While COVID-19 may be reaching record numbers in the United States and many countries have blocked Americans from visiting, many Caribbean islands are reopening their borders to us. All are requiring the use of masks in public spaces and requiring health declaration forms. Most are conducting temperature checks upon arrival and requiring proof of negative COVID results prior to travel and, often, follow-up tests while visiting. Despite the fact that some countries will now allow Americans to enter, the Department of State’s Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory from March remains in effect. It advises “U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.” Combined, the mixed messaging reads: You shouldn’t travel (according to the government), but you can if you want to—at your own risk.
So, whether stoked or scared to travel these days, Americans once again have viable options for leaving the country and enjoying Caribbean dreamscapes. Below, the islands accepting US passports for entry and the health requirements for entry, ordered from the simplest to the most complicated.
Reopened to US citizens: July 1
COVID testing requirements: According to the Dominican Republic official tourism website, no pre-arrival COVID testing is required (Yes, for real!). Passengers will need to fill a Traveler’s Health Affidavit ensuring they have not felt any COVID-19-related symptoms and temperature checks will be required after disembarkation. If any traveler has a “temperature above 100.6 °F degrees (38 °C) or presents any other symptoms, airport authorities will administer a rapid COVID-19 test and initiate the protocols for isolation and treatment of the case.”
Reopened to US citizens: June 15
COVID testing requirements: According to Visit Jamaica, travelers from all states but four do not require pre-arrival COVID testing. They still, however, must have an approved e-Travel Authorization, which is issued following “satisfactory completion of a health risk assessment” online. With regards to those four estados non grata: “All non-business travellers 12 years of age and over, from Arizona, Florida, New York and Texas in the USA are required to upload a negative COVID-19 PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) test result from a College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited medical laboratory. The test sample collection date must be within 10 days of the arrival date in order to obtain a Travel Authorization.” Any traveler entering from any state or country may also be subject to additional testing at the airport.
Antigua and Barbuda
Reopened to US citizens: June 1
COVID testing requirements: According to the government of Antigua and Barbuda, “All arriving passengers by air must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR taken within seven (7) days of their flight.” In addition, “Visitors may be required to undergo testing for COVID-19 on arrival or at the hotel or place of lodging as determined by the Health Authorities.”
Reopened to US citizens: June 4
COVID testing requirements: According to St. Lucia Tourism Authority, “All arriving passengers must have a negative result from a PCR test done no more than 7 days before their travel to Saint Lucia.”
Reopened to US citizens: July 10
COVID testing requirements: According to Aruba Tourism Authority, travelers from 24 high-risk states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) must take a COVID-19 RT-PCR test within 72 hours of their flight time and upload their test results at least 12 hours prior to flight departure time. Travelers from other states can also do the same or can pay for a test upon arrival. In all cases, negative status must be proved.
Turks and Caicos
Reopened to US citizens: July 22
COVID testing requirements: The Government of the Turks and Caicos is requiring passengers to upload the following prior to departure: “A negative COVID-19 PCR test result…taken within 5 days prior to arrival in the islands; Medical/travel insurance that covers medevac, any costs related to quarantine, ambulance care or care at the local hospital; and a completed online health screening questionnaire.” Many hotels can help arrange the special required travel insurance, which often costs upward of $100 per person.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Reopened to US citizens: July 1
COVID testing requirements: According to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, “ALL travellers entering St Vincent and the Grenadines must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test result done within five (5) days of arrival or will have a PCR COVID-19 test done on arrival. ALL travellers who have a PCR COVID-19 test done on arrival will be quarantined for at least 24 hours to await their PCR test results.” In addition, “ALL travellers who arrive by air will be quarantined for at least 24 hours to await the PCR test results of all passengers from the same flight.” This final requirement could prove a doozy for those flying commercial!
Reopened to US citizens: July 1
COVID testing requirements: According to Bermuda Tourism Authority, “Ideally within 72 hours, but no more than seven days before departure, visitors must take a PCR COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result. Test results must be entered as part of the online travel authorization process ($75) and be presented upon arrival in Bermuda.” Upon arrival in Bermuda, travelers will again be tested for COVID-19 and will then need to quarantine at their “accommodation until results are ready (turnaround time between 6 to 8 hours in most cases, when arrival happens during the day, but can take longer).” After that, travelers can explore Bermuda but must report their temperature online twice daily. And if staying more than three days, travelers must retake their COVID-19 tests on Day 4, Day 8, and Day 14 at designated testing centers on-island. So, yeah, a two-week vacation = a whopping five nasal swabs.
Reopened to US citizens: July 12
COVID testing requirements: According to Visit Barbados, travelers coming from high-risk countries, including the United States, will have to undergo more than one test and also face quarantine. The first test can be done in the United States within 72 hours of the flight or on arrival, free of charge (though the latter requires a long waiting time at the airport for results). In either case, once a negative status is established, travelers must quarantine “at a designated holding hotel or villa at their own expense, or free of charge at a government facility” for seven days when a second COVID-19 PCR will be conducted. Once this second test proves negative, travelers are free to roam. So, no matter how you slice it, you’ll be quarantining for a week.
Since all matters concerning the pandemic are changing in real time, requirements could change, or borders could close overnight. Just look at the Bahamas, which reopened to US citizens on July 1 and then banned airlift between the United States and the Bahamas just three weeks later and then again changed the policy to accepting airlift from the U.S. but demanding a 14-day quarantine. Before you make any travel plans, check the latest information on the links provided. If you do decide to travel to the Caribbean during these uncertain times, have fun, stay safe, and keep abreast of ever-changing restrictions.