Getting tested for Covid-19 before a Caribbean vacation has been required by many islands and tropical beach destinations for several months but flying back to the United States from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America or the Maldives hadn’t required much beyond mask wearing, social distancing and a pre-boarding health screening.
That changed as of January 26, when the U.S. began mandating that all international air passengers over the age of two present a negative Covid-19 viral test (PCR or rapid Antigen) taken within 72 hours of their return flight—or they will be denied boarding. That means travelers need to get tested during the final days of their vacation, unless they have documented proof of recovery from Covid-19 within the past 90 days from an accredited medical professional.
The hotel industry quickly responded to the new U.S. requirement by offering on-site testing at properties throughout the Caribbean and Mexico (the latter as of late January does not require testing for entry) as well as Central America and the Maldives, so travelers can get tested before their scheduled flight home and then get back to relaxing at the pool or beach.
While the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) continues to discourage international travel for leisure purposes, sun-seekers eager to hit the beach this winter will now have an easy pre-departure testing option available. Here’s a sampling of 100+ properties offering on-site testing (additional resorts are doing so as well, so check with your favorites). Good news: many are free.
Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico
Hyatt Latin America: A total of 19 Hyatt resorts in Latin America—which includes properties in the Caribbean (Aruba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and the Bahamas), Mexico (Cancun, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatanejo) and Costa Rica—are offering two complimentary on-site tests per guest room (either PCR or rapid Antigen) for guests who meet minimum length of stay requirements, which vary by property, through March 31, 2021. Additional tests are available for a fee. Should a guest test positive, a Travel Delay Rate discount of up to 50 percent off room rates and 30 percent off food and beverage allows them to quarantine in place. For a list of participating resorts, check here.
Sandals and Beaches Resorts: The all-inclusive brands, which operate 15 Sandals adults-only resorts in Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bahamas and Antigua and three Beaches family-friendly resorts in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos is offering free on-site Covid-19 testing conducted by medical professionals for all guests from the U.S. and Canada through March 31, 2021 via its Travel Protection Plan. Test results will be available in 24-48 hours.
The Excellence Collection: All-inclusive resort company The Excellence Collection has partnered with accredited local laboratories to offer free on-site testing for guests staying at least three nights at its five open properties in Riviera Maya, Mexico: Excellence Playa Mujeres, Excellence Riviera Cancun, Finest Playa Mujeres, Beloved Playa Mujeres and Excellence El Carmen. The complimentary testing will be available through March 31, 2021 and will be expanded to properties in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica when they re-open. Guests from countries that require pre-return testing (U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, etc.) must contact concierge services to schedule their testing. Excellence has also set up isolation rooms where any guest who tests positive can quarantine on a complimentary basis for 14 days. Details can be found here.
St. Lucia Resorts: The southern Caribbean island of St. Lucia has 18 properties offering complimentary on-site rapid Antigen testing to all guests who qualify: Anse Chastanet, five Bay Gardens Resorts, Calabash Cove Resort & Spa, Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel, Cap Maison Resort & Spa, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, Jade Mountain, Ladera Resort, Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, Sandals Resorts, Serenity at Coconut Bay, Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort, Stonefield Villa Resort and Ti Kaye Resort & Spa. Additional St. Lucia properties are expected to roll out complimentary testing in the coming weeks. Restrictions may apply and travelers should check with individual resorts. Select hotels are also offering PCR tests (required for re-entry to Canada) to guests who meet qualifications.
Atlantis Paradise Island: Atlantis, the largest resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas is offering complimentary Rapid Antigen testing for up to two guests returning to the U.S. Tests are available at the Beach and Royal Towers and can be scheduled immediately after check-in or online before arrival. Rapid Antigen tests, which are accepted by the U.S., are complimentary with results available within 30 minutes and documentation prepared for guests to present at the airport. Rapid Antigen tests for additional guests are also available at $20. For countries that require a RT-PCR test for re-entry, testing is also available for $165. See details here.
Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas: Onsite testing at Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, has been available since the fall due to the Bahamas requirement for a test within 96 hours of arrival. Rapid Antigen tests cost $25 and PCR tests are $125.
Caerula Mar, Bahamas: Caerula Mar, the luxury boutique resort on South Andros island in the Bahamas that was featured on the HGTV show “Renovation Island,” is offering its guests a single self-administered nasal swab rapid Antigen test, with results available in 15 minutes. Testing costs are included in a Travel Health Visa that must be submitted online for entry into the Bahamas, along with travelers’ negative Covid-19 PCR results obtained in the U.S. prior to their trip. Details are available here.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts: All 17 properties operated by Karisma Hotels & Resorts in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cancun and Riviera Maya are offering free Covid-19 rapid Antigen tests for guests who will be returning to the U.S. through March 31, 2021. In addition, Karisma will provide quarantine accommodations (for up to 14 days) for any guests who test positive until a doctor certifies clearance for travel. Details can be found here.
Renaissance Aruba Resort: The Renaissance Aruba Resort has created an on-property testing facility for guests, along with a testing package that includes a complimentary Antigen test result within 24 hours. The “We’ve Got You Covered” package includes complimentary pre-departure Antigen testing for up to two people per room with a stay of four nights or more and can be canceled up to 24 hours prior to arrival. Package rates start at $332 per night and can be booked until March 31, 2021 for travel through April 4, 2021. Resort guests who do not purchase the package can still schedule a pre-departure Antigen test for $50 per person. For details on entry to Aruba, check here.
Divi & Tamarijn Aruba: Guests at the adjacent Divi & Tamarijn all-inclusive resorts on Aruba have access to on-site testing across the street at Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort. The facility will offer both PCR ($125 per guest) and rapid Antigen ($50 per guest) tests with results available within 24 hours. An appointment is required and can be booked through Guest Services Desks in the lobbies of both Divi Aruba and Tamarijn Aruba. Guests must also download the Aruba Health app and register to receive test results.
Four Seasons Resort Anguilla and Belmond Cap Juluca: Both Four Seasons Resort Anguilla and Belmond Cap Juluca, two of the top luxury resorts on Anguilla, offer on-site tests, which are covered by the $300 per traveler entrance fee charged by the island’s government (which also requires travel authorization) to cover testing.
Couples Resorts, Jamaica: Couples Resorts, which operates four adults-only all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica—Couples Tower Isle, Couples Swept Away, Couples Negril and Couples Sans Souci—is offering free on-site rapid Antigen testing to all U.S. guests, with results emailed within 48 hours of testing and printed results also available. Details are available here.
Jamaica Inn, Jamaica: Boutique Ocho Rios property Jamaica Inn is offering complimentary on-site rapid Antigen tests for guests staying a minimum of five nights. For guests staying less than 5 nights, a charge of $160 per person, or $220 per couple, will be added to their final bill. In addition, the property can arrange PCR tests for an additional fee. See details regarding travel to Jamaica here.
Half Moon, Jamaica: Half Moon, located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, has created a Testing Concierge Program to facilitate Covid-19 tests for resort guests—beginning when they arrive at Half Moon’s Welcome Center in Sangster International Airport. The Testing Concierge will arrange a pre-departure testing time and ensure all required paperwork is in order. Antigen ($100 per person with results sent via email within 30 minutes) and PCR tests ($200 per person) are being conducted by the resort’s dedicated medical partner Baywest Hospital, located on-site in Half Moon Village. Guests who book a room stay of five nights or more or a suite/villa stay of three nights or more via the Wellness Concierge will get a $50 per person or $100 per person wellness credit respectively (for a maximum of $100 per room and $200 per suite/villa) through April 30, 2021) that can be applied to testing. Details can be found here.
Ocean Club Resorts, Turks & Caicos: Ocean Club Resorts, two all-suite properties located on Grace Bay on Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos, have extended their concierge services to include helping U.S. travelers with on-site Covid-19 testing by partnering with local diagnostic labs. On-site PCR testing ($185 per person) is available at the Ocean Club East location, while guests of the West location will be offered transportation for their appointment. Results are provided within 48 hours.Check here for additional details.
Seven Stars Resort & Spa, Turks & Caicos: Located on Grace Bay on Providenciales in Turks & Caicos, Seven Stars Resort & Spa is offering guests complimentary rapid Antigen tests. All testing will be performed in-room by a certified lab technician and results will be delivered within an hour. If the guest’s home state or country requires a PCR test, the resort will apply a $50 resort credit towards the $185 per person cost. PCR test results will be returned within 24 hours.
Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel, Grenada: Only the fifth hotel in the Caribbean to be named a Relais & Chateau property, Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel on Grenada is offering complimentary Covid-19 tests on the property to all guests requiring them to return home. The hotel also outlines step-by-step guidelines for visiting Grenada.
Sonesta Resorts, St. Maarten: The all-Inclusive Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten, comprised of adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and family-centric Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, is offering on-property rapid Antigen testing for guests. Tests are administered by a healthcare professional, with results available within 30 minutes and sent via email (a hard copy is also available). Pre-booking through the resorts’ front desk is required. Tests cost $55 per person, but the properties offer a $120 per person resort credit (on minimum three-night stays) to help offset Covid-19 testing costs required to travel to the island, and the credit can be applied to on-site rapid Antigen testing. Check here for details on St. Maarten travel requirements.
Riviera Nayarit Resorts, Mexico: A total of 32 hotels and resorts located in Riviera Nayarit on Mexico’s Pacific Coast are facilitating pre-departure Covid-19 tests for U.S. and Canadian guests. Among the hotels offering onsite testing are: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, which is covering the cost of rapid Antigen tests for guests staying three nights or more (details here) and Conrad Punta de Mita, which is providing Antigen ($65) and PCR ($185) tests for all guests, in partnership with a third-party healthcare provider. Conrad will also allow any guest who tests positive to quarantine at the property in special accommodations with discounted room and food-and-beverage rates (for more information, check here).
Hilton Los Cabos and Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedegral, Mexico: Both Hilton Los Cabos and Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedegral have on-site testing available, with rapid Antigen tests costing $30 per test; PCR tests are also available for $220 per test with results returned in 24 hours. See details here.
Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, Dominican Republic: Casa de Campo Resort & Villas in the Dominican Republic is offering guests Covid-19 PCR testing on-property in a private concierge lounge. The tests can be arranged at least 48 hours in advance of departure through the hotel’s concierge for $150. Testing will be fully covered by the DR’s government-provided insurance (which has been extended through March 31, 2021) if the patient presents Covid-19-related symptoms. Results are delivered within one hour via email. Details are available here.
Melia Hotels & Resorts: Meliá Hotels International will offer free, on-site Covid-19 rapid Antigen tests at all 10 owned and operated properties in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Participating hotels include: Paradisus Playa Del Carmen, Paradisus Cancun, Paradisus Los Cabos, ME Cabo, Meliá Cozumel, Meliá Puerto Vallarta, The Grand Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Paradisus Palma Real, Meliá Caribe Beach Resort and Meliá Punta Cana Beach Resort. Melia Hotels has introduced Travel Safe with Meliá, which includes a free insurance policy with every reservation and covers accommodation costs for up to 15 days should a positive test require quarantine.
Royalton Resorts: Royalton Luxury Resorts, Hideaway at Royalton Resorts and Mystique by Royalton Resorts are offering free on-site Covid-19 viral Antigen testing for all guests staying at Royalton Riviera Cancun, Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun, Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun, Mystique Holbox by Royalton, Royalton Bavaro, Royalton Punta Cana, Hideaway at Royalton Punta Cana, Royalton Splash, Royalton Negril, Hideaway at Royalton Negril, Royalton Blue Waters and Royalton White Sands. The offer is available until March 31, 2021, or until regulations regarding this new requirement change, and guests can make an appointment at Guest Services upon arrival; results will be returned the same day. For more information, check here.
Cayo Espanto, Belize: Cayo Espanto, a luxury villa resort located on a private island off the coast of Belize, is offering in-villa testing via a local physician at at cost of $130 per person, which will be added to a guest’s bill. Details can be found here.
Tierra Magnifica, Costa Rica: Tierra Magnifica, a 14-room luxury resort in Nosara, Costa Rica, is offering a Peace of Mind vacation package that includes room credits to cover on-site Covid-19 testing and Costa Rica’s mandatory travel insurance. Guests booking the package (based on a minimum stay of 10 days in a Vista category room) receive a credit of $495 to cover testing and insurance costs. The hotel concierge will arrange for on-site testing at the guest’s convenience.
Coco Collection, Maldives: Comprised of two different boutique island resorts, Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kohlhu, Coco Collection has begun offering guests on-site PCR tests priced at $165 per person with results within 24-48 hours. For more information, check here.
Cruises and Charters
Aggressor Adventures: With increased interest and demand for smaller groups and more intimate travel opportunities, the popular adventure outfit has created an extremely thorough series of “Know Before You Go” supplements to keep guests abreast of travel requirements for the various regions each liveaboard experience visits. Included is relevant information on where and how return trip testing can take place, with the process as simple as inviting a medical technician to the yacht or accommodations, or visiting appropriate medical facilities.