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How to Have a Great Caribbean Vacation in 2021
We’re all ready to get back to normal and start traveling again. Some of us have vacation days we can’t wait to use; others want to become weekend warriors again. For those that wish to travel internationally, much has changed. There’s talk of digital vaccine passports and vaccination requirements. Keep in mind that this is all still unfolding and can change rapidly while we continue to figure out our next travel moves in a Post-Covid world.
Americans have been banned from some countries while others have welcomed Americans throughout the pandemic. Some nations have begun to announce vaccine requirements for visitors. The vaccine requirements are only one part of what may be required if you visit other countries.
Some additional rules and regulations include restricted travel movements (must stay at approved lodging or use approved methods of travel), mandatory quarantines, specific PCR testing, digital health app check-in, departure testing, reduced services, limited venue capacity, and daily curfews. Masks are often required in public spaces.
Many European countries have not lifted their restrictions for Americans yet. This list will only address some popular Caribbean destinations. Considering living the digital nomad life? Read more about digital nomad living in the Caribbean.
Due to the variations in restrictions from country to country, I highly recommend that you carefully inspect the travel requirements of each country you plan to visit BEFORE booking anything with anyone. Some countries have laid out carefully detailed guides and you do not want to make a costly error.
Just a Reminder…
You’ll find a lot of links to various resources on this site, some of these links are affiliate links that pay me a commission at no extra cost to you. If you make a purchase through these companies, this supports the photos and tips that are provided to inspire you in your own travels.
11 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Book:
- What is the website for the country I want to go to? (Go straight to the direct source for the most accurate and up to date information.)
- What is their travel advisory?
- Do I need to register before I go? – How (website, app, in the airport), How much (is it free?), When (24 hrs before?)
- Do I need to wait for an approval authorization?
- Is there a mandatory test? AND which one AND when do I need to take it?
- Do I need a test to return to the US? How much is it, where can I get it, and when do I need to take it?
- Are there mandatory curfews?
- Can I go to the beach? Bar? Restaurants? Museums? Rent a car? Take an Uber/Taxi?
- What other restrictions are there? Mask rules? Quarantines? Tracking Bands?
- What happens if I get sick while there? Who do I contact? Will my insurance cover it? Where will I stay? What will it cost?
- Insurance – is there a mandatory insurance required? What is refundable? What is covered?
If traveling with children, each country has different rules for different ages. One country wants testing for everyone over the age of 5 while another does not require it for anyone under 16. These are areas where you do not want surprises after you have booked.
You may not be able to find an answer to every question and you may not even be worried about some of these issues. Depending on where you go, though, knowing the answers can mean all the difference to your experience.
As you get closer to your travel date, check occasionally. Sign up for alerts or an app if available because rules change rapidly these days.
A Look at 9 Popular Destinations
Vaccine is not currently accepted as a substitute for mandatory testing requirements. Be sure to read Aruba’s requirements prior to booking.
Vault Health partnered with JetBlue and offers the convenient option of an at-home, saliva-based Vault PCR Molecular COVID-19 test, in addition to the option of securing a Molecular COVID-19 test from another certified health provider or lab prior to travel. Those JetBlue passengers not choosing to test prior to travel must take a PCR based Molecular COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport in Aruba. For more details, click here.
“All visitors (including children) will be required to complete the online Embarkation/Disembarkation card process and be approved in order to be permitted entry to Aruba. The new ED card process includes five components. Do take note carefully, as there are important steps, and visitors will not be granted access to Aruba without completing the process. Note: You will need a valid passport and a valid email address that you have access to.”
Mandatory Visitors Insurance in case you test positive during your stay includes transportation, doctor consults, isolation expenses, and testing, with a maximum limit of $75,000. A flat non-refundable premium of $30 for ages 15+ and $10 for 0 – 14.
From March 27th, 2021, until April 11th, 2021 the following will be in effect:
- Curfew starting at 10:00 pm until 5:00 am.
- In addition to the curfew, there are “restricted zones” that are off-limits between the hours of 7:00 pm – 5:00 am. Restricted zones include all beaches and public parking lots.
- An alcohol ban is temporarily in effect in certain public places in Aruba.
- Grocery shopping is limited to one person per family. Online shopping with delivery or pick-up is preferred.
- All bars, rum shops, and nightclubs are closed until further notice. Restaurant bars can serve at tables only. There will be no bar stools and no standing at bars.
Return flight testing: For a list of COVID-19 testing facilities in Aruba, click here.
Every person who enters Belize through the airport and provides proof of full immunization shall not be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result.
Full immunization means you have received all required doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. You must bring sufficient proof of having received all required doses. We recommend bringing your vaccine card or other official digital or printed notice from a medical facility.
*You may still be subject to secondary testing, at the discretion of health officers at the airport.
All visitors to Belize must download the Belize Health app on their mobile phones and fill in the necessary information no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Belize.
A daily curfew from 10pm to 5am is in place. No Exceptions.
Rent a Private Island in Belize
Curacao considers the US to be a high-risk country. Passengers from a high risk country are required to complete the online Passenger Locator Card form (PLC) at dicardcuracao.com within 48 hours prior to traveling, fill out a digital immigration card online, and submit a negative result from a certified COVID-19 PCR test. The PCR test needs to be taken at maximum 72 hours prior to departure at an accredited laboratory. Rapid PCR is not accepted.
Travel to Curacao is not recommended at this time – as of 4/2/21, mandatory curfew is 7PM to 4:30AM, beaches are closed, and road use is by license plate of the day.
Lists the US as high risk and has specific protocol instructions including the use of a certified taxi, stay in government operated quarantine or safe in nature certified locations, health questionnaire prior to arrival, health assessment on arrival, and testing. Visit the travel directory.
ALL Passengers arriving MUST:
Complete an online Travel Declaration Form from the Puerto Rico Health Department, which can be accessed at www.travelsafe.pr.gov or www.viajaseguro.pr.gov. Kiosks at the airport are also available for travelers to fill out the form upon arrival, as it is a requirement to exit the airport.
Demonstrate a negative PCR molecular COVID-19 test result (which consists of a nasal or throat swab), taken no more than 72 hours prior. A rapid test will not be accepted, as it can sometimes yield false results.
Obtain Airport Exit Confirmation number and QR Code, which travelers will automatically receive when uploading their PCR molecular test results to the Puerto Rico Health Department’s online portal.
An Island-wide curfew is in effect from 12:00 AM – 5:00 AM, except for emergencies.
Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and excluded from the CDC requirement to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to return to the mainland United States. No Passport Necessary.
Online form before arrival.
Mandatory Covid insurance protection plan, in case you test positive during your stay includes transportation, doctor consults, isolation expenses, and testing, with a maximum limit of $50,000. A flat non-refundable premium of $30 for ages 15+ and $10 for 0 – 14.
Negative test result of PCR test within 5 days of arrival (72 hours if staying on the French side)
- Verified reservations at certified property.
- PCR test results within 5 days of travel.
- Receive travel authorization email for boarding flight to St. Lucia.
Turks & Caicos
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory (antigen and antibody tests will not be accepted).
- Medical/Travel insurance that covers COVID-19 medical costs, full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions and air ambulance/medevac.
- Completed a health screening questionnaire and Travel Authorization Form
Proof of all of the aforementioned should be uploaded to the TCI Assured portal which will be available on July 17th on the Tourist Board’s website – www.turksandcaicostourism.com.https://turksandcaicostourism.com/tci-assured-faqs/
USVI (United States Virgin Islands – St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix)
Vaccine does not substitute protocols.
Use travel screening portal to upload approved test result for all travelers over the age of 5.
This is an example of the varying guidelines from country to country and is not intended to fully represent all rules or regulations nor the rapidly changing state currently. It should only serve to encourage you to fully inspect directly with your intended destination before making travel arrangements.
As this landscape continues to transform with the rapid deployment of vaccinations, expect changes. Many companies have already begun to develop vaccine passport options as it is highly unlikely to expect to travel freely again right now. Proof may be necessary to ensure that you will not be endangering vulnerable communities with limited resources especially in island environments.
COVID Passport Developments
Clear – using the Clear app, you can enroll in HealthPass and they are currently working on a COVID-19 Vaccine Validation. The app is Safety certified by the Dept. of Homeland security as an identity verification method using biometrics (your unique face, iris, fingerprints).
IATA Travelpass – currently in testing with 20+ airlines, this would allow passengers to create a digital passport, verify their test/vaccine meets regulations, and then share it with authorities as needed in a digital and seamless environment while reducing risks of errors and fraud. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic.
United offers a travel ready center for scheduling a test/uploading results associated with your flight plan.
V Health Passport app – developed in the UK, boasts 300 providers, 80 countries, 30 COVID test types, and 6 COVID vaccines capable of displaying a digital and physical health certificate.
Other competitors in the race to a digital passport:
IPROOV Contactless Travel
The places we love to visit often depend on tourism and we have a duty to visit respectfully and without inflicting harm. While it may seem inconvenient to test, register, or get a vaccine in order to travel, it is really inconvenient to these communities to be overwhelmed with sick people and further loss. If you get sick, someone has to take care of you, and you can spread disease to everyone you encounter.