The last month has been a challenging one. On September 20th, Puerto Rico was hit by a strong category 4 hurricane. Then, on September 29, the US State Department issued a statement warning US citizens not to travel to Cuba.
Below is an update on Vamonos’ response to these challenges and our plans moving forward. Once again, thank you for your care, support, continued partnership during this time.
Hours after the State Department issued the travel warning to the island, Vamonos sent a message to our group leaders, social media followers, and destination constituents. Here’s the article.
We are aware that most Cuba tour operators in the US are telling customers they still plan to visit the island which according to them “is safe.” For Vamonos, the safety of our travelers comes first. Until the situation with the confusing sonic attacks on diplomats and at Havana hotels is resolved, and the US lifts the travel warning, we will not take our groups to Cuba.
The island continues to rebuild itself and recover from a powerful hurricane that left much damage all over Puerto Rico. Below is a list of initiatives and facts associated with the recovery, our efforts, and our plan moving forward.
As of October 19, 2017…
- 71.5% of the island has water (http://status.pr/Home).
- 21.6% of the island has power (http://status.pr/Home).
- 45 hospitals have electricity and are fully operational (http://status.pr/Home).
- ALL ports, main airport (SJU), and bus systems are 100% operating.
- ALL of our Vamonos-preferred hotels (along with almost 100 more) are open and accepting reservations (http://puertoriconow.seepuertorico.com/hotels/)
- 87% of supermarkets are fully operating
- 78% of gas stations are fully operating
- Our Vamonos Hurricane Relief Fund has raised over $13,000. We continue to reach our underprivileged communities with supplies, food, and personal attention.
- All of our emergency medical, firefighters, and police personnel are actively operating
- The two largest malls of San Juan are open for shoppers and powered
- El Yunque Rainforest and our zipline adventure day in Utuado are the only two attractions that are still closed until further notice.
- All of our San Juan, Ponce, La Parguera, and Fajardo attractions remain open and operational
- Visit PR Tourism Industry Update (Oct.16) for more details about our recovery.
- November 27, 2017 is our new date we’ll resume our cultural immersion educational tours of the island.
- We are open NOW and fully prepared to run hurricane-relief service learning tours.
- Our Tour Old San Juan walking tours and Puerto Rico day tours are open now.
- The US Government is investing more than 500 million dollars in restoring power to the island. Therefore, the Governor expects to have 95% of electricity fully restored by December 15, 2017.
- Vamonos expects smooth, business as usual tours for 2018.
- In addition to Puerto Rico, we also offer cultural immersion tours of Costa Rica, Panama, Spain, Cuban-Heritage Miami, Mexican-Heritage San Antonio, Peru, Ecuador/Galapagos, French Martinique, and French Canada.
We will continue to update you on the status and recovery of Puerto Rico. Please know that the safety of our travelers is our number one priority. We will not put students or travelers at risk.
We have 15+ staff members on the island assessing the situation, visiting hotels, attractions, and bringing supplies and help to people in need. We will reopen our tours by November 27, 2017 because we are convinced our tour route, hotels, attractions, and staff are ready to run safe cultural immersion tours.
Thank you for supporting our fund and helping those in need on the island. If you haven’t made a donation yet, we urge to visit our Hurricane Relief Fund Page for more details.
President, Vamonos Tours Inc.