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Picture yourself in this hammock on Grand Cayman’s famed Seven Mile Beach.
After a catastrophic 2017 hurricane season, the Caribbean is back in business and ready to welcome travelers.
It’s been more than a year since Hurricanes Irma and Maria cut across the Caribbean, leaving varying degrees of devastation in their wake. While some islands recovered quickly or completely avoided the storms, others places are finally back in business for high season this winter after a long rebuilding process.
From iconic hotel reopenings in places hit hard by the storms to annual food festivals and brand-new flight routes to harder-to-access islands, here are the eight reasons you’ll want to book a warm-weather getaway to the Caribbean this winter.Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda reprise his role in Hamilton
From January 11 to 27, 2019, Lin-Manuel Miranda is bringing his Broadway musical Hamilton to San Juan to help raise money for his Flamboyan Arts Fund, which supports rebuilding Puerto Rico’s art community after the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria. The regularly priced tickets sold out almost immediately, but there are still $5,000 VIP tickets available to several performances.
A majority of San Juan’s hotels are open and ready to welcome guests in town for the show, including the El San Juan Hotel and Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which both reopened in late 2018 after extensive restorations. The iconic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, which managed to stay open during its hurricane restoration work, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019, too.
Eat at the Cayman Cookout with Eric Ripert and José Andrés
Drink a cocktail at the first rooftop lounge in the Bahamas
In addition to the Rosewood Baha Mar, which opened in June 2018, this winter is full of other firsts for the 2,300-room resort that also includes a Grand Hyatt and an SLS hotel. In January 2019, the Bahamas will get its first rooftop lounge when Skybar opens on top of the SLS Baha Mar. Before watching the sunset with a craft cocktail in hand from 20 floors above the Caribbean Sea, you can also order a burger from Umami Burger’s new beachfront Airstream trailer location that just opened at the resort in December 2018.
To encourage people to come to the Bahamas, Baha Mar is also offering an “Embrace Your Winter Blues” deal at all three properties. From now until February 15, if you book five nights for stays between January 6 and April 30, 2019, you’ll receive one night free.
Celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Dominican Republic’s independence
For the Dominican Republic, 2019 is a big year. A 169-room Four Seasons is in the works to open at the new Tropicalia resort near the town of Miches on the northern coast of the island. But more importantly, the nation is celebrating the 175th anniversary of its independence from Haiti this winter.
Carnival celebrations typically happen around the Dominican Republic for the entire month of February, but the main military parade takes place in the capital of Santo Domingo’s waterfront promenade, the Malecón, on Independence Day, February 27.
Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Brand-New Guide to the Dominican Republic
Check in to The Liming Bequia
On November 1, 2018, The Liming Bequia opened on the second largest island in the country (pronounced Bek-way), south of the main island of St. Vincent. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, this 13-villa property focuses on privacy; it includes the Gingerlily, a five-bedroom mansion beach house. Most villas have their own private infinity pools or hot tubs, but guests staying at the Gingerlily will also have private gardens and a kitchen for cooking to make their stay feel even more like home (if your home was just steps from the beach).
Fly to Aruba with fewer connections
Help with hurricane recovery on the U.S. Virgin Islands
See the newly renovated Cobblers Cove in Barbados
Even though Barbados escaped the hurricanes of 2017 relatively untouched, the more than 50-year-old Cobblers Cove hotel on the west coast of the island recently completed a three-year renovation. One of only four Relais & Châteaux hotels in the Caribbean, the 40-suite property now has all new flooring, furniture, and, most importantly, bigger bathrooms. But fans of Cobblers Cove will be delighted to find that the iconic spot hasn’t changed the signature pink and white color palette of its turreted main building.
>> Next: AFAR’s 25 Places to Go in 2019
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