The islands are opening in phases, and these eight tropical getaways are among the first to welcome back US-based travelers. Just be prepared to jump through a few health and safety hoops before hitting the sand and sea.
Wherever you’ve been hunkered down these last few months, you’re likely ready to get out into the sunshine—and into the sea. Happily, you can now put that Caribbean getaway you’d planned for winter and spring back on the books. After closing down to international travel and implementing safety measures to help contain the pandemic, several Caribbean islands have recently started to open back up, and are either already welcoming international travelers or have announced plans for when they will do so.
As of this writing, some islands—like Anguilla and St. Maarten—have yet to announce re-opening dates, while in other destinations—like Antigua—travel has resumed but many of our favorite hotels have decided to wait until the fall before opening their doors. Here, however, are eight beloved beach getaways that will be ready for you this summer, complete with info on entry requirements, on-island protocols, and where to stay that will allow for social distancing. (Note that details are subject to change, so check for the latest updates before booking.) While summer is usually low season in the Caribbean, current room rates indicate this year may be different—because, if nothing else, 2020 has proven to be anything but business as usual.
Re-Opening to US Travelers: July 15
The Details: To deal with COVID-19, Puerto Rico was quick in implementing such measures as an island-wide curfew, enhanced cleanliness protocols, and a four-phased reopening plan. While the island has been open to inbound travelers since June 1st, and certain facilities—like beaches and hotels pools—opened on June 16th with a reduced fifty-percent capacity and social distancing, the official “opening date” is July 15th, when more restrictions will be eased as the island enters Phase 4.
The Requirements: Passengers landing at Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport will be screened with thermal cameras that detect high temperatures; those with high readings may be asked to self-quarantine for two weeks. Facemasks are required in all public spaces and social distancing is enforced.
Where to Stay: Re-opening July 1st, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is ideal for maintaining privacy and social distancing, as each of the 115 rooms and suites are individually accessible from the outdoors, and many have private plunge pools and direct beach access; larger, residential-style options include two- and three-bedroom villas and four-bedroom penthouses. With 1,400 Atlantic Ocean-front acres to explore, there’s also plenty to enjoy outdoors, from the beach and outdoor pools to golf courses, an open-air museum and an 11-mile nature trail for walking and biking. Dining can also be enjoyed outdoors (and in private). As part of Marriott International, the property has enacted cleanliness practices in accordance with the brand’s recently launched Global Cleanliness Council.
Turks and Caicos
Re-Opening to US Travelers: July 22
The Details: In accordance with local government requirements and best practices outlined by global health associations, the island (which, as of June 18th, had no coronavirus cases) will re-open its borders, airport and private jet terminals on July 22; the cruise ship terminal will remain closed until the end of August. Any resort that re-opens has to do so at a reduced occupancy and with strict cleanliness and sanitization protocols in place. The island anticipates being able to fully re-open its economy on July 6th.
The Requirements: All incoming passengers are required to wear a face mask when they land on the island, and to wear one in public areas throughout their stay. Upon arrival, visitors may be asked to complete a health declaration form and undergo a thermal temperature check; specific details on testing-upon-arrival, on-island safety protocols, restaurant re-openings and more are pending, so check here for the latest news.
Where to Stay: Welcoming guests beginning on July 24th, Amanyara offers 38 stand-alone pavilions, each with sundecks, separate entrances and extensive outdoor space, as well as 18 three- to six-bedroom villas that each sit on over one-and-a-half acres, and feature infinity pools, living areas and the services of a personal cook and housekeeper. Once settled, enjoy exploring the secluded coves, relaxing on the white-sand beach or diving in the adjacent Northwest Point Marine National Park—or head to the acclaimed spa, which will operate under strict health and safety measures.
Re-opening July 22nd, COMO Parrot Cay is set on its own private, 1000-acre island a 35-minute boat transfer from the airport—making it ideal for a low-contact experience. Accommodations include one- to three-bedroom beach houses and villas that (depending on the layout) feature perks like direct beach access, infinity pools, dedicated beach cabanas or separate guest houses; all come with 24-hour butler service. Given the COMO brand’s focus on wellness, the resort is supporting its new safety protocols (like limiting the number of passengers in elevators, monitoring temperatures, and privatizing excursions and airport transfers) with things like immune-boosting cuisine and targeted fitness and spa services.
Re-Opening to US Travelers: July 10
The Details: An aggressive approach to identifying and managing COVID-19 cases resulted in a relatively low-impact on Aruba, allowing the island to being welcoming outside travelers in phases, beginning on June 15th (US travelers are part of the last phase, starting on July 10th.) Strict new health and safety protocols—dubbed the Aruba Health & Happiness Code—are still in place throughout the island.
The Requirements: Prior to arrival, travelers will have to fill out a self-health declaration form and standard disembarkation form online, and upload proof of health insurance (that covers Aruba) and the results of a COVID-19 test (taken within 72 hours of departure.) You’ll then receive an e-approval, which you’ll need to bring with you. Once on-island, you’ll again need to show proof of a recent negative test or take one at the airport, and also get your temperature taken and have a health interview. (Children under 12 are exempt from the mandatory testing.) Find more details on all the requirements here.
Where to Stay: Slated to re-open July 10th, The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba’s top suites—including the Deluxe, Executive, Club, and Ritz-Carlton categories—offer lots of room to spread out indoors, plus spacious balconies or terraces and, in the top two levels, access to the club lounge. Take advantage of the location right on Palm Beach to enjoy snorkeling, kayaking or a private sail on the Caribbean Sea, or just park yourself in a cabana by one of the two beachfront pools.
PHOTO : COURTESY THE TRYALL CLUB
Re-Opened to US Travelers: June 15
The Details: The Jamaican government has worked closely with international partners and global health agencies to develop public health-focused tourism protocols. Prior to re-opening to international travelers, the island required all Jamaicans returning to the island to undergo temperature checks, a screening with public health officials and a 14-day quarantine monitored by phone or wristband geofencing. Even after opening, the island will continue to revise its health and safety protocols every two weeks to ensure it is adhering to the latest recommendations.
The Requirements: All arriving visitors will be screened via thermal temperature checks and symptom observation; if a temperature is elevated, the visitor will be subject to additional screening, including testing, if needed. Any visitor who exhibits symptoms or is ill will be subject to quarantine, and face masks and social distancing are required in public places. Find more on their health and safety protocols here.
Where to Stay: Book one of the 70-plus luxury villas at The Tryall Club, which is re-opening on August 1st. In addition to providing privacy and extra space, the villas—which are set either along a private beach or in the lush gardens of the 2,200-acre property—come with a dedicated staff, including housekeepers and a personal chef (a particularly welcome perk, since the on-site restaurants currently remain closed.) Guests will also have access to the championship golf course, tennis courts and the recently-launched beach club.
Re-Opening to US Travelers: July 1
The Details: Okay, it’s not technically in the Caribbean, but we can’t leave out this beloved island getaway that’s a quick flight from most of the East Coast. To help safely welcome back commercial air travelers starting on July 1st, Bermuda is following a five-stage plan that includes protocols for pre-departure, in-flight, arrival, on-island and returning home.
The Requirements: Prior to arriving on island, travelers will be required to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their departure. They will also need to complete a traveler screening form and arrival card, show proof of health insurance and wear a mask while in airports and on the plane. Find more details on the new travel measures here.
Where to Stay: Re-opening on July 2nd, Rosewood Bermuda is set apart from the island’s hustle and bustle on idyllic Tucker’s Point, where it sits on 240 waterfront acres. Spread out in a one- or two-bedroom suite (the Royal Two Bedroom is a top pick) or in one of the two- or three-bedroom residences, which are located apart from the main resort in Harbour Court, and come with private pools and access to the owner’s clubhouse. Wherever you unpack, activities like golf, tennis, kayaking, diving to shipwrecks and lazing on the beach await.
Re-Opening to US Travelers: June 22
The Details: As St. Barths has been COVID-19-free since April 21st, most restaurants, bars, beaches, and boutiques are currently open and operating as normal.
The Requirements: Inbound travelers (excluding children under 10) will be asked to either provide confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test performed within three days prior to arrival or be tested upon arrival; if your choose to be tested on-island, you’ll be required to quarantine at your hotel until results are confirmed (typically within 24-hours.) If a traveler’s stay exceeds a week, they will be required to take a second COVID-19 test on day seven of their trip.
Where to Stay: Marrying the style and hospitality of the Oetker Collection’s legendary Eden Rock-St. Barths resort with the convenience, space and privacy that come with having your own residence, the Eden Rock Villa Rental collection features a curated selection of over 140 villas scattered throughout the island. Book one to enjoy a dedicated butler and personal chef, daily housekeeping, around-the-clock concierge services, daily breakfast delivered to your door and round-trip airport transfers, as well as a goody bag of Ligne St Barths products. Villa guests will also have access to the Eden Rock Beach Club (re-opening this summer, complete with its signature frozen rose), and will enjoy services like private beach set-ups (at the beach of your choice.) Yacht trips, beach picnics and in-villa spa treatments can also be arranged.
Re-Opening to US Travelers: July 1 (June 15 for travelers arriving by private jet)
The Details: Per a detailed Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, the islands of the Bahamas kicked off their phased re-opening on June 15th, and are set to open to international travel on July 1st. In addition to arrival and departure protocols for airport and seaports, hotels, restaurants, vacation rentals, taxis, excursion companies and other tourism-related businesses will need to follow the new Clean & Pristine set of requirements before they can be certified to operate. Find the latest updates here.
The Requirements: All travelers will be required to submit an electronic health declaration form online (available here) prior to their departure from home and before any inter-island travel within the Bahamas; proof of the automated confirmation should be carried with you. Upon arrival, travelers will have their temperatures checked, and will be need to wear a face mask in public areas and adhere to social distancing measures. If all protocols are met, then no COVID-19 test or quarantine will be required. Once on the islands, you’ll find new safety measures such as a six-foot separation between families on the beach, capped excursion capacities and no more buffets.
Where to Stay: Spread out over nearly 37 acres on Paradise Island, The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons is known for its Versailles-inspired gardens and lawns, five miles of white sand beach and Jean Georges-fronted restaurant. Guest rooms are located in an elevator-less two-story building (so there’s no worry about being in a confined space with others), while the individual villas offer more space and a contact-free experience (though a 24-hour service team is always on-hand.)
Over on South Andros—the Bahamas’s least-inhabited island, and one that features its own international airport and customs—the recently-opened Caerula Mar is owned by a husband-and-wife design team who chronicled their transformation of the property on the HGTV show “Renovation Island.” Enjoy diving, island-hopping sails, biking on the one main road or exploring the 90-plus miles of powdery beaches, then relax in one of the 18 chic suites or six villas. For the summer, the resort is only booking buy-outs, which start at $32,000 per night and require a three-night minimum stay; individual suite bookings will be available starting in late-October.
Re-Opening to US Travelers: July 1
The Details: The Dominican Republic’s four-phase re-opening plan began on May 20th, and culminates with the July 1st re-opening of the borders and tourism businesses.
The Requirements: Upon arrival, travelers will undergo thermal screening temperature checks, and be required to follow airport and island social distancing and safety protocols; watch this video for a look at the newly-enhanced airport measures. For a more seamless—and more private—airport experience, opt for the VIP service offered by top luxury hotels, which whisks you from the gate to a private immigrations/ customs area and then straight to your car. On-island, hotels and restaurants will be operating at a reduced capacity and will be implementing social distancing measures (like six-feet between seated guests.)
Where to Stay: Keep your distance from the outside world at Eden Roc Cap Cana (re-opening July 1st), which is located in the private gated community of Cap Cana and features stand-alone, multi-bedroom villas with their own pools. All activities—from canoeing and kayaking excursions to horseback riding, cooking classes and kids camping set-ups—can also be privatized to your group, ensuring you’ll feel like you have the place to yourselves.
Also welcoming guests back on July 1st is Amanera, a combo beach-jungle property where the 25 stand-alone casitas are dotted along the cliffs at the western end of Playa Grande Beach. As no off-property excursions are currently allowed, the resort is supplementing its regular on-site activities—like surging, kayaking, golf and tennis—with new options like ATV rides, zip lining, jet ski tubing and more, all of which can be privatized. New dining and spa protocols are in place, and Amanera also offers the VIP airport meet-and-greet service.