Come October, you won't need a negative COVID test to enter the Dominican Republic
The island nation of the Dominican Republic reopened for tourism on July 1. Right now, you'll need a negative PCR COVID-19 test result in order to enter the country. But by the end of September, the Dominican Republic will allow travelers to forgo the pre-travel test requirement in favor of random, on-site rapid testing procedures.
Lucien Echavarria, Director at the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, told the Caribbean Journal in late June that the country would be prepared to welcome international visitors at the beginning of the second half of 2020.
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“Throughout [the COVID-19 pandemic] we have remained in close contact with our tourism partners from operators to hoteliers to agencies,” Echavarria said. “We are ready and we know we are in a position to be among the fastest to recover because we are close and safe.”
Unlike many other destinations, the Dominican Republic opened all of its regions at once, with all airports reopening to tourists on July 1. “We didn’t want to do this region by region,” Echavarria said. “We didn’t want to do Punta Cana, then Puerto Plata and so on. No, we wanted to open the whole country so we can get back faster.”
Related: Caribbean islands reopening, country by country
Echavarria said that the country was aiming to have half of the country’s hotels open in July, with the remaining properties expected to reopen in November.
Here's everything you need to know before planning a trip to the Dominican Republic.
Though the testing guidelines will change in October, the country's tourism website has yet to be updated to reflect this information.
Related: Bermuda is reopening on July 1
After a pause in spring and early summer, the nation's airports resumed commercial operations on July 1, including Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), the Dominican Republic's busiest airport. Much of the inbound traffic to Punta Cana comes from New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
According to the Caribbean Journal, Echavarria said that all passengers should expect multiple safety precautions at all Dominican Republic airports, including temperature checks upon arrival. Hotels are also preparing their own health and safety precautions for incoming guests.
How to get there and Where to stay
Google Flights shows a number of airlines operating flights to the Dominican Republic. The cheapest flights we found were under $200 round trip in early October on Spirit from Atlanta, or from $204 on JetBlue between Newark and Santo Domingo (SDQ).
On Spirit between Atlanta (ATL) and Santo Domingo (SDQ) in early October:
On JetBlue between Newark (EWR) and Santo Domingo (SDQ) in mid-October:
To Punta Cana (PUJ) from Atlanta (ATL) from $263 round trip on JetBlue:
If you prefer to stick with legacy U.S. carriers, the lowest fares begin at $270 round trip with one stop, or in the low $400s for nonstop basic economy flights.
Once you get to the Dominican Republic, you've got a few options for stays. The adults-only all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana and its family-friendly sister property, the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, are both available from around $250 per night.
At the Zilara Cap Cana, for instance, rooms average $237/night in mid-September.
If you end up staying for two full weeks, you can even take advantage of the chain's work-from-Hyatt packages, which offer complimentary high-speed internet, waived resort fees, a dedicated workspace, housekeeping, and discounted or complimentary laundry services. As a bonus, your work-stay package will also count toward status if you pay with cash instead of points.
Another top-rated TPG favorite, the all-inclusive Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana, begins at $283/night before taxes and fees. As always, you can pay for reservations at properties like the Paradisus using a credit card that allows you to "erase" charges on your statement.