12 Caribbean Islands Least Affected by the Pandemic
The days of virtually traveling to a pristine beach are nearly over as the Caribbean slowly begins to reopen its borders to tourists, some of which are welcoming Americans.
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While Europe is off the table for summer vacation, these dozen Caribbean islands that were not badly affected by COVID-19 are open to American tourists. Prefer to go somewhere where you don’t need a passport? These are 50 of the best beach houses you can rent in the United States.
This idyllic British Caribbean island was barely touched by COVID-19 with just three confirmed cases since the pandemic began, and now, with its June 18, 2020 situation report, the World Health Organization has declared Anguilla COVID-free. In an effort to keep it this way, the island’s borders remain closed to commercial international traffic through July 14, 2020. In a world changed by coronavirus, Anguilla is set to provide pristine beaches, secluded resorts, like the Shoal Bay Villas, and a sublime opportunity for you to truly get away from the madness of the current events news cycle. Another plus is that Anguilla is also one of the 12 least crowded Caribbean Islands.
Thanks to the swift action taken in March by the St. Barthélemy government, the island reopened to tourists on June 22, 2020, having experienced a total of six positive coronavirus cases. This means that you too can now live the rich and famous lifestyle on this dreamscape of a Caribbean vacation destination. Of course, safety and health precautions are still in place to ensure the island is able to stay open and some of the most photogenic beaches in the world are still able to be enjoyed. Upon arrival in St. Bart’s, “All visitors will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test where the result (not the date the test was administered) is dated within 72 hours of their arrival. For travelers unable to obtain this test result prior to arrival, taking a test at the St. Barts COVID-19 drive-through test center within 24 hours of your arrival (and at the visitor’s expense) is required.” It’s worth it for a stay at Pearl Beach Hotel. Many of the Caribbean islands have handled coronavirus well but COVID-19 is spiking in these states.
Antigua and Barbuda
The borders to this Caribbean island paradise reopened on June 1, 2020 with the caveat that all, “visitors must take a COVID-19 test 48 hours prior to arrival and be able to present documentation of negative results. If they’re unable to do so they must pay for a test locally or agree to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days,” according to Travel & Leisure. With just 26 confirmed cases throughout the coronavirus crisis, the health measures being taken upon arrival, and the requirement in place for everyone to wear masks in public spaces, Antigua and Barbuda is not only the Caribbean island for a safe-cation but it sounds dreamier than ever, especially when you stay at the Pineapple Beach Club.
With a recent negative COVID-19 test in hand, you are now able to fly into a vacation on Saint Lucia, a Caribbean island with a population of roughly 180,000 which recorded only 19 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. By following the handy Saint Lucia travel safety protocols from departure through the length of your stay, you will be able to stay healthy and help to keep the residents of this special place dotted with mountains, volcanic beaches, fishing villages, and luxurious resorts safe and healthy too. You’ll need a face mask to visit the Caribbean during this pandemic, so buy one of the best face masks for summer travel before heading down to the Ladera Resort.
Aruba is set to welcome U.S. travelers starting on July 10, 2020 (nine days after Canadians and Europeans were first permitted to luxuriate on Aruba’s sandy shores). By completing the required ED Card which will help, “establish that you are eligible to board an inbound plane to Aruba, but does not exempt you from COVID-19 screening and testing nor establish that you are admissible to Aruba.” When you arrive for your Aruban vacation, you may be screened and tested for COVID-19 as well as interviewed before being admitted into Aruba. Once those i’s are dotted, then you can proceed to your resort and to photograph whiptail lizards at the stunning Arikok National Park and enjoying a stay at one of its many luxurious hotels, such as the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino.
Turks & Caicos
As of June 30, 2020, there have been a mere 41 total cases of coronavirus recorded on the islands of Turks & Caicos. Thanks to the management of the pandemic here, including a nightly curfew and masks being made mandatory in all public places through the end of the year, international travelers will be welcomed back when the Providenciales Airport reopens on July 22, 2020, and the Grand Turk Cruise Center on August 31. By the time visitors do return, sit-down, dine-in restaurants and all other businesses will have opened their doors. Please check the Turks & Caicos visiting requirements, including a negative COVID-19 test and travel medical insurance being purchased, before booking your getaway. Before you dive into that resort pool at the Royal West Indes Resort, find out if you can catch coronavirus from swimming.
Not technically in the Caribbean, but Bermuda, which endured under 150 coronavirus positives since the pandemic began, is now accepting international visitors once a few significant health and safety hurdles are cleared. Most notably, all travelers wishing to enter Bermuda must, “within 48 hours of departure, complete the Bermuda travel authorization process online which gathers important information for the island’s health and immigration officials; a $75 fee per traveler is required, which includes the cost of all COVID-19 testing in Bermuda.” And once on the island, in addition to social distancing, intelligent hygiene mindfulness and mandatory mask-wearing in public places, you are also required to take your own temperature twice per day and report the results using an online app, as well as take additional COVID-19 tests at pop-up centers, administered on day three, day seven, and day 14 of your stay. These efforts will not only keep you and the residents of Bermuda safe, they will also enable you to have a much-needed and thoroughly memorable Bermudian holiday during a global pandemic. That goes double if you stay at the phenomenal Rosewood Bermuda.
These popular Caribbean islands are home to the Atlantis Resort, over 385,000 residents, and remarkably, only 104 positive Coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. As of July 1, the Bahamas began welcoming international tourists with guidelines like having had a recent negative test result and health visa in hand, as well as undergoing temp checks upon arrival, to ensure no imported COVID-19 cases emerge. The aforementioned Atlantis reopens on July 7 and a week later, attractions, excursions, and tours on the islands will resume as usual. Here’s what travel could look like after coronavirus.
Not open to Americans as of press time: British Virgin Islands
Not open to Americans as of press time. You cannot officially start planning your BVI beach vacation yet but once the British Virgin Islands do begin to allow international tourists, know that in total there have been just eight cases of coronavirus recorded here. By following the safety protocols sure to be in place when the borders open, you will be able to both escape the dread of lockdown life in the States while also keeping yourself and the residents, workers, and fellow visitors safe.
Not open to Americans as of press time: St. Maarten
There are currently no active positive cases of COVID-19 on this glamorously dual Dutch and French island, and the plan was for the island to begin accepting visitors on July 1. Well…that was the plan but at the last moment, there was an alteration that will prevent American tourists to enjoy the sun and sand of St. Maarten. The official government tourism site noted that “the present traveling situation is unnecessarily inconsistent. The bad news is that your visit to our island will be delayed for a few more weeks.” So don’t completely unpack the sunscreen and swimsuits yet, because hopefully by the end of July you’ll be allowed to go planespotting on Maho Beach and swinging through the trees at Loterie Farm. Check out these coronavirus hotel deals you can book now for next year.
Not open to Americans as of press time: Bonaire
This sliver of relatively-unknown Caribbean heaven had only two positive cases of COVID-19 and none since April. In an attempt to continue keeping the island’s residents safe, only “Up to 1,000 total travelers from the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Germany per week have been allowed to visit starting on July 1, 2020. These countries were chosen because the figures show that there are few coronavirus infections,” states Bonaire’s Tourism Board. Americans, unfortunately, are not permitted to visit this Dutch island at this time and there is no plan currently to allow U.S. tourists to see the wild goats, donkeys, and flamingos dotting this beautifully wild place.
Not open to Americans as of press time: Curaçao
Sadly, because of how the coronavirus pandemic was and is still being mismanaged in the United States, American visitors are not welcome to arrive in the Caribbean island paradise of Curaçao, which, to date, has suffered only 20 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases during the whole of this crisis. Citizens from a handful of European countries, as well as Canadian and Chinese tourists (up to 10,000 total tourists at a time, to put minimal pressure on the island’s health care system) hoping to soak up the sun in the Caribbean this summer are allowed to fly into the international airport as of July 1. Find out the public places that doctors won’t go during the coronavirus pandemic.
For more on this developing situation, including how life might be different post-lockdown, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.