LAST UPDATED JULY 31, 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: American Airlines resumed daily service to V.C. Bird International Airport from Miami on June 4, signalling the return of tourism. Flights from New York City via JetBlue resume in early July. 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 48 hours before landing in Antigua. 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%. A 7pm curfew is in effect until July 31. Hotels must be certified in compliance with the government's safety and cleaning protocols, which mandate contactless online check-in for guests, testing and masks for employees, and hygiene measures such as the elimination of buffets. Beaches are open from 6am–7pm until the curfew is lifted; masks are not required on beaches, but activities should be limited to 25 people.
For more information: See the latest travel advisories for Antigua and Barbuda.
Reopening dates: Aruba opted for a staggered border reopening. Visitors from the nearby islands of Bonaire and Curaçao were welcomed back starting on June 15. Aruba's borders reopened to Canada, Europe, and other Caribbean islands on July 1. Travelers from the U.S. were let in starting July 10.
Entry requirements/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. 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: Commercial travel to the islands resumed on 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.
Reopening date: Borders reopened to tourism on July 12. It's unclear, however, when commercial flights from the United States will resume. On July 13, Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds said that might not happen "until early September." Air Canada is currently flying to Barbados.
Entry requirements/restrictions: Visitors from high-risk countries (with more than 10,000 new cases in the prior seven days) are asked to take a Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to departure. Those from low-risk countries will have up to one week to take tests before departure for Barbados.
For more information: Visit the website of the island's Government Information Service.
Reopening date: Bermuda reopened to travelers on 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.
Reopening date: All airports in the island chain are closed to nonessential international traffic until September 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.
Reopening date: Cuban airspace reopened July 1. American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Air Canada have resumed service to the island.
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.
Reopening date: The Dominican Republic reopened to tourism on July 1. The airport in Punta Cana has confirmed the resumption of flights from several carriers, including Spirit Airlines, Air Canada, and Frontier Airlines. About half of the country's hotels reopened in July, with the rest to follow by November.
Entry requirements: As of July 30, incoming passengers must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 5 days before arrival. Once in the Dominican Republic, you'll need to complete a Traveler's Health Affadavit and undergo a temperature check.
Health and safety restrictions: A nightly curfew is in effect in many locations, including Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata; see a full list of cities under curfew orders at the island'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.
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.
Reopening date: The island's borders reopened to international travelers on 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. government has extended the temporary closure of the land border with Mexico to August 20. 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.
Reopening date: These western states, encompassing Puerto Vallarta, Tequila, Guadalajara, and the Riviera Nayarit, reopened tourism on June 15. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines are all offering daily flights to Puerto Vallarta from the United States. Puerto Vallarta's tourism website maintains a schedule of hotel reopenings.
Entry requirements/restrictions: Thermal video imaging and social distancing measures are in place at the airport. Only beaches located directly in front of resorts are open. Hotels must limit capacity at 25% in Jalisco (home of Puerto Vallarta) and at 30% on the Riviera Nayarit. Restaurants and cafes can operate at 50% capacity. Still closed: spas, tours, bars, nightclubs, and shopping malls.
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 through July 31. 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.
Reopening date: As of June 22, all visitors, including those from the United States, are welcome back, according to Bruno Magras, president of the island’s territorial council.
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.
Reopening date: As of June 9, tourists from the United States and Canada are welcome to return, according to government ministers.
Entry requirements: Flyers will need to present a negative Covid-19 test result at the airport before they leave for the Caribbean, and tests must have been taken within seven days of travel to St. Lucia. All passengers must arrive with a completed pre-arrival registration form available on the St. Lucia tourism site (because the form must be printed, it should be filled out before leaving home). Your temperature will be checked once you arrive.
Health and safety restrictions: Hotels will be certified for complying with hygiene and safety rules, and arrivals must have proof that their chosen accommodation is government-approved. 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.
For more information: Visit StLucia.org/covid-19.
St. Martin/St. Maarten
Reopening date: The divided island reopened to Canadians and Europeans on July 1, but flights from the United States will be barred until August 1 at the earliest.
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
Reopening date: International arrivals resumed at Providenciales International Airport on July 22, with service from American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and, starting in August, Air Canada. The Grand Turk Cruise Center will remain closed until August 31.
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 social gatherings limited to 25 people. Restaurant seating is limited at 70% capacity.
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.
Entry requirements: Negative Covid-19 test results are required of travelers from any state "with a positivity rate of greater than 10 percent." That covers Arizona, Florida, Texas, and many other U.S. locales. To enter the U.S. Virgin Islands, test results must be received no more than 5 days prior to travel. Alternatively, the islands will accept a positive antibody test taken no more than 4 months before your trip.
Health and safety restrictions: Taxis and tours must limit capacity to 50%. Beaches are open with social distancing requirements. Seating in restaurants is spaced out, and you should call ahead to make a reservation. Masks are required "in all commercial entities," and all gatherings are capped at 50 people.
For more information: See the official USVI web page for Covid-19 updates.
Pictured at top: Condado Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico