Tourist are becoming an endangered species in the Caribbean, because of COVID-19 fears, and destinations are trying allure a few of them back, but navigating the mish-mash of different rules can be difficult, and no tourist wants to end up in prison because they did not read the fine print.
As CNN reports, once one of the world’s most powerful travel documents, the might of the US passport has shriveled under the cloud of coronavirus, with doors slammed shut across the planet to American travelers.
With US coronavirus cases near the 6 million mark, many nations now view America with trepidation. No matter how much they want those tourism dollars, they’re unwilling to take the risk of opening their borders.
Even as restrictions ease up in some places, Americans are still on the danger list. The European Union omitted the United States from its list of 15 countries whose tourists are permitted to visit.
While most US travelers are staying close to home, preferring short-distance car trips to international air travel, some voyagers won’t let a global pandemic curb their travel plans.
And there are still a handful of options.
Most of the Caribbean, for example, is open for US tourists. Other countries — including the Maldives and Turkey — aren’t exactly welcoming US travelers with open arms (more like a temperature check and a Covid-19 test), but they are allowing visitors to cross their borders for the first time since coronavirus shut down much of the world.
Whether travel to “open” international destinations is responsible or advisable is up to individuals to decide. But it’s worth noting that since the pandemic is ongoing, anything can change at any time.
Also worth noting: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US State Department are providing country-by-country Covd-19 transmission risk assessments. The vast majority of countries on the CDC website are deemed “high risk,” while the State Department categorizes most countries as Level 3, or “reconsider travel.”
While there may be bookable international flights to restricted countries, any outbound US passenger should check with the US Embassy and the airline before finalizing travel plans.
Here are some of the countries in the Caribbean where it’s still possible for US passport holders to visit, in alphabetical order:
As of US travelers to Antigua and Barbuda “arriving by air must present a negative Covid-19-RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) test result, taken within seven days of their flight,” according a travel advisory on the country’s tourism website.
Further to that, visitors are subject to monitoring by local health officials for periods of 14 days and another Covid-19 test may be required while visiting, which could mean quarantining while waiting for the test result.
Masks are required in public spaces and any person violating safety measures could be subject to a $5,000 fine and the possibility of six months imprisonment. Anyone going is advised to read the fine print.
US passengers from 24 states, including hotspots such as California and Florida, will be required to upload a negative Covid-19 test result via Aruba’s embarkation/disembarkation card process, 72 hours prior to arrival in Aruba.
Travelers arriving from the other 26 states can opt to have a test taken upon arrival, though the test must be prepaid and there is a mandatory quarantine while awaiting test results.
Aruba also requires travelers to be insured so that they are protected from medical expenses should they test positive for coronavirus during their stay. The Aruba tourism site has all the specific health requirements for incoming passengers, which are both considerable and subject to change, so confirm the latest information prior to booking travel.
The Bahamas has a mandatory 14-day quarantine for inbound passengers. Visitors must request a health visa before travel, upload and later present negative Covid-19 PCR test result — the date of the test cannot be more than 10 days before travel.
Updates on tourism status can be found on their dedicated Covid-19 travel website.
The island of Barbados has implemented new protocols to safeguard visitors and residents when it reopened in July. Travelers are required to complete an online immigration card, which can be done 72 hours before departure and submitted 24 hours before traveling. The form includes health questions, including whether the traveler has a negative Covid-19 test result.
Travelers can opt to take a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival, though travelers from the United States who wish for a more seamless experience are strongly encouraged to pre-submit their negative test results via the immigration portal and arrive with proof of those results in hand.
Welcoming visitors since July, Bermuda requires each inbound passenger (regardless of age) to apply for travel authorization, at the cost of $75 per adult and $30 for flight crew and children aged nine and under.
Visitors who do not have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result will not be given authorization to travel to Bermuda.
Upon arrival, passengers must present the pre-departure negative test results, submit to an additional Covid-19 test and quarantine in their accommodation until the results are ready, which takes between six and eight hours.
Additional testing is required after day three, seven and 14, depending on the length of stay, at various testing sites around the island.
The fee for the travel authorization covers the cost of testing.
As of September 1, US tourists from the following six states may enter Costa Rica: Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. Travelers’ residency in these states is to be verified by driver’s license.
Visitors must also complete a “health pass” form, as well as a Covid-19 PCR test with a negative result, taken within 48 hours of travel and proof of travel medical insurance, which can also be purchased in Costa Rica.
This commonwealth in the eastern Caribbean reopened to international tourism in early August. All travelers to Dominica must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result, recorded between 24 and 72 hours before arrival, and complete an electronic Immigration and Customs form via Dominica’s online portal 24 hours prior to traveling.
US travelers should expect to be subject to further testing and screening.
As part of the standard immigration and customs forms, US passengers traveling to the Dominican Republic will have to fill out a Health Affidavit to confirm they have not had any coronavirus symptoms within 72 hours of travel.
However, anyone presenting symptoms or registering a temperature above 100.6 F (38 C) will have to be tested. Passengers who test positive will be isolated and treated.Visitors also need to provide contact information, but the gist is that when it comes to Covid-19 symptoms and testing, the DR is willing to take your word for it.
Countries listed later in the alphabet will be discussed in a later article.