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 or plan to reopen in the coming months and life is slowly returning to the new normal as restaurants, beaches, and hotels open up with social distancing and mask-wearing measures in place.
Some nations are have already rolled back and revised their tourism reopening plans following rising infection rates, but others are still going strong with their effective testing and quarantine protocol. As of October, many islands have reopened to allow tourists to visit but not without requiring them to be tested or even to quarantine upon arrival.
Some Caribbean nations have also joined together to create the CARICOM Travel Bubble, a travel bubble that allows travelers to avoid quarantine and testing measures as long as they are traveling to 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 website.
Read on for more information on various Caribbean islands’ border closures, quarantine procedures, and reopening plans.
Anguilla has only confirmed three COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic and in June, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized Anguilla as having no cases of COVID-19. The island kept its borders closed to visitors, but as of August 21, anyone wishing to travel to Anguilla can apply for an entry date before October 31 on the official website and will be subject to a three-test protocol that requires a COVID-19 test before you fly, upon arrival, and also on the 10th day of your trip.
On November 1, the government will introduce a new bubble concept, which will allow travelers to enter Anguilla for tourism, but they will have to stay on-site at their hotel for 14 days. Travelers will still need to be tested before they leave for Anguilla when they arrive, and before the end of their quarantine. Tourists will also be charged fees for entering Anguilla, which begin at $300 for a solo traveler staying for 5 days or less.
Antigua & 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 required to be tested or entered into mandatory quarantine if they are presenting symptoms. Many hotels on the islands and resorts are currently open and more will open on a rolling basis between November and December.
Many businesses in Aruba, including hotels and restaurants, are open again. Reopened businesses meet specific health and safety standards, called the Aruba Health & Happiness Code; approved businesses will have a gold certification seal. Aruba reopened to travelers from Canada, Europe, and the U.S. Travelers can choose to be tested before they travel to Aruba or at the airport. 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 show proof of health insurance.
American travelers arriving from the following high-risk states will not have the option of being tested in Aruba and will need to get tested before: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The Bahamas entered lockdown in March, and after briefly opening their borders to travelers in July, they were shortly closed again to U.S. travelers on July 22 after an increase in cases. As of October 7, U.S. citizens are allowed to travel to the Bahamas again, 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. Until October 31, all visitors will need to undergo a 14-day quarantine either in a hotel room, a private residence, or a private boat.
While Barbados enacted stringent social distancing measures, it never established an official travel ban and officially reopened for all tourists, including Americans, on July 12. On June 15, all businesses were permitted to reopen and restrictions were lifted on parks and beaches.
All travelers must fill out the online immigration form within 24 hours of arriving in Barbados. Any traveler coming from a high-risk country, like the United States, will be tested before their trip and quarantined upon arrival at one of the designated hotels or villas listed on the Barbados Tourism website. 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. Additionally, they will also need to complete an immigration form online before their arrival, where they can upload their negative test results.
Bermuda opened for tourism in July with a system that is reported to be quite effective. Travelers will need to take a negative COVID-19 test (ideally within 72 hours of departure), have health insurance, and fill out a Travel Authorization Form. There is also a fee of $75 which includes the cost of all your testing in Bermuda. Residents of Bermuda are not required to be tested before they travel, but they will have to quarantine for four days once they arrive. 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, which must be reported online. More testing will be required on the fourth, eighth, and 14th day of your trip and the location and time of your tests will be automatically booked for you.
Bonaire reopened to tourists from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the Netherlands with a cap of 1,000 European tourists admitted each week. Tourists must provide a negative COVID-19 test to enter along with some other restrictions. Citizens of Curacao, Saba and Sint Eustatius, and Aruba can travel freely to and from Bonaire with minimal restrictions. As of October 9, flights between Bonaire and the U.S. are suspended and anyone who has been physically present in the U.S. before arriving in Bonaire will not be allowed to enter.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands' borders remain closed to all travelers. The country began to open internally at the end of April and has established a few phases for doing so. U.S. citizens will only be allowed to enter if they qualify for an exemption. In September, the British Virgin Islands announced that they would reopen for international tourism on December 1, but has not yet released information on the official protocol or said if any countries would be blacklisted.
The Cayman Islands’ airports and cruise ship ports closed on March 22 but reopened on October 1. However, only returning residents, property owners, relatives of residents, and those on student visas are allowed to enter the country and they are then placed under a 14-day quarantine. Travel between the islands is also allowed if you have been in the country for at least 14 days, request authorization, and are tested for COVID-19. Even though the airport is open, only repatriation flights operated by private charters, Cayman Airways, and British Airways are allowed to enter and eligible travelers must provide proof of health insurance and to state how they will quarantine.
Commercial flights have resumed operations in Cuba and the island has reopened for international tourism in 13 of the country's 16 provinces. Any tourist arriving in Cuba will be tested upon arrival before being allowed to go to their hotels. U.S. citizens will also be permitted to enter, so long as they are traveling under one of the qualified categories, and will be required to show a negative test and to quarantine.
Curacao relaxed its “shelter in place” order as of May 8 and is gearing up to welcome visitors. Borders are currently open for people traveling from low-risk and medium-risk countries, which are designated on the Curacao Tourism Board website. Anyone who has been physically present in the U.S. 14 days before arriving in Curacao, will not be allowed to enter unless they request special permission. Beginning in November, an exception will be made for travelers coming from New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Connecticut. Flights between the U.S. and Curacao resume on November 7.
Travelers from approved states and countries will have to complete a digital immigration card and show a negative COVID-19 test that was taken 72 hours before departure. If you are not arriving from one of these states or if you do not meet the other requirements, you will be quarantined at your own expense.
Dominica is open for international tourism and 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 with 72 hours before arriving. Additionally, travelers from high-risk countries, which include the U.S. as of October 20, will only be allowed to stay at certified accommodation, will be tested on the 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 that include only using certified vehicles and capacity limitations at popular attractions and activities.
Phase two of the Dominican Republic’s reopening began on June 3 and the national curfew has been extended until November 11. 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 10 percent of arriving passengers. Anyone who presents symptoms or tests positive will be quarantined in an authorized location. All travelers will be required to fill out an affidavit upon arrival to declare whether or not they have experienced symptoms. Additionally, anyone arriving before December 31 will be granted a free insurance plan that covers healthcare for any infection of COVID-19 that occurred in the Dominican Republic.
Grenada has reopened for tourism and all visitors must be tested within seven days before their trip. Travelers arriving from low-risk countries do not need to quarantine, but everyone else will need to book at least their first five days at a government-approved accommodation. On the fourth day, you have the option to be tested again and will be allowed to leave the premises once a negative result is confirmed.
Guadeloupe's lockdown was lifted on May 11 and the country's positivity rate has stayed low. Air travel from Europe resumed on July 1, but travelers from the U.S. are not yet allowed to enter.
Jamaica reopened its borders to all international tourists on June 15. To visit, all visitors will 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 with their travel authorization request.
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 regions designated for tourists, also known as "The Resilient Corridors" throughout their trip.
All travelers visiting Martinique must obtain a COVID-19 test at least three days before their departure and present a sworn statement that they are symptom-free. A mandatory quarantine is no longer necessary, but the authorities request that visitors maintain social distancing and take another COVID-19 test seven days after arriving in Martinique. U.S. travelers are not allowed to enter Martinique at this time.
With no new cases of the virus, Montserrat began its gradual reopening on May 25, 2020, starting with restaurants, churches, busses, and taxis. Restrictions eased further on June 8 and borders are open to residents, citizens, family members of Monserrat citizens, and select essential workers. Anyone qualified to enter Montserrat under these conditions will need to register their trip with the Montserrat government and will need to show a negative test taken within seven days before their arrival. U.S. citizens are not allowed to enter Montserrat.
Despite a brief reopening in June, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico closed again on July 17 after a rise in cases, and a 24-hour lockdown was implemented and then lifted on September 12. The island 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.
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.
St. Kitts & Nevis
The borders of St. Kitts and Nevis will reopen on October 31 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, your movements will be restricted to your hotel, which you must select from a list of approved hotels, and on day seven, you will be eligible to take another test. If you test negative, you'll be allowed to book an approved excursion with your hotel 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.
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 will need to be tested within seven days of departure and upload a negative result to your Travel Authorization Form. Travelers from all other countries are required to quarantine at a certified hotel for 14 days, or the duration of their stay, except to transfer to another hotel or participate in water excursions.
In August, 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 you can show a negative test. Travelers from high- and medium-risk countries, which include Canada, the UK, and the U.S., will also need to upload their negative test results and provide proof of health insurance. If you are arriving from a high-risk country, you will be asked to self-monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days.
St. Vincent & Grenadines
The country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has kept all airports and seaports open but has put 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 five days before their trip and will be tested again upon arrival. They must then quarantine for at least five days at their own expense in an approved hotel, which they should reserve in advance. They'll be tested again on the fourth or fifth day of quarantine and will be allowed to leave when they test negative.
Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago’s borders remain closed to nationals and non-nationals. To request an exemption, travelers are advised to contact the Ministry of National Security.
Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos has resumed international flights, but the Grand Turk Cruise Center is closed until January 1, 2021. Until November 2, a curfew is in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and all businesses must close at 9 p.m. Any traveler entering Turks & 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 the original test, taken within 5 days of departing, upon arrival to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Only travelers who are unable to produce original test results will be required to quarantine at their own expense.
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