News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Sept. 2, 2021: As travel restrictions loosen, many travelers are anxious to get back in the saddle with a relaxing trip to the Caribbean. Many countries have particular guidelines in place for travel during COVID-19, and these will vary by island. For the would-be tropical vacationer, here’s an island-by-island guide to Caribbean travel in the COVID-19 era.
Your trip is only as good as what you bring with you. Be sure to pack weather-appropriate clothing (no snowshoes needed here), face masks, and identifying information. You can also make your travels a breeze by using packing cubes, portable batteries, and remembering your universal power adapter.
After choosing which islands are on your itinerary, it’s time to put your affairs in order before you leave the states. One crucial tool for your travels is a virtual address. A virtual address won’t take up any of that precious hand-luggage real estate. These addresses are physical locations that intercept mail for you while you’re sunning on the beach. You can access your mail using any smartphone or computer. That way, you can rest easy knowing your important documents and packages won’t be left to the mercy of porch pirates.
Many airlines will not allow passengers to board international flights without proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. Rapid tests are more costly, so don’t be caught unaware. Try to get your test two to three days before your flight. Because children under 12 are ineligible for the vaccine, some countries have specific testing rules for allowing them to enter.
Some hotels are offering free testing to encourage travel. Check with your hotel chain before you leave to see if they provide pre-travel COVID testing. After arriving on the islands, travelers should wait a few days and retest.
Several countries either never reopened or have reclosed their borders because of the Delta variant. For example, Haiti is not allowing visitors because of its recent earthquake and severe COVID outbreaks. Other closed countries include:
- Cayman Islands
Jamaica is open to travelers, but anyone who visits must follow strict curfews. They must also stay in the Resilient Corridors and remain in their resorts or hotels unless visiting a certified “Resilient Licensed” tourist attraction within the Resilient Corridors.
Most Caribbean islands require all visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative PCR test within a set time before departure. This timeline is usually a week to 72 hours before departure.
A few countries only allow entry to vaccinated travelers, including Anguilla, Grenada, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Countries with lax travel restrictions still require American citizens to purchase travel insurance, regardless of their health insurance in the U.S., to avoid overtaxing hospitals.
Nearly all countries in the Caribbean require visitors to complete forms about their health, vaccination status, and embarkation and debarkation dates. Research each specific country on your itinerary and make extra copies of all pertinent information.
As health situations worldwide continue to change, anyone wanting to travel internationally should pay close attention to the situation in their destination country. Safe travels, and don’t forget to wear your mask.