A Guide to the Caribbean Islands Reopening this Summer – Cond Nast Traveler

We'd all love to lay out on a beach right nowand no one does beaches better than the Caribbean. But more than toes in the sand, what the Caribbean and its economies need right now are tourist dollars. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, 14 of the 15 most tourism-dependent nations in the world are in the Caribbean, with Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Bahamas in the top three spots. But as many of these island nations and territories reopen to kick start their economies, health and safety questions for travelers remain: Do you need to take a COVID-19 test before arriving? How are hotels and resorts stepping up cleaning efforts? Will you be able to rent snorkel equipment? And, importantly, do you have to wear a face mask on the beach?

To help you sift from all the information out there, we broke down exactly what to expect if you're heading to the Caribbean in the coming months, for every destination with a reopening plan. Note that not everyone is rushing to welcome travelers back: you won't find the Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe, or Curaao belowas they don't plan on open their borders anytime soon.

Read on for what to know about visiting the Caribbean this summer. And as you plan your visits, remember to keep checking in on local government and tourism board sites, as coronavirus updates come often.

This dual-island country officially reopened its borders, and its international airport on Antigua, on June 1. (As of publishing, American is flying the only route from the U.S., with a daily flight from Miami.) Visitors have two options when it comes to Antigua and Barbuda's mandatory coronavirus testing: you can pay $100 for free test at the airport upon arrival and quarantine in your hotel for about 24 hours until you get the results; or you can quarantine at your hotel or rental for the first 14 days of your stay.

You'll have to wear a mask in all public places, and when interacting with others outside your family circlebut you won't have to wear them at beaches or pools where social distancing is possible, Colin James, head of the country's tourism board told the Telegraph. At beach bars, stools will be removed and tables will be at last six feet apart; and, for now, local restaurants outside of hotels will be restricted to takeout. All hotels and villas are also being certified by the local government to ensure they're following local health and cleaning guidelines. Check back on the government's COVID-19 site for continuing updates.

Aruba is reopening its border in stages. First, on July 1, European, Canadian, and Caribbean tourists (with the exception of the those from the Dominican Republic and Haiti) will be able to visit. Then, on July 10, that will extend to U.S. travelers. No date has been announced for travelers from countries not mentioned above. Like a number of U.S. airlines, Aruba is requiring visitors to both complete a health questionnaire and upload negative COVID-19 PCR test results, within 72 hours of arriving, as part of a new embarkation and disembarkation (ED) card process. (You can also prepay for a COVID-19 test upon arrival at Queen Beatrix International Airport.) Once you've filled out that ED card and received approval to visit, you're set to fly.

As for the experience on the ground, masks are not required, but are requested in situations where social distancing is difficult. Hotels have installed plexiglass barriers at front desks, and many are offering contactless check-in. Outdoor restaurants have been open since late May, restaurants with seating inside (as well as spas) opened June 1, and bars and nightclubs opened on June 10. The island has also instituted a Health & Happiness Codeessentially a certification that shows that a tour operator, water activities coordinator, car rental company, or spa is complying with suggested safety guidelines.

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A Guide to the Caribbean Islands Reopening this Summer - Cond Nast Traveler

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