LAST UPDATED SEPTEMBER 17, 2020
But as in every other part of the world, the importance of restarting the economy must be balanced with protecting the health of citizens.
Below, we've compiled a roundup of reopening dates and travel restrictions for several slices of paradise from this area of the map. We'll update our report as destinations provide more details.
Though not mentioned in our listings here, two more factors will play an outsize role in the redevelopment of travel to this region.
The first factor is ocean cruising—but then, there's actually not much to consider at the moment since most sailings are on hold.
And the other factor? Hurricane season, the Caribbean's perennial source of worry that typically starts around June 1 and hits its peak in early autumn.
Reopening date: The island began accepting online applications for entry from international travelers on August 21.
Entry requirements: Prospective visitors must register at Anguilla's official tourism website. Each applicant will need to submit negative results from a PCR test taken within 3 to 5 days prior to arrival as well as show proof of medical insurance that will cover treatment for Covid-19. Application approval is not guaranteed—the government will favor travelers from countries considered low-risk, such as Canada, over those from high-risk places such as the United States. Another PCR test will be administered upon arrival in Anguilla, followed by yet another test on your 10th day on the island. During those first 10 days, you'll be confined to the grounds of your hotel or villa.
Health and safety restrictions: Visitors must stay at government-approved hotels and villas. Masks are not currently required on the island, except at the airport and while in transit to accommodations. Practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently.
For more information: Go to ivisitanguilla.com/escape.
Antigua and Barbuda
Reopened June 4. The Antigua Barbuda Hotels & Tourism Association maintains a list of hotel reopenings.
Entry requirements: All arriving passengers must have negative results from Covid-19 tests taken no more than 7 days before travel. Visitors will be required to fill out a health declaration form and submit to a health screening.
Health and safety restrictions: Transport vehicles such as taxis and shuttles must limit seating capacity to 50%. Hotels must be certified in compliance with the government's safety and cleaning protocols, which mandate contactless check-in, heightened sanitation measures, and masks in public areas; upon arrival in Antigua, each visitor should have proof of a booking at a certified property. Some restaurants have been certified for limited, socially distanced dine-in service. An 11pm curfew is in effect until October 31. Masks are not required on beaches, but keep your distance from others.
For more information: See the latest travel advisories for Antigua and Barbuda.
Reopened July 10
Entry requirements: No more than 72 hours prior to arrival, all visitors must complete Aruba's online Embarkation/Disembarkation Card process and receive approval to enter the island. Approval requires proof of negative Covid-19 PCR test results and purchase of Aruba Visitors Insurance, starting at $10 per day (prices vary by age group and length of stay). This coverage is mandatory, even if you have separate travel insurance. Travelers from U.S. locations deemed high risk will require additional testing; see Aruba's full testing requirements for more information. Other safety measures at the airport include a health screening and mandatory masks.
Health and safety restrictions: All tourism-related businesses must be certified by the Department of Public Health to ensure that those businesses are upholding stringent cleaning and hygiene standards. The enhanced protocols apply to taxis, accommodations, restaurants, bars, casinos, retail shops, and tour operators.
For more information: Visit aruba.com.
Reopened July 1. For a brief time, Americans were not allowed to take commercial flights to the country, but that policy has been reversed.
Entry requirements: To visit the Bahamas, negative Covid-19 test results (no older than 10 days), temperature screenings, and completed electronic health declaration cards are required. The form should be completed at least 3 days before arrival. Most important, all visitors are required to quarantine for 14 days at their own expense in a government-approved hotel. Travelers will need to take another Covid-19 test (again at their own expense) at the end of the quarantine period.
Health and safety restrictions: All beaches are closed, including at resorts. A nightly curfew is in effect from 7pm–5am; during that time, travelers must remain on the grounds of their accommodations. Except at hotel restaurants, both indoor and outdoor dining is banned; takeaway, curbside pickup, and delivery are still allowed. Masks are required in public places.
For more information: See the latest travel update from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
Reopened July 12
Entry requirements/restrictions: Each visitor from a high-risk country, including the U.S., must have negative results from a Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival in Barbados. Visitors must also complete the online Immigration and Customs Form within 3 days prior to travel. Safety restrictions during your stay include physical distancing and required masks in public places.
For more information: Visit the Covid-19 section of the island's official tourism website.
Reopened July 1
Entry requirements: Within 48 hours of departure for the island, visitors must complete an online travel authorization process, which includes a fee of $75 per traveler. You'll need a negative Covid-19 test result (no older than five days upon arrival in Bermuda) and health insurance for entry. After getting to Bermuda, passengers must undergo another round of Covid-19 testing and remain quarantined at their hotels until results are delivered (usually in four to eight hours).
Health and safety restrictions: Twice-daily temperature checks (self-reported by tourists via online portal) and additional Covid-19 tests (on the third, seventh, and 14th days of your stay, depending on the length of your visit) as well as mask wearing and social distancing measures are all required. Group gatherings must be limited to 50 people.
For more information: See the news alerts from the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
British Virgin Islands
Reopening date: No date for the resumption of international tourism or commercial flights has been announced. Due to a Covid-19 spike in the territory, the CDC has issued a Level 3 notice—"Reconsider Travel"—for the islands.
Entry requirements/restrictions: The government has established a strict daily curfew from 1pm through 5am the following morning. When tourism resumes, negative Covid-19 PCR test results and airport health screenings are expected to be among entry requirements, according to TravelPulse.
Reopening date: All airports in the island chain are closed to nonessential international traffic until October 1, according to the government website.
Entry requirements/restrictions: No detailed tourism plan has been released yet.
For more information: Visit the islands' official Covid-19 FAQ page.
Reopened July 1
Entry requirements/restrictions: According to news reports, Cuba is isolating foreigners entirely from the rest of the population by restricting tourists to five small islands offering all-inclusive stays. International arrivals will be tested for the virus before being sent directly to hotels along the northern coast—unless the test result is positive, in which case the government will either quarantine those travelers or send them home. During the all-inclusive vacations, visitors will not be permitted to leave the grounds of their hotels.
Reopened August 7
Entry requirements: At least 24 hours prior to travel, visitors must complete an online health questionnaire. You also need to submit a negative PCR test result recorded no more than 72 hours before arrival. You'll receive a notification via email that you've been approved for travel to Dominica. You'll need to show these documents in order to board the plane. Upon arrival in the Caribbean, passengers will undergo temperature checks and rapid Covid-19 tests.
Health and safety restrictions: Taxis must be certified safe and require masks on passengers and drivers. In order to operate, hotels must also be certified by the government. Restaurants and attractions are open with stringent sanitizing and social distancing measures. Water sports vessels will limit passenger capacity at 70%.
For more information: See Dominica's latest travel advisory.
Reopened July 1
Entry requirements: In place of a previous testing requirement for all visitors, authorities are now randomly administering rapid tests to a small percentage (between 3% and 10%) of incoming arrivals. Until the end of December, all hotel guests will be given a complimentary "travel assistance plan" covering emergencies, telemedicine, lodging for prolonged stays, and costs for changing flights in the event of an infection. Arriving visitors will also be required to fill out a Traveler's Health Affidavit.
Health and safety restrictions: A nightly curfew is in effect in some locations, including Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata; see a full list of cities under curfew orders at the country's tourism website. Hotels are required to adopt strict cleaning protocols, promote social distancing, and use contactless technology where possible. Bars, clubs, and casinos are closed, and all public events are suspended. Social distancing and masks are required in all public places.
For more information: See the coronavirus updates at GoDominicanRepublic.com.
Reopening date: A ban on U.S. arrivals to the islands of this French overseas region remains in effect "until further notice due to the surge of Covid-19 in the U.S.," according to an official travel advisory. Air traffic from the European Union and other countries resumed July 1. JetBlue will resume service from New York to Guadeloupe on November 7.
Entry requirements/restrictions: Arriving passengers will need to present negative results from a Covid-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure for Guadeloupe. Anyone who doesn't have a test result can take a test at the airport for a fee of €84 ($95). Results will be texted or emailed within 48 hours; you don't have to self-quarantine during that time. Masks must be worn at the airport and in taxis.
For more information: See the tourism website's Covid-19 updates.
Reopened June 15
Entry requirements: Prior to your trip, submit a travel authorization form online. Authorization requires that each incoming passenger from areas designated as high-risk—including Arizona, Florida, New York, and Texas—have a negative result for a Covid-19 test taken no more than 10 days before arrival in Jamaica. A health screening at the airport may involve another test, even if you arrive with negative results.
Health and safety restrictions: Visitors must remain either on the grounds of their hotels or in a "Resilient Corridor" between Negril and Portland in the island's north. Precautions at hotels include online check-in, masks, and enhanced sanitation procedures.
For more information: Visit Jamaica's tourism website.
Reopening date: The U.S. and Mexican governments have extended the temporary closure of the land border through September 21. But according to the U.S. Embassy, that restriction "does not apply to air, rail, or sea travel" (with the exception of commuter rail and ferries). So American tourists are allowed to go to Mexico before the official reopening—as long as they don't plan to drive or walk across the border.
Entry requirements/restrictions: As in the U.S., health and safety regulations are not mandated on a federal level and therefore vary by state; Mexican states with popular resort areas are listed below. Instead of requiring testing and quarantine requirements, most destinations ask incoming visitors to fill out a health declaration form and submit to temperature screenings.
Reopening date: The home state of popular resort areas in Cancún and the Riviera Maya began welcoming tourists again on June 8.
Entry requirements: Arriving passengers must undergo temperature checks via thermal imaging and fill out a health questionnaire. Sanitation measures and social distancing markers are in place at airports.
Health and safety restrictions: In the first phase, hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, and transportation must limit capacity at 30%. Hotels can open their beaches, but public beaches remain closed. Nightclubs and casinos are still closed as well. A sanitation certification program has been instituted to ensure that travel-related businesses meet enhanced health and safety protocols.
Baja California Sur
Reopening date: This Pacific Coast state, which encompasses the popular Los Cabos resort area, began reopening to tourism on June 15. Daily flights have resumed from U.S. airlines including Alaska, American, Delta, and United.
Entry requirements/restrictions: A temperature check and completed health screening questionnaire are required upon arrival at the airport. Temperature checks and capacity limits are in place at many beaches. Hotels and restaurants must limit capacity at 30%. Bars that don't serve food are closed.
For more information: Visit the tourism website for Los Cabos.
Entry requirements/restrictions: At the airport in Puerto Vallarta, masks are required and social distancing measures are in place. Hotels are operating at limited capacity—50% in Jalisco (home of Puerto Vallarta) and 30% on the Riviera Nayarit. Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants are open but must operate at 50% capacity. Public and private beaches are both accessible. Museums must limit capacity at 25%.
For more information: Visit the Covid-19 info page on Puerto Vallarta's official tourism website.
Reopening date: Though flights to this U.S. island territory are available from the mainland, Puerto Rico is "encouraging only essential travel at this time and has postponed its official inbound tourism reopening," according to a travel advisory from the official tourism office.
Entry requirements: Arriving passengers must have negative results from a Covid-19 test taken within the last 72 hours. Otherwise, you'll be given a rapid test at the airport and ordered to self-quarantine at your own expense. Other airport procedures involve filling out a travel declaration form and undergoing a health screening with a temperature check.
Health and safety restrictions: An island-wide curfew is in effect from 10pm to 5am. Beaches are open for solo exercise only. Restaurants and museums are operating at 50% capacity. Alcohol sales are banned after 7pm. Bars, theaters, casinos, and attractions are closed. Masks are mandatory in public places; violators are subject to fines.
For more information: See Puerto Rico's travel advisory.
Reopened June 22
Entry requirements: Visitors have two options. Flyers can either present negative Covid-19 test results at the airport before leaving for the Caribbean (tests must be taken no more than 72 hours before the flight). Or travelers can opt to take a test upon arrival and promise to quarantine until they get the results. Those who test positive will be expected to remain in quarantine. Those staying longer than a week will be asked to retake the test after seven days.
Health and safety restrictions: Hotels and villas have adopted enhanced cleaning procedures. Some properties are limiting access to restaurants, allowing hotel guests only. The island's beaches, restaurants, bars, and lounges are all open.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Reopening date: According to a government announcement, St. Kitts and Nevis expects to reopen borders to "air and sea commercial traffic" in October 2020. Many of the islands' major resorts plan to reopen in the fall as well.
Entry requirements/restrictions: The government has not yet released requirements for tourists.
Reopening date: The island reopened borders on June 4. Commercial flights from the U.S. resumed on July 9.
Entry requirements: Flyers from countries (including the U.S.) outside St. Lucia's travel bubble must present a negative Covid-19 test result at the airport before leaving for the Caribbean; the test must have been taken within seven days of travel to St. Lucia. Before travel, each passenger must complete a pre-arrival registration form available online. Your temperature will be checked once you arrive on the island.
Health and safety restrictions: Hotels are certified for complying with hygiene and safety rules, and tourists must have proof that their accommodations are government-approved. You must remain at your hotel for the duration of your time in St. Lucia, except for when participating in approved tours and activities—check with your hotel for what's available.
For more information: Visit StLucia.org/covid-19.
St. Martin/St. Maarten
Reopening date: Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of this divided island (and where the international airport is), reopened to U.S. travelers on August 1. The French side, St. Martin, remains off limits to Americans until further notice. Only Europeans and those on the government's safe list are allowed to cross the border. American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and Spirit have resumed flights to the island from the U.S.
Entry requirements/restrictions: International arrivals will need negative results from a Covid-19 PCR test, taken no more than 72 hours before the day of travel. Show up with a completed health declaration form and proof of health insurance, too. Passengers must undergo temperature screening when they get to the island; anybody exhibiting symptoms will have to take another test onsite. Starting at the airport, wear a mask in all public areas.
For more information: Visit stmaartenupdates.com.
Turks and Caicos
Reopened July 22
Entry requirements: Visitors must be certified by TCI Assured, a portal accessible via the Turks and Caicos tourism website. Requirements for that certification: proof of negative Covid-19 test results at least 5 days prior to travel, proof of medical insurance, and a completed health screening questionnaire.
Health and safety restrictions: New measures to expect at airports, hotels, restaurants, and elsewhere include health screenings, physical distancing, mandatory use of face coverings in public (though masks are only "recommended" on beaches), and capacity limits in public areas.
For more information: See the Turks and Caicos official tourism website.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Reopening date: The islands in this U.S. territory began welcoming visitors back on June 1. However, the islands closed again on August 19 for a month. Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr., expects to reopen tourism on September 15, according to Travel Weekly.
Entry requirements/restrictions: Currently, all hotels, villas, vacation rentals, and charter vessels may not accept new bookings. All bars and nightspots are closed, and restaurants may only offer take-out or delivery. Residents are under stay-at-home orders.
For more information: See the official USVI web page for Covid-19 updates.
Pictured at top: Condado Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico