We’re all dreaming of getting away again and forgetting the stresses of COVID-19. While trips to European Union countries are off the table for U.S. citizens now, there are other destinations reopening that Americans can visit—sparkling, sunny island destinations that surely will lift your spirits.
Note that some countries are restricting entry on the basis of the passport you carry, and others are basing it upon where you’re traveling from, so check governmental information carefully. The U.S. Department of State still has an active global Level 4 advisory asking U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel.
Outlined below are the islands that have already opened to U.S. travelers as well as the countries which announced dates for reopening their borders to Americans.
Disclaimer: The information is valid as of July 1. This is meant to be a general overview of how countries are reopening their borders for Americans. Rules differ for other passport holders. Information can and will change quickly, and new requirements (including some that must be completed in advance of travel) may be introduced without notice. Please refer to each country’s website for specifics. Links are included.
Antigua and Barbuda
Known for its pink beaches and farm-to-table cuisine, Antigua and Barbuda opened to international travelers on June 4. Requirements are outlined on Antigua and Barbuda’s travel information page and include a health declaration form and screenings for fever. Tests, if required, cost US$100 and results are available within 48 hours. Masks are required in all public areas, including while disembarking from flights.
Starting July 1, Aruba’s phased reopening allowed entry to visitors from Canada, Europe, and most Caribbean countries. Americans were eligible to enter Aruba as of July 10. Aruba.com details the latest on the country’s safety protocols and requirements.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to have a COVID test prior to arrival to avoid an in-country test at the visitor’s expense. A health declaration is needed 72 hours before arrival with documentation about health insurance coverage. Masks are required in-flight to Aruba. The government is also requiring that all visitors have mandatory insurance that helps protect them against incurred medical and nonmedical expenses if testing positive for COVID-19 during their stay.
Though private boats and planes were eligible to enter the Bahamas as of June 15, July 1 was the date the Bahamas opened to all international visitors arriving by commercial airlines. To enter the Bahamas, visitors will be checked for fever and must wear a face covering. The country has detailed protocols listed on their website.
A certified negative PCR ( polymerase chain reaction) COVID test within 72 hours of departure is required to enter Bermuda, as is health insurance, a health screening form, and an arrival card. Testing, with an 8- to 24-hour turnaround, is done on arrival. Face masks are to be worn in-flight, in the airport, and in public areas. Details are on the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s site.
Cuba is open to Americans—for 11 categories of travel other than tourism—as ViaHero outlines. Charter flights were allowed into Cuba as of July 1 and, initially, foreign nationals will be restricted to resort areas in offshore cayes, as reported by the Havana Times. Varadero and Havana will first reopen to domestic tourists. New arrivals to the island are subject to temperature checks and PCR COVID tests. Further lifting of restrictions, including more international flights, is expected in August.
The fourth phase of the Dominican Republic’s reopening began on July 1, when international arrivals via air, sea, and land were allowed. Rules for new arrivals are available on GoDomincanRepublic.com. The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the island of Hispaniola, and both countries had some of the Caribbean’s highest COVID cases.
French Polynesia’s 118 islands, which include Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, and the Marquesas, will be open to international tourists and quarantine lifted as of July 15. Requirements include certification of a negative COVID testwithin 72 hours of departure and completion of a Sanitary Entry Form which includes declaring that you’ll follow the government’s health recommendations and orders.
The “Spice Islands” of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique opened July 1, making fresh nutmeg ice cream accessible again. The international airport opened June 16. In addition to interisland flights within the Caribbean, flights from the U.S. and Canada are expected to be first. Testing, if required, will be at a cost of EC$200 (about US$75).
Masks are mandatory at the airport. The prime minister makes updates on his Facebook page.
On June 15, the Caribbean island reopened a “coronavirus-resilient corridor,” stretching along the coast from Negril in the west to Port Antonio in the east. Americans must get preapproval in the form of a Travel Authorization document, which can be applied for online prior to visiting. Additionally, Americans will have to undergo a coronavirus test upon arrival as the U.S. is considered “high risk.” If they test positive for the virus, they will be isolated in a public health facility for at least 14 days.
Face masks in public are required. Detailed information is provided in COVID-19 Ministry of Tourism: Health and Safety Protocols. Hotels are opening gradually. For example, three of Sandals’ six Jamaican resorts should be open by mid-July.
The 1,192 islands of the Maldives reopened to international tourism on July 15. Foreign nationals will first be allowed only on resort islands, such as Vakkaru Maldives and the Coco Collection, as well as on live-aboard boats. As of August 1, guest houses and hotels on inhabited islands will be allowed to reopen. The government has detailed protocols that include completing a health declaration form.
As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico was always open to Americans although a 14-day quarantine is mandatory. The island planned to open to international visitors on July 15. Fever checks take place at the airport. Rules for quarantine after July 15 can likely be avoided with the certification of a negative COVID test. Face masks in public areas are mandatory.
The French island opened to tourists as of June 11. To enter Saint Barth, a negative RT-PCR COVID test taken within three days of departure is needed. Or, visitors may opt for a test within 24 hours of arrival but then must self-isolate at their accommodations until results are confirmed. A second COVID test is required on the seventh day after arriving. The president of the territorial council outlined the measures in a press release. Masks are strongly encouraged.
The U.S. was the first country eligible to enter St. Lucia, with U.S. flights allowed as of June 4. A certified negative COVID test within 48 hours of departure is required. Health screenings, such as fever checks, may take place upon arrival. Face masks are needed in public areas, including on the plane. Details are on Saint Lucia’s website.
Saint Martin and Sint Maarten
The French-Dutch island, known as the Friendly Island, officially reopened July 1, when the main airport, on the Dutch side, opened to commercial passenger flights. Information is on both the Saint Martin and Sint Maarten websites. Interisland flights to neighboring countries resumed earlier, as did some ferry connections. Mask use in public is mandatory.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
The 32 islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were never officially closed. For the month of July, anyone arriving at the islands is required to have a PCR COVID test on arrival and remain in quarantine until negative test results have been confirmed. Quarantine can be avoided with documentation showing a recent negative antibody test and a negative PCR test. Arrivals from some neighboring Caribbean countries only need to complete a health questionnaire. Details are on the health department’s website.
Turks and Caicos
Private and commercial flights to Turks and Caicos from the U.S., Europe, and Canada are allowed as of July 22. Protocols are available on turksandcaicostourism.com. There are about 40 different islands, including eight main islands. Most U.S. visitors fly to the island of Providenciales, which has one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Grace Bay Beach. The Grand Turk Cruise Center will remain closed until August 31.
Judy Newell, an international travel consultant since 1971, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She custom designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, physical abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel. Cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources: Fodor’s Travel, Travel Market Report