Caribbean Tourism COVID Update

Travel enthusiasts like all our sailing friends have kept a close eye on the Caribbean. For those of us in the US, the short flights or sails with plenty of temperate weather for outdoor activities makes the Caribbean the most likely “next getaway” locale. Of course, the travel deals are also exceptionally attractive.

But each island nation is making its own rules with some relatively navigable and others more challenging to really enjoy a holiday while staying compliant.

lagoon 620 is one of the yachts available with dream yacht charter management programs

Puerto Rico COVID Travel Restrictions

An executive order that went into effect January 8, 2021, brought less stringent COVID-19 restrictions in and around Puerto Rico. Visit the Puerto Rico Government Travel Safe site for documentation requirements and a handy COVID test site locator. Key points:

  • All travelers arriving in Puerto Rico must submit a travel declaration that includes proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular-based (PCR) test conducted no more than 72 hours before their arrival and contact tracing information submitted on the Puerto Rico Government Travel Safe site for details.
  • Submission of required documentation enables travelers to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine
  • Marinas reopened. Social distancing and masking must be observed, but boating is now permitted.
  • Masks over mouth and nose along with social distancing are required in public. One can be fined for not wearing a mask.
  • Lockdown dissolved and an 11pm to 5am curfew put in place to create a path for small business recovery throughout the island.
  • Gatherings of people with others outside their households are prohibited unless participants are separated by 10 feet or more.
  • Alcohol consumption outside of a home’s premises including in public is prohibited except in restaurants.
  • Beaches reopened with social distancing and masks.
  • Officials recommending “essential travel” only on the island.
  • AMA buses & Tren Urbano will operate with COVID restrictions

Jamaica COVID Travel Restrictions

Jamaica led the way with its “resilient corridors” scheme in which tourists can be traced in managed zones around the most popular tourist destinations. Additional qualifications for travel including acquisition of a certificates with related fees puts Jamaica on many travel plans. Other open and opening islands have announced similar pre-travel certification procedures that include showing negative COVID test results prior to entry. Airport-based testing services are popping up to assist with this requirement so check with your airline. And most of the islands that are open to tourism will restrict numbers of visitors, restrict movement on the island, and require medical insurance effective for treating COVID in local hospitals.

The Bahamas COVID Travel Restrictions

Restrictions and COVID testing requirements for entry by boat into The Bahamas is changing rapidly. We recommend you check the Bahamas Marinas COVID procedures and protocols before planning your cruise to the Bahamas.

Travel via boat to The Bahamas continues to evolve, but marinas remain open in spite of the delta variant changing the COVID landscape. We compiled a graph to help explain the complicated testing requirements released August 6, 2021. Please check the Bahamas Marinas website for current information.

the bahamas covid testing requirements for by age

In the event a traveler tests positive, the Public Health Department will contact them to provide further instructions.

The Bahamas Curfews

Effective Wednesday, August 11, 2021, new curfew hours apply:

  • New Providence and Paradise Island: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Grand Bahama: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Exuma mainland: 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Abaco mainland: 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Bimini: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. 
  • North and South Eleuthera including Harbour Island: 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Resorts and restaurants within resorts or marinas maintain normal hours and visitors should remain within on the resort or marina premises during these hours.

Travel Visa Required

Note if you want to cruise to the Bahamas, you must apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa at and upload the required documentation indicating full vaccination.

Visa fees:

  • $40 – Citizens and Returning Residents: includes day-5 rapid antigen test by an authorized COVID test provider and processing
  • $40 – North American visitors staying 5-Days or less: includes your North American insurance and processing
  • $50 – International: includes your World Wide insurance and processing
  • $60 – Visitors staying more than 5-nights: includes North American insurance, day-5 rapid antigen test by an authorized COVID test provider and processing
  • $70 – Visitor staying more than 5-nights:  includes your World Wide insurance, day-5 rapid antigen test by an authorized COVID test providerand processing
  • Free – Children 10 years and under
  • $30 – Extend Trip. If original trip application was for 5-days or less and you want to extend the trip or you entered the wrong departure date and now require a day-5 test. You can go back to your Travel Profile, click on the approved trip to which you are on and click the Extend Trip button. The fee includes your day-5 rapid antigen test by an authorized COVID test provider and processing. 

The new protocols still require residents and visitors to social distance and wear masks at all times. But, if fully vaccinated they can dine indoors in restaurants. While clearing Customs & Immigration, vessel crew and passengers must wear a mask covering the nose and mouth. You may be subject to additional screening mandated by the Ministry of Health, such as taking your temperature.

Read more about Bahamas Marinas procedures and protocols.

Curacao COVID Travel Restrictions

Each island nation is quite unique, such as in Curacao, which has established varying degrees of restrictions and entry requirements for tourism traffic based on whether the visitor is form a low, medium, or high COVID risk country. Here are resources to prepare you for travel to Curacao:

CARICOM Caribbean COVID Travel Restrictions

Other collaborative organized approaches like CARICOM’s Travel Bubble have begun to rejuvenate the COVID-battered tourism industry in the Caribbean.

The Travel Bubble to the CARICOM member states as a group of islands in which very few restrictions on movement within the bubble are established. An there is no COVID testing required within the bubble.

This is excellent news for our lucky sailing friends coming from these island nations.

caricom member states

BVI COVID Travel Restrictions

Of course, the sailing community is watching the BVI closely given their favored status. December 2020 travel restrictions were very unfavorable so the 2021 improvements were welcome by all tourists eager to grab some sunshine this winter.

BVIs are opening up with COVID testing requirements and permitting vessels to quarantine at a large variety of moorings. 

The quarantine is basically 5 days as they start on Day 0 where a negative COVID test result is required, then the next day is Day 1 of a 4-day quarantine. There are restrictions about use of moorings.

Keep posted on the BVI government’s Facebook page and BVI Tourism information about COVID

bvi approved covid marine sites as of dec 11 2020

Terrance B Lettsome Airport (Beef Island) will continue to be the BVI’s only point of entry until March 1, 2021. The ferry port remains closed but looks for options for affordable flights during that closure. We saw American Airlines offering round trip flights between BVI and St. Thomas at $113. Another option is the Dolphin Water Taxi for transfers to and from USVI to the BVI.

St. Thomas-based Dolphin Water Taxi has teamed up with local airline providers flying visitors to Beef Island to ferry them back upon their return  at the end of their trip. A Dolphin  team member will meet you when you arrive at the St. Thomas airport to guide you to the  connecting flight then a taxi transfer to your yacht charter. Dolphin pricing is based on a 5-person minimum group size.

Other good news in Soper’s Hole Marina is that Riteway’s Harbour Market store reopened in December. It underwent a  renovation during the closure and is now stocked with all the fresh produce, frozen meats and fish, ready-made meals, cleaning products, baked goods, wine, beer, liquors, mixers,  and everything yacht charterers needs to provision. They are open daily from 7am to 7pm. But note you should check the latest BVI Tourism or BVI government information as there are restrictions on charter yachts being pre-provisioned. 

Also, check out one of our recent buyer’s experience with chartering in the time of COVID. Sri Iyer bought a Lagoon 42 from us late last year and we helped him place it in a charter program in the British Virgin Islands. He gives a clear explanation of the entire COVID process, which could be very helpful to first time charter guests. Thank you Sri!

US Virgin Islands COVID Travel Restrictions

The Virgin Islands has reopened tourism, but with the typical COVID testing requirements for entry. Resources:


Preparing to Sail During COVID-19 Pandemic?

As have most aspects of COVID watching and navigating, things change rapidly. So if you plan to travel, read only the latest information online and check with your travel providers for additional information.

Here are some sources that stay updated with new announcements from the island governments that we have been using to stay abreast of the latest:

Feel free to comment any additional sources or information you have used.


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