The Caribbean Is Welcoming Tourists. Here’s What You Need to Know

When it comes to global travel documents, the U.S. passport has historically been one of the strongest of its kind. In fact, it ranks in the top 10 most powerful, according to the Henley & Partners Passport Index, and those who hold it enjoy some of the most extensive travel freedoms in the world (including access to 185 countries). For comparison, Japan takes the number one spot with access to 191 countries, while Afghanistan comes in last with just 26 countries.

The most recent index, however, does not take the ongoing COVID-19 travel bans into consideration. As destinations across the globe attempt to navigate uncharted territory, many countries have closed their borders entirely to U.S. citizens due to the increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Some have adopted policies that only target specific coronavirus hot spots, while others have permitted U.S. tourists to enter, but only if they follow very specific protocols.

On March 31, the Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to COVID-19. Travel is an extremely sensitive subject right now, and developments continue to emerge day by day.

That said, many Caribbean nations have started reopening their borders to welcome international visitors. Although the pandemic struck the region during the pinnacle of high season, the Caribbean has reported relatively low coronavirus cases. But ongoing travel restrictions and the absence of cruise ships (combined with an active hurricane season already underway) have caused significant blows—especially considering how heavily many Caribbean economies depend on tourism.

While some destinations, like Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, have pumped the breaks on reopening plans, many are now feeling prepared to welcome visitors back. With new safeguards and health procedures in place, these Caribbean destinations are hoping to eventually rebound from the devastating past few months. Here’s how seven key players are tackling the issue and allowing U.S. citizenS to visit this summer and beyond.

Disclaimer: People planning travel of any kind should visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization for the most current COVID-19 alerts and updates. Be sure to also review any travel advisories related to the destination(s) you’re planning to visit, and keep yourself and others safe by wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing, and bringing the appropriate food, drinks, and other supplies when possible.

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