Crisis in paradise: Meltdown leaves ghost resorts

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The ocean glows a milky turquoise. Tiny waves lap at the powder-beige sand, in no rush to reach the line of postcard-perfect palm trees.

Hundreds of luxury villas are positioned to take in the view, but there are no guests. There are no roofs either; neatly tied bundles of red tiles are stacked outside. The wind slams doors and rustles the yellowed newspaper taped to the windows.

The paralyzed work scene at the Cap Cana resort, a development including four luxury hotels, three golf courses and a mega-yacht marina, is a victim of the global financial crisis that has hit the Caribbean's tourism industry especially hard.

Cap Cana fired 500 workers last month after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and a $250 million loan fell through. Talks to re-negotiate a $100 million short-term loan collapsed last week, and more layoffs are expected.

"Our project has been affected by the economic tsunami that has paralyzed the global financial markets," said Cap Cana President Ricardo Hazoury.

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