Unlocking the World

Travel to the Caribbean during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 6th January 2022
JAMAICA - JANUARY 31, 2020: People bathing in the Reach Falls near the city of Port Antonio. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the Covid-19 virus. Unless you're fully vaccinated, staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, current as of January 5.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to the islands of the Caribbean, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first thing to keep in mind is the Caribbean Sea region consists of 13 independent island nations. There are even more overseas territories.
Each of them has its own rules, subject to frequent change. Some have put up travel bans or changed their rules because of the recent Omicron variant.
Some islands require quarantines, even for vaccinated travelers, while others don't even request a Covid-19 test. Rules vary depending on your country of origin.
Here's a roundup of key highlights on nine popular Caribbean destinations. There is also a link to keep track of the most recent risk level for each destination from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aruba

Aruba is known for its white beaches and colorful buildings in the capital city of Oranjestad.
Aruba is known for its white beaches and colorful buildings in the capital city of Oranjestad.
DPPA/Sipa USA/AP
What's on offer: Days are usually dry and sunny. Arikok National Park features caves, desert landscapes and giant lizards. Wide beaches bordering clear jade water are the big draw.
Who can go? As of January 5, citizens of all countries can enter with the exception of seven nations in southern Africa: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Entry requirements: These vary depending on your country of departure.
Aruba has introduced a list of very high-risk countries, all of them in Europe, from which arrivals must adhere to stricter testing than other visitors and must test no more than one day before their departure for Aruba. These visitors won't have the option of test upon arrival.
People coming from high-risk countries, including the United States and Canada, must take a molecular Covid-19 test within two days of their departure to Aruba and won't have the option to test upon arrival.
Find the list of closed, very high risk, high risk and other countries and more details on entry requirements here. They are subject to frequent change.
Certain eligible travelers who are fully vaccinated can bypass the test. This list is on Aruba's tourism website and is subject to change.
Aruba visitors insurance, in case you test positive for Covid-19, is mandatory. No quarantine is in place. Travelers who test positive for Covid-19 are required to stay in mandatory isolation, however.
US CDC travel advisory: Level 4 (very high). Avoid travel to Aruba.

The Bahamas

You'll find Bimini Big Game Club and Marina on North Bimini, which is off the coast from Miami, Florida.
You'll find Bimini Big Game Club and Marina on North Bimini, which is off the coast from Miami, Florida.
Francisco Blanco/Alamy
What's on offer: The chain has 700 islands -- from the hustle and funky beats of the capital city, Nassau, on New Providence, to the peaceful beaches on many less-visited islands. You can swim with pigs or dive with sharks.
Who can go? The Bahamas is open to all international travelers.
Entry requirements: Vaccinated travelers must present a negative result from a rapid antigen or RT-PCR test taken no more than three days before arrival. Unvaccinated travelers 12 and older also have the three-day requirement, but only from a RT-PCR test. Unvaccinated travelers 11 and younger may still present results from a rapid antigen test.
Children younger than 2 are exempt from any testing. There are also testing requirements for intra-island travel in the Bahamas.
You must fill out a health visa application and opt in to the Bahamas' Covid-19 health insurance.
US CDC travel advisory: Level 3 (high). Be fully vaccinated before traveling to the Bahamas.

Barbados

Charles Fort was built in 1650 to protect Carlisle Bay on Barbados from pirates.
Charles Fort was built in 1650 to protect Carlisle Bay on Barbados from pirates.
Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/AP
What's on offer: Golf, history and architecture get visitors beyond the beach on the most easterly island in the Caribbean. Rum distilleries offer tours and the local cuisine -- a blend of African, Indian, Irish, British and Creole flavors -- will soak up the spirit.
Who can go? The island is welcoming visitors from around the world. Barbados has discontinued its Caribbean travel bubble.
Entry requirements: If arriving by air, both fully vaccinated travelers and the unvaccinated must present a negative result from either a Covid-19 RT-PCR test taken no more than three days before arrival or a rapid PCR test taken no more than one day before arrival. You must upload results to the BIMSafe app.
Some vaccinated travelers may be selected at random for a rapid antigen test upon arrival but do not have to quarantine awaiting results.
Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for five days, take another PCR test and remain in quarantine until receiving results. You must book your room ahead of time at a government-approved accommodation (scroll down for list).
If arriving by sea, fully vaccinated people may disembark their ship for shore excursions. A negative Covid-19 test result is required. Get more details on a special tab on the Visit Barbados website devoted to sea arrivals.
US CDC travel advisory: Level 4 (very high). Avoid travel to Barbados.

Curaçao

The Penha Building was built in 1708 in the Dutch colonial style and is now a department store in Willemstad, the capital of the island.
The Penha Building was built in 1708 in the Dutch colonial style and is now a department store in Willemstad, the capital of the island.
Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/AP
What's on offer: The island's coral reefs and sunken ships are accessible via scuba and snorkeling outings. Willemstad, the capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a don't-miss for history buffs. Nature lovers will find orchids and birds at Christoffelpark.
Who can go? Curaçao now divides countries and territories -- and the travelers arriving from them -- into just two categories: very low risk and very high risk. As of January 5, all countries were considered very high risk.
Entry requirements: All visitors must have negative results from a Covid-19 PCR test that's no more than 48 hours old before your flight to the island. There are no exemptions for the fully vaccinated. Children 11 and younger are exempt from testing.
Visitors are required to undergo an antigen test at a local laboratory on the third day in Curaçao. All travelers must fill out the passenger locator card 48 hours before arrival. No quarantines are in place unless you test positive for Covid-19 during your stay.
US CDC travel advisory: Level 3: High. Be fully vaccinated before travel to Curaçao.

Dominican Republic

Tourists take pictures of flamingoes in Bayahibe, La Altagracia province.
Tourists take pictures of flamingoes in Bayahibe, La Altagracia province.
Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images
What's on offer: Top-notch beaches and a range of resorts await visitors. Diverse geography, including lush forests and mountains and semi-arid areas, contrasts with Santo Domingo's historic Cuidad Colonial -- a lively and romantic spot to explore.
Who can go? Tourists traveling from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland on the government's website), Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa still may not enter the Dominican Republic. Otherwise, travelers around the world may enter, but depending on where you're coming from, entry requirements will differ.
Entry requirements: Travelers from many nations -- including the United States, Canada, Mexico and France, among others -- do not need a Covid-19 test to enter.
The DR has set up a list of nations from which you do need a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. Nations on that list include Brazil, Ireland and the United Kingdom, among others. No quarantines are in place.
US CDC travel advisory: Level 3 (high). Be fully vaccinated before traveling to the Dominican Republic.

Jamaica

Reach Falls, near the city of Port Antonio, is a popular destination in Jamaica.
Reach Falls, near the city of Port Antonio, is a popular destination in Jamaica.
Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images
What's on offer: Jamaica's reggae and dancehall music and laid-back vibe are perennial draws. Tropical beaches, waterfalls and delicious jerk cuisine also lure visitors.
Who can go? Jamaica lifted its travel ban on eight nations in southern Africa in mid-December; the island is now open to anyone who meets the entry requirements.
Entry requirements: Travelers 12 and older must have a negative result from a Covid-19 molecular (PCR, NAA, RNA) or antigen test performed taken within three days of the travel date. You must fill out a travel authorization form.
Visitors are directed to "Resilient Corridors" designed specifically for tourists along with other licensed accommodations that meet Covid-19 safety standards. If you require a Covid test upon arrival, you must quarantine in your hotel or resort until you get a negative result.
Fully vaccinated travelers staying outside the resilient corridors who have a negative result from a PCR test taken within three days of departure to Jamaica will not be required to quarantine on arrival.
US CDC travel advisory: Level 2 (moderate). Make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Rico

Paddleboarders enjoy themselves near a beach in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan.
Paddleboarders enjoy themselves near a beach in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan.
Xavier Garcia/Bloomberg/Getty Images
What's on offer: Charming and historic Old San Juan is ripe for exploration. The island's casinos and El Yunque rainforest are also top attractions that stretch beyond the water activities at the island's many beaches.
Who can go? As a US territory, Puerto Rico is following the latest guidelines that allow only fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter. Ages 17 and younger are exempt, and US citizens do not have to be vaccinated to visit.
A travel ban on eight countries in southern Africa has been lifted.
Entry requirements: Visitors entering any of the Island's three open airports, whether on commercial or private aircraft, are required to fill out a Travel Declaration Form.
Fully vaccinated travelers on domestic flights must upload their vaccination card to the island's online portal, which will generate a QR code. Nonvaccinated travelers on domestic flights must have a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival.
Travelers who arrive without a test must take a Covid-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and go into quarantine awaiting results. Failure to comply could result in a fine.
Tourists arriving on international flights must present a negative Covid-19 test taken within one day of travel. You must be fully vaccinated if you're not a US citizen or long-term resident.
Unvaccinated travelers 12 and older cannot disembark cruise ships to visit the island.

Turks and Caicos

Colonial houses line the waterfront in Cockburn town, Grand Turk.
Colonial houses line the waterfront in Cockburn town, Grand Turk.
Alamy
What's on offer: This British overseas territory -- northeast of Cuba and southeast of the Bahamas -- is known for its coral reefs, ripsaw music and a low-key vibe. Whale watching, snorkeling and a range of other outdoor activities pair well with the islands' natural aquatic beauty.
Who can go? Visitors from around the world are welcomed to vacation here.
Entry requirements: You must be fully vaccinated if you're 16 or older to visit. All travelers 10 and older need a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken no more than three days before arrival to enter. Starting January 14, visitors 2 and older will have to take a test.
There's no quarantine on arrival. You must fill out a travel authorization form, and Covid-19 travel insurance is required as well.
US CDC travel advisory: Level 3 (high). Be fully vaccinated before traveling to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

US Virgin Islands

St. Thomas saw a lot of cruise ship activity before the pandemic.
St. Thomas saw a lot of cruise ship activity before the pandemic.
Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post/Getty Images
What's on offer: From fine dining, scuba diving and golfing on St. Croix to the pristine shores of unspoiled and undeveloped St. John, these islands have a lot to offer. In lively St. Thomas, boating and duty-free shopping are big draws.
Who can go? As a US territory, the USVI is following the latest guidelines that allow only fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter. Ages 17 and younger are exempt, and US citizens do not have to be vaccinated to visit.
A travel ban on eight countries in southern Africa has been lifted.
Entry requirements: Domestic travelers 5 or older who enter by air or sea are required to use the USVI Travel Screening Portal, which generates a QR code that must be presented to local officials upon arrival. Foreign travelers 2 or older must use the portal.
Both vaccinated and unvaccinated domestic travelers must present a negative result of a Covid-19 test taken within three days of arrival unless they have been vaccinated in the USVI.
Travelers arriving on international flights must present a negative Covid-19 test taken within one day of travel. Foreign visitors must be fully vaccinated. International tourists arriving by ferry must present a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of travel.
Only fully vaccinated foreign tourists may disembark cruise ships. All sea travelers 2 and older must provide a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken within three days of arrival.