22+ Must-Read Jamaica Travel Tips in a Covid-19 World
Jamaica Travel Tips: An In-Depth Guide to Keep You Safe when Traveling to Jamaica, plus Save You Time, Money, and Frustration in a COVID-19 World
Jamaica reopened its borders on June 15, 2020 with new protocols in place to welcome guests and keep everyone safe. Here are 22 (PLUS SEVEN BONUS) practical Jamaica travel tips to help make travel a little easier and safer when traveling to Jamaica during COVID.
22 Must-Read Jamaica Travel Tips if You Are Traveling to Jamaica During COVID 19 … PLUS SEVEN Bonus tips!
The questions on your mind are probably, When will travel to Jamaica resume? Can I travel to Jamaica right now? Is Jamaica open for travel? Are there any Jamaica travel restrictions for traveling to Jamaica during COVID?
Yes, you can travel to Jamaica right now. Jamaica had a phased reopening. In June 2020, the island opened for tourists in the “Corridor of Resilience” which is the stretch along the main road on the northern side of the island, from Negril in the northwestern end of the island to Port Antonio in the northeastern end of the island.
Then the Southern resilient corridor, stretching from Milk River in south central Jamaica westward to Negril, was reopened.
The north and South Resilient Corridors essentially encompass most of Jamaica’s tourism areas.
Enjoy our Jamaica travel tips to keep you safe when traveling to Jamaica during COVID.
1. Choose a property that is licensed and certified COVID-resilient by the Jamaican government.
Is the property at which you are staying at in Jamaica certified COVID-resilient and does it have a Coronavirus plan?
This means that the staff has been trained in enhanced cleaning practices and the property has protocols in place that meet the guidelines set forth by Jamaica’s Tourism and Development Company (TPDCO).
While no-one can guarantee that you won’t contract COVID-19 in Jamaica, you should be sure you make decisions that keep your vacation as low risk as possible.
A list of certified COVID-resilient properties is available on the Jamaica travel authorization page at https://visitjamaica.com.
2. Only travel with others who take COVID-19 seriously.
Despite the hundreds of thousands of people who have died from COVID-19, there are still people out there who think it is a grand hoax and that wearing a mask and social distancing are an infringement of their civil liberties.
Realize that the Jamaican government and people take COVID-19 very seriously and will not take kindly to people who oppose masks and social distancing.
If you are traveling to Jamaica during COVID 19, you absolutely must choose your travel partners wisely.
The expectation is that everyone, resident and non-resident, will actively take steps to curb the spread of COVID-19 such as good handwashing, masking, and social distancing,
3. Consider booking a villa rather than a hotel or resort.
Renting a Jamaica villa vacation rental will give you more privacy, more personal space. Plus, you will avoid shared facilities and amenities.
What better way to socially distance than with your own family and friends rather than among people whose status you do not know.
Pay close attention to tip #1 as you look for a clean and safe property for your group.
Read this article about why you should book a villa over a hotel or resort.
4. Book a property with loads of private on-site amenities
The rules regarding quarantining change frequently and without notice. As of 11/28/2020, tourists are required to stay on property except to visit placed that are certified COVID-resilient and are within the Resilient Corridor.
Choose a property, whether it’s a villa or a resort, with tons of on-site amenities so you won’t be bored. Pre-arrival grocery shopping and a personal staff, including a chef, will also enhance your stay.
5. Show a little extra love to your staff who are keeping you safe.
6. Be sure to understand the cancellation policies for all aspects of your trip, specifically airfare and lodging.
Consider “cancel for any reason” travel insurance. COVID-19 is a known risk so understand what is covered and what isn’t when you purchase travel insurance.
Note that Trip Cancellation solely for concern or fear of travel associated with sickness, epidemic or pandemic, including (COVID-19), is often not covered.
Here is an article which compares 50 different travel insurance companies.
7. Find out if you need a COVID-19 test before you go to Jamaica as well as for re-entry into your country of origin.
The Jamaican’ government reviews their policies every 2 weeks. Entry requirements can change, and can change often.
As of March 4, 2021, all visitors who are over age 12, regardless of nationality, are required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test on check in at the airport. The test, which may be PCR, antigen, nucleic acid amplification (NAA), RNA or molecular, must be FDA approved or meet the standards of the World Health organization (WHO). Antibody tests are not accepted.
The test must be performed within 3 days of travel. There is a calculator on the travel authorization website to help you make sure you don’t get the test too soon.
Written test results are required at check in.
Note that the Canada requires a negative COVID test for reentry. The US also requires one as of January 26, 2021.
Also, find out if you will be required to quarantine upon entry or once you return home.
8. Complete the online Jamaica travel authorization form before your trip.
An online travel authorization must be completed at https://visitjamaica.com/travelauthorization within 7 days of travel.
To complete the request, you will need a valid email address to have your confirmation sent to you, your passport information, and details of your anticipated accommodation in Jamaica. You will have to answer questions related to possible exposure to COVID-19.
The information will also be used to pre-populated your Jamaica Immigration Form, which should help to make it easier to go through Immigration.
Don’t forget – You need proof of your travel authorization and negative COVID test to board the airplane!
It is not enough to have completed the travel authorization online. Each person must have a printed or digital copy of their Jamaica travel confirmation and negative COVID test results to board the airplane. You will not be allowed boarding without it.
9. Do not travel to Jamaica if you have any possible symptoms of COVID-19.
Don’t even dream of coming to Jamaica if you have symptoms or may have been exposed to possible COVID-19 within two weeks prior to arrival.
You can self-check yourself for symptoms using Clara at CDC’s website.
Jamaica takes COVID-19 very seriously and you will not be allowed entry if screening procedures indicate you are or may be at significant risk.
Be sure to be truthful with your screenings. If you test positive or get sick in Jamaica, you will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days or until you test negative for COVID-19 on two separate occasions within 48 hours. If you need to be flown out, it will be at your own expense.
10. Protect your space on the airplane
While it seems that the risk of COVID-19 transmission on a flight is considered low, there was a recent report of transmission of COVID-19 on a long haul, 10 hour non-stop flight from London to Hanoi, Vietnam.
As airlines, seem to be backing away from leaving middle seats empty, more care must be taken to prevent transmission.
Wear a mask. Consider wearing a face shield as well once crowds start picking up. Avoid touching your face.
Wipe down the seat including arm rest, seatbelt buckle and clasp, both sides of the tray table including the latch, as well as the window shade.
Avoid eating, drinking, or using the restroom on the aircraft. Skip the magazine in the seat pocket. If there are empty seats that will allow you to socially distance, ask if you may move.
11. Wear socks on your flight.
TSA still requires you to take your shoes off when you go through security. You want to avoid standing on the floor with your bare feet at the airport, even though it will supposedly be disinfected between passengers.
With the volume of passengers going through airports, do you really think their will be enough time to properly disinfect between passenger? There are diseases other than COVID-19, such as athlete’s foot, to think about. Wear socks.
12. CONSIDER BOOKING CLUB MOBAY’S ARRIVAL AND OR DEPARTURE SERVICE TO BE FAST-TRACKED THROUGH MONTEGO BAY’S AIRPORT IN JAMAICA.
You will still have to go through the required screening processes, as well as through immigration and customs, but at least you will do it in style and comfort and with better social distancing.
13. Don’t forget to bring face masks.
How many you bring should depend on how long you will be staying and how often you think you will need to change them.
Currently, Jamaican law requires face masks in public spaces.
Don’t bank on getting them from the property at which you will be staying. They already have to provide them for their staff. Any masks that they have will most likely be for sale.
14. Don’t forget to bring portable hand sanitizer.
Cleaning your hands, either by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or by using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, several times per day is critical to reducing the risk of spread of communicable diseases, including COVID-19.
TSA will now allow up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in your carry-on luggage, but it will have to be screened separately.
Bring disinfecting wipes with you. Almost any kind of sanitary wipes are expensive in Jamaica. Bring your own so you can do any extra cleaning that will make you feel more comfortable in the airport, on the airplane, and at your accommodation.
15. A can of Lysol will come in handy.
Unless you are traveling with just a carry-on, you might want to consider bringing a can of Lysol with you to spray your luggage once you get to your destination. Think of how many people may have touched your suitcase along the way and I’m sure you will agree that this is a good idea.
16. Don’t forget to check with your health insurance company prior to departure to see if you have international coverage.
Find out what international coverage you have, if any. The Jamaican government is in discussion with insurance and other logistic providers concerning mandatory coverage for medical and extended lodging costs as well as medivac, if necessary.
17. Don’t forget water shoes.
Bring your own water shoes with you or purchase new ones on the island if you intend to do any on-water activities. This is not the time to rent water shoes.
18. Download What’s App from the app store.
Almost everyone in Jamaica uses What’s app. It is a free app for Android or iOS that is used for both text as well as voice or video calls.
With Whats App, you can communicate for free with anyone who has the app. You only need WiFi for it to work.
You can’t use it for land-lines but you can use to communicate for free with your travel partners or with loved ones back home or anywhere in the world for that matter.
19. Get an international plan for your cell phone.
Check with your cellular phone company to see if there is an international plan.
AT & T and Verizon have a plan for US$10 per line per day which allows you to use your service as though you are at home.
This option will save you beaucoup bucks on your phone bill and will allow you to call the US without worry.
20. Bring a reliable portable power charger
Expect that getting trough the airports will take longer than usual. This is not the time to run the risk of your phone running out of charge.
21. Let your embassy know you are on the island.
They can be helpful if you get sick while you are on the island.
If you are a US citizen, enroll in the STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program).
Embassy Phone Numbers:
US Embassy: 876-702-6000 or (202) 501-4444, Canadian Embassy: 876-926-1500, British High Commission: 876-936-0700
22. Get the JamCOVID-19 app
In June 2020, on arrival, everyone was required to download and activate the app using a smart phone.
The app has a self-reporting tool if you suspect that you have symptoms of COVID-19. There is a video health check-in portal if you need to be monitored while you are there.
On my trip in November 2020, this was no longer required.
Nevertheless, it is still worth downloading. You can see a comprehensive overview of what’s going on with COVID-19 on the island – how many new cases, total cases, how Jamaica compares with the rest of the world.
Jamaica Travel Tips: 7 BONUS TIPS for Traveling to Jamaica During COVID
23. Don’t leave transportation up to chance.
Use transportation companies that are certified to be following protocols set forth by the Jamaican government to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Insist on social distancing practices which require that commercial vehicles carry a limited number of passengers.
24. Learn more about Jamaica to make the most of your trip.
Read the article about What Not to Do in Jamaica to Take Your Vacation from Good to Great to get some more practical advice, especially for first-timers.
25. Don’t overpack but learn what you really need to bring with you to Jamaica.
Ordinarily I would say, don’t worry about forgetting anything. You can easily buy it in Jamaica but you will most likely may more for it.
With COVID-19, I feel a little differently.
Read the article on what to pack for a Jamaica vacation to reduce the need to have to make unnecessary shopping trips in Jamaica for things that you easily could have brought with you.
26. Avoid handling cash as much as you can.
There is concern about possible transfer of the virus in this manner. Use your credit card as opposed to cash when feasible. If you have to use cash, avoid getting back change. Wash or sanitizer your hands after any such exchange.
27. Don’t worry if you don’t have a thermometer to bring with you.
If the property at which you are staying doesn’t have a thermometer you shouldn’t be staying there, period. Such a property does not understand the basics of hosting guests.
All certified COVID-resilient properties are required to have touchless thermometers and temperatures.
28. Avoid crowds.
Jamaica has great nightlife but this is not the time to be checking our bars and other crowded spaces. Just look at what happened in Florida and other places when bars reopened too soon.
Pay attention to government regulations which restrict the number of people allowed at gatherings.
29. Choose outdoor over indoor activities
It appears that COVID-19 is less likely to spread in the wide outdoors compared to indoor spaces.
Choose attractions that allow you to experience nature. Biking, hiking, or relaxing on a deserted beach are great options to socially distance.
So if you ask, “Can I travel to Jamaica right now?” Is there a travel ban to Jamaica right now?
Yes, you can travel to Jamaica right now. There is no travel ban.
The cases of COVID-19 are rising around the world and everyone is being cautioned to exercise caution and take steps to reduce the risk of transmission.
Jamaican borders are open. The precautions that the Jamaican government have in place are based on well-established and researched international guidelines and they are taking COVID-19 very seriously!
Are there Jamaica travel restrictions?
This can be a moving target which is heavily influenced by what is going on with COVID-19 in Jamaica and in the rest of the world.
Know that the Jamaican government is determined to curb the spread COVID-19. As a result they have very clear guidelines in place which are reviewed every 2 weeks.
Gathering of over 15 people are prohibited.
Curfew hours from 8pm to 5am daily has been in effect for March and April 2021 with all day curfews during the Easter weekend as well as the weekends before and after.
We hope these Jamaica travel tips will help you prepare for and have a safe and memorable trip when traveling to Jamaica during COVID. Jamaica is a beautiful destination and we want you to enjoy it, safely.
Can you think of any travel tips that we left out that might be helpful in these times without a COVID-19 vaccine? Leave a comment. We will consider adding it when we next update the article.
Make it Jamaica soon!
‘Til next time.
Think and dream Jamaica!
Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian
Considering a visit to Jamaica with a group? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups, retreats, and intimate destination weddings and vow renewals.
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