Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends


Storms and floods are hurricane season basics in the Caribbean. But Irma was different. Described as a “monster,” the Category 5 hurricane whipped through the region and wrecked buildings, infrastructure and even whole islands. With so many Caribbean destinations basing their economies around tourism, Irma’s aftermath has created a crisis for many Caribbean societies. From donating supplies to planning winter trips, here are ways to help with Irma recovery:

RELATED: 10 best hotel pools in the Caribbean


Anguilla | Photo: Rosalind Cummings-Yeates


“One of the best things people can do is plan a vacation to the Caribbean,” says Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. “Most of the Caribbean is open for business, has not been impacted and even those areas most severely impacted, we anticipate many of their hotels will bounce back before the winter season.”  According to Comito, 24 of the 32 islands in the region are accepting travelers. The hardest hit islands are Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Maarten/St.Martin, St. Thomas, St. John U.S.V.I, British Virgin Islands, St. Barths, Turks and Caicos, and Cuba. Find updates about recovery progress and hotel openings at Caribbean Travel Updates.


Some islands are setting up programs where travelers can volunteer their time to help rebuild damaged areas. “The Anguilla Tourism Bureau is starting a voluntourism program centered around an Adopt a Neighborhood initiative, whereby residents in different areas on the island can help make a difference with coordinated clean-up projects,” says Donna A. Banks, chairperson of the Anguilla Tourism Board. “Employing local work crews, as well as other volunteers, the program will target two to three neighborhoods like Shoal Bay and The Valley and even select several homes where recovery is needed.” Visit Anguilla Tourism Board for notices about the program. Other islands are also developing voluntourism opportunities as they assess damages so please check the Caribbean Travel Updates site for more options.


Many islands need supplies to assist with rebuilding: galvanized sheet roofing, nails, treated plywood. Others require medical supplies, baby food and food. A list of donation sites are listed on the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism site. Also, consider bringing some supplies if you plan to visit islands neighboring ones that have been affected by Irma.


Old Havana | Photo: Rosalind Cummings-Yeates


Charity relief efforts can be tricky, thanks to recent reports of donation fraud. However, most islands have created sanctioned relief funds in addition to major, Charity Watch approved organizations like UNICEF. “Friends of the Caribbean can help by contributing to bonafide funding efforts aimed at sustained recovery—getting people back to work and economies humming again,” says Comito. Anguilla, for example, has the government sanctioned Official Relief Fund for the Restoration of Anguilla, Retired NBA star and St. Croix native Tim Duncan, meanwhile, donated $250,000 to create the U.S. Virgin Island Relief Fund, while Barbuda, whose entire population had to be evacuated, has the American University of Antigua Barbuda Relief Fund. In Cuba, where the northern part of the island was damaged and where there was also major flooding in Havana, is benefitted by Pastors for Peace. The Caribbean Tourism Organization has also created a general Hurricane Relief Fund and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association operates Tourism Cares.

FFF - blog banner -600px.jpg



Tagged: Caribbean, Destinations, Feature

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rosalind is a writer/author/blogger/teacher based in Chicago. She covers travel, lifestyle and arts topics and her credits include Salon, Hemispheres, Miami Herald, Woman's Day, Brides, Midwest Living, Go Magazine, Bravo Jet Set and The Rough Guide to Women Travel. Follow her hyphenated adventures with her blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, as well as on Twitter and Instagram @FarsightedGirl.
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates


Journalist, author & blogger of #travel, culture, #music & fashion.#binder Lover of passion fruit. Climber of volcanoes. Teacher of #journalism. SATW Member
RT @TrainingMindful: “How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself. So always #think positively.” ~ Norman Vince… - 22 hours ago
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Latest posts by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *