“Steady employment gains, slowly rising incomes, and lower mortgage rates generated sustained buyer interest all summer long, but…

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By the Caribbean Journal staff

Hurricane Maria clobbered Puerto Rico on Wednesday, sending it into a total island-wide blackout, with reports of significant property damage.

It was not yet clear how much damage had been wrought, nor was it yet possible to determine the number of injuries or potential deaths.

Maria hit Puerto Rico with more than 20 inches of rain and serious flooding, with conditions strong enough to knock out radar and telecommunications.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello imposed a curfew at 6 PM on Wednesday evening, calling it “essential to maintain order.”

Rossello said he had already asked US President Donald Trump to declare Puerto Rico a Disaster Zone.

The Dominican Republic was next in Maria’s path late Wednesday and early Thursday morning,

Above: the projected path of the storm.

A hurricane warning was in effect for the Dominican Republic between Cabo Engano and Puerto Plata, along with the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Dominican Republic west of Puerto Plata to the northern border with Haiti and the Dominican Republic west of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque.

The storm was set to pass offshore the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic early Thursday before moving toward the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas Thursday night and Friday.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello imposed a curfew on Wednesday evening.

Maximum sustained winds were around 110 miles per hour with higher gusts, although some strengthening was forecast in the next day or two, according to the NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

While the storm was already moving away from Puerto Rico on Wednesday evening, it was still hitting the island with torrential rains.

The post Hurricane Maria Heads Toward Dominican Republic After Hammering Puerto Rico appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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Real estate associations and firms are rushing to help thousands of displaced hurricane victims find temporary housing in the…

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Above: the projected path of Maria

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The eye of the “potentially catastrophic” Hurricane Maria was nearing St Croix on Tuesday evening, with Puerto Rico in its crosshairs.

Maria was 30 miles south-southeast of St Croix late Tuesday evening, and about 120 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

It was expected to reach southeastern Puerto Rico Wednesday morning.

Maria’s maximum sustained winds were near 175 miles per hour with higher gusts; the storm was forecast to remain an “extremely dangerous” category 4 or 5 storm as it moved near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The National Hurricane Center said storm surges would lead to major flooding, with water expected to reach between six and nine feet above ground in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands if peak surged occurred at high tide.

A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques and the portion of the Dominican Republic between Cabo Engano and Puerto Plata.

There were also tropical storm warnings in effect for Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten, according to the NOAA.

The storm had already caused significant damage in Dominica that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit called “mind-boggling.”

Although the extent was not yet clear, there were unconfirmed reports of six deaths on the island, which was now experiencing a communications blackout.

Guadeloupe was also hit hard, with at least one dead and two people missing and widespread flooding.

Neighboring Martinique had what officials termed limited damage, however.

It’s the second severe hurricane to hit the Caribbean this month, after Hurricane Irma devastated much of the Virgin Islands, St Maarten and St Barth.

The post Hurricane Maria Moves to St Croix, Puerto Rico appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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Young adults carry an average student debt load of $41,200—higher than their average annual income of $38,800, according to a new NAR study…

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Looking for an easy island getaway? Bermuda is offering some of its biggest savings of the year right now, with a host of places to stay.

Bermuda’s calling it a “Splash Sale,” with a 30 percent discount on your stay at Bermuda hotels, meaning extra rum swizzles and spiny lobster.

The Fairmont Southampton.

The sale lasts through Sept. 22, covering travel between now and April 30, 2018.

Participating properties include everything from the iconic Coco Reef to the famous Fairmont Southampton, with the latter offering a whopping 50 percent discount.

For more information, visit Bermuda Tourism.

— Caribbean Journal staff

The post How to Save Big on a Bermuda Getaway Right Now appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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By the Caribbean Journal staff

With several islands steel reeling from the destructive force of Hurricane Irma, another major storm is barreling toward the Caribbean: Hurricane Maria.

As of Sunday evening, Hurricane Maria was about 210 miles east-southeast of the island of Dominica, with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center.

The storm was moving north-northwest at around 13 miles per hour, with a decrease in forward speed expected through Tuesday night, expected to become a “major hurricane.”

The center of Maria is projected to move across the Leeward Islands on Monday night, and then over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday.

Hurricane warnings were already in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat and Martinique, with tropical storm warnings in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St Eustatius, St Lucia, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the US and British Virgin Islands, St Maarten, St Barth and Anguilla.

Maria is expected to produce rainfall of between six and 12 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across the Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands through Wednesday night.

The northern and central Windward Islands are expected to see rainfall of two to four inches, with potential for life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

The post Hurricane Maria Heads Toward Caribbean appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor

The appeal of swim-up suites ­– hotel rooms that open directly onto a private plunge or shared serpentine pool – is undeniable. Across the Caribbean, resorts with these room categories report that they’re consistently sold out, despite their premium price. And clearly guests love the water’s-edge cloisters, where they can literally roll straight out of bed and into the pool.

Many rave about the convenience of being able to bask in the sun even before breakfast is served. And most will cite the convenience of never really having to leave their room (or at least stray too far from it) to enjoy some pool time.

But there’s another advantage to these suites that’s often overlooked, one which we discovered during our recent stay at Barcelo Maya Caribe, a beachfront all-inclusive near Puerto Aventuras on the Riviera Maya of Mexico, where its swim-up suites are (unsurprisingly) in high demand.

The advantage is that swim-up suites offer the perfect (and private) way to end a full Caribbean day. How delightful to return to your roost, satisfied from a delicious dinner, and then be able to enjoy a soothing night swim under a tropical sky. If you’re lucky, your pool (like ours) will also have aqua loungers, offering semi-submerged relaxation and the perfect position for studious star-gazing.

And, if you’re luckier still, the patio of your suite (also like ours) will have a soaking tub.

So whenever you have a chance to book a swim-up suite, we recommend you do, but only as long as you remember this: Rolling out of bed and into the pool is an undeniably good thing. But emerging from the pool and then rolling pleasantly relaxed and droopy-eyed into bed is even better.

The post On the Riviera Maya, The Joy of the Swim-Up Suite appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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NAR testifies on Capitol Hill that current ideas of how to reform the tax code would raise taxes for millions of middle-class homeowners and…

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By the Caribbean Journal staff

The island of St. Kitts is “ready to welcome visitors” after escaping the wrath of Hurricane Irma.

The island’s airport, cruise port and all tourism providers are “open and resuming normal operations,” the island’s tourist board said in a statement.

St. Kitts was “fortunate to be virtually unscathed by Hurricane Irma,” officials said.

American Airlines has already resumed its Saturday flights from JFK, while Seaborne Airlines was set to resume its daily nonstop flights from San Juan on Saturday.

“All hotels and resorts are fully operational and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts remains on scheduled to debut Nov. 1,” the tourism board said.

“We are thrilled to get back to business as usual and ready to welcome visitors,” said St. Kitts Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant. “For those who planning to travel to island, we look forward to providing a world-class experience and all the warm Kittitian hospitality for which we have become known.”

Cruise lines have also resumed port calls to St. Kitts, with four ships set to dock at Port Zante in the coming week.

The post St. Kitts “Ready to Welcome Visitors” appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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