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After Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, tourism came to a brief halt. Although it’s slowly picking up, many visitors have been reluctant to travel to the island after hearing reports of closed resorts and cities without power.
While there are areas still in recovery mode, many spots in Puerto Rico are welcoming visitors with open arms this year, and the best way to help recovery efforts is to share those tourism dollars with our fellow Americans by paying Puerto Rico a visit. If you’re worried about not having enough to do, we promise there’s plenty open, including 13 golf courses, 15 casinos and over 4,000 restaurants.
Remember, Puerto Rico is a short flight away and you don’t even need to dig out that passport. Here are several areas that are open and ready for visitors — why not plan a spring getaway?
The TPG team visited San Juan earlier this year, so we’ve seen it with our own eyes: The city is ready and waiting for tourism. Plenty of hotels are open, and you can use your points at some of our favorites, such as the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, InterContinental San Juan and the AC Hotel San Juan Condado. Restaurants, casinos and beaches are open for business, and events such as the Puerto Rico Ironman (March 18) and the MLB series (April 17-18) are scheduled for this spring.
Although this tiny island’s recovery has been slower than San Juan and our usual pick, the W Retreat & Spa–Vieques Island, is closed for repairs until further notice, other hotels on the island (like the ecologically minded Hix Island House) have reopened. After fears that Hurricane Maria permanently ruined the chemistry of the famous bioluminescent bay in Vieques, the bay is once again beginning to glow, to the delight of locals and tourists.
Luquillo and Fajardo
These resort areas, which are about an hour east of San Juan, are ready and waiting for visitors. While nearby tourist attractions like El Yunque National Forest and the Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve remain closed, many of the resorts and golf courses have reopened. In fact, the Puerto Rico Open PGA Tour (March 1-4) will be happening this spring just west of Luquillo at the TPC Dorado Beach.
Visit Via the High Seas
Cruises are up and running to Puerto Rico with more force than ever. In fact, four more vessels than the previous season will call San Juan their home port — bringing the total up to 14 vessels based in San Juan. Twenty-seven cruise ships stopped in the San Juan port during January 2018, and that number will slowly increase as over 1.7 million expected passengers pass through the island via cruise ships in the 2018-2019 season.
Ponce’s Mercedita Airport (PSE) is fully open and operating — you can even fly there nonstop from Orlando (MCO) and New York (JFK) on JetBlue. The city is quaint and historical, and the Museo Castillo Serrallés and the Museo de Arte de Ponce are both open for business. The castle is dedicated to the history of Ponce, which dates back to the 1600s, and the art museum is known internationally, hosting a special exhibition featuring the Frick Collection starting March 17. The vibrant Parque de Bombas, an old firehouse, will add a pop of color to your Instagram profile for sure.
Surfer paradise Rincon is ready for you and your board. Although you may still spot the occasional battered palm tree, businesses are up and running and the beautiful beach awaits. Make sure to have cash on hand — some businesses still can’t connect to credit-card machines. Although many hotels are open, expect to stay at boutique spots and B&Bs. Even before the hurricane, Rincon was a lazy beach town, not a resort area, so keep that in mind before visiting.
Feature photo of Old San Juan by dennisvdw/Getty Images
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