A relatively unknown reopening that you should consider: St. Vincent and the Grenadines on July 1

Jul 1, 2020

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As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

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St. Vincent and the Grenadines reopening on July 1

Another Caribbean country is seeking to welcome foreigners in the month of July. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is planning to open its borders on July 1.

While this destination is lesser known than some of its more famous neighbors, it is still one of our favorites here at The Points Guy. If you ever watched Pirates of the Caribbean, you may recognize that some of the scenes were actually filmed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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The country is eager to welcome back tourists, but it is taking steps to maintain safety. The country currently has no active coronavirus cases. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines beginning a phased reopening to tourists.

What you need to visit

Travelers planning to arrive between July 1 to 31 (phase one) are expected to adhere to the following rules:

  • Must fill out “VINCY” coronavirus questionnaire form whether online or on flight prior to arrival
  • Undergo a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival
  • Quarantine for 24 hours in hotel or rental (discharge will happen when rapid antibody or PCR test results comes back negative and traveler does not show any sign or symptoms)

 

You may be able to escape the mandatory quarantine if you arrive with a negative (IgG & IgM) antibody test (tested within 5 days prior to entry) and a negative COVID-19 PCR test (tested within 2 days prior to entry). In this case, travelers will not be required to quarantine and will only be asked to monitor their temperatures and “report any elevations to the local health authority.”

Having proper documentation does not mean you would be excluded from testing upon arrival. All travelers, regardless of where they come from, are subjected to a PCR test once they land — and any positive test results will require travelers to isolate themselves in an approved facility at their expense.

Those that come after August 1 (phase 2) may not need to take a PCR test upon arrival depending on their country of origin. This criteria for testing will be determined based on epidemiology at that time and the data seen during the first phase of reopening.

Related: The Caribbean is reopening; recovery depends on you

How to get there

The country’s main entry point is Argyle International Airport (SVD). According to Travel Off Path, flights are resuming from other Caribbean destinations as early as Wednesday — such as Port of Spain and Bridgetown.

American is the only U.S. carrier at this time scheduling flights to this country, but booking portals do not show seats available until July 18 departure from Miami (MIA). At the moment, roundtrip flights become $100 cheaper across the board if you delay that trip to depart on July 25 for all cabins available: basic economy, main cabin and business.

The same trip goes for 30,000 AAdvantage miles in main cabin but only 50,000 miles for business class (current web special, you may not be able to change flights after booking). You will have to pay around $63 for taxes and fees.

AA to St. Vincent (Screenshot courtesy American Airlines).

 

However, you should remember that American is resuming selling its middle seats. While the airline is notifying passengers when flights are full, and letting them move to less-crowded flights for no fee, this may mean cutting your vacation short as there are not many flights going into St. Vincent.

Travelers from the NYC area can also take a nonstop option with Caribbean Airlines. Canadian travelers will also have the option of traveling from Toronto on Air Canada starting July 23.

Related: How to travel to the Caribbean with points and miles

Where to stay

The country is composed of 32 islands, but not all the islands — some of which are entirely owned by resorts — will be open in time for July. Specifically, we would have recommended you to take a one-on-one guitar lesson and snooze on a deserted beach on Petit St. Vincent — but they will not reopen until Nov. 1.

(Photo by Mike Toy Photography)
Petit St. Vincent. Photo by Mike Toy Photography

 

Hotels.com shows 68 hotels and guest properties with availability during the week of July 18 (when American’s next flight with empty seats take place), with many offering discounts at this time.

The luxurious Mandarin Oriental Canouan is also taking reservations at this time. If you are part of its loyalty program ‘Fans of MO,’ you may be able to use your loyalty to your favor.

Otherwise, not a lot of chain hotels are available in St. Vincent and the Grenadines — so if you are paying cash, you could definitely use the travel credit from the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Related: Chase Sapphire card review

In terms of what to do in the islands, SVG Tourism Authority has plenty of recommendations based on your interests. They even have a page suggesting activities to do and places to visit for a day tour.

Related: A country-by-country Caribbean guide for reopening

Featured Photo by Mike Toy Photography

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