LAST UPDATED MAY 27, 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—particularly in a region where the coronavirus infection rate has up to now been less severe than elsewhere.
Below, we've compiled a roundup of known reopening info 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 will be suspended for the majority of the summer.
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.
Antigua and Barbuda
Reopening date: Government tourism officials have confirmed that an American Airlines flight from Miami will touch down on June 4—the first international arrival in 10 weeks.
Entry requirements/restrictions: Island authorities are still ironing out details. The Antigua Observer newspaper reports that a likely requirement for each foreign visitor will be a negative result from a rapid Covid-19 test, "carried out at ports of entry at a small cost to be borne by the visitor." A self-quarantine period of 7 or 14 days is also said to be under consideration.
Reopening date: The government has yet to set an exact reopening date, but the "tentative" target range is June 15 to July 1, according to a statement.
Entry requirements/restrictions: All tourism-related businesses will need to 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. Among safety measures at the airport: temperature checks, onsite medical professionals, social distance markers, and mandatory PPE for staff members.
For more information: Visit aruba.com.
Reopening date: Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address on May 17 that the government is considering resuming inbound flights by July 1. He stressed, however, that the date has not been set definitively and could change depending on the coronavirus situation in the Bahamas in the coming weeks.
Entry requirements/restrictions: Health and safety protocols relating to international tourists are still being finalized, according to Minnis.
Reopening date: The island's Grantley Adams International Airport remains closed to commercial traffic until June 30 at least.
Entry requirements: A two-week quarantine for incoming visitors was established in March, but tourism officials say they're considering replacing that with a rapid Covid-19 test administered either at the point of departure or upon arrival in Barbados.
Health and safety restrictions: Beyond entry, Barbados has not decided on any concrete health and safety protocols for visitors.
For more information: Visit the website of the island's Government Information Service.
Reopening date: All airports in the island chain are closed to nonessential international traffic until September 1, according to the government website. But on May 19, Premier Alden McLaughlin told reporters that the prospect of reopening borders in early September "is not looking good" based on "what I and everybody else is seeing in the United States."
Entry requirements/restrictions: No detailed tourism plan has been released yet.
For more information: Visit the islands' official Covid-19 FAQ page.
Reopening date: Cuban airspace is closed until July 1. American Airlines has confirmed that it will resume flights to Havana starting July 7, with Southwest and Air Canada selling tickets for nearby dates.
Entry requirements/restrictions: It's not yet clear what the new health and safety procedures for visiting Cuba will be, but politics has already made travel to that island nation a fraught endeavor for Americans.
Reopening date: The government has not announced when borders will reopen, but according to the local Dominican Today newspaper, the "activation of the tourism sector" is set to begin July 5. Hotels and restaurants will likely resume welcoming guests then, but it's still not clear when international arrivals can return.
Entry requirements/restrictions: The Dominican Republic has reported the most coronavirus cases (more than 15,000) in the Caribbean. The tourism ministry is working to develop health and safety protocols to avoid worsening the situation if possible.
Reopening date: "We expect to open our borders in the first week of June," Prime Minister Keith Mitchell told reporters. Sandals Grenada plans to open its doors on June 4 (with companywide enhanced cleaning protocols). Another of the island's most popular properties, Spice Island Beach Resort, is holding off until November.
Entry requirements/restrictions: Details are being finalized, Mitchell said.
Reopening date: In late April, the Jamaica Tourist Board released a bulletin announcing that the island's borders will be closed through May 31. Datewise, there haven't been any updates since.
Entry requirements/restrictions: Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said that a reopening plan is in the works.
Reopening date: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the temporary closure of the land border with Mexico to June 22. 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 in theory American tourists might be able to go to Mexico sooner than the end of June—as long as they don't plan to drive or walk across the border.
Entry requirements: The U.S. State Department advises travelers to expect temperature checks. Visitors with symptoms could be returned to the U.S. or required to undergo quarantine in Mexico.
Reopening date: Hotels in the home state of popular resort areas such as Cancún, Tulum, and the Riviera Maya had planned to reopen as soon as June 1, but amid a recent spike in coronavirus cases in Mexico, state officials say that won't happen because the region isn't ready.
Reopening date: Hotels on the Pacific Coast have likewise decided to postpone a plan to begin reopening in June. The airport's international terminal in Los Cabos is closed until July at least.
Reopening date: You can already travel to this U.S. island territory.
Entry requirements: All commercial flights are being diverted to the capital city of San Juan, where passengers must undergo a health screening involving a temperature check with thermographic cameras. Afterwards, all travelers must self-quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they exhibited symptoms in the health screening.
Health and safety restrictions: An island-wide curfew is in effect from 7pm to 5am. Gov. Wanda Vázquez has announced that the curfew will remain law until June 15. Vázquez reportedly intends to reopen public beaches and some businesses on May 26. Surfing, jogging, swimming, kayaking, and other forms of exercise will be allowed on beaches each day from 5am to 7pm. Restaurants can operate at 25% capacity. Retail stores can also open on May 26, but they must limit capacity as well.
For more information: See Puerto Rico's travel advisory.
Reopening date: Tourists from the United States are welcome to return to St. Lucia starting June 4.
Entry requirements: Flyers will need to present negative Covid-19 test results at the airport before they leave for the Caribbean, and tests must be taken no more than 48 hours before flying to St. Lucia. Your temperature will be checked once you arrive.
Health and safety restrictions: Hotels will be certified for complying with the government's hygiene and safety rules. Tourist attractions and car rentals are unavailable (though authorized taxis will be running). Some shops will be open, but capacity will be limited. Restaurants will not be open for sit-down meals—you'll have to settle for takeout or delivery only. Restrictions are scheduled to loosen further on August 1.
For more information: Visit St. Lucia's tourism site. See also Frommer's earlier commentary on why limited testing in the United States might make some regulations—both on this island and elsewhere in the region—difficult for Americans to follow.
Pictured at top: Condado Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico