San Juan appears to have escaped the worst of Hurricane Fiona

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A downed palm tree after Hurricane Fiona.
A downed palm tree after Hurricane Fiona. Photo Credit: Aleksandr Rybalko/Shutterstock

For many San Juan-area businesses, Hurricane Fiona could have been a lot worse.

Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Puerto Rico as a Category 1 on Sunday afternoon, bringing more than 30 inches of rain across the island. The areas hit hardest were the south, southwest and central regions of Puerto Rico. Relatively speaking, San Juan, which is on the island's north coast, was spared the brunt. 

While on Wednesday it was unclear how resorts fared, a receptionist who answered the phone at El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo on Tuesday said there was no immediate signs of damage, but assessment was ongoing. The resort was operating on generators. 

A similar assessment was made by an operator who answered the phone at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico. Caribe Hilton said it, too, was running on generators.

A spokeswoman for the Condado Collection, whose San Juan properties include Condado Vanderbilt, La Concha Resort and Condado Ocean Club, said no properties had been damaged, and all remain open and operational.

But social media posts depicted different situations in other regions. Videos showed guests being evacuated via helicopter from the second floor of the Motel Caribbean in the west coast town of Hormigueros. Televised reports reported a portion of the roof of the San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel in Carolina blew off. An operator who answered the phone confirmed there was some roof damage, but did not comment further. 

In a Facebook post on Monday, Discover Puerto Rico wrote, "We strongly encourage those currently in Puerto Rico or with upcoming travel plans to contact their travel providers, hotels, and local business directly to inquire about potential changes in operations."

Heidi Rae, co-owner of H and J Island Adventures, says she had to postpone some excursions, which include hiking El Yunque National Forest, as well as beach and sightseeing tours in southern Puerto Rico areas including Salinas and Maunabo. Bookings for El Yunque tours are postponed for two weeks, while trips to Salinas and Maunabo excursions, because of heavier damage in those areas, are postponed until further notice.

Still, she remains grateful that Fiona didn't affect her business as much as Maria. Now, cell phone towers, for example, are more likely to work. During Maria, she had to walk 40 minutes to reach a working cell phone tower.
"During Maria, nobody knew what was going on in Puerto Rico," Rae said. "We were left to fend for ourselves." 

Like Rae, Jose Gonzalez, owner of Charter Flights Caribbean based in Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci International Airport in Isla Grande, said he fared better during Fiona than Maria, never losing electricity after Fiona.

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