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Travel: Jamaica ends COVID-19 testing requirement for visitors

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This weekend marks the end of the COVID-19 testing requirement in a popular Caribbean destination. As of Saturday, April 16, visitors to Jamaica no longer need to get tested before flying to the island nation. Many of the country’s health protocols were removed earlier this year, so travelers looking to travel to Jamaica now face few requirements.

The relaxed restrictions were put in place just two days after Jamaican health officials announced the changes. According to its official tourism site, the country “will no longer have any travel restrictions that were imposed due to the pandemic.”

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The move came shortly after the CDC downgraded Jamaica’s COVID-19 alert level last week, and follows steps the country took at the beginning of March when leaders removed the requirement that visitors had to get a Travel Authorization before arriving on the island. Mandatory quarantine restrictions also went away at that time.

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Secrets Montego Bay (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy Secrets Montego Bay (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

This is good news for travelers considering a trip to the Caribbean. Aruba, Curacao and the U.S. Virgin Islands are among the other destinations that relaxed testing requirements earlier this year.

Arrival and departure

At this point, the only real requirement for visitors arriving in Jamaica involve fairly typical immigration and customs documents. The country encourages visitors to fill out personal information and trip details as part of its Immigration/Customs C5 card online, in the interest of faster processing time at the airport. Travelers who have not completed a form online can fill out a paper form issued by the airline during their flight.

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The biggest pandemic-related requirement that American travelers visiting Jamaica will face is on the way home. The U.S. still has its testing requirement in place for visitors or citizens re-entering the country. Certain at-home tests are allowed, but be sure to check before your trip to confirm that the test you purchase is approved. In order for an at-home test to be accepted by the U.S. government, the test must be monitored by a testing official over a live video feed.

When it comes to the COVID-19 situation in Jamaica, the CDC recently downgraded Jamaica’s COVID-19 travel warning from Level 2 to Level 1: Low levels of COVID-19. However, as of early April, the U.S. State Department still had the country at Level 3: Reconsider travel, primarily due to concerns about crime.

How to get there

If your reaction to Jamaica’s relaxing of restrictions is to waste no time and book an immediate trip to the island, you can do it without spending too much. We found a number of relatively affordable options for trips in just the next couple weeks, booked with cash or miles.

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Multiple airlines, including United and JetBlue have round trip flights out of the New York area within the next couple weeks for around $320.

United offers a direct flight on April 30 from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay (MBJ) for $322. The return trip on May 5 includes direct service as well.

If you’re looking to fly sooner, you can get the the same round-trip price on JetBlue departing from Newark on April 23, with a return a week later.

For those looking to use miles on this trip, United seems to have the best deals out of the New York area this month. A round trip departing from Newark on April 22, with a return flight a week later, goes for 19,600 MileagePlus miles. With a hefty $141.76 in fees tacked onto the fare, though, you may just be better off booking the trip with cash.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Where to stay

One of the best options I found for Jamaica bookings over the next few weeks is the Royalton White Sands in Montego Bay. The beachfront property is a Marriott Autograph Collection brand, and an all-inclusive resort. The nightly rate is $289, with a $24 per night resort fee.

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Marriott’s website displays numerous restaurants on the property, some of which are buffet style and others a la carte. In the interest of avoiding any surprises, just be sure to just take a close look at exactly what is included in the all-inclusive experience before booking, so you can ensure it’s the best fit for your trip.

Related: Jamaica all-inclusive resorts

Another all-inclusive option is the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, which boasts a waterpark on property. $351 per night folds in nearly all of the nightly charges.

a group of people swimming in a pool of water: Hilton Rose Hall Resort (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy Hilton Rose Hall Resort (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

It seems like each week, we hear about another popular vacation destination shedding COVID-19 restrictions. In Jamaica, while this change did not come in time for most of the spring break travel season, the end of its testing requirement may have arrived soon enough for a last minute spring getaway. It also means fewer factors to weigh when planning trips for this summer.

(Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

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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.

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