By Damien Martin
If you’re dreaming of a beach escape over the holidays or really anytime you need a break this fall and winter, we know of some great places to recommend. We also know entry requirements are constantly changing and more islands are welcoming visitors. While nearly all destinations require a health declaration and masks in public spaces, some places are stricter than others on additional requirements.
While the land border with Mexico remains closed to nonessential travel, flights to resort areas arrive several times per day, and there is no COVID-19 testing requirement. Arriving visitors are subjected to health screenings on arrival including temperature checks, and there may be restrictions depending on how the screening goes. The Dominican Republic no longer requires a test, though there is a form to fill out on arrival along with a temperature check and 5-minute rapid test that detects whether someone was infected or exposed within the last four hours.
Jamaica requires a negative PCR test taken within 10 days of arrival, while Antigua and St. Lucia require a negative test within seven days of arrival. St. Lucia additionally requires that visitors be staying at a certified hotel. Among islands requiring tests taken within five days are the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Maarten and Turks & Caicos, which also requires insurance. The border between the Dutch and French halves of St. Maarten/St. Martin is open.
Puerto Rico requires a negative test taken with 72 hours of arrival, as does Dominica. To go to Aruba, you may need a test within 72 hours depending on which state you’re from. If you’re from a lower-risk state, you may take one upon arrival. The list can be found here: https://www.aruba.com/us/traveler-health-requirements. No matter what, you’ll need insurance.
Islands with stricter regulations include the Bahamas, which still have a 14-day quarantine period. That is set to go away Nov. 1, when travelers can avoid quarantine with a PCR test taken within seven days of arrival. Visitors will then take a rapid antigen test upon arrival in the Bahamas and again 96 hours later. Barbados requires a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival, and visitors from the U.S. will need to submit to a second test two to three days after arrival. The Cayman Islands began a phased reopening Oct. 1. Commercial flights have not yet resumed, and when they do Americans may be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Insurance will be required. Anguilla requires a negative test three to five days out, an application, insurance and a deposit of $1,000 per person or $1,500 per family of up to four.
Grenada requires a negative test within seven days and a retest inside of 48 hours upon arrival on the island, along with insurance. St. Barth is open, with a negative test within 72 hours of arrival, and visitors staying longer will have to take a second test after seven days on the island. St. Vincent and the Grenadines require a negative test within seven days of arrival plus a test and five-day quarantine once you get there.
The British Virgin Islands are set to reopen Dec. 1, with entry requirements to be announced. We will keep you updated as regulations change and islands open. Consult with your travel advisor to plan your getaway.