Parts of Puerto Rico are still without power, running water, and other basic necessities. So why is it a good time to visit?
Despite numerous setbacks following Hurricane Maria, hotels and businesses throughout the island are reopening. Only one-third of Puerto Rico’s hotels remain closed, according to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. And, as the island begins to reopen, visitors can help in rebuilding efforts.
“Recent advancements on major tourism infrastructure, like our main airport fully operational with back to normal schedules and operational cruise ports and hotels, show a steady pace on our rebuilding path,” Jose Izquierdo, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, said in a statement. “Assessment continues as we have been in constant communication with our tourism partners across the Island.”
And while visitors to the island may have to do without some experiences — hotel elevators, Wi-Fi, or a variety of transportation options, for example — they will most likely receive great treatment.
“They will treat you like royalty because they want every dollar, but you should have a solid, realistic set of expectations,” CNN’s correspondent in Puerto Rico said. Visitors should also be aware that some major attractions, like El Yunque National Park, remain closed for repairs after the hurricane.
But tourists can make the most of their trip to the island and assist in relief efforts by bringing extra medical supplies, dry foods, and hygiene products. Packing an extra suitcase full of supplies could be a much-appreciated gesture on the island.
Hotels around the island are also organizing their own “voluntourism” efforts for guests. Travelers who want to assist in relief efforts can talk to hotel staff for more information about how to help. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company will also reveal their own “voluntourism” trips within the coming weeks for travelers who want to head outside of San Juan and assist communities in need.