As the number of Covid-19 cases around the world continues to rise, Caribbean destinations are doing what they can to keep their own residents safe, balancing their health and well-being with the need for tourism dollars by reopening as carefully as possible.
Whether islands closed their borders back in March or remained open to a certain extent throughout, they’ve got some things in common: strict rules regarding Covid-19 testing and contract tracing, social distancing and mask-wearing in public places, and in most cases, quarantine, all measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus and help keep locals and visitors as safe and healthy as possible.
We’ve already covered how Caribbean countries have been reopening to tourism all summer, though there have been a few updates. Starting this month, Jamaica’s new initiative, Jamaica Cares, will require all visitors to pay a mandatory health insurance fee of $40. As of November 1, new entry protocols in The Bahamas mean visitors will be able to skip 14 days of quarantine if they can show negative test results from a Covid-19 PCR test taken within five days of their flight, sign up for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa online, fill out a daily health questionnaire, take a Covid-19 rapid antigen test on the fifth day, and wear a mask and maintain social distancing whenever they’re in public. Other islands, like Curaçao, Anguilla and Saint Kitts and Nevis have chosen other methods, like only reopening to certain U.S. states, coming up with new ways for visitors to enjoy the island outside the typical resort bubble and using contract tracing apps for the first 14 days. Here’s what you need to know if you’ll be visiting anytime soon.
While the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao will be reopening to American travelers this weekend, only residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida will be allowed to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine. While residents of other states are still allowed to visit, they must request a permit ahead of time online and quarantine for 14 days immediately upon arrival.
All visitors must fill out a digital immigration card through the online portal, as well as a Passenger Locator Card (PLC) within 48 hours of your flight—be sure to print this out and carry it around with you while you’re there. You’ll also need to provide printed proof of negative results from a Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of your departure and have your temperature checked at the airport. Those with positive test results will not be allowed to enter the country, and anyone who contracts Covid-19 during their trip must quarantine immediately at their own expense.
Once in Curaçao, visitors are expected to maintain a distance of at least six feet from anyone outside your group and wear a mask whenever this isn’t possible. Bars, restaurants and other attractions are currently operating under new safety protocols, and reservations must be made ahead of time. Tourists can rent cars and are encouraged to download the Dushi Stay App, available in The App Store and Google Play, for the latest updates.
While Anguilla has been open to certain travelers since August 21, Phase Two began November 1, allowing more hotels, restaurants and attractions to reopen. You’ll still need to apply to enter the country, show negative results from a Covid-19 PCR test taken within three to five days of your trip, provide proof of health insurance that will cover Covid-related medical costs while you’re there and complete a health questionnaire. You’ll also have to wear a mask, have your temperature taken and get a Covid-19 PCR test at the airport, then have another Covid-19 PCR test on the 10th day of your trip.
The biggest Phase Two change concerns quarantine: You’ll still be transported to your approved property of choice by a government-certified taxi or shuttle, but instead of being confined to your resort for 14 days, guests who receive negative test results at the airport can now participate in certain off-property activities like golf, scuba diving, snorkeling, yoga and glass-bottom boat rides as long as they’re arranged by the hotel through an approved vendor. Think of it as an expansion of the resort bubble, where visitors are still able to enjoy their property’s golf courses and other amenities while in quarantine. Once guests receive negative results from their Covid-19 test on the 10th day, they’re free to rent a car and explore the rest of the island.
Anguilla also has a fee system in place to cover two Covid-19 PCR tests per person and any contract tracing or temperature checking services provided by healthcare personnel. Solo travelers visiting for five days or less pay $300, couples pay $500 and families pay $500 for the first two people and $250 for each additional person. Solo travelers staying between five days and three months must pay $400, couples pay $600 and families pay $600 for the first two people and $250 for each additional person. Anguilla also lets you stay up to a year, but it’ll cost you: digital nomads can pay $2,000 per person for the privilege, while the costs are $3,000 per family of four.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
As of October 31, Americans can visit Saint Kitts and Nevis during Phase One of its reopening process. For starters, you’ll need to fill out a travel health form through the government’s website and provide proof of negative results from a Covid-19 PCR test taken by an accredited lab within 72 hours of your flight. At the airport, you’ll need to get your temperature checked, fill out a questionnaire and download the SKN Covid-19 contact tracing app, which must be used during the first 14 days of your trip. You’re free to enjoy all on-property amenities for the first seven days, and following a mandatory Covid-19 PCR test on day seven, you’ll also be allowed to book approved off-property tours and excursions. If you’re staying longer than 14 days, you’ll need to take another Covid-19 PCR test on your 14th day before you can venture out and see the rest of the country.
Note that all Covid-19 tests in Saint Kitts and Nevis must be done at your own expense, and there are only six approved hotels for U.S. travelers to stay in at this time: St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino, Royal St. Kitts Hotel, Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour, Oualie Beach Resort, Koi Resort Saint Kitts and the Four Seasons Resort Nevis.