Hurricane Emily, the fifth named storm of the 2005 season, slammed
into resort areas of Mexicos Yucatan peninsula on July 18, but
largely sideswiped Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Grenada, too, dodged
a bullet, reporting minimal damage to two properties on
In Cancun and
Cozumel, tourists and residents were forced to evacuate and many in
the region lost power, but most of the infrastructure was
Emily made landfall
north of Tulum -- on the Yucatan coast south of Cancun -- as a
Category 4 storm, with 135 mile-per-hour winds, according to the
National Hurricane Center.
The most powerful
part of the hurricane, the northern eye-wall, reportedly passed
over the popular resort island of Cozumel, where damage was said to
be minimal. Cozumels airport is expected to reopen by July
Local Mexican police
have reported no injuries or deaths, and structural damage to
resorts and hotels in the region, at least on the mainland, appears
to be limited.
According to the
Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCVB), damage in the
Caribbean resort city was minimal, consisting mainly of downed
power lines, but full power quickly was restored in the hotel zone
and the citys airport reopened.
The city looks a
little disheveled because of the downed trees, but beside that
everything is exactly the same, said Marisa Steta, marketing
director for the CCVB, adding that the city is 85% back to
The CCVB is advising
U.S. travelers with imminent departures to Cancun to continue with
their travel plans as early as July 20, as everything is perfect,
including streets, local transit, lights, water and telephones, she
There was no major
damage to any hotel, so if tourists still want to come they should,
Steta added. Its a little cloudy today, but were expecting a sunny
day [July 20].
Similarly, a handful
of resorts in the greater Cancun/Riviera Maya area contacted by
phone, including some on Cozumel, reported minimal
Palace Resorts said that broken glass was the worst damage reported
at its seven area properties, although assessments were still being
made at its Xpu Ha Palace on the Riviera Maya.
All our resorts --
even Cozumel Palace -- are doing fine, said a spokeswoman, adding
that several properties, such as Aventura Palace near Tulum, served
as shelters for displaced tourists. In fact, Moon Palace Golf and
Spa Resort in Cancun proper was the broadcast center for the
said they had not heard from four of their Cozumel and Riviera Maya
resorts. However, the Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal Playacar two-resort
complex reported damage to restaurants, beaches and pools,
according to a spokeswoman.
cruise port Puerto Costa Maya experienced little in the way of
assistant manager at the port authority in Puerto Costa Maya, said
power was out -- likely for another 24 hours, until July 19 -- but
tourists nevertheless were heading back to hotels from
Its okay here, he
said. The storm has passed and all our hotels are reportedly
shuffled itineraries to take ships out of harms way. Carnival
shifted the itineraries of the Carnival Glory, which departed July
16 from Port Canaveral, Fla., and the Elation, which departed July
17 from Galveston, Texas, from western Caribbean routes to eastern
Line sent the Norwegian Sea, which sailed July 16 from Houston, to
Key West, Fla., instead of southward to Cozumel. A spokesman said
that it was evaluating itinerary options beyond the Key West
International was still deciding the best course for its Empress of
the Seas, which departed July 18 and was originally scheduled to
call in Cozumel on July 20 and Costa Maya on July 21. Passengers
were notified that the itinerary might be revised depending on
conditions in the two ports.
In the Caribbean,
power in Grenada, still recovering from Hurricane Ivan last
September, was quickly restored and the airport reopened. Minister
of tourism Brenda Hood said that although Emily inflicted some
damage on the north coast, the bulk of Grenadas hotels, tourist
sites, attractions and dive sites were undamaged.
For example, Spice
Island Beach Resort, which is in the midst of a $10 million
rebuilding project from Ivan, emerged unscathed as did Blue
Horizons Garden Resort, which reopened earlier this month following
a $1.5 million refurbishment.
In Jamaica, minister
of industry and tourism Aloun Ndombet Assamba, said that tourism
regions reported little or no damage. Emily passed 60 miles south
of Jamaica, and we are extremely fortunate once more to have been
spared the potential wrath of a very serious storm, she said.
Hurricane Dennis dumped rain and wind on Jamaica less than a week
ago, but did not cause serious infrastructure damage.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected]. To contact reporter Kenneth
Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].