The Latest on Yacht Charter Travel to the Most Popular Ports in the Caribbean Fall/Winter 2020
While many cruise lines extended their operations pause through November and even deep into 2021, the privately crewed yacht charter industry is gaining strides. As the islands in the Caribbean reopen, the yachts are helping their guests feel safe about traveling on a catamaran, motor yacht, or sailboat.
We've noticed a recent uptick in new bookings for vessels that are available to charter in the U.S. Virgin Islands during the holidays. Our thought is that people are simply willing to do what is necessary to be able to travel again. Let's discuss the Caribbean islands that have reopened for tourism as well as where most of the yachts will be located and available during the fall/winter 2020-2021 charter season. Check each island's travel webpage below for the most up to date information.
Charter Cleanliness - Best Practices:
The charter industry can give guests peace of mind regarding preventive measures taken to protect the health of themselves and their crew. VIPCA, the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association based in St. Thomas, USVI has been successful in creating a standard of expected cleanliness aboard yachts. A list of their health & safety guidelines is available upon request.
Testing Before Travel:
Finding a lab that can process a PCR test quickly is the goal for all travelers with upcoming vacations in the Caribbean. Luckily, more labs are available now with quicker results. You should go to your county of residence website first to do some research and then check reviews. Call to confirm that your test can be done with the results in 2 days. There are national labs in each state that advertise quick testing and they are good sources too. Suggestions: www.arcpointlabs.com and www.LabDoctor.org
• U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and Water Islands are open to U.S. visitors. This part of the Caribbean has been quickly gaining popularity for "USVI-only" charters proving that you do not have to go the BVI to have fun. Every traveler aged five and older who enters the U.S. Virgin Islands are required to use the USVI Travel Screening Portal and submit a COVID-19 test result.
See the latest: www.USVIupdate.com Travelers are required to provide either:
a COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test taken and negative result received (both within five days of commencement of travel to the Territory), OR
a COVID-19 antibody test taken and positive result received (both within four months of commencement of travel to the Territory)
The five-day window is related to both taking the test and receiving test results. Travelers are encouraged to plan testing dates carefully. Tests taken or results received outside the 5-day window do not meet the requirements. Click here to see a visual depiction of the 5-day window: https://bit.ly/2RJ5NeK.
Arrivals who cannot produce the required test result will be subject to a 14-day quarantine or until they test negative. Travelers must also complete the online Travel Screening Portal within five days of travel. Further information can be found at www.usviupdate.com.
• British Virgin Islands: The borders will reopen to international visitors, including U.S. visitors, Dec. 1. Entry requirements will be announced shortly. Please note that we currently do not know exactly what the requirements will be. It is possible that guests of charter yachts will have to fly directly to the Beef Island Airport in order to follow government regulations. Please check for updates before planning your trip.
• Puerto Rico: Open to U.S. visitors. A negative Covid test, taken 72 hours prior to arriving, is required. Travelers are required to fill out a Travel Declaration Form through the Puerto Rico Health Department's online portal at https://travelsafe.pr.gov and obtain an Airport Exit Confirmation number and QR code, which travelers will automatically receive when uploading proof of their negative Covid result to the portal. Without the test result, arriving visitors must quarantine for 14 days at their lodging or the length of the stay, whichever is shorter, or until negative test results are provided.
• St. Maarten: Open to U.S. visitors; the border between St. Maarten and St. Martin has reopened to all visitors. A completed health declaration must be uploaded at stmaartenentry.com before departing; U.S. visitors must submit proof of a negative Covid test result taken within five days of arrival.
Sint Maarten has established a mandatory health authorization application through an Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) for every visitor whether arriving by air, boat or in transit. This includes Sint Maarten and Sint Martin residents.
If you are suffering from flu-like symptoms and/or fever travel will be denied by the airline and by the EHAS.
A rt-PCR test for the SARS-COV-2 virus obtained from a naso-pharyngeal swab only and performed within 120 hours prior to departure to Sint Maarten (last leg in case of connecting flights) is required for all travelers originating from a country that is categorized as high or moderate risk. Other tests such as antibody tests or antigen tests and tests performed outside of this 120 hours period will not be accepted.
Travelers residing in and traveling from low-risk countries are exempted from the mandatory rt-PCR test.
Travelers who reside in a low-risk country but have visited a moderate or high-risk country in the 14 days prior to departing to Sint Maarten, must also have a rt-PCR test for the SARS-COV-2 virus performed within 120 hours prior to departure to Sint Maarten (last leg in case of connecting flights).
The original result of this test must be uploaded as soon as possible as part of the health authorization application procedure in order to be processed. Processing takes 6-8 hours. The test result should clearly specify the name of the laboratory, test subject name, test date, type of test administered and how the test sample was obtained. Typed, written or e-mail statements from doctors or non-laboratories will not be accepted.
Children ages 10 and under are exempted from the mandatory rt-PCR test. As of the day after the 10th birthday, a rt-PCR test has to be submitted.
Airline and private flight crews with stopovers in St. Maarten or St. Martin must complete the health authorization procedure and demonstrate a valid (performed within 120 hours of departure to Sint Maarten) negative rt-PCR test upon arrival. Crew members not in possession of a valid negative rt-PCR test must self-quarantine until their departure flight.
Travelers with destination Sint Maarten are required to have health insurance coverage. This does not apply to transit passengers. Additional travel insurance covering COVID-19 related expenses is strongly recommended.
• St. Barts: Open to U.S. visitors. All beaches are open with no restrictions. Social distancing is encouraged. The CDC lists St. Barth in their "Risk Is low" category on their Covid-19 travel recommendations by destination list. We are happy to share that St. Barth officially reopened to tourists on June 22, 2020. All inbound St. Barts passengers are required to present a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days prior to arrival. Children 10 and under are exempt. Passengers will be asked to present the negative test document at check-in. For visitors staying on the island for more than seven days, a second test will be required during their stay.
Visitors (age 11+) staying longer than 7 days will be required to take an additional RT-PCR Covid-19 test in St. Barth, at their own expense (€135), on the 8th day following their arrival. (i.e. if you arrived in St. Barth on Sunday, you will need to test locally on the following Monday). The testing lab is available to drive up Monday-Friday from 2-3 PM and Saturday 9-10 AM. If a visitor tests positive, they will be required to self-quarantine for 7 days or until they re-test negative. If a visitor is unable to remain in their rented accommodations for the required period of time, they may quarantine at a designated lodging facility which is located in St. Jean.
• Anguilla: A bit tricky & expensive for arrivals but open to U.S. travelers. U.S. travelers must apply through the visitor portal, and applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Persons are urged to adhere to all safety protocols as established by airlines and vessels on your journey to Anguilla.
Persons are expected to take preventive measures to protect themselves and others from infection during travel: washing of hands and/or use of hand sanitizer regularly; avoiding touching common surfaces, avoid touching of face (eyes, mouth and nose) with unwashed hands; maintaining a physical distance of at least three feet/ one metre from others…
The use of masks is required on vessels to Anguilla and in other spaces and areas where persons cannot maintain a physical distance of at least 1 metre/ 3 feet from others.
Arrival to Anguilla:
On arrival to Anguilla you will be required to:
Provide a hardcopy of your negative COVID-19 PCR test result to a port health official.
Undergo a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test and health screening on arrival.
Use masks during transit through ports of entry (airport and seaport) and en route to your pre-approved accommodations.
Be transferred to your accommodations to await test results – this will be prearranged.
For a stay of fewer than three months, the fee is $1,000 for a single traveler and $1,500 for a family of four. For a stay of three months to a year, the fees are $2,000 and $3,000, respectively.
• Antigua and Barbuda: Open to U.S. travelers. Arriving passengers must complete a health declaration form as part of the screening process and submit proof of a negative virus test taken seven days before boarding. Visitors will be monitored for Covid for up to 14 days of their stay and may be required to undergo testing on arrival or at their hotel.
Can yachts visit Antigua and Barbuda?
The Antigua Port Authority is opened to cargo vessels, pleasure craft and ferry services which are required to follow all health guidelines issued by Port Health. Boaters planning to come to Antigua must alert the authorities ahead of time by using the eseaclear.com pre-notification system.
ALL yachts must go through the yacht clearance process at the St. John’s Harbour, Nevis Street Pier. This includes yachties wishing to anchor in English Harbour. Yachters are to anchor between fort James and St John’s Harbour with their Lima flag flying until they are invited to start the clearance process by the Coast Guard or the Port Authority. Yacht Captains will be required to fill out a health declaration form upon arrival, and other pre-entry requirements determined by health officials.
Will passengers arriving by sea be required to take the test?
Passengers arriving by SEA (private yacht/ferry services) are subject to quarantine according to guidelines issued by Port Health.
We're former charter crew team, Captain, Chef, and owners of an Award-winning 72' sailing yacht 18 years. With over 300 charters in our logbook, we currently represent privately crewed Caribbean sailing luxury yacht charters as professional CYBA yacht charter brokers. Recently, we interviewed over 120 catamarans, motor yachts, sailboats, and professional crews. We're happy to work together as a team to promote charter vacation yachts offering modern conveniences & unlimited pleasure.
What should you expect from a luxury crewed yacht charter in the Caribbean? It's "ALL about you, ALL the time" onboard a privately crewed charter boat! It's surprisingly affordable too! Far away from overcrowded cruise ships, all-inclusive charter yachts allow you to explore some of the Caribbean’s most exclusive areas and delight in the natural, unspoiled beauty of secluded islands, hidden coves, and secret dive sites. Sail to a nearby island every day & snorkel around your own private beaches; enjoy your favorite cocktail while watching the sunset on your own private yacht; indulge yourself with 5-star gourmet cuisine that is prepared with Caribbean flair and served in the most beautiful surroundings you could ever imagine. We love matching the right crew & yacht with you!
6 Reasons Why We are Qualified:
1. As Members of the Charter Yacht Brokers Association and the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Yacht League, we maintain contact with the yachts to keep abreast of the very latest information on crew/yacht conditions and new yachts entering the arena.
2. We stay on top of local and Federal Government to keep informed about changes in our industry, as well as involving ourselves with the changes in the environment in which we offer charters.
3 We engage in open dialogue with local publications to help keep the government and the public aware of this important industry in our islands.
4. We attend multiple charter yacht industry shows in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, go aboard each of the yachts, meet the crews, attend association meetings and seminars. We'll happily share our notes about changes to the boats and crews and confirm any newly added features and upgrades as well as re-fits to the boat’s decor like new carpets, interior and exterior soft goods & fun new water-toys.
5. As a seasoned charter yacht Owner & Crew, we have access to the "inner circle" and know all the insider facts.
6. We've developed a longtime friendship with vendors of services such as local taxi drivers, ferry companies, good places to stay on land, great restaurants, and much more.
Learn more at www.YachtCharters.Guru Our service is completely FREE to you!