With several Caribbean islands in recovery mode, some vacation advice

Some travelers looking ahead to winter and spring getaways may be wondering what their options are when it comes to Caribbean islands, with all the headlines about hurricane damage.

Some islands like Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and St. Martin have a ways to go in recovery from the storms. But many other places were relatively unscathed. Island destinations where it’s business as usual include Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

Here are some recommendations from a couple of travel experts about other spots you might consider if you had your heart set on an island destination that’s now off-limits, but you’re still hoping for sun, sand and sea.

Beaches, history, divingBrian Major, executive editor for the Caribbean and Latin America for the trade media company travAlliancemedia, says if you look on a map, it’s easier to understand the storms’ path. The hurricanes mainly impacted the Caribbean’s northeastern Leeward Islands, which include among other destinations Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Dominica, Anguilla and St. Barts.

Largely unaffected were islands located farther south, like Grenada and Trinidad, and farther west, like Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Major offered a few other islands as alternatives to hurricane-impacted destinations.

Consider Martinique or Curacao if you’re looking for the European cultural mix found on St. Martin. There’s “terrific air service” to Martinique, he said, and “an excellent highway system” if you care to rent a car, “wonderful food” and mostly boutique hotels, along with interesting historic sites like the Schoelcher Library, named for a famed abolitionist. On Curacao, you’ll find great diving, Dutch-style gabled houses on the waterfront and local food vendors at Plasa Bieu.Consider Montserrat for rugged landscapes and outdoor adventures like what Dominica is known for. Montserrat is a volcanic island with soaring mountains, inland rivers, waterfalls, diving…

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