Antigua has been open for two weeks; here are the rules for visiting
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The Caribbean twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda reopened to tourists in early June. But it’s taken two weeks for the country to offer clear guidance for hopeful visitors. TPG’s Brian Kelly canceled a June trip to Antigua last minute due to the lack of information on permitted activities.
However, the nation finally updated its website this past week with travel guidelines, although not everything is clearly explained. Here’s everything we know about visiting Antigua post-coronavirus.
What to expect
As of June 15, Antigua’s entry protocol requires travelers prepare for the following procedures upon arrival in the country:
- Face masks must be worn at all ports of entry and in public spaces from the moment of disembarkation from the plane. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
- Health screenings and temperature checks will be conducted at each point of entry. Officials will also collect a self-reported traveler accommodation form from each passenger.
- Arriving passengers may undergo nasal swabbing for rapid antigen tests.
- Hand washing and sanitization stations will be available in many public spaces.
- Customs and ground transportation will handle traveler luggage as little as possible.
- All people must abide by social distancing guidelines of six feet or more.
You will not need to present a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, but having one can help you bypass some of the screening protocols on the ground.
Every incoming traveler will be tested for COVID-19. The test will take 15 minutes to complete, and results will be released within 48 hours, according to Antigua’s travel advisory website. Travelers will have to pay for the test, which costs $100 per person.
Until a clean bill of health is received, travelers must remain quarantined. As spelled out on the website, the Ministry of Tourism still hasn’t clarified if the short-term quarantine has to happen under government supervision or if travelers can stay at their own hotels, Airbnbs or homes. Until more clarification is given, it’s safe to assume that your hotel facilities will be sufficient, based on the website guidance.
Travelers entering Antigua from countries with known COVID-19 outbreaks may be asked to quarantine for 14 days. TPG has reached out to the tourism board to clarify this guideline for U.S. travelers, but had not heard back as of the time of publication. It’s probably safe to assume that you won’t have to quarantine beyond the period it takes for you to receive a negative COVID-19 test. But just know that Antigua does reserve the right to require you to do so at its discretion.
There’s a testing loophole for fancy travelers: Private jet passengers will not be screened for health upon arrival.
Antigua and Barbuda has introduced a nightly curfew through July 31, and only essential services will be allowed to operate within public spaces between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Tours, car rentals and beach access
Unfortunately, tourists cannot rent cars in Antigua at this time; transportation will be arranged by the country. Furthermore, tour and excursion outings will be limited during the early stages of reopening. (In fact, this is part of the reason Brian Kelly canceled his trip to Antigua — he wasn’t sure if he would be allowed to scuba dive or not.)
Guests staying at a hotel with a beach may access that beach at any time, once a negative test result has been received. Public beaches in Antigua and Barbuda are open on weekdays and weekends between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the current curfew period, which ends on July 31.
How to get there and Where to stay
The cheapest flights from the New York City area originate out of Newark (EWR) and stop in Miami (MIA) en route to Antigua (ANU) for $355 round trip in basic economy in early July.
Current flights to Antigua for mid-late June average $450 round trip from major airports across the U.S.
If you’re looking to book on points in Antigua, now is not the time to do so. Hotels.com lists a short list of 53 properties on the island with booking availability for mid-June dates, almost all of which are small guesthouses or homestay-type rentals. No major points hotels, such as the Hyatt-owned Inn at English Harbour, appear to be open to the public just yet. Unfortunately, the award-winning Blue Waters Resort and Spa in Antigua does not appear to be open either. However, there are dozens of homes available on Airbnb.
Featured photo by Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.