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2020 has been a rough year for everyone. However, when a large percentage of your economy (sometimes upwards of 70% of GDP) is based on tourism, it can be even more devastating.
Add Zika, hurricanes, and now COVID-19 into the equation, and it can be difficult to see a future. This is the reality for many Caribbean islands.
Last week, I wrote an article that listed a handful of African nations that you can visit today, but if you’re searching for something a bit closer to home, here are 5 Caribbean islands that are open for you right now.
5 CARIBBEAN ISLANDS
Festive season – the peak travel time for the islands at the end of the year (aka winter everywhere else) – will be here soon and the Caribbean nations are scrambling to reopen. However, the amount of hoops that are required to visit each country will differ. Here are 5 islands and their “pre-requisites” to enjoy the tropical vibes.
Let’s start with (arguably) the most important information…Anguilla has the most stringent public health policies in the Caribbean which I suspect has aided in the islands pristine Covid-19 track record (3 confirmed cases, 0 deaths).
With such an outstanding record, there’s (understandably) a price tag for this safety. An “application” to visit the island includes a fee, ~$250 per person, and covers one PCR test administered before arrival and another test while under quarantine. And don’t worry, no masks are required after that, so it’s back to posting to IG like it’s 2019.
Island Re-Opening: 1 August 2020, but take note that you have to stay in a villa but two-thirds of the hotels and resorts will reopen in November.
Many nations around the world have been extremely creative in developing “certificates” that let visitors bypass the traditional hurdles of a temporary relocation and move right in. Well, Bermuda has been at the forefront of that movement as they are hoping to entice guests to swap their Zoom meeting apartment view backdrops for long-term, amazing ocean front views.
Travelers must complete a pre-arrival authorization form and present a negative COVID-19 test result within seven days of departure. Travelers will also have to pay a $75 fee that will cover an four additional tests; one performed upon arrival, plus three additional tests for travelers staying two weeks or longer. According to the tourism authority, it is also recommended that visitors bring their own thermometers and report their temperatures as well.
Island Re-Opening: 1 July 2020
Let’s keep it 100….it’s extremely easy to entry the DR. The island opened it’s borders in July, but it eliminated the requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test upon entry last month (September). Instead, it is offering all visitors free health insurance as part of its Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan.
Before arrival, travelers are required to fill out an affidavit about their health and randomized testing will be conducted at the airport upon arrival.
Island Re-Opening: 1 July 2020. Similar to Anguilla, two-thirds of the hotels and resorts will reopen in November.
We’ve all seen those beautiful pictures of Jade Mountain infinity pools with the Piton Mountain backdrop and wished we were there.
But the hard reality is that 70% of St. Lucia’s GDP is dependent on tourism and they’ve been hit hard. The great news is the Prime Minister has been working with the airlines in an effort to decrease airfare prices for the next year.
Travelers must complete a pre-arrival registration form and obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR result within seven days of travel and only approved taxis may be used upon arrival. It’s also worth noting that guests are required to stay in COVID-19 compliant hotels for the entirety of their stay.
Island Re-Opening: 1 June 2020
TURKS AND CAICOS
Turks and Caicos Islands is always at the top of the list as the winter’s top destination for villa bookings. The ability to book homes with nannies and private chefs has always made it attractive to cautious travelers particularly during the pandemic.
A Covid-19 PCR test with negative results must be taken less than five days before arrival, and all travelers must provide proof of traveler’s insurance upon landing.
Island Re-Opening: 22 July 2020
Here’s the bottom line, many of Caribbean Islands rank among the most tourism-reliant nations in the world. While places like the Cayman Islands can more easily remain closed, since they rely on other industries (e.g. offshore banking), the majority of Caribbean islands need tourists.
For travelers looking for a tropical excursion with record-low prices this winter, I hope this list helps.
So who is planning a trip to the Caribbean?