Travel Restrictions Lifted to Popular Caribbean Dive Destination

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Curaçao's reefs are some of the richest and most diverse in the Caribbean (Photo: NaturePicsFilms/Shutterstock)

The Caribbean island of Curaçao has officially opened its borders to visitors from all countries, relaxing strict immigration rules enforced during the Coronavirus pandemic. The lifting of restrictions applies to all arrivals by sea and air, with the exception of cruise ship passengers.

Tourists are split broadly into residents of low- or high-risk countries, with slightly different protocols required depending on the country of origin. The 'low-risk' countries are comprised of Curaçao's neighbouring Caribbean island nations and include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Travellers departing from any of the low-risk islands must complete a mandatory Digital Immigration Card, and complete an online Passenger Locator Card (PLC) within 48 hours prior to departure, a printed version of which must be carried at all times during their stay on Curaçao.

Tourists from high-risk countries – ie the rest of the world – must follow the above steps, and also present a negative Covid-19 PCR-test result conducted by an accredited laboratory a maximum of 72 hours prior to departure. Asymptomatic children aged 6 and under are not required to undergo a PCR test or fill out a PLC if travelling with parents who have proof of a negative PCR test.

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The iconic Queen Emma Bridge across St Anna Bay in Curaçao's capital, Willemstad (Photo: elvirkins/Shutterstock)

Regardless of country of origin, all travellers are required to abide by guidelines set by Curaçao's government. Visitors who are found to have been in contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19 within 14 days prior to arrival on Curaçao (regardless of PCR test results) and those who test positive for the virus during their stay on the island will be placed into mandatory quarantine, at their own expense. To that end, adequate medical and travel insurance covering Covid-related problems is required to visit.  

Tourist facilities have developed ‘A Dushi (beautiful) Stay, the Healthy Way’ guidelines for the protection of both visitors and staff. The guidelines include familiar practices of frequent hand hygiene, 2m social distancing at all times and mask-wearing in situations where 2m distancing is impractical. Restaurants, bars, beach clubs and other hospitality facilities are otherwise open for business and adhering to normal opening hours, although visitors are asked to make reservations in advance where possible.

'It’s not been easy here on Curaçao during the coronavirus pandemic, largely due to the lack of tourism, but I believe we can be proud of our resident dive centres that have united to protect our coral reefs and to support critical local community initiatives such as the food bank,' said Bryan Horne, Managing Director at Dive Curaçao. 'Furthermore, the Curaçao Diving Industry as a whole, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Curaçao Tourist Board, have implemented strict health and safety protocols to protect both visitors and locals from Covid-19. We hope the relaxation of the travel restrictions will reassure divers that our island is safe to visit and encourage them to come and dive some of the most diverse coral reefs in the Caribbean.'

For updated regulations and to complete the DIC and PLC forms prior to departure, visit www.dicardcuracao.com. For more information on Curaçao, visit www.curacao.com and for everything you need to know about diving around the island, including a list of approved dive operators, visit www.divecuracao.info.

 

 

 

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