Cayman Islands reopening borders — here’s what you need to know

Sep 14, 2020

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Editor’s note: 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.

The Caribbean is on a reopening roll.

After a delay, the Cayman Islands are preparing for a soft reopening on 1 October. As a part of the first phase, borders will be open to approved visitors, property owners, workers and residents. The Caribbean nation will be joining nearby islands St. Kitts and Nevis, which are also opening in October, as well as a number of other Caribbean destinations which have reopened earlier in the summer.

However, there are some important restrictions, including quarantine requirements, you need to be aware of before you book your ticket.

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It won’t be much longer until visitors can return to the Cayman Islands’ white sand beaches. (Photo by Rebecca of Flytographer)

What’s required for travel to the Cayman Islands

Airports in the Cayman Islands are currently still closed to all inbound and outbound international passenger flights. When they begin to reopen in October, approved travellers will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 (RT-PCR) test taken within 72 hours of departure. This will be required for everyone 10 years or older.

The number of people who will be allowed to visit will be capped at 800 people. Prospective travellers must fill out the TravelTime Form prior to arrival for pre-approval. Eligible travellers will include Caymanians, permanent residents, work permit holders and homeowners. It will also include digital nomads hoping to live in Cayman and work remotely through the ‘global citizen initiative.’

Upon arrival in the country, travellers will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in hotels. Travellers will also be asked to wear electronic tracking devices and may be subject to random checks. Anyone who does not want to wear a tag will be required to isolate at a government facility. Following the isolation period, the travellers will be tested for COVID-19, and if negative, they will be released and the tags are removed.

Originally, travellers were only going to need to quarantine for five days if they were able to present a second negative test upon arrival. Additionally, travellers were going to be asked to wear a BioButton, which is a health monitoring device for continuous screening while in the Cayman Islands. However, those plans have been scrapped.

“Given the ever-increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases in many of the countries around us, particularly the United States of America and Jamaica, we have had to adjust our initial plans, especially regarding isolation”, Premier Alden McLaughlin explained in a recent briefing.

Details of reopening protocols are still being finalized. It’s possible that additional requirements may be implemented in the coming weeks.

Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

What is open in the Cayman Islands

Most things on the islands are returning to normalcy. While hotels are still closed for the most part, some have begun accepting reservations beginning 1 October.

Aside from on public transport and at airports, face masks are no longer required in most places. Social distancing guidelines have also been relaxed. Public gatherings of up to 250 people are allowed and the passenger capacity on excursion boats has increased to 250. Scuba diving and snorkelling excursions are allowed so long as rental equipment is disinfected for three days after use.

Related: Caribbean islands reopening, country by country

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz / The Points Guy)
Excursions are open for business. (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz / The Points Guy)

How to get to the Cayman Islands

In October, British Airways is showing one-stop flights to Grand Cayman (GCM) via Nassau (NAS). The airline flies a Boeing 777 to NAS, where you’ll have a one-hour layover before continuing on the same aircraft to GCM.

Average return prices in October are around £511.

Where to stay in the Cayman Islands

As previously mentioned, some resorts have begun to accept reservations beginning 1 October, including Palm Heights, The Locale Hotel Grand Cayman and Seven Mile Beach Resort & Club. However, with tourism still restricted, many of the bigger resorts, such as the Kimpton Seafire Grand Cayman and Westin Grand Cayman, aren’t accepting reservations until at least November.

Airbnbs and other holiday rentals are also an option.

Kimtpon Seafire Resort on Grand Cayman (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
Kimtpon Seafire Resort on Grand Cayman (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Cayman Islands seems to be taking a conservative approach with its border reopening, but it’s making progress. While the country may be reopening its borders in October, there will be a lot more flight and hotel options come November. And be aware the opening date has been pushed back a few times, so you might want to wait until later in the year.

Keep in mind that only you can decide when you’ll be ready to travel again. TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research destinations before booking that next trip.

Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images.

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