The Caribbean Islands reopen for business

The islands of the Caribbean are waiting for you

The world is opening up to meet again. And the Caribbean is no exception. The tourist dependent Caribbean has seen 61, 240 deaths as of July 9, though some islands have recorded total recoveries. So after months of lockdowns and quarantines, the region best known for its perfectly blue waters and inviting warm weather is ready to welcome you back. And just in time for summer, since no one quite does summer like the Caribbean.

So below you will find a list of the already opened and soon opening islands with updated restrictions and safety measure. Contracting and moving the virus is still very much a possibility, so common measures such as social distancing, wearing of masks in public spaces, sanitation and temperature screenings are still enforced on most islands especially at their entry ports.

United States Virgin Island

Hansen bay at St. John

The U. S Virgin islands; which were the first to officially reopen their borders on June 1, have amended some of their previous restrictions to welcome tourists to their shores. But the entry protocols for foreign nationals still remain in place.

Most hotels in this U. S territory are open with additional cleaning measures set. As for restaurants, operations may ensue but with only 50 percent of their normal capacity. So you might want to book early. Public beaches also welcome feet back in their sand, while adhering to distancing rules. So you might not need a mask here.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

This double knotted state; which reopened its borders on June 4th, has a list of requirements which include providing a certified proof of a negative COVID-19 test accompanied by a completed Health Declaration Form and a Traveller Accommodation Form. Screenings and rapid antigen tests are also conducted.

Hotels and resorts are open with implemented measures such as electronic check-ins. Housekeepers have gone the extra mile, putting stickers on cleaned rooms, just to put their guests at ease.

Jamaica

White River in Ochos Rios Jamaica

Known for its lightning fast sprinters and unique genre of music, Jamaica will also be known for re-welcoming the world on June 15. The Director of Tourism, Donovan White relayed his excitement in a statement on Travel Pulse, ” Tourism is the lifeblood of our local economy, and with the help of international experts and a dedicated task force, we have developed protocols that allow us to safely reopen our borders.” International tourist can expect the standard screening procedures. Anyone displaying elevated symptoms will be advised to undergo testing and to self-quarantine as they await their results. Travellers are also required to complete an online health assessment before boarding to the island. 

Gatherings have been given the greenlight but with a maximum of 10 attendants. Restaurants may house up to 70 percent in capacity but buffets are still off the table.

St. Lucia

The Church Of The Immaculate Conception, Castries

Travellers graced the borders of St. Lucia on June 4, solely from the United States. While international travellers hit the scene on June 22. Among other procedures, visitors will be required to provide proof of a certified negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to travel and a health assessment. Travel is mandated only with authorised taxis booked by the hotel.

St. Lucia is still currently in phase 1 of its reopening and phase 2 is expected to kick in from August 1st, details are yet to be released.

St. Barth

Villa in the mountains, St. Barths.

This French island; which has seen total recovery of its 6 cases, has resumed back to normal life within its borders. But since a tourist destination is not really normal without its tourists, the island official welcomed back tourist on June 22. You can expect to hit the boutiques, get round to an early dinner or simply enjoy getting a tan without any restrictions.

Since the island is currently COVID-19 free, there are measures to ensure it stays so. Tourist must provide a PT-PCR test performed at least 72 hours before departure to the island. And if this is not in hand, one will be conducted at the airport, though tourists will be transitioned into quarantine pending the results. Island territorial  council president, Bruno Magras cited in a press release that results are often received within 24 hours. So once that us done, it is back to enjoying what this beautiful island has to offer.

The Bahamas

Shack Signs at an old vacation hut

This region of 700 island announced a two phase plan as part of its Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan. Phase 1 started on June 15, welcoming private jet and boat owners, while phase 2 kicked in on July 1st, welcoming international travellers.

During both phases, visitors are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken 10 days within arrival and fill out a travel card. Children 10 years and younger do not require testing. Excursion trips and attraction tours are still on course but with a limited number of participants and limited visit durations. Ferris, buses and other public transportation vehicles carry only 50 percent of their capacity.

Restaurants and food services have reopened with new measures in place, like disposable menus. Buffets have been discontinued.

Aruba

Aruba; which had already opened up its borders to neighbouring islands; Bonaire and Curacao, on June 15, received tourist from Canada, Europe and the Caribbean (excluding the Dominican Republic and Haiti) on July 1st. And tourists from the United States on July 10.

The procedures developed in collaboration with the Department of Public Health and guidance from the World Health Organization can be accessed at Aruba.com. Procedures include completing an Embarkation/Disembarkation card (ED card), advisibly after booking your vacation. The process also requires proof a negative COVID-19 results, solely from a PCR test (other tests are not admissible). Masks will not be required in Aruba except in places where distancing is impossible to observe

At hotels, plexiglass barriers have been erected along with establishing contactless check-ins. According to the national website, protocols will be constantly revisited for improvements and updates, so if this is your next destination, we would advise you keep an eye on the site.

Aruba Ports, Oranjestad, Aruba

Puerto Rico

The island will officially reopen for tourists from July 15. On the island, restaurants reopened on June 16, with the operational capacity of 50 percent. Recreational places such as golf courses are also open, though groups are limited to same household members only, while others like the El Yunque require an appointment for entry.

Incoming visitors might be subjected to a 14-day quarantine regardless of symptoms or be required to take a rapid result test. There are new guidelines in place to ensure safety within accommodation establishments. Travel to Puerto Rico is currently via flights only. Full details have not yet been released.

The beautiful city of San Juan, the heart of Puerto Rico

Turks and Caicos

The British territory has announced plans to reopen borders on July 22. According to Travel+Leisure, the Tourist Board director, Pamela Ewing shared on the possibility of re-welcoming tourist. However, they will not be rushing, “In the meantime we are taking every precaution to ensure the islands are safe and enhance the exceptional experience and care afforded by the destination and our world-class hospitality partners”.

Protocols are yet to be announced. Restaurants and hotels in the region were allowed to resume operations for locals on July 6.

Airlines have confirmed their routes to the region, though the Grand Turks Cruise Centre will remain closed until August 1, as per medical advice.

The Proviciales in Turks and Caicos

Cayman Islands

After deputy premier who doubles as minister of tourism, Moses Kirkconnell confirmed the reopening of the Cayman Islands on September 1, premier Alden McLaughlin sees the target date highly unlikely as reported by the local paper Cayman Compass.

During an evening briefing, McLaughlin expressed his doubts saying, “Given what I and everybody else is seeing in the United States, the September reopening date is not looking good.”

It seems the reopening of this ultimate diving destination may be highly unlikely. But all we can, is wait and see.

The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

St. Maarten

In a recent press release, tourism minister Ludmila de Weever announced St. Maarten welcomed tourist from Europe and North America from July 1st. The Dutch island partially reopened for travellers from other Caribbean islands on June 22 (provided they had been in their country for 21 days before travel). And it will soon be reopening just a bit more with new restriction in place. Testing is not mandatory but highly advised. St. Maarten has reopened most of its dining and shopping centres even water sport activities are available. But you will have put your nightlife on hold as nightclubs are still inaccessible till further notice.

Full details are still to be revealed, so if you are planning to journey to St. Maarten, keep your eye on their website.

The beach airport, the planes flying right above you as you enjoy your tan

Dominica

If you are missing the breathtaking beauty of the ‘Nature Island”, then we have good news for you. According to a statement in Caribbean Journal, Dominica will reopen its borders on Aug 7.

Colin Piper, CEO of Discover Dominica cited, “Though excited to once again be offering travelers an opportunity to experience the Nature Island of the Caribbean, we are approaching this opening with stringent protocols,” adding, “Our priority remains to keep visitors and our residents free from the spread of the virus. Dominica’s many nature based activities, our secluded beaches and long meandering rainforest hikes, are perfectly positioned for a socially distanced travel experience. The great outdoors and wholesome cuisine of Dominica offers the perfect antidote to the stresses of this pandemic.”

The health protocols follow that of many countries, including rapid test screening. But entry for both nationals and tourists requires a negative PCR COVID-19 test at most 72 hours old. You must also fill out an online health questionnaire.

If anyone displays concerning symptoms, government facilities and certified hotels are ready for quarantine procedures.

Largest resort, Cabrits Resort and Spa Kempinski Dominica, has announced its plans to reopen in time to receive tourists, while eco resort; Rosalie Bay resort, is already up and running. Some resorts, though not yet open, are on track for the reopening in August.

Barbados

Historial site, canons in St Lucy, Barbados.

Feel like flying fish and cou-cou? Then you are in luck, Barbados has reopened its borders. From July 1, “the land of the flying fish” has welcomed tourists back to its shores; at which time it was virus free. But as of Aug 7, there were 26 active cases.

The government of Barbados has made substantial changes in the hope to keep life. Travellers are bracketed according to their country of residence. From high-risk countries to bubble countries. All travellers are required to wear masks at all times while at the airport, undergo health screenings and fill out an online ED Card regardless of their country.

High-risk and medium-risk country tourists must present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure. If this is unavailable, one will be conducted at the airport. Tourists from high- risk countries will also be quarantined upon arrival for 14 days. 5 to 7 days into quarantine, another test will be taken and if negative, tourist may begin their vacation. While tourists from medium- risk countries will only be monitored for 14 days and tested at the 5 -7 day mark. If the test is found negative, the vacation begins.

Tourists from low-risk countries only need a negative PCR test, taken 3 – 5 days of departure alongside their ED Card. No testing will be done upon arrival if tourists have no worrying symptoms.

Bubble country travellers may freely enter Barbados if they have been in the country for 21 days before departure.

Like all countries, the island promises to take measures to ensure the safety of both residents and tourists.