UPDATE: Jamaica is open for tourists again, but only if you follow all of these rules

Aug 18, 2020

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.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on June 15, 2020, and was updated with new information on Aug. 18, 2020. 

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.

In This Post

Reach Falls, Jamaica. (Photo courtesy Monet Hambrick)

Jamaica reopening

After three months of preventative measures designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Jamaica reopened for tourism on June 15. But travelers hoping to escape social distancing and face masks will not find the easy vacation they’re looking for — the country has published a 119-page guide for local hospitality procedures to prove it.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox including what other nations are open, sign up for our daily newsletter.


Arriving in Jamaica

Arriving travelers must follow an “extensive” set of health screening procedures, beginning with a mandatory pre-travel health authorization registration with a customs and immigration form between two to five days before their planned arrival date, and the government will issue a travel approval document based on those details.

As of Aug. 18, a new requirement has been added: All U.S. travelers must bring along negative results of a COVID-19 test, dated within 10 days of the date of arrival.

Related: Reopening guide to the Caribbean

Travelers may be denied permission to visit depending on their risk for COVID-19 transmission. Short-term business travelers are exempt from the requirements above, but must undergo rapid-result nasal swab testing upon arrival instead, and must remain quarantined until results are received.

Upon submission, your application will be “instantly” reviewed and your level of risk for COVID-19 transmission will be assessed based on your submitted details, according to the Visit Jamaica registration page.

Related: Bermuda opening to Americans July 1

Travelers above a certain risk threshold will be asked to avoid traveling to Jamaica at this time, while travelers under the threshold will be issued a travel approval document. Passengers must print their approval forms beforehand to show to an agent upon flight check-in or boarding. Airlines will not allow any travelers to board flights into Jamaica without proof of prior authorization.

All incoming travelers should expect thermal temperature checks, health screenings and an interview with a health official upon arrival, and anyone who shows COVID-19 symptoms or feels ill upon arrival will be quarantined. The new June 15 policy supersedes previous measures, which required mandatory quarantine upon arrival into the country.

Upon arrival and after passing all health screenings, healthy tourists must remain within the “COVID-19 resiliency corridor” spanning the northern coastline between Negril and Portland along the main road, according to Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Only hotels or cottages licensed by the Tourist Board Act are permitted to host guests during this phase of reopening.

Non-Jamaican tourists who plan to travel outside of the approved tourist zone must be tested for COVID-19, and will be required to quarantine in their hotel room or intended address until test results come back. Tourists who test positive must remain in quarantine for the duration of their illness, either in their current place of shelter or at a government-designated facility.

How to get there

How to use Google Flights to plan your next trip

The cheapest flights begin at $300 round trip on Spirit departing from Newark (EWR) with a stopover in Fort Lauderdale (FLL), while the lowest-priced fares on a major U.S. carrier also depart Newark, beginning from $406 round trip on United with a stopover in Houston (IAH).

Related: Visiting Jamaica with family

American Airlines is restarting some flights as soon as today. It will soon be flying from both Charlotte (CLT) and Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) to Montego Bay. AA begins flying from Miami on July 2 to Kingston for as low as $310 roundtrip in main cabin. Or you can fly in business class for another $264. You can fly from New York JFK via MIA for $461 in the main cabin.

Image courtesy American Airlines.


United Airlines has direct flights from Newark to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay (MBJ) which is within the open corridor for 90,000 miles and $140 in taxes and fees. You could fly in coach for 35,000 United miles and $140 in taxes and fees. That same trip would be $469 in cash in main cabin (non-basic).

You could fly via Delta Air Lines to Kingston in main cabin for $527 or $478 in basic economy. The same flight would be 28,000 miles and $161 in taxes.

Screenshot courtesy Delta Air Lines.


Southwest Airlines is expected to resume service to Montego Bay from Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) on July 1.

Related: Best ways to Caribbean on points and miles

Where to Stay

Hilton’s Montego Bay all-inclusive resort, the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, as well as Hyatt’s all-inclusive properties Zilara Rose Hall and Hyatt Ziva, all reopen July 1, with rates beginning around $300/night at each destination.

Related: Review of the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall

For example, If you wanted to stay at Hyatt’s Rose Hall all-inclusive it would be $295/night or 25,000 World of Hyatt points/night.

Related: Reopening guide: country-by-country

There is a good mix of chain and non-chain hotels in Jamaica, but if you are paying cash you could always use that sweet travel credit from the Chase Sapphire Reserve card!).

Related: 9 of the best ways to use points in the Caribbean

Hotels.com shows more than 1,200 hotels and guest properties on the island of Jamaica with availability during the first week of reopening, with more than 100 properties open in capital city Kingston alone. However, note that Kingston does not fall within the COVID-19 resiliency corridor designated by the government, so travelers visiting the capital city of Jamaica will have to quarantine in place until their coronavirus tests come back negative.

Most of the properties listed are guesthouses and similar housing, although major chain properties include Marriott hotels AC Hotel Kingston from $167/night or the Courtyard by Marriott Kingston from $205 per night. Notably, the Hyatt’s Kingston-based Trident Hotel is not yet booking guests.

Related: Complete review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Additional reporting by Clint Henderson.

Featured photo by David Neil Madden.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.