CDC Says to 'Avoid' Aruba As Other Caribbean Islands Update Travel Protocols

U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbados, and Puerto Rico have tightened their entry requirements due to the omicron variant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added Aruba to its highest travel warning advisory this week as other Caribbean islands have updated travel protocols amid the emergence of the omicron variant.

The CDC raised Aruba to a "Level 4" destination, indicating a "very high" level of COVID-19 transmission on the island and telling Americans to "avoid" traveling to the island.

The island is the latest destination to be added to the agency's highest designation, which is updated on a weekly basis. Destinations are classified as "Level 4" if there are more than 500 COVID-19 cases reported per 100,000 people over the last 28 days.

Travelers who do head to Aruba must show proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken within two days of their departure as well as complete an online Embarkation/Disembarkation card and purchase Aruba Visitors Insurance, according to the Aruba Tourism Authority.

The warning also comes as several Caribbean islands have revised their own travel entry requirements, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Barbados.

People in the water at Aruba Palm Beach
Daniel Slim/Getty Images

The U.S. Virgin Islands now requires all domestic travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, to show proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken within three days of travel, according to the USVI Department of Tourism, shortening the previous five-day testing window.

Puerto Rico has also cracked down on entry protocols, now requiring all domestic travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid or PCR test taken within 48 hours of their arrival, regardless of their vaccination status, according to Discover Puerto Rico. Unvaccinated travelers will also have to quarantine for seven days upon arrival, regardless of their negative test.

Previously, fully vaccinated travelers heading to Puerto Rico did not have to get tested before travel, and unvaccinated travelers had a longer testing window and no mandatory quarantine.

International travelers arriving in a U.S. territory must still show proof of a negative test taken within one day of their departure. However, American travelers heading back to a U.S. state after visiting the islands are exempt from the requirement to get tested within one day of flying.

Barbados will now allow travelers to either show proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid test taken within one day of their arrival on the island or show proof of a negative PCR test taken within three days of their arrival, according to the Barbados tourism website. Previously, travelers didn't have the rapid test option.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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