How to visit Barbados this summer now COVID-19 restrictions have been dropped
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.
Travellers heading to the beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados this summer will face few COVID-19 entry restrictions — and those who have been vaccinated will face none.
Just as the busy summer travel season started, leaders in Barbados announced the island nation would do away with its testing requirement for vaccinated vacationers. The move, which took effect 25 May, follows updates made last fall that eliminated additional testing requirements for travellers once they arrived in Barbados. It’s another step toward normalcy, and it removes obstacles for those looking to enjoy the resorts, beaches, wildlife and everything else Barbados has to offer.
Unvaccinated travellers will still have to get tested within three days of departure, and again after arriving on the island.
Getting into Barbados
As is the case with many countries, travellers have to complete some documentation through online portals in order to enter Barbados. Overall, there are just two simple steps.
One is the online immigration and customs form, which has long been the norm when entering a new country; you’ll have to fill out some personal information including your passport number, the reason you’re visiting and where you’re staying. You can fill this out within 72 hours of arrival, so taking care of this in advance should help speed things up for you once on the ground in Barbados.
The next step is to download and enter information into the BIMSafe mobile app. This is where you’ll see a health questionnaire and where you’ll provide your vaccination proof.
Once you get those forms squared away, you should be well on your way.
Flying to Barbados
Major international carriers — including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines— have resumed travel to the island’s Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) from the London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
According to a recent search on Google Flights, the cheapest round-trip fares for much of summer 2022 are in the £572 to £1,400 range.
One of the best deals we were able to find when looking at flights in July was the below Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow travelling non-stop on both legs of the journey.
Avios award availability however for the summer months is incredibly limited for all fare types until August (with one-way Economy seats for 25,000 Avios, Premium Economy at 50,000 Avios and Business Class for 75,000 Avios) though it’s worth noting that this is the beginning of the rainy season.
Virgin Atlantic by comparison has much more reward availability between now and the beginning of the wet season, offering economy for 20,000 + £373.06 in taxes, the premium for 27,500 + £390.46 in taxes and upper class for 57,500 + £620.46 in taxes. None of which would provide a saving versus the cheapest cash flights we were able to find, based on the current TPG UK points and miles valuations.
Where to stay in Barbados
Unfortunately, Barbados doesn’t offer too many points properties, so you might be looking at paying cash. However, some honorable mentions include the Hilton Barbados Resort, the Radisson Aquatica Resort and the Courtyard Bridgetown. There are also several new hotels in Barbados under the Marriott umbrella, including a number of all-inclusive properties, thanks to a 2019 acquisition.
When searching for September dates at the Hilton Barbados, I found points rates at 50,000 per night (worth about £246.36, according to TPG’s valuations). However, you’d be much better off paying the cash rate of ($163) £133.86 per night — a discounted rate I received for plugging in at least five consecutive nights.
“Travellers should visit Barbados not only to support the return of tourism and help boost the island’s economy but to create memorable moments by participating in exhilarating activities that the island offers,” Barbados tourism board representatives said back in July 2020 when TPG first wrote about the island’s reopening. “From wildly exciting activities for the lionhearted to peaceful and relaxing days in a tropical paradise, Barbados has it all!”
It’s a sentiment that’s sure to exist still today, particularly as Barbados reaches this latest milestone in rebounding from the pandemic.
Over the past two years, the island maintained strict entry requirements, despite welcoming tourists back. Now, as the summer travel season kicks into high gear, vaccinated travellers will face no obstacles on their way to enjoying all the island has to offer.
Additional reporting by Sean Cudahy and Caroline Tanner.
Featured photo by Gagliardi Giovanni/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group/Getty Images.
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