A Post-Hurricane Guide to Our Favorite Caribbean Honeymoon Destinations
These beloved islands have been through a lot, but they're definitely still open for business.
The fall of 2017 brought devastation as both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria ravaged much of the Caribbean and surrounding region. Less than a year later, though, the area is very much open for business. If you're planning your post-wedding vacation, know that the beloved honeymoon destinations there are definitely still an option. The recovery is ongoing and—like rums and accents—varies island to island, but the following spots deliver on white-sand beaches and luxurious hotels.
To help you plan, we're offering up a complete guide to four of our favorite places—St. Barts (shown here), Anguilla, Puerto Rico, and Turks and Caicos. For each, we've provided a list of places to stay, eat, and explore. The accommodations range from longstanding stays to newly-opened hotels. Meanwhile, the restaurants range from elegant to casual. As for what to do, there are options aplenty, whether you're after something relaxing (think: browsing an artsy museum) or action-packed (think: diving in a stunning coral reef). As our recommendations go to show, these well-known islands have something for everybody—even after the two storms.
Click through and discover all that these amazing destinations have to offer. Along with our travel suggestions and beautiful photos to fuel your daydreams, you'll also find ways to help out as some of these spots continue their recuperation efforts. There's nothing like planning the ultimate vacation while giving back—though booking a trip supports your chosen location all on its own. Go ahead and start planning an incredible honeymoon.
Additional text by Sarah Horne Grose.
The Caribbean idyll of St. Barthélemy is ready to reclaim its title as the region's most glamorous island—and has chic new properties to prove it.
Where to Stay
For a boutique hideaway with East Indies and Middle East décor and a dedicated rum bar, look to Villa Marie Saint-Barth, from the world-class Maisons & Hôtels Sibuet group. Hotel Manapany, once a sleepy island standby, made its debut in March after a complete overhaul as the first eco-lodge on the island. Each of the 35 rooms, seven suites, and one villa has a terrace and French creole touches like bold azure-blue ceilings. And the sleek Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, accepting reservations again for the fall, is a graceful resort on quiet Grand Cul-de-Sac Beach. It's got a Guy Martin–led restaurant and a spa featuring La Mer facials.
Where to Eat
Make your way to Shellona St. Barth to enjoy fresh Greek fare and lounge music at sunset. For extra romance, there's Tamarin, where a picturesque garden sets the stage for fine French-Caribbean cuisine. Don't miss the sautéed mahi-mahi with chickpea butter. The art of sushi is alive and well at the French-Japanese fusion Orega in Gustavia; the chef hails from the Nobu team in Miami.
What to Do
Spend the morning in chic Gustavia, the island's colorful main hub, which is lined with restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. One of our favorite places to shop is Victoire, known for colorful resortwear like caftans, luxe beach bags, and airy linen shifts. You could hit a different beach every day, but put Colombier Beach at the top of your list. It's a moderate 30-minute hike from Flamands Beach via a rugged cactus-dotted trail (be sure to wear sneakers). The reward? You'll likely have it to yourself—especially since the only other way to arrive is by sea. Consider packing a picnic from French patisserie and boulangerie La Petite Colombe (011 590 590 27 9527).
Why stick to one island? It's easy to pair St. Barts with Puerto Rico or Anguilla—and Tradewind Aviation offers luxe travel options. The airline has scheduled flights and charters with such amenities as an exclusive departure lounge and VIP transfer services, both in San Juan.
This eastern-Caribbean jewel adopted the optimistic post-storm motto "ravaged but still ravishing."
How you can help: A group of real estate owners and employers—including Starwood Capital Group (owner of the Four Seasons Anguilla), Zemi Beach House, and Malliouhana— formed the Anguilla Stronger Emergency Relief Fund, dedicated to helping island residents recover and rebuild. Donations can still be made at Pledgeling.
Where to Stay
Despite the hurricanes, January saw the on-time debut of Quintessence Hotel, a stunning mansion with nine suites and villas that has a grand butterfly staircase, an impressive Haitian art collection, and a tropical French bistro with a serious wine cellar. On breezy Shoal Bay, Zemi Beach House didn't even hit its second birthday before having to close because of the damage. Now everything is back in order at the wellness-focused resort, from the yoga pavilion to the spa treatments in the rice barn brought over from Thailand. And at the Four Seasons Resort & Residences Anguilla, which reopened in March, you can alternate between the sugar-sand beaches, or just linger at any of the property's three pools. Finally, Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort—a favorite for its gardens, two pools, and three beaches—will return in the fall.
Where to Eat
Bars, casual cafés, and beachfront restaurants ring the shoreline, and several favorites were back in business quickly despite taking dire hits from Irma. Anne and Peter Parles's Straw Hat on Meads Bay goes all day from November to August, from lobster johnnycake Benedict for breakfast to red curried prawns and local Anguillan crayfish when the sun goes down. Also on the west end, SunShine Shack is a white post-and-beam structure with banana, lime, and cherry trim—and beach umbrellas to match.
Camp out all day on a lounge chair with owner Garvey Lake's famous barbecue and, on Sundays, live reggae. Souvenir alert: Garvey's Awesome Sauce is now in jars and available for purchase.
What to Do
An arts-and-crafts haven, Anguilla is one of the best Caribbean destinations for shopping. In West End Village, you'll find the Devonish Art Gallery, a bright and pretense-free showroom showcasing work by a husband-and-wife team (he's a sculptor/potter; she makes jewelry). Nearby, Limin' Boutique sells keepsakes like sand wine stoppers, lariat necklaces dripping with Tahitian pearls, breezy tunics, and locally made soaps.
Head here for Spanish colonial architecture, an electric restaurant scene, and magnificent beaches—no passport required.
How you can help: SeePuertoRico.com has launched a voluntourism arm, Meaningful Travel, in the wake of Maria, linking up travelers with locals on Rebuild Days all over the island.
Where to Stay
Condado, the ripple of sand between Laguna del Condado and the Atlantic, has been San Juan's jet-set address since the mid-1900s. New to its lineup of storied properties is the Serafina Beach Hotel, the first hotel from New York's Serafina Restaurant Group. Its 96 white-and-gray rooms have floor-length windows with water views, and it's home to an Italian–Puerto Rican restaurant, aMare; and PiñaCo, a lobby bar that serves mojitos until midnight and detoxifying green juice in the morning. Las Casitas Village, a Waldorf Astoria Resort—part of the bluffside El Conquistador on the island's northeast point—reopens this September; its terra-cotta–tiled mini villas are staffed by butlers who can stock your fridge and arrange rainforest expeditions. And in October, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in sleepy Dorado will reclaim its status among Puerto Rico's finest luxury resorts. A former Rockefeller estate, the low-slung sanctuary blends seamlessly into the jungle with gardens and lagoons.
Where to Eat
Skip the in-room Nespresso and go straight to Café Cuatro Sombras, set in a handsome, wrought iron–tattooed Old San Juan building. According to owner Pablo Muñoz, the storms devastated the island's coffee industry, and having a cup of local arabica brew is an easy and delicious way to support it. Grab lunch (think radish carpaccio with pickled beets, and fresh local juices) a couple of blocks away at Verde Mesa (787-390-4662), a cozy dining room with mismatched antique chairs that reopened with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. And Jose Enrique continues to lead the culinary scene with his namesake no-reservations restaurant (which he turned into a volunteer-run soup kitchen after the storm) in Santurce, a short drive away. Get there early (say, 5 p.m. for dinner) for the shortest wait and broadest menu; written on a whiteboard, items get erased as they sell out. The crispy whole fish with tropical fruit salsa often goes first.
What to Do
Take a break from the sun with some local culture (and welcome air conditioning) at a couple of San Juan's most esteemed in institutions. The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico is housed in a grand former hospital with a sculpture garden; its collection, featuring works by island artists from the 17th century to the present, was spared during Hurricane Maria. Then walk over to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, which focuses on works by Latin American, Caribbean, and Puerto Rican artists.
Turks and Caicos
Unbeatable diving and a famous fish fry are just two reasons to visit this 40-island archipelago, which made a beautiful (and fairly quick) recovery after Irma.
Where to Stay
The newest luxury resort in the archipelago is Sailrock Resort, set on the sleepy island of South Caicos—a fishing and diving paradise. It's reachable from Providenciales (aka Provo) via flight, ferry, or the hotel's chartered 32-foot Renegade speedboat. You can choose between airy Ridgetop Suites (so named for their position on a gentle green hill) or the Beachfront Villas, done up with vaulted beam ceilings and private pools. Back in Provo, the Gansevoort Turks + Caicos brings the brand's minimalist swagger to Grace Bay Beach, with 32 crisp suites and a 7,000-square-foot see-and-be-seen infinity pool. The resort is also launching six four- and five-bedroom villas this year, for those seeking a lavish group getaway. Just across the island, the Shore Club, which opened early last year on Long Bay Beach, embodies genteel island luxury, with suites outfitted with mahogany writing desks, Regency dressers, and pastel and patterned upholstery. Days are filled with tennis lessons, salted-caramel body scrubs, and sea excursions on the hotel's yacht.
What to Eat
All seafood, all the time. At Sui-Ren, the Shore Club's new Peruvian-Japanese restaurant, chef Daniel Delgado Jitsuya serves up the likes of tuna tiradito dusted with shiso furikake and coconut-tamarind salmon ceviche. Right next to the Gansevoort, at the Bight Park, there's a festive fish fry, with vendors and musicians, every Thursday night. Can't make it? The beachfront Bugaloo's Conch Crawl, located in the Five Cays neighborhood, is open for lunch and dinner daily. As its name suggests, conch is king—and it comes eight ways, including coconut-battered. Pair it with a Turk's Head lager and settle in at an outdoor table beneath a canopy of trees and stars.
What to Do
The islands are home to the third-largest coral reef in the world, making them a magnet for divers. East Bay Resort offers private and group dives on their fleet of boats. You'll scuba through half a dozen sites, including an airplane wreck where you might spot rays, sharks, and turtles; visibility in the turquoise water runs 100 feet deep. If you're more comfortable on land, TCI Heritage Tours and Horseback Riding in Providenciales leads daytime and sunset rides on Dominican Paso Fino colts.
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