UPDATE: Turks and Caicos reopening for international visitors July 22 with easier entry requirements

Jul 16, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional reopening information including a less strict testing protocol. This post was originally posted on June 4, 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.

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Turks and caicos reopening July 22

More good news on reopening from the Caribbean. Turks and Caicos, a group of 40 low-lying coral islands, is reopening for international visitors beginning July 22.

 

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Related: A country-by-country guide to reopening in the Caribbean

 

What you need to visit turks and caicos

This British Overseas Territory includes the island of Providenciales, also known as Provo. Details on the reopening include the following from the tourism board:

“From July 22, 2020, all travelers to the Turks and Caicos Islands will be required to visit the TCI Assured Travel Authorization Portal in order to obtain a travel authorization for arrival in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This means all visitors/tourists and residents alike.”

The travel authorization form will need to be presented at the time of check-in to the appropriate airline. A COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is required within 5 days of departure.

The islands have seen 72 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Pre-departure procedure

  • Obtain a certified negative PCR COVID-19 test within 5 days of departure (formerly 3 days) 
  • Fill out a health screening questionnaire
  • Provide proof of travel insurance in the TCI Assured Portal
  • Obtain travel authorization via the TCI Portal
  • Wear face masks when traveling to the departure airport
  • Wear face masks and practice physical distancing at the departure airport

On the plane

  • Wear a face mask
  • Practice social distancing to the extent possible

Upon arrival

  • Continue to wear face masks and practice physical distancing
  • Submit to temperature checks
  • Show information from TCI Portal

According to the tourism board, 

“Children under the age of 10 years old are not required to be tested.  Additionally, travelers must have medical / travel insurance that covers medevac (insurance companies providing the prerequisite insurance will also be available on the portal), a completed health screening questionnaire, and certification that they have read and agreed to the privacy policy document.  These requirements must be complete and uploaded to the TCI Assured portal, which will be available on the Turk and Caicos Islands Tourist Board website (www.turksandcaicostourism), in advance of their arrival.” 

Once travelers register and complete the requirements as outlined, a travel authorization notification will be given. The TCI Assured travel authorization should be presented at the time of check-in to the appropriate airline; airlines will not be able to board passengers without this authorization.

There is a list of frequently-asked questions here.

All commercial flights to the country had been suspended, but will resume in the coming weeks. No word yet on cruise ships.

Ralph Higgs, Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands told The Points Guy, “We feel confident these safety measures will allow us to safely reopen our borders and we will continue to review conditions on an ongoing basis to evaluate whether further changes are necessary.”

 

What’s open in Turks and Caicos

Related: 6 things to know before you go to Turks and Caicos

On July 6, the country’s hotels and restaurants began reopening. On July 22, the borders will reopen and flights will be permitted to land at Providenciales International Airport (PLS).

Related coverage: Why I love Turks and Caicos

Beaches, grocery stores, pharmacies and other open-air businesses are also permitted to open.

Grace Bay Beach in Provo is home to luxury resorts, shops and restaurants. There is a 14-mile barrier reef on Provo’s north shore that’s great for scuba diving, plus another famous scuba spot on Grand Turk Island. In fact, we first learned about the reopening from the water adventure company Big Blue Collective. They wrote in a press release, “Time for all of us to get our island game on and for you to think about getting back down here. Our boats, kayaks, paddle boards and kites will be ready.”

Related: A country-by-country guide to reopening borders around the world

Getting to turks and caicos

If you’re looking to fly to PLS, here’s a rundown of how to get there:

  • American Airlines: Daily flights resume on July 22 from Miami and Charlotte; Service begins in November from Dallas-Ft Worth (DFW)
  • JetBlue: Flights will resume from New York-JFK on July 22; Limited service from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) begins July 24; Service from Boston starts twice weekly on October 10
  • United: Daily service from Newark EWR begins July 22; There will also be service on Saturdays from Chicago (ORD) and Houston (IAH) the same day.
  • Delta: Daily flights resume on July 23 from Atlanta (ATL); Service from JFK begins December 20
  • Sun Country: On July 24, limited service begins from Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Air Canada: Saturday service begins from Toronto’s airport (YYZ) July 25; There will also be Sunday service from Montreal (YUL) beginning July 26 
  • WestJet: Saturday service begins from Toronto’s airport (YYZ) July 25

To give you a sense of pricing, I found American Airlines flights from Miami on July 31 and returning August 7 for $284 round-trip or 30,000 miles. So, not a great use of miles.

JetBlue has flights in July from JFK for $459. Or, you could use 28,000 TrueBlue points plus $92.45. Delta flights from Atlanta in July and August were very expensive — $749 round-trip, but if your dates are flexible, there’s a better points option — 34,000 SkyMiles.

Where to Stay in turks and caicos

Resorts and hotels have different opening dates and the government suggests reaching out to the individual property for specifics.

I found at least 141 hotels available for booking July 31-August 7. Prices ranged from $223 to $770 a night, so there’s quite a range. Unfortunately, most of those are not points hotels.

Neither Marriott nor Hilton have hotels in the Turks and Caicos.

Hyatt has two hotels available in August, but they are pricey, starting at $500 or 40,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Sailrock Resort reached out to TPG and said they are again accepting reservations. Sailrock is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and features 36 suites and villas on over 770 acres. They told me that’s perfect for social distancing. I found regular rates of $500-$700 a night or 40,000 World of Hyatt points. They are currently offering an “Escape to Paradise” sale with up to 50% off through early 2022.

Related: A review of the Shore Club in Turks and Caicos

If you want to recreate Brian Kelly’s trip to the Shore Club, a four-night stay in a basic room from July 31 to August 4 would be $499 per night plus pretty hefty taxes and fees. Grand total? $2,504 for four nights. Brian paid about $1,799 a night back in 2018, but he secured a huge suite with room for six.  Booking Brian’s room would run you a grand total of $6,223. The Shore Club reopens on July 22.

Brian also stayed at the incredible Amanyara in 2017. It’s an Aman resort that goes for more than $2,000 a night. Current rates for the entry-level rooms are $1,950 per night before taxes and fees (think an additional 25%).

Related: Hotel review of an Ocean Cove Pavilion at Amanyara, Turks and Caicos

You can find the full details on the requirements that need to be met prior to arrival here.

Featured photo of Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos by waterotter/Getty Images.

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