Here’s Why You Can & Should Pack Your Bags for Puerto Rico

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Here’s Why You Can & Should Pack Your Bags for Puerto Rico

By Johnalee Johnston | Jan 15, 2020

Following an intense cadence of quakes and aftershocks in the island’s southern region that began on January 7th—the latest, a magnitude of 5.2, occurring just today—the island is pretty much back to its usual chill rhythm.  

Nearly 1,300 quakes have rattled across Puerto Rico since last December—largely unnoticed. The most powerful hit the island at 6.4 in magnitude, the strongest earthquake here in the last century. The quake left its mark via widespread power outages that challenged alternative power systems put into place following Hurricane Maria by Tesla and Sonnen, as well as collapsed homes and businesses, hotel damage and swarms of fleeing bees in the south—up to 25 percent of hives in towns like Guayanilla, according to Reuters.

NASA, meanwhile, confirmed the European Space Agency’s report of more than five inches of land displacement near the quake’s offshore epicenter, west of the city of Ponce, while Governor Wanda Vazquez declared a state of emergency.

After a month-long block of disaster aid funding, Puerto Rico will finally see relief heading its way where needed from the US Federal Government.

What We Know

It’s business as usual in Puerto Rico. There have been no disruptions to tourism or business events for areas outside the island’s southern region. The Puerto Rico Convention Center is fully operational and fully staffed, with no damage to the venue and no cancellations. Taxis, ride sharing, ports and flights to and from the San Juan Luis Munoz Marin, Ponce and Aguadilla airports are operating as usual. All beaches, restaurants, shopping and tourist attractions in the north such as El Morro, El Yunque and San Cristobal Fort and hotels, including all areas around San Juan, continue to be open for business. The island's famed San Sebastian Street Festival, Puerto Rico's version of Mardi Gras, kicks off today in San Juan as planned.

“The way that people can show their support for Puerto Rico at this time is to travel to the island for their work trips, meetings, conferences and events. Tourism fuels the local communities and will help keep the economy recovering.”

Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, confirmed to us that power has been restored to 99 percent of homes and businesses, but “given that electricity impacts water supply, we are in close contact with the government, the Health Department and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority to learn more about the status of potable water.” Dean recommends that visitors to the island drink bottled water as a precautionary measure.

Planners with upcoming meetings and events in the south of the island should reach out to their sales and services representatives, hotels and other partners for detailed information of the status of sites. Hotel Copamarina, Ponce Plaza, Hotel Guanica and Costa Bahia, as well as two tourism sites, Punta Ventana in Guayanilla and the Ruins of the Lighthouse in Guanica, have all reported damage.

For those who do wish to change their travel plans, Delta, Southwest, American, JetBlue, Spirit, United and Frontier airlines have activated their flex policies.

How You Can Help

“The way that people can show their support for Puerto Rico at this time is to travel to the island for their work trips, meetings, conferences and events,” Dean says. “Tourism fuels the local communities and will help keep the economy recovering.” The local American Red Cross chapter is also gathering donations for those who wish to provide support to those in the southern region as well as various local organizations.

 

Author

Johnalee Johnston
Johnalee Johnston

Johnalee Johnston is a wildly creative and curious disruptor of the status quo and MPI’s digital editor.