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10 Caribbean Islands Americans Can Visit Under New CDC Requirements

Ahhhh… a Caribbean vacation sounds nice right about now. But wait, can you even go with all these CDC requirements…?

We already know how and where you can get tested before leaving, but the CDC just made things a bit more complicated. The US will now require a negative PCR or antigen COVID-19 test result within 3 days of entry.

Though it may seem like the latest CDC requirements might destroy your dreams, I’m here to tell you otherwise!

Many Caribbean islands are fully aware of the fact that exit testing is now fashionable. I mean, how can you require testing but not offer it?

Here are ten quite incredible Caribbean islands that are open for tourism – and offer COVID-19 testing!

Dominican Republic
US Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
St. Maarten
St. Lucia
Dominica
Barbados
Antigua and Barbuda
Aruba
Jamaica

RELATED: Here’s How to Vacation in the Caribbean While Minimizing Time Stuck in Quarantine

Dominican Republic

Resorts, nature, and COVID-19 testing... all in one package!
Though the Dominican Republic has endless incredible resorts, the island offers so much more… including COVID-19 testing!

The DR has always been a great destination for nature lovers, beach-goers, or those just looking for a relaxing getaway. Many COVID-approved resorts have re-opened, taking every possible precaution to avoid the spread.

You’ll find that the DR has some of the most lax travel restrictions of any island in the Caribbean. Whether you judge that as a good or a bad thing is up to you.

Dominican Republic Travel Requirements:

  • PCR test is NOT required to enter
    • Instead, random rapid testing upon arrival
  • No quarantine required (unless you test positive)

COVID-19 Testing in the Dominican Republic/CDC Requirements

Testing available through national public health laboratory. According to godominicanrepublic.com, “The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism is diligently working in coordination with the Dominican Government and the private sector. They have plans to develop a comprehensive plan to address the Centers for Disease Control’s new protocols requiring travelers as of January 26, 2021 returning to the U.S. These travelers will now need proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test prior to departure.”, click here for more information.

US Virgin Islands

With direct flights to St. Thomas and St. Croix, the US Virgin Islands make a case for an easy and enjoyable trip. Not having to deal with traveling abroad reduces some headache and complication. Plus, the islands aren’t so bad!

USVI Travel Requirements:

  • RT-PCR, antibody, or rapid (antigen) test required within 5 days of entry.
  • Must complete a Travel Screening Portal within 5 days of entry.
  • No quarantine required.

COVID-19 Testing in the US Virgin Islands/CDC Requirements

The new CDC rules do not apply to exiting the USVI since they are a US Territory. This means you don’t need a COVID-19 test to exit the USVI unless your state requires it.

If needed, here are options for COVID-19 testing in the US Virgin Islands.

British Virgin Islands

The BVI feature more than incredible islands - they also have 24-hour COVID-19 PCR testing!
All that beach just for yourself? Yes, please!

The BVI have always been a special place, especially to sailors and boaters alike. Knowing that you’re about as isolated as it gets on a boat, the BVI have special, awesome quarantine restrictions. Keep reading for more!

British Virgin Islands Travel Requirements:

  • A negative RT-PCR test result taken within 5 days of arrival.
  • Travel insurance with medical coverage including COVID-19.
  • A BVI Traveler Gateway Authorization Certificate – applied for 48 hours ahead and completed 24 hours ahead.

The BVI have implemented a genius, thrilling compromise to quarantining. Did you know that you can quarantine on a yacht? Brilliant! Read more here.

COVID-19 Testing in the BVI/CDC Requirements

You can arrange an exit RT-PCR test with the BVI government for USD$70. Contact the BVI Re-Opening hotline on WhatsApp: +1 (284) 496-6129.

St. Maarten

Airplane views AND COVID-19 testing that meets new CDC regulations? Sign me up!
This is such a cool place to chill if you’re an airplane lover (like me).

Maho Beach: have you heard of it? That engrained picture you have in your head of a 747 flying low over a beach… yep, that’s St. Maarten!

With direct flights from so many places in the states, no quarantine, and easy travel requirements, St. Maarten is an excellent spot to take a break from all of this.

St. Maarten Travel Requirements:

  • For all travelers, even those in transit:
    • The EHAS form must be completed and approved online before your departure and submitted upon arrival.
  • For travelers coming from a country with either a moderate or high risk (USA, Canada, Europe…)
    • You must submit the original of your negative result of a PCR test performed within 5 days (120 hours) prior to departure or an antigenic test performed within 2 days prior to departure.
    • This test is not mandatory for children under the age of 10.
    • Only approved antigenic tests are accepted: Becton Dickinson (BD) Veritor Plus / Abbott Panbio / Abott BinaxNow / Roche/SD Biosensor F 
  • If you are staying in an establishment on the French part of the island, a negative test result from a test taken within 72 hours is mandatory.
  • Health insurance is required.

COVID-19 Testing in St. Maarten/CDC Requirements

You can find private testing in both St. Maarten and St. Martin. The Divi Resort website lists these options:

Stl
All the testing centers open in St. Maarten.

St. Lucia

Incredible mountain views, phenomenal beaches, lovely people, and great vibes: these are why St. Lucia stands out. These same things also make St. Lucia more expensive. Still worth it!

St. Lucia Travel Requirements:

  • Arrivals (5 years and over) must have a COVID -19 PCR test with a negative result taken no more than 7 days before arrival in Saint Lucia.
  • All arrivals (18 years and over) must complete and submit a Travel Authorization Form.
  • All arriving passengers will be screened, this will include temperature checks.
  • Arriving passengers will be transferred by certified taxi to approved COVID-19 accommodation or to their quarantine location.

St. Lucia, much like Dominica, has approved excursions for the quarantine period. This means that quarantining doesn’t have to be painful. But if you want to avoid having to quarantine in St. Lucia, here’s how.

COVID-19 Testing in St. Lucia/CDC Requirements

Some hotels, such as the Jade Resort, will conveniently arrange exit testing for you.

Alternatively, you can arrange the testing yourself at these locations:

Dominica

Known as the Nature Island, Dominica is probably the greenest island in all the Caribbean. Bespoke with endless waterfalls, 365 rivers, and beautiful black sand beaches, you literally cannot go wrong in Dominica.

Dominica is probably the best Caribbean island to visit right now, so go for it!

My favorite Caribbean island - plus Dominica offers PCR testing to meet new CDC requirements!
With 9 volcanos, Dominica is one special Caribbean island. Waterfalls, 365 rivers, and splendid beaches mean you have endless opportunity to enjoy the island here.

Dominica Travel Requirements:

  • Submit a health questionnaire at least 24 hours prior to departure.
  • Upload a negative-result PCR test taken within 24-72 hours of arrival.
  • You will have to take a rapid-antibody test on arrival. If positive, you must take a PCR-test and isolate in a government facility (approximately 24 hours) until you receive your results.
  • The quarantine period lasts 6-7 days, with a PCR-test taken on day 4. During this time, you can participate in “Safe in Nature” excursions all around the island!

Here’s how you can avoid having to quarantine in the Caribbean.

COVID-19 Testing in Dominica/CDC Requirements

Here’s the process to obtain a PCR test in Dominica:

  • Consult with the District Medical Officer at a district clinic and get a requisition from.
  • Call 1(767) 611 3905 to make an appointment.
  • Pay for the test at the accounts department at the Dominica- China Friendship Hospital (the former Princess Margaret Hospital) located on Upper Charles Avenue in Goodwill.
  • Present your stamped form and receipt upon arrival at the Roseau Health Center.
  • Have your test done at the Roseau Health Center, or as designated by the medical professionals. 
  • The results will be presented by the requisitioning medical officer or healthcare provider.

This all sounds fairly complicated, but the good news is that your hotel can take care of setting it up. Our hotel, “Trois Piton”, managed to guide us through this process with ease just last week!

Barbados

Barbados, another Caribbean island offering PCR testing to meet new CDC requirements.
Lovely beaches, great rum, friendly locals, and beautiful nature. Barbados is one fantastic Caribbean island.

Though Barbados has seen a recent spike in cases due to a boxing day bus crawl, their numbers remains far lower than most of the world. In fact, the CDC reports Barbados as only Level 2: Moderate Risk. For reference, 95% of the world is classified as Level 3 or higher.

Update: read about how quarantine times in Barbados have increased to 7-10 days. As a result, I currently recommend skipping Barbados and heading to the next step

Barbados Travel Requirements

Since summer, Barbados has initiated a clever system to let tourists in while keeping COVID-19 out. 

Requirements before entering Barbados include:

  • Negative PCR-test results from a test taken within 72 hours of arrival (oropharyngeal or nasopharyngeal, only, at-home test kits not approved). 
  • Filling out this form 24 hours prior to travel.

Don’t think you can get your results in time? Here are airport testing centers that provide PCR test results within 72 hours. 

Want to know when to get your PCR test before arriving? Here’s a chart even I can understand.
The Barbadian travel website has this handy chart showing when to get tested.

Quarantine in Barbados: 2 to 3 Days

5 days after your first accepted negative test (but no earlier than 48 hours after arrival), you will be tested a second time in Barbados. This means, unlike most islands where you’re tested 5 days after arrival, you can get tested of day 2 and only have to quarantine 2 or 3 days

Once you receive a negative result (typically 24 hours later), you’re free! You can move around the island, but you will be monitored for the remainder of your first 7 days. 7 days is probably enough to get a good taste of Barbados (and some Mount Gay rum!)

Just don’t try and run away if you get a positive result. Trust me, it’s not pretty.

COVID-19 Testing in Barbados/CDC Requirements

Barbados offers several private (and public) testing options, though test results may take longer to take depending on backlog. Typically, you can expect results in 24-36 hours. Luckily, most airlines (such as Delta) no longer apply change fees if you need to switch to a later flight.

BlueIsles: Private, USD$180
PublicPolyclinics: Public, Free
SandyCrest: Private, BDS$550
UrgentCare Barbados: BDS$400

Jamaica

Can’t have your cake and eat it too? Not true... you can visit Jamaica and get your COVID testing done and meet new CDC requirements.
Quite possibly the “epitome” of the Caribbean, Jamaica is a great spot for a vacation.

You can’t go wrong with Jamaica… well, maybe you can. If your plan is to venture outside of the tourist/“resilient corridor” zone, you’ll have to quarantine. Easy solution: stay at a beach resort.

Jamaica Travel Requirements

  • RT-PCR COVID test required. You must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test result to check in for a flight, taken within 10 days of departure.
  • You must apply for travel authorization
  • Jamaica Cares mandatory travel insurance is required and costs about $40-50.
  • Quarantine required if you plan to leave the tourist areas/“resilient corridor”.

COVID-19 Testing in Jamaica/CDC Requirements

Jamaica offers plenty of private testing options, though at a cost.

Micro Labs Jamaica
Website: www.microlabs.limited
Email: info@microlabs.limited
Email: sars-cov-2@microlabs.limited
Phone: 876-926-6168876-952-5628876-956-3834

Carigen (Caribbean Genetics) Laboratory
Website: www.caribbeangenetics.com 
Email: info@caribbeangenetics.com
Phone: 876-977-4342876-935-8791
WhatsApp: 876-436-8955

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda has PCR testing available to meet new CDC requirements
Lots of beautiful, raw nature to see in Antigua. And getting COVID testing done here is easy!

Long a sweet holiday spot for the Brits, Antigua and Barbuda have seen an increasing influx of Americans. With off-the-beaten-path beaches and gorgeous nature, I can see why.

Antigua Travel Requirements

  • A negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 using a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab taken within seven (7) days of your flight
  • Up to a 14-day quarantine

COVID-19 Testing in Antigua/CDC Requirements

Persons travelling from Antigua & Barbuda to countries that require a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result be shown on arrival, can arrange to have the RT-PCR test performed at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC), Michael’s Mount, Antigua. Testing is available at a cost.

That cost is $200USD, and the test can be arranged here.

Aruba

This one happy island has COVID-19 testing available to meet new CDC requirements
This “One Happy Island” provides happy COVID-19 testing!

As part of the ABC chain of islands, and belonging to the Netherlands, Aruba is one of the drier Caribbean islands. It’s mainly known for its great seafood, beaches, lively downtown (Oranjestad) with great food, and exceptional weather. With many direct flights from the US and Europe, Aruba makes a great winter destination.

Aruba Travel Requirements

  • RT-PCR COVID test required. Visitors will be required to take a PCR test within 72 hours of the departing flight to Aruba.
  • Health declaration form must be approved at least 24 hours prior to entry in Aruba.
  • Travel Insurance: Required.  Must obtain Aruba Visitors Insurance

Quarantine is not required unless you or a companion has a positive PCR-test result.

COVID-19 Testing in Aruba/CDC Requirements

Aruba has all necessary testing facilities and procedures are in place for visitors. For a list of COVID-19 testing facilities in Aruba, click here

RELATED: Don’t Want to Quarantine? Here are the Safest Places You Can Visit Without Quarantine.

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