A clutch of enticing Caribbean islands are to go green following the latest travel traffic light review. Low coronavirus case rates and high temperatures might tempt last-minute holidaymakers to take a look at these paradise isles, but which are feasible for a holiday?
Among the newly green-listed countries and territories – which will move from amber to the green watch list at 4am on June 30 – few permit entry without some form of self-isolation for unvaccinated travellers. And those that do have further caveats.
Plus, given all are on the green watch list, they are designated as “at most risk” of turning amber. As such, it is possible that self-isolation and further testing requirements could be imposed on travellers returning from these destinations at short notice.
That said, it is positive news for those who fancy an island escape and are willing to take the risk that their destination could turn amber. Those that waive rules for the fully vaccinated will be particularly enticing for travellers within this category. It is also worth noting that it is the Caribbean’s hurricane season (which runs from June-December).
So, which islands are open (with testing rules) and which have prohibitive measures in place for Britons? Plus, which waive rules for immunised visitors?
Britons are welcome in Dominica, but rules do apply. The UK is among the countries Dominica lists as part of its "high risk travel bubble".
Visitors who are not fully vaccinated must adhere to the Safe in Nature guidelines which are as follows:
PCR test 72 hours before travel;
Fill out a health questionnaire 24 hours before arrival in Dominica;
Stay at a ‘Safe in Nature’ certified property and take another PCR test on the fifth day. See more information here.
Eases rules for fully vaccinated? Yes. From July 1 UK travellers who have been fully vaccinated and had their second dose administered at least 21 days prior to arrival in Dominica will no longer be required to quarantine or be tested upon arrival. A negative PCR test will be required a minimum of 72 hours before departure.
Telegraph tip: Dominica doesn't conform to the Caribbean island cliché. It has few white-sand beaches, no major international airport, no all-inclusive resorts and gets only modest attention from cruise ships. Instead the rewards are magnificent mountains cloaked in glossy rainforest, abundant waterfalls and challenges such as the eight-hour hike to see the eerie and steaming Boiling Lake, the second-largest hot-water lake in the world. Every spring the surrounding ocean heaves with sperm whales and there's also rewarding birdwatching, snorkelling and diving (divedominica.com). Read our guides to the best hotels in Dominica.
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos is open for tourism.
Anyone arriving to the Turks and Caicos Islands is required to obtain pre-travel authorisation via the Turks and Caicos Islands Assured Portal. This requires evidence of a negative Covid-19 test from a reputable facility taken less than five days prior to arrival in the Turks and Caicos Islands, proof of health/travel insurance with Covid-19 cover and a completed health screening questionnaire.
Eases rules for the fully vaccinated? The same rules currently apply for vaccinated or unvaccinated visitors.
Telegraph tip: This British Overseas Territory is a beach-lover’s dream. They spread over the the 40 islands, only eight of which are inhabited, are truly exceptional, with powder-soft, blindingly white sand bordered by a turquoise ocean. Providenciales (“Provo”) is the most developed island, and where most visitors stay. It is home to 12-mile-long Grace Bay beach, often voted one of the finest in the world. Along with beaches, the Turks and Caicos’s top draw is diving – the steep coral wall dives here are among the best you’ll find anywhere. Read our guide to the best hotels in Turks and Caicos.
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda are open to tourists.
Restrictions, including testing and screening on arrival, apply to all visitors to Antigua and Barbuda regardless of their vaccination status and ultimately it is the decision of the Quarantine Authority on who must self-isolate or quarantine on arrival. See more information here.
Eases rules for the fully vaccinated? Not yet, the same rules currently apply for all tourists arriving from the UK.
Antigua is one of the world’s more accessible paradise islands – there are daily eight-hour flights from the UK. A lush verdant interior, scattered with colourful villages and churches, gives way to pristine sandy beaches and startling blue sea.
Covering 62 square miles, Barbuda is flat, arid and quiet. It took quite a hammering from Hurricane Irma in 2017 and it’s still rebuilding. But the natural beauty and tranquillity is astounding, and includes a 17-mile beach, and the second largest frigate bird colony in the world. New resorts are on the way, but until then you’ll have it to yourself. Stay at Barbuda Belle (barbudabelle.com), a French-owned boutique hotel on North Beach, with a luxury castaway style. Read more on Barbuda holidays here, as well as our guide to the best hotels in Antigua and Barbuda.
Barbados is welcoming tourists from the UK.
All visitors must present proof of a negative PCR test taken within the three days prior to travel.
Those who are not fully vaccinated will be quarantined for five days, with the requirement to wear a tracking bracelet, until they undergo a second PCR test on Day 5 – if negative they will be allowed out onto the island.
Eases rules for the fully vaccinated? Yes. Those who have received both jabs will be required to undergo a rapid PCR test at the airport or at their government-approved accommodation. They are required to remain on the premises of their accommodation and follow the quarantine rules until receiving the results of a second test. The government aims to return results within 24 hours but it recommends booking two nights’ accommodation.
Telegraph tip: Barbados is a little bit exotic – think a cacophony of tree frogs filling the air at night, and wild green monkeys to spy in the trees. Yet it's not a challenging holiday destination. There are lots of excellent hotels, everything works pretty smoothly, and it's safe by Caribbean standards. So rather than being one of those islands where you end up shut away in a gated all-inclusive, Barbados is all about getting out and about and exploring, independently – trying different beaches, eating out in the many good restaurants, and perhaps pootling around the rolling, rural interior in a hire car. Read more on holidays to Barbados. For more ideas on where to stay, see our guide to the best hotels in Barbados.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are open to tourism, but with tough restrictions in place for the unvaccinated.
Travellers or have not yet received a Covid-19 jab must meet the following requirements:
Secure BVI Gateway Traveller Authorisation Certificate at a cost of $175 (£126);
Proof of a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test taken three to five days before arrival;
RT-PCR Covid-19 negative test upon arrival;
A seven-day quarantine period and;
RT-PCR Covid-19 negative test on Day 7.
Partially vaccinated travellers (those that have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine, or whose final vaccine dose was administered less than two weeks before arriving in the Territory) must:
Secure a BVI Gateway Traveller Authorisation Certificate at a cost of $175 (£126);
Proof of a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test taken three to five days before arrival;
Proof of vaccination status;
RT-PCR Covid-19 negative test upon arrival;
A four-day quarantine period and;
RT-PCR Covid-19 negative test on Day 4.
Eases rules for the fully vaccinated? Yes. Fully vaccinated travellers whose final dose has been administered at least 14 days before arrival will not be subject to a test on arrival or quarantine, unless ordered to do so by a quarantine officer as a result of screening. They will still need to secure a BVI Gateway Traveller Authorisation Certificate at a cost of $35 (£25); proof of a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test taken within five days prior to arrival. The British Virgin Islands will accept the NHS app or a NHS letter to demonstrate Covid-19 vaccination status
Telegraph tip: With usually calm waters and steady winds, sheltered anchorages and short hops between the 60 or so emerald splodges that make up the archipelago, the BVI are especially good for sailors with limited experience. The islands were badly hit in September 2017 by Hurricane Irma, but are back in business for sailing holidays. See our guide to the best hotels in the British Virgin Islands here.
Grenada is open to tourists and has eased restrictions for those who are fully immunised.
All travellers must secure a Pure Safe Travel Certificate (travelauth.health.gov.gd) in order to enter Grenada. To be granted authorisation you must register online, upload confirmation of an accommodation booking for a minimum of seven nights. All arrivals are required to hold proof of a confirmed reservation at a Ministry of Health Pure Safe Travel approved accommodation for a minimum of seven nights. This is to enable a period of observation and quarantine. If you are not vaccinated and your stay in Grenada is less than five days, you must remain at your accommodation throughout your time in Grenada.
Eases rules for the fully vaccinated? Yes. From May 1, fully vaccinated travellers will only be required to quarantine for 48 hours, pending a negative PCR test on entry. Visitors will not be permitted to leave quarantine until medical clearance is granted. You will still be required to provide a negative PCR test result three days before arrival, apply for travel authorisation to Grenada as well as pay online for your on-island PCR test.
Telegraph tip: Grand Anse, Grenada's most popular beach, is reason alone to come. The near-flawless mile-and-a-half-long curve of soft, white sand is shaded by sea grapes, almond trees and palms, and backed by largely unobtrusive low-rise hotels and a few good beach bars – Umbrellas (umbrellas.gd) is a good option.
But there's much more to like about Grenada than just beaches. Up the coast from Grand Anse lies St George's, the island's picturesque, hilly capital, with red-brick, Georgian-era buildings overlooking the inner harbour. Much of Grenada is a verdant, deeply rural delight. Read more on holidays to the Spice Island here, as well as our guide to the best hotels in Grenada.
As it stands, visiting Britons require prior approval from the Government’s Health Team, but there are also several mandatory tests involved and all arrivals must enter quarantine – for up to 14 days for those who are not vaccinated.
Eases rules for the fully vaccinated? Yes. Quarantine is reduced to seven days for vaccinated travellers. However, from July 1, entry protocols will be relaxed. The island will welcome any fully vaccinated guests with no testing or quarantine, and no entry fees. For these purposes, fully vaccinated means second dose received at least three weeks prior to arrival. Guests must still present with a negative PCR test taken 3-5 days before entry.
All travel to or from Montserrat is via Antigua, which is luckily also now on the green list. If you are travelling to Montserrat you must comply with Antiguan entry requirements – see above.
Resident permit holders, Montserratians (plus dependants) and a few limited other categories of people are allowed to enter Montserrat.
Unvaccinated passengers need to spend 14 days in quarantine and are required to have a negative PCR test before release from self-isolation.
Eases rules for the fully vaccinated? Yes. People who are eligible for entry, who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (two doses, two weeks at least since the second dose) need to spend five days in self-isolation/quarantine on arrival whether staying in their own home, a rented property or a government-approved quarantine facility. A negative PCR test three to four days after arrival is required to confirm exit form self-isolation/quarantine.
Unfortunately, airports in the Cayman Islands are closed to all scheduled inbound and outbound international passenger flights until further notice.
Only people who have been pre-authorised may enter the Cayman Islands at this time and they are subject to mandatory quarantine for a period of 14 days, if they are unvaccinated against Covid-19, or 10 days if they are fully vaccinated, in a government facility or pre-approved home isolation.
Beyond the Caribbean: the other green-listed paradise island
Bermuda has quarantine in place for all arrivals from the UK. The rules are prohibitive for most unvaccinated visitors; the fully vaccinated may choose to book a trip to Bermuda.
All visitors from the UK will need to apply for a Bermuda Covid-19 Travel Authorisation one to three days before departure. By applying for a Travel Authorisation, they agree to comply with Bermuda’s quarantine and public health laws instructions at all times. They must also have a negative pre-arrival PCR Covid-19 test taken four days before arrival in Bermuda (see here for further information on the test requirements).
Travellers who are not vaccinated must quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel at their own expense for 14 days.
Eases rules for the fully vaccinated? Yes, Immunised travellers with a valid negative, pre-arrival PCR test result must quarantine until they receive a negative result from their arrival Covid-19 PCR test. Immunised travellers without a valid negative, pre-arrival Covid-19 test result must quarantine until they receive a negative Day 4 Covid-19 test.
Telegraph Tip: Bermuda, known for its pastel-coloured cottages, sunshine for most of the year and lush greenery, is delightfully pretty. The crescent-shaped chain of 181 islets, rocky outcrops and islands is said to have been discovered by shipwrecked English sailors in 1609, and nods to its past are found in the form of old British pubs and traditional English afternoon tea in many of its hotels. Among the other delights are pink-tinged sand beaches (the pink is crushed coral from the surrounding reef) plenty of opportunities for sailing, diving and sports fishing and a warm welcome. For ideas on where to stay, see our guide to the best hotels in Bermuda.