HURRICANE MARIA’S 150 MPH WINDS and 18-plus inches of rain were the worst experienced by the island since the San Felipe Segundo hurricane of 1928. Although Puerto Rico is the Caribbean’s third largest island and has more than 3.4 million residents, everyone on the island was impacted. Most of the island lost public services including water, sewer, electricity, and communications. The old city area of San Juan, near where cruise ships dock, had most of these services restored by December 1, and ships resumed their regular schedule of visits in December.
Cruise visitors who use their time in old San Juan to explore the San Juan National Historic Site shouldn’t notice much storm damage. Roofs and windows were repaired, vegetation replanted, and shops, bars, and restaurants reopened. The historic buildings of Castillo San Cristóbal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro began accepting tourists in December.
Other areas of Puerto Rico will take much longer to recover. The El Yunque National Forest is a great place to zipline, hike, and explore, and it’s the only tropical rainforest in the United States national forest system. However, El Yunque was decimated by the hurricane. After Hurricane Hugo struck in 1989, the forest eventually recovered, so most experts believe the rainforest will return this time, too, although the damage is more widespread.
La Rogativa Statue, Old San Juan