Photo by Shutterstock
Photo by Shutterstock
The dual-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis plans to reopen its borders on October 31.
A country-by-country guide to which islands are welcoming back international travelers—plus the new rules that aim to keep both visitors and locals safe from COVID-19.
This is a developing story. For the latest information on traveling during the coronavirus outbreak, visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
With relatively low coronavirus numbers and highly tourism-dependent economies, many Caribbean island nations like Antigua and St. Lucia started to welcome back international tourists for nonessential travel as early as this June. Other destinations, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas, rolled back reopening plans this summer to travelers from the United States as numbers increased there. (If you’re wondering about the Atlantic island of Bermuda, it reopened to all international travelers on July 1.)
To safeguard visitors and locals from outbreaks of the virus, the governments of these islands are working with public health officials and tourism boards to institute new cleaning protocols at hotels and airports as well as various social-distancing and testing measures.
Since the rules each country is requiring international travelers to follow varies widely (and are subject to frequent changes in response to outbreaks), be sure to read them closely and ask yourself the following questions before you book anything:
Antigua and Barbuda resumed flights from the United States to V.C. Bird International Airport on June 4, and now travelers from all countries are welcome to the independent Commonwealth country. All travelers 12 years and older must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within seven days of their flight. Visitors are allowed to leave their hotels during their stays but must follow public health protocols including wearing face masks and social distancing.
Read more about Antigua and Barbuda’s reopening and testing requirements here. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
Starting on June 4, St. Lucia began a phased approach to reopening tourism and started welcoming back international travelers as long as they stay in government-certified hotels and only leave their resorts to participate in approved tours and activities. All travelers five years and older must have a negative PCR test result taken within seven days prior to arrival in St. Lucia.
Read more about St. Lucia’s reopening and testing requirements here. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
On June 15, Jamaica reopened its borders to international tourists once again. Currently, all residents from the United States, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Panama age 12 and over must provide proof of negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test results obtained less than 10 days before departure.
During their trips, travelers are being restricted to two Resilient Corridors that run along the coastline from Negril to Port Antonio and from Milk River to Negril. Within those corridors, only hotels, restaurants, and other businesses that have been trained and assessed for adherence to COVID-19 protocols are allowed to open to tourists.
For more information on testing requirements and what is open, visit visitjamaica.com/travelauthorization. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
On June 22, St. Bart’s reopened its airport and started to welcome travelers from all countries. Travelers age 11 and over arriving from anywhere outside Europe’s Schengen area or the interisland Green Zone (Martinique, Guadeloupe, and St. Martin/St. Maarten) must have negative COVID-19 test results obtained 72 hours prior to arrival. All travelers—except those from the interisland Green Zone—must also get another PCR test seven days after arrival, if their trip is that long. Travelers are allowed to move around the island freely as long as they follow social-distancing guidelines and face mask requirements.
For more information on testing requirements and what is open, visit saintbarth-tourisme.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
Cuba reopened to tourism on July 1 with a new system that isolates foreign tourists from the local population by only allowing them to visit a limited number of resorts on remote islands. Because of U.S. rules that prohibit American visitors from traveling to Cuba strictly for reasons of tourism, these trips to coastal beach resorts will be off limits to U.S. citizens.
Read more details about Cuba’s new tourism system here. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
Tourism resumed in the Dominican Republic on July 1, as airports throughout the country reopened to commercial flights from all international destinations. As of September 15, travelers no longer need to provide a negative PCR test result upon arrival. They will be required to fill out and submit a Traveler’s Health Affidavit upon arrival with contact information and confirm they have not felt any COVID-19 related symptoms in the last 72 hours.
Additionally, all international travelers arriving on or before December 31, 2020, on commercial flights and visiting a hotel will receive free travel insurance that provides coverage for COVID-19 while in the country. The plan, which is paid for by the government, includes medical attention by specialists, medical transfers, transfer of a relative, penalty for airfare changes, and lodging for prolonged stays.
For more information, visit godominicanrepublic.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
The French overseas region of Guadeloupe lifted mandatory quarantine measures on May 11 and allowed commercial flights from mainland France starting in June. Flights from the rest of the EU and other countries except from the United States were allowed to resume on July 1, with passengers required to have negative PCR test results up to 72 hours before departure.
The government hasn’t announced a date when U.S. travelers will be allowed to visit. JetBlue originally announced plans to bring back its JFK-PTP route that launched in early 2020 on November 7, 2020, but Google Flights doesn’t show that route to be bookable until December 12 currently.
For more information, visit guadeloupe-islands.com/reopening. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines—including the islands of Mustique and Canouan to name two—reopened to international travelers on July 1, but they are still requiring a short quarantine for travelers from the United States.
Starting October 14, travelers from high-risk countries—including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to name three—must complete a prearrival form and bring a negative PCR test result done no more than five days before arrival. These travelers must also must complete a second PCR test upon arrival and then enter a mandatory five-day quarantine at an approved quarantine hotel at their cost. A third PCR test will be taken between days four and five of quarantine. If negative results come back then, travelers can move to an approved hotel; they will be subject to monitoring by the Port Health Officer for an additional 9 to 16 days.
For more information, visit gov.vc. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
Aruba’s government reopened its borders to visitors from the nearby islands of Bonaire and Curaçao on June 15, and visitors from the rest of the Caribbean (with the exception of Dominican Republic and Haiti), Europe, and Canada were allowed to return on July 1. As of July 10, travelers from the United States can go to Aruba.
Travelers 15 years and older from most locations must take a PCR test up to 72 hours before departure—or pay $75 for a PCR test upon arrival and quarantine until negative results come back. As of September 24, travelers arriving from high-risk states within the U.S. (see the frequently updated list here) are required to arrive with negative PCR test results from within 72 hours of departure and also submit to another PCR test upon arrival for $75 and quarantine until negative results come back.
For more information, visit aruba.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
Barbados reopened its international airport to commercial flights on July 12, 2020. Travelers age five and older from countries deemed high-risk by Barbados (including the United States) will need to upload negative PCR test results taken within three days of departing to an online immigration form at travelform.gov.bb.
Upon arrival, high-risk travelers will not be allowed to leave their hotels until they undergo a second PCR test four to five days after they took their first test (or two to three days after arrival). If travelers receive negative test results, they will no longer be restricted to their hotels and can move about the island freely.
For more information, visit visitbarbados.org. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
Starting July 15, Grenada welcomed commercial flights from Caribbean countries, followed by international flights from Canada, the U.K., and other EU countries on August 1. American Airlines resumed flights from the U.S. earlier in October.
Travelers age six and older from low-risk countries (see the full list here) with negative PCR test results within seven days of travel to Grenada can move freely about the country during their trips.
Travelers age six and older from all other countries (including the United States) will need negative PCR test results within seven days of travel to Grenada; they will also need a minimum of a five-day reservation at an approved accommodation for observation and quarantine. For those who want to venture beyond their hotels, health officials will clear you to leave your accommodations if you take another PCR test on day four and get negative results again.
For more information, visit puregrenada.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
Turks and Caicos opened its borders and welcomed international visitors on July 22, 2020, with flight service returning to Providenciales International Airport from the United States, Canada, and Europe. There is a nightly curfew in effect on all islands in the Turks and Caicos from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until November 2, 2020.
All travelers must apply for a TCI Travel Authorization in order to enter Turks and Caicos. As part of the application process, all travelers age 10 and older must upload negative PCR test results within five days of traveling to Turks and Caicos. Travel insurance that covers COVID-19 medical costs, full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions, and air ambulance/medevac is also mandatory.
For more information, visit turksandcaicostourism.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
As of July 1, travelers from Canada and Europe are allowed to fly into Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side of the island after borders reopened to people from other Caribbean islands earlier in June. U.S. arrivals were welcomed back as of August 1.
In order to enter, travelers age 10 and older from select countries including the U.S. need negative PCR test results taken within 120 hours (five days) prior to arrival. Travelers will also need to fill out a health declaration form online at stmaartenehas.com and provide proof of health insurance coverage. (Additional travel insurance covering COVID-19 related expenses isn’t necessary but is strongly recommended.)
All passengers arriving at Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side of the island will be allowed to stay on St. Martin, the French side of the island.
For more information, visit stmaartenupdates.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
Dominica started welcoming travelers from high-risk countries including the United States on August 7, 2020, as long as they submit a health questionnaire online at domcovid.19.dominica.gov.dm at least 24 hours before arrival along with negative PCR test results recorded 24–72 hours before arrival (for those age five and older).
Upon arrival, travelers from high-risk countries will also have to submit to a free rapid diagnostic test. If those results are negative, they will be allowed to check into a “Safe in Nature” certified property—Dominica’s version of a travel bubble—for a minimum of five days. Those with positive rapid tests will have a PCR test administered and will need to quarantine in a government-approved facility at their own expense until negative results come back.
For more information, visit discoverdominica.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
As of August 21, travelers can apply to visit Anguilla online at the Anguilla Tourist Board’s website. Travelers will be asked to fill out their home address and proposed travel dates and submit negative PCR test results taken within three to five days prior to arrival. They will also be required to have a health insurance policy that covers any medical expenses incurred in relation to COVID-19 treatment.
When they arrive, all travelers will also need to undergo another mandatory PCR test and then remain at their preapproved accommodations for at least 10 days, though shorter trips are allowed. (The “stay in place” quarantine for U.S. travelers is 14 days.) To move freely about the island, travelers will need to take another PCR test at the end of the 10- to 14-day period and receive negative results. To cover two tests per person—plus other costs associated with the additional public health presence—all travelers will need to pay a fee, running from $300 for trips five days or less to $2,000 for up to 12 month stays for individuals.
For more information, visit ivisitanguilla.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
After Puerto Rico postponed its official inbound tourism reopening on July 15 and issued a travel advisory encouraging only essential travel this summer, travelers are currently permitted to enter the U.S. territory if they complete a travel declaration form provided by the Puerto Rico Health Department and supply proof of negative molecular tests (nasal or throat swabs) from 72 hours prior. Anyone three years or older must be tested.
Travelers must also wear face masks in public and follow government mandated social-distancing efforts. An island-wide 10 p.m to 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect until November 13.
Read more about Puerto Rico’s reopening and testing requirements here. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
The U.S. Virgin Islands—comprising St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas—started to welcome back leisure travelers on June 1, but closed its borders once again on August 19 and reinstated stay-at-home orders for locals after a surge in coronavirus cases.
Leisure travel officially resumed once again on September 19. All travelers age five and older are required to submit negative PCR test results taken within five days before departure.
Read more about the USVI’s reopening and testing requirements here. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
Curaçao has been welcoming travelers from low-risk and medium-risk countries without requiring a 14-day quarantine since July, but added the U.S. states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to its medium-risk travel list on October 7, 2020. Travelers from these states can enter without quarantine as long as they present a state-issued ID as proof of residency in addition to uploading negative COVID PCR test results taken within 72 hours prior to departure to dicardcuracao.com. However, airlift won’t resume from the United States until November 7, 2020.
Read more about Curaçao’s reopening and testing requirements here. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
International travelers from outside of the “Caribbean bubble”—including from the U.S.—must complete the form at covid19.gov.kn and provide negative PCR test results taken within 72 hours of travel. From days one to seven of their trip, travelers are allowed to move freely about their government-approved hotel, which includes Park Hyatt St. Kitts, St. Kitts Marriott Resort, Royal St. Kitts Hotel, Four Seasons Nevis, Oualie Beach, and Koi Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton at the moment.
If their trip lasts longer than seven days, travelers will need to take another PCR test and if the results come back negative, then they can book excursions to select sites within St. Kitts and Nevis (to be announced at a later date). After 14 days, a third PCR test is required. Travelers with negative results will be allowed to move around St. Kitts and Nevis freely. Each PCR test taken in St. Kitts and Nevis will cost $100 at the traveler’s own expense. All travelers must also download and use the SKN COVID-19 contact tracing mobile app for the first 14 days of travel.
For more information, visit stkittstourism.kn. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
The Bahamas initially opened its borders to all international commercial travel on July 1, 2020. But after an uptick in local coronavirus cases along with the continued increase in COVID-19 in the United States, the Bahamas restricted flights from the United States in mid-July.
The tourism sector reopened October 15, and all travelers age 11 and over must have a negative PCR test result taken within five days prior to arrival. Now through October 31, travelers will also need to “vacation in place”—or stay on the grounds of their accommodations—for 14 days or the duration of their stay (whichever is shorter). On November 1, all travelers will be able to move about the country as they wish.
Read more about the reopening of the Bahamas here. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
The BVI government says it will share more information about testing and other entry requirements soon for its December 1 border reopening.
For more information, visit bvitourism.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
On October 1, 2020, the Cayman Islands reopened its airports to repatriation flights on Cayman Airways and British Airways via London, as well as private charter flights. Only Caymanian, permanent residents of the Cayman Islands, property owners, and work permit holders are allowed to enter on these flights. All airports will remain closed to international leisure and nonessential travel indefinitely.
For more information, visit visitcaymanislands.com. This was last updated on October 20, 2020.
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article. This article originally appeared online on May 19, 2020; it was updated on October 20, 2020, to include current information.
Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips
Please enter a valid email address.
more from afar