Dream destinations: Bali and the Maldives loosen COVID-19 entry restrictions
Two popular tourist destinations in the Indian Ocean are following the trend of removing pandemic-related requirements to make it easier for visitors to travel there.
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On March 5, the Maldives dropped its requirement to present a negative PCR test on arrival. Now visitors to the island nation, which is popular with honeymooners and known for its overwater bungalows, can present a declaration of health 48 hours prior to departure and they will be issued a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival.
Bali, an island located east of the Maldives in Indonesia, announced it was dropping its quarantine requirement for visitors from 23 countries, including the U.S., on March 7. You must still be vaccinated and take a COVID-19 test before arrival, but you no longer have to quarantine for three to five days after arriving.
Rules for entering the Maldives
Last year, some islands in the Maldives archipelago were placed on lockdown when coronavirus cases rose in early spring. Visitors, including Americans, had to present a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of their departure. This is no longer required with the new rules.
Related: Maldives reopening
The Maldives is currently under a "Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19" advisory from the CDC, but so are more than half of the world's countries. For news on resorts and tourist facilities that are open on the islands, check here for updates.
Related: CDC adds more countries to its 'Do Not Travel' list
You can get to the Maldives on Emirates by connecting through Dubai, and Etihad has resumed flights from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Turkish Airlines also offers service to the Maldives.
Entry requirements for Bali
Now that Bali is no longer requiring quarantine at your own expense, visitors are more likely to make plans to visit this destination. Indonesia has been opening gradually, but had a number of false starts. It first reopened on Oct. 14, 2021, but visitors from the U.S. were not allowed. They finally opened their doors to U.S. residents on Feb. 4.
Related: Bali, the Island of the Gods, sees flights with international mortals finally arriving after a 2-year hiatus
Indonesia is currently under the "Level 3: COVID-19 High" warning from the CDC. Travelers must be fully vaccinated and show negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure.
Previously, tourists had been required to quarantine for five days (three days if boosted) at a certified hotel at their own expense. That restriction has now been lifted. Visitors must still fill out a short-visit visa and show proof of international health insurance with minimum coverage of $25,000 including, but not limited to, COVID-19-related treatment and hospitalization in Indonesia.
The lowered requirements for entering both Bali and the Maldives will make them easier to access for travelers, though testing requirements are still in place for Bali. However, if one of these long-haul destinations is on your bucket list or if you're planning a wedding now that the pandemic has eased, these are two great honeymoon destinations. Also, rules may loosen even more by the time you get there if the trend continues. For the most up-to-date rules on traveling, see our country-by-country guide.