The Caribbean has long since been a popular destination for American travelers, and those coming from further afield. With its laid-back way of life perfectly complemented by palm tree-lined beaches and crystal clear waters, it’s not hard to see why people flock to its various islands in their droves.
Whilst the pandemic has seen much of the Caribbean closed to visitors, travelers have received small pockets of good news in amongst the usual doom and gloom that surrounds the pandemic. One such story is the news that the island of St. Barts is hoping to open in May – here’s more about that.
St. Barts During Covid-19 – Information For Travelers
St. Barts – full name Saint Barthélemy and often referred to as St. Barths – is a small, French-speaking island in the Caribbean, located to the east of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Despite a population of just below 10,000, the country has also suffered the effects of Covid-19 during the past year.
St. Barts relies heavily on tourism in order to get by, with several luxury hotels, fine dining restaurants and boutiques each in operation on the island, whilst luxury yachts are a common sight in the azure waters that surround the island. The lack of tourists being able to travel has been a severe blow to these businesses and the people who work in them.
The country has registered 775 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, with only one death. However, it has not recorded a case of the virus since March 19th, when 63 cases were detected following tests on the island.
Opening In May? What Travelers Should Know
The island of St. Barts and those planning to travel there were dealt a hammer blow on February 3rd, when France closed the borders to its overseas territories due to fears of the virus variants spreading further. However, the French government has announced that the country would need a “strong and immediate vaccination campaign in order for its borders to reopen” – and it seems that this is exactly what the country is going to get.
Whilst vaccinations for eligible citizens on the island have been underway since the middle of March, the country is set to undergo an intense vaccination campaign courtesy of the French government to ensure the bulk of the 10,000 citizens receive their inoculations. The vaccination drive is set to commence on April 19th, and is expected to last for two to three weeks.
Once the mass vaccinations have been completed, the island is expected to be able to welcome travelers back by May, kickstarting tourism once more and giving travelers another destination to visit in the Caribbean. France’s other territories in the region – Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Maarten – are also closed to visitors at present, with no word on whether or not they will be reopening soon.
Despite not being open to visitors at present, that has not stopped airlines from advertising flights to the island. Tradewind Aviation – a luxury, boutique airline servicing locations in the Caribbean – has advertised several flights per day in its Pilatus PC-12 turboprop planes. Flights are available for booking through to January 10th 2022 – though it would be wise to wait until the vaccination drive is complete and travelers are allowed to return before booking a flight.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories