Travel to the Caribbean: A Reopening Timeline, Country by Country

Daily Life In Cuba During Coronavirus Pandemic
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With each island enacting social distancing guidelines and various lockdown rules, the spread of the coronavirus in the Caribbean slowed significantly in May and intra-island flights slowly resumed throughout the summer. By the fall, some islands’ borders remain closed, but many have already reopened and tourism has returned to a new normal as restaurants, beaches, and hotels open up with social distancing and mask-wearing measures in place.

Upon the announcement of a new strain of virus discovered in the United Kingdom, some island nations are banning flights arriving from the UK. Starting January 26, any traveler entering the United States, including U.S. citizens, will need proof of negative test taken within three days of departure. This does not apply to travelers returning from Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Some countries have already rolled back and revised their tourism reopening plans following jumps in infection rates, but others are still going strong with effective testing and quarantine strategies. Many nations have also banded together to create the CARICOM Travel Bubble, which allows travelers to avoid quarantine and testing measures as long as they are traveling between low-risk countries within the bubble. The list of CARICOM member states participating in the bubble, as well as updated data on infection rates, can be found on the official CARICOM website.

Read on for more information on various Caribbean islands’ border closures, quarantine procedures, and reopening plans.

Anguilla

On November 1, Anguilla introduced a new tourism bubble system, which allows travelers to enter for tourism, but they will have to apply for their visit in advance through the Anguilla Tourism website and must stay at their approved location for 10 to 14 days. During their stay, activities like scooter rentals, restaurants, shopping boutiques, and art galleries will be open within the bubble.

Travelers will still need to be tested before they leave for Anguilla (within three to five days) when they arrive and on the tenth or fourteenth day of quarantine. Tourists will also be charged a fee for entering Anguilla depending on how large their group is and the length of their stay, which starts at $300 for a solo traveler staying for 5 days or less.

Antigua and Barbuda

After closing its international airport to commercial flights on March 26, Antigua and Barbuda began welcoming all tourists in June. New arrivals must have a negative test taken within seven days of their departure and will be monitored for 14 days. Health screenings are being conducted at the airport and a traveler may be tested or entered into mandatory quarantine if they are presenting symptoms.

Aruba

Aruba reopened to travelers from Canada, Europe, and the U.S. Travelers can choose to be tested within 72 hours before they travel to Aruba or at the airport when they arrive. However, Americans who choose to get tested at the airport will need to stay in mandatory isolation until the results of their test come back negative. All visitors must complete an Embarkation and Disembarkation form which includes a personal health assessment and must purchase the mandatory Aruba Visitors Insurance for $30, which will cover medical expenses if they test positive for COVID-19 during their stay.

Bahamas

U.S. citizens are allowed to travel to the Bahamas, but they must submit a Travel Health Visa Application, where they'll need to attach the negative results of a COVID-19 test taken within five days of arriving. The visa will cost between $40 and $60, depending on the length of stay, and travelers must opt into the health insurance that covers any COVID-19-related costs. A quarantine will only be mandatory if a traveler is symptomatic or tests positive for the virus. Anyone entering the Bahamas must complete a daily health survey for the first 14 days of their stay.

Barbados

While Barbados enacted stringent social distancing measures, it never established an official travel ban and reopened for all tourists, including Americans, on July 12. All travelers over the age of five must fill out the online immigration form within 24 hours of arriving. Barbados also introduced at-home testing which allows Americans and Canadians to make an appointment for a test conducted in their own home.

Any traveler coming from a high-risk country, like the United States, must be tested within 72 hours before their trip and quarantine upon arrival at one of the designated hotels or villas listed on the Barbados Tourism website. On the fifth day of their quarantine, they will be tested again and will be released if the test is negative. During their quarantine, all travelers must wear an electronic tracking bracelet.

Any traveler coming from a medium-risk country, like Canada, will be allowed to leave the airport but will need to be tested again on their fourth or fifth day in Barbados. The list of high-, medium-, and low-risk countries can be found in the latest protocols guide published by the Barbados Ministry of Tourism.

Bermuda

Travelers over the age of nine will need to take a negative COVID-19 test no more than five days before departure, have health insurance, and fill out a Travel Authorization Form. There is also a fee of $75 which includes the cost of all testing in Bermuda. For convenience, Bermuda has partnered with Costco to sell take-home tests.

Once in Bermuda, non-resident visitors will have to take another COVID-19 test and isolate until the results are returned, as well as perform twice-daily temperature checks (with their own thermometer), which must be reported online. Follow-up tests will be required on the fourth, eighth, and fourteenth day of your trip and appointments will be automatically booked for you, but can be rescheduled if needed. All travelers will be required to wear a wristband for the first 14 days of their trip, which will limit their movement around the island. A $500 fine will be incurred for anyone who removes the wristband before the 14 days is up.

Bonaire

Flights between Bonaire and the U.S. are scheduled to resume in February and all tourists must fill out the Health Declaration Form and provide a negative COVID-19 test (taken within 72 hours) to enter. No quarantine period will be required. Citizens of Curacao, Saba and Sint Eustatius, and Aruba can travel freely to and from Bonaire with minimal restrictions.

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands reopened for tourism on December 1 but requires visitors to be tested within five days of arriving, upon arrival, and on the fourth day of their mandatory quarantine. When the last test comes back negative, travelers will be free to move about the islands. Visitors will need to register their trip online to obtain a Traveller Authorisation Certificate, which will need to be presented at the airport along with their negative test before flying to the islands, and must download the BVI Gateway App to their phones. There is also a $175 fee to enter and failing to wear a mask and maintain social distance while on the island could result in an on-the-spot fine of $100.

As of January 10, the British Virgin Islands has banned all travel originating from or transiting through the Dominican Republic due to a high rate of cases.

Cayman Islands

Only returning residents, property owners, relatives of residents, and those on student visas are allowed to enter the Cayman Islands and they must present a negative test before arrival, undergo a minimum 14-day quarantine, and test negative before leaving the facility. Travel between the islands is also allowed if travelers have been in the country for at least 14 days or request authorization and are tested for COVID-19.

Daily Life In Cuba During Coronavirus Pandemic
Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo / Getty Images

Cuba

Commercial flights have resumed operations in Cuba and the island has reopened for international tourism. U.S. citizens will be permitted to enter, so long as they are traveling under one of the qualified categories. Travelers will need to show a negative test taken within 72 hours and will also be tested again upon arrival in Cuba. Recently, Cuba has expanded the locations tourists are permitted to visit.

Curacao

Curacao's borders are currently open for people traveling from low-risk and medium-risk countries, which are designated on the Curacao Tourism Board website. Travelers will have to complete a digital immigration card and show a negative COVID-19 test that was taken 72 hours before departure.

Dominica

Dominica is open for international tourism and is welcoming travelers from the entire U.S. All travelers will be required to submit a health questionnaire online at least 24 hours prior to their arrival and show a negative test taken within 24 to 72 hours before arriving. Everyone arriving in Dominica will be rapid-tested upon arrival and must quarantine if they test positive or exhibit symptoms.

Travelers arriving from high-risk countries like the U.S. must quarantine regardless of their test results and will only be allowed to stay at certified accommodation. They will be tested on the first or fifth day of their trip and won't be allowed to leave until the results come back negative. The tourism board has also outlined new rules for tourists limiting capacity at popular attractions and activities.

Dominican Republic

Phase two of the Dominican Republic’s reopening began on June 3 and the national curfew has been extended until January 26, 2021. Travelers arriving in the Dominican Republic do not need to show a negative test upon arrival. Instead, random testing at the airport will be implemented to test between three and 15 percent of arriving passengers. All passengers arriving from the UK will need to show a negative test taken within 72 hours, or they will be forced to quarantine for seven days.

All travelers entering and departing the Dominican Republic will need to complete an online entry or exit form to obtain the QR codes that will be requested while traveling. The form is available on the official website of the Immigration Department. Travelers must also sign an affidavit upon arrival declaring whether or not they have experienced symptoms. Additionally, anyone arriving before April 30, 2021, and staying at a hotel will be granted a free insurance plan that covers healthcare for any infection of COVID-19 that occurred in the Dominican Republic.

Grenada

Grenada has reopened for tourism and all visitors must be tested within three days before their trip. Every traveler must also pay a one-time fee of $150 to cover the cost of testing. Travelers arriving from low-risk countries do not need to quarantine, but everyone else will need to book at least their first seven days at a government-approved accommodation. On the fifth day, tourists have the option to be tested again and will be allowed to leave the premises once a negative result is confirmed. Travelers will also be required to download the government's contact tracing app.

Guadeloupe

Air travel from Europe resumed on July 1 and European tourists can enter without quarantining if they show a negative test result taken within 72 hours. However, travelers from the U.S. are still barred from entering Guadeloupe.

Jamaica

Jamaica reopened its borders to all international tourists in June. To visit, all visitors have to apply for a Travel Authorization before checking in for their flight. Additionally, residents of the United States, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Panama who plan to visit Jamaica will need to upload a negative COVID-19 test (taken within 10 days of departure) with their travel authorization request. All travelers arriving in Jamaica will be charged $40 for compulsory health insurance coverage when they apply for their authorization.

Upon arrival, visitors will undergo a health screening and if it is deemed that they have symptoms or are traveling from high-risk areas, they will be tested at the airport and will have to wait for their test results while quarantined at a government-approved hotel. To ensure the safety of the local community, travelers will also be required to stay within the prescribed tourist corridors.

The Jamaican government now requires all travelers arriving from the UK to be tested on arrival and quarantine for 48 hours and all flights from the UK are banned until January 31, 2021.

Martinique

U.S. travelers are not allowed to enter Martinique at this time, but all others approved to visit Martinique must obtain a COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before their departure and present a sworn statement that they are symptom-free. A mandatory quarantine is no longer necessary if travelers test negative and show no symptoms, but the authorities request that visitors maintain social distancing as much as possible and take another COVID-19 test seven days after arriving in Martinique.

Montserrat

With no new cases of the virus, Montserrat began its gradual reopening on May 25 starting with restaurants, churches, busses, and taxis. Restrictions eased further on June 8 and borders are open to residents, citizens, family members of Montserrat citizens, and select essential workers. Anyone qualified to enter Montserrat under these conditions will need to register their trip with the Montserrat government, test negative within seven days before their arrival, and quarantine for 14 days at their residence or six days in a quarantine facility. U.S. citizens are not allowed to enter Montserrat at this time.

Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Extends Curfew To Contain Coronavirus Spread
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Puerto Rico

This territory of the U.S. is only encouraging essential travel and anyone visiting Puerto Rico will need to complete a Travel Declaration Form and upload a negative test, taken within 72 hours before their trip. Visitors will also be screened at the airport and symptomatic travelers will be quarantined at a government facility. If the results of the test are still pending by the time the traveler gets to Puerto Rico, they will be required to quarantine until the results come in.

St. Barts

U.S. citizens and other travelers are allowed to enter St. Barts, but they will need to supply a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before their trip and a sworn statement that they have no symptoms. There is no requirement to quarantine. However, anyone staying on the island for more than seven days will need to take a second test on the eighth day of their trip at the test center in Gustavia.

St. Kitts and Nevis

On October 31, the borders of St. Kitts and Nevis reopened with a phased approach. International travelers coming from outside the CARICOM bubble who are not residents will need to complete the online entry form where they should upload a negative test result taken within 72 hours of travel and download the SKN COVID-19 contact tracing app.

For the first seven days, each traveler's movements will be restricted to their hotel, which must be selected from a list of approved hotels, and on day seven, they will be eligible to take another test. If they test negative, they'll be allowed to book an approved excursion but still must stay on the hotel's property for the next seven days. Before fully integrating into St. Kitts and Nevis, the traveler will need to take another test on the 14th day of quarantine. If the visitor's stay is less than 14 days, they will be required to take one last test before departing the island.

In late December, St. Kitts and Nevis suspended all British Airways flights until the end of March 2021. Any traveler arriving indirectly from the UK will not be allowed to "vacation in place," and instead must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine without leaving their hotel.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia is open for all travelers, but only those arriving from countries within St. Lucia's non-CARICOM travel bubble, which consists of 12 other Caribbean island nations, will be exempt from quarantine. All travelers over the age of five will need to be tested within seven days of departure and must upload a negative result to their Travel Authorization Form. They will be required to quarantine at a certified hotel for 14 days, or the duration of their stay, except to transfer to another hotel, participate in approved excursions, or eat out at an approved restaurant.

St. Maarten

In August, Dutch St. Maarten moved into phase four of its reopening plan, meaning it is now open to visitors from nearby islands, Canada, Europe, and the U.S. Everyone who plans to visit St. Maarten will need to be tested within 120 hours of their arrival and fill out the online application before departure. There is no requirement to quarantine if travelers can show a negative test.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has kept all airports and seaports open and has strict rules in place for arriving travelers. The protocol for anyone arriving in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is to complete a Pre-Arrival Form and a Port Health form. Travelers from high-risk countries like the U.S. will also need to show a negative test result taken within 72 hours before their trip and will be tested again upon arrival. They must then quarantine for at least 10 days at their own expense in an approved hotel, which they should reserve in advance. They'll be tested again on the fourth or seventh day of quarantine and will be allowed to leave when they test negative.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago’s borders remain closed to nationals and non-nationals. To request an exemption, travelers are advised to contact the Ministry of National Security. A reopening is being planned for, but no date has been set.

Turks and Caicos

The country of Turks and Caicos has resumed international flights, but the Grand Turk Cruise Center is closed until January 1, 2021. Any traveler over the age of 10 entering Turks and Caicos will need to apply for authorization and provide a negative COVID-19 test, taken within five days before arriving, and proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 medical costs. U.S. citizens who are approved for travel are not required to quarantine, but anyone who arrives showing symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19 will be placed under quarantine for 14 days.

U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands, an American territory, has officially reopened to leisure travelers, which means hotels are accepting reservations and restaurants are open with social distancing in place. Every traveler above the age of five must submit a negative test result through the USVI Travel Screening Portal and produce a negative test taken within five days of departing, upon arrival to the U.S. Virgin Islands. A positive antibody test taken within the last four months will also be accepted. Only travelers who are unable to produce original test results will be required to quarantine at their own expense.

Article Sources
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