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A Guide to Central America and Caribbean Travel Restrictions

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Two people enjoying their vacations at a Caribbean island.

As the world’s Covid situation improves, traveling is getting easier every day. The Caribbean and Central America are among the most attractive destinations to visit. Cruises, amazing food, beautiful beaches, and fascinating historical sites await you in this region.

In today’s post, we will explore everything you need to know about the current Covid-19 travel restrictions in Central America and the Caribbean.

Let’s dive in.

Central America Travel Restrictions

Central America welcomes millions of tourists per year, who visit the region for its beaches, unique wildlife, ancient ruins, and world-class resorts. Today, we will cover the current travel restrictions in two of its most popular vacation spots:

  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala

Costa Rica

Costa Rica welcomes all travelers and does not require a negative Covid test. Plus, there are no quarantine mandates. Tourists must only complete a digital form within 72 hours before entering the country.

However, vaccination is required to access most public activities and venues, including:

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Museums

Additionally, vaccinated travelers can enter Costa Rica without travel insurance. In contrast, unvaccinated travelers must have insurance that covers potential quarantine accommodation and medical expenses due to Covid-19. In these cases, insurance must cover up to $2,000 and $50,000 respectively. Minors are exempt from vaccination requirements.
Beaches and national parks are open to 100% capacity. Meanwhile, bars and restaurants are working with up to 75% capacity. Cultural and sports activities are limited to 30% capacity.
Moreover, there’s an overnight curfew from midnight until 5 AM.

Guatemala

To enter Guatemala, foreign travelers 12 and older must:

  • Be fully vaccinated
  • Show a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours before their trip

Both Antigen and PCR tests are accepted.

Travelers must show proof that they have completed their vaccination scheme, which varies depending on the type of vaccine administered (one or two doses). Furthermore, travelers must have received their last dose at least 14 days before departure.

In Guatemala, there is a system of “traffic lights” that measures health risks based on location. This system determines business activities and local restrictions. Depending on where you are, you can expect movement restrictions (including curfews), strict mask-wearing, and restrictions on social gatherings.

Caribbean Travel Restrictions

In this section, we’ll dive into Caribbean travel restrictions specifically.
We’ll cover four of the most popular destinations in this region:

  • Aruba
  • Barbados
  • Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico

Aruba

Depending on your vaccination status and age, you’ll have to meet different requirements to enter Aruba.

If you are over 12 years old, you won’t have to present a negative Covid 19 test, as long as:

  • You are vaccinated and have received a booster shot at least 7 days before traveling
  • You’ve tested positive between 10 to 12 weeks before your trip, with a nose swab test, and show no current Covid-19 symptoms

However, if you don’t meet that criteria, you could:

  • Take an antigen test 24 horas before your arrival
  • Take a PCR test within 3 days before your arrival

Travelers between 12 and 17 can enter Aruba with a complete primary vaccination scheme, i.e: without the booster. Vaccination is not required for children age 11 and younger.

Aruba has recently lifted its local Covid-19 restrictions. Local businesses and restaurants are working during normal hours, and there are no capacity limitations for gatherings or weddings.

For more information about Aruba travel restrictions, you can check its official tourism site.

Barbados

Barbados is accepting both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. If you are traveling to Barbados, you’ll need a negative rapid PCR test, taken within one day before your arrival. Alternatively, you could take a PCR test within 3 days before your arrival.

The tests must be performed using a nasal or oral swab. Saliva tests will not be accepted. Travelers must also fill out an online customs form 24 hours before traveling.

If you are an unvaccinated traveler, you will also have to:

  • Quarantine at a pre-approved accommodation for 5 days
  • Take a PCR test on day 5 and quarantine until you get your results

Children under 5 are not required to get tested unless they show symptoms or someone traveling with them tests positive.

Upon arrival, health officials may select fully vaccinated travelers for random rapid antigen testing, free of charge. If you test positive, you will have to quarantine at an approved hotel or villa, at your own expense.

Everyone who is in quarantine will have to wear an electronic tracking bracelet.

Beaches and parks are open from 5 AM to 7 PM, and mask-wearing is mandatory in all public areas. You can find more information on Barbados’ website.

Dominican Republic

Entry requirements to Dominican Republic (DR) vary depending on where you come from. Most travelers won’t have to get tested for Covid-19.

DR has a list of high-risk nations. Inbound travelers from these countries will have to get a Covid test 72 hours before arrival.

All travelers must complete an entry form within 72 hours before boarding and must do the same before leaving. Random temperature and breathalyzer checks are performed upon arrival. If positive, travelers must quarantine until the symptoms are gone.

However, if you upload a vaccination certificate or a Covid test 72 hours before your arrival, you will be exempted from this type of testing.

Recently, the government has lifted all Covid-19 measures throughout DR. Therefore, mask-wearing and social distancing are now personal choices.

You can find more information on the Dominican Republic’s visitor site.

Puerto Rico

To enter Puerto Rico, international travelers must be fully vaccinated and take a PCR test 24 hours before arrival. Travelers under 18, US citizens, and residents are exempt.

Nonetheless, unvaccinated travelers must take a PCR test within 48 hours before their arrival. If they fail to do so, they must:

  • Get a PCR or antigen test within 48 hours after arrival
  • Quarantine until they get their results

Otherwise, they’ll be subject to a fine. Plus, if they test positive, they’ll have to undergo a 10-day quarantine.

Additionally, all travelers must complete a Travel Declaration Form.

For further information, you can check Discover Puerto Rico.

Key Takeaways

The Covid-19 pandemic forced thousands of travelers to postpone their plans. But, since mid-2021, nations around the globe have slowly begun to lift their restrictions and welcome international visitors again.

In this post, we shared an overview of current travel restrictions in Central America and the Caribbean. Whether you’ll be visiting Costa Rica or Aruba, one thing’s for sure: You’ll have to get tested.

Find the best testing Covid locations near you with our global directory.

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