puerto Rico hurricane updates as San Juan re-opens.
While parts of San Juan are still without power, the airport, cruise ports, and main tourist area of Old San Juan are up and running and welcoming guests. While there is still no service flying direct from Canada to Puerto Rico, Air Canada and WestJet Vacations will resume flights to San Juan from Toronto in January.
Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria updates: what’s open?
Airports are fully operational, with approximately 70 flights daily arriving at San Juan International Airport (SJU).
More than 75 per cent of Puerto Rico’s hotels are open and welcoming guests. Many first-responders and personnel helping with reconstruction following Hurricane Irma making landfall in Puerto Rico are staying in hotels in the area, but as more is cleared up, more hotel rooms become available. Tim Ouimet, a tripcentral.ca follower, returned from San Juan in early December and said: “The neighbourhood around the hotels was pretty cleared up, but there were still tarps and boards covering things up. The hotel was 100% functional, but walk a block, and you’d still find busted stuff.”
Both cruise ports are operating, seeing ships arrive in port. Old San Juan sees smaller ships like Windstar, while the main San Juan Port sees larger ships like Carnival and Celebrity. A tripcentral.ca employee who sailed out of Old San Juan in November says “you could see some destruction with lamp poles down on the way from the airport to Old San Juan, but it’s pretty cleared up.”
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company says that 107 tourist attractions across the island are operation, including Old San Juan, the Castillo San Felipe de Morro and Cueva Ventana. Ouimet said that in early December, the beach front east of Carolina, Puerto Rico was totally eroded, but to the west, the Isla Verde Beach was stunning. Cell service was great, and UBERs and taxis were plentiful and people were excited and ready to welcome tourists, Ouimet said.
More than 1,500 restaurants in the San Juan area are open.
With more hotels opening into the New Year, Puerto Rico is kicking off the tourist season with Christmas festivities, extended through January 6, with Three Kings Day. The Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, in Old San Juan, will celebrate music, food, and drinks throughout the holiday season and into January.
How to help Puerto Rico post hurricane season:
The best way to help the island regain it’s normalcy is to support the area with tourism dollars: don’t cancel or re-book your planned vacation. Visit the country, and invest in the economy through tourism: accommodations, dining, and shopping.