St. Lucia Reopening To Tourists… Just Don’t Expect To Leave Your Hotel

Filed Under: Travel

Some countries are slowly reopening to tourists. I think it’s worth covering the different approaches countries are taking, because it gives us a sense of what to expect in the future, as tourism returns on a broader scale.

Countries have widely varying plans for welcoming back tourists. Iceland is taking a pretty responsible approach by doing testing on arrival, while Tanzania is… well, not.

St. Lucia will become one of the first Caribbean islands to open to tourists, and I think it’s worth covering their comprehensive plan. I’ll say upfront that based on this I’d feel safe traveling to St. Lucia, the question is just whether I’d actually have any fun based on all the restrictions.

St. Lucia will open to tourists on June 4

St. Lucia has had a total of just 18 COVID-19 cases. All patients have recovered, and there have been no deaths.

While St. Lucia has COVID-19 under control, for this small country the question becomes how to responsibly welcome back tourists without endangering people. After all, over 20% of people in St. Lucia are employed in the tourism industry.

The country has presented a plan for protecting both locals and visitors. Guests can skip an otherwise mandatory 14-day quarantine, though there are lots of restrictions. Here’s an infographic showing the basics of St. Lucia’s plan, and then I’ll get into more details below.

COVID-19 precautions getting to St. Lucia

Before even arriving in St. Lucia, there are quite a few requirements:

  • Visitors need to present a certified negative COVID-19 test at check-in, which needs to be taken within 48 hours of the flight
  • Visitors need to wear masks on flights to St. Lucia (regardless of the airline policy), at the airport, and upon arrival
  • Visitors will have their temperature taken upon arrival in St. Lucia
  • Visitors can only take authorized taxis booked through their hotels, and can’t rent cars, use shared transport, etc.

This is in addition to standard precautions like requiring social distancing, requesting people use hand sanitizer, etc.

COVID-19 precautions while in St. Lucia

While vacationing in St. Lucia, there are all kinds of requirements as well:

  • Only certain hotels can be open to guests, based on the government making sure they’re following all precautions
  • Visitors will have their temperatures taken every time they have a meal
  • Every open hotel will have a nurse station and quarantine facilities
  • There will be limited guest activities and attractions at hotels
  • There won’t be much to do outside hotels — no outside restaurants will be open for dine-in, most tourist attractions will be closed, and you can only take authorized taxis

Bottom line

St. Lucia has fully contained COVID-19, and now plans to welcome back tourists as of June 4, 2020. Tourism is an important part of the country’s economy, so it’s understandable they want to restart this.

I’m impressed by St. Lucia’s plan, and personally I’d feel safe traveling there. The question becomes whether a visit would be any fun with all of these restrictions. That’s an issue that a lot of countries will face once tourism reopens.

If you’re looking to just escape to a resort and nothing else then St. Lucia could be a good option. Just don’t expect to be able to do much beyond that.

What do you make of St. Lucia’s restrictions, and would you consider traveling there?

  1. St Lucia is a great country to drive around and explore.

    These restrictions make it pointless.

  2. Why would anyone voluntarily submit to that? This sounds like a half-prison, half-vacation experience. It’s as if these tourism dependent countries and states (e.g. Hawaii) have decided to commit economic suicide.

  3. Literally no tourists will come to any of these countries threatening jail like restrictions, from St Lucia here to even Iceland’s risk of restriction if you test positive.

    Countries will very quickly realize this next month and fully open up with just security theater restrictions which will be easily ignored.

  4. Lucky, that is a great summary – “I’d feel safe traveling there”. Unfortunately, feeling safe and being safe are not the same things. I am sure we will be seeing all these restrictions popping up everywhere. It is the classic example of expensive placebo approach.

  5. Agree with most of the comments – what’s the point unless you have to travel there as too many restrictions? Hadn’t planned any international travel till 2022 so will see what countries then are the least restrictive.

  6. I was scheduled to go there July 10th for two weeks, but when my resort started leaking their restrictions I knew there was no point and rescheduled. I couldn’t imagine going there and not being able to leave the resort.

  7. The decision to go really depends on what you want to do on that particular vacation. St. Lucia has a really good coral reef right off the beach at one of their hotels. Or at least it had a few years ago – I hope these corals are still alive. So if you want a snorkeling vacation, then restrictions won’t really matter much. In fact, how is this different from staying at any of the tiny islands in the Maldives?

  8. The reasons why there have to be restrictions is that we cannot count on people to be responsible enough.

    Most of us are individualistic with ” It’s all about me ” attitude. We do not really care about others. Some only care about their right to freedom and nothing else.

    If the guest can skip the quarantine by complying with conditions once there they can leave hotel. Take a taxi for one day just to drive and enjoy scenery. Enjoy the white sands and turquoise waters the beach. if you stay at an all-inclusive like Sandals there will be enough restaurants on property that you need not leave looking for food.

    Take is SLOW. RELAX. I know, a hard concept for most of us Americans who lack patience and as a result will end up being a patient instead.

    So you see Lucky, you can go to St. Lucia and be safe and have a quiet peaceful holiday.

  9. I’m sitting in the cockpit of my little boat just off the island of Bequia. Due to the virus outbreak my wife was not able to meet me in Martinique. I do not anticipate things getting back to normal any time soon. Can my wife fly into St.Lucia and be picked up at a marina so that we can be together? Currently I am scheduled to return to Grenada for hurricane season, but it is unclear if flights from the US will be available or if she could be quarenteened on our boat.

  10. The restrictions are necessary and appropriate, because far too many people are selfish morons who simply don’t give a damn about anyone other than themselves. Just turn on a TV for all the evidence you need.

    The only hope for leisure travel to return to something like what it was a few months ago, is an effective vaccine to become available – and adopted worldwide. Probably 1-3 years for that depending on which experts you ask and how things go.

    Unfortunately, the news gets worse: the anti-vax idiots are aligning with the right-wing idiots. I saw one survey over the weekend that found 25% of Americans will refuse to get a COVID vaccine when one becomes available (they think Bill Gates is trying to inject Chinese 5G chips in their heads…). If that large a percentage of the US population doesn’t get vaccinated, then we will never get back to anything like we remembered as “normal”. Travelers from the USA will be on a worldwide blacklist (and rightfully so) for as far out as you can see.

    We are all in this together. Sadly, that includes the Trumpist morons who refuse to wear a mask, who refuse to social distance, who deny science, even deny that truth exists, and who are so willfully ignorant they still think this is all just overblown. 100,000 American deaths and no end in sight…happy Memorial Day.

  11. “I saw one survey over the weekend that found 25% of Americans will refuse to get a COVID vaccine”

    Won’t that problem become self-correcting?

    Darwinism in action. Good luck to them!

  12. Doing international travel right now (for pleasure) is dumb.

    Isn’t the point of vacation to relax, not to be treaten like you have leprosy?

  13. @The Nice Paul: unfortunately the problem won’t be self correcting in most cases. We already know that the virus can cause serious harm for anyone who contracts it, but still the brunt of the deaths is happening in the senior population. It is our senior population who has the most intellect and would likely take the vaccine to begin with.
    It is the younger generation that idiotically decides to bash a man who has given away tens of billions (while blindly defending the guy who won’t give hardly any of it away and is actually profiting off this pandemic)

  14. I think something like this could be a good option for family reunions. I have family across the US and I am nervous to travel to see them or have them come to visit me – I think a better option could be to meet up somewhere like St Lucia that has COVID 19 under control and has a good plan for managing it going forward. If you were spending time with family you hadn’t seen in awhile, you wouldn’t need a ton of attractions beyond what the resort offered

  15. Once vaccine is available, I hope most countries will require proof of vaccination for entry, just like some countries used to do for other diseases, rather than ban entry for everyone from the US.

  16. If there is no significant tourism for 1-3 years due to waiting for a vaccine there are many places that will suffer a total economic collapse. Caribbean islands being at the very top of the list. Just checking quickly st kitts and nevis 62%, st Lucia 42%, Bahamas 40% of GDP are tourism related. The US is 8%. Setting aside that those places will collapse, there is no guarantee that a vaccine will ever arrive. Of one doesnt arrive, I’m not sure there is a clear path out of this mess that doesnt involve herd immunity, and if that doesnt work with this disease then societies will have to find the level of risk they are willing to live with every day going forward. Many, if not most people will accept much greater risk of illness or death rather than live in quarantine conditions forever.

  17. This is just lame. I’ll wait until travel makes sense and is safe. This type of thing makes zero sense.

  18. @sbs “I hope countries require vaccination to entry”
    Why? If I decide not to get the vaccine, how is thst going to affect those of you who decide to take the damn vaccine?
    If the vaccine is thst important to those countries, then force vaccinate your own citizens.

  19. I canceled my June 27th trip last week. I was going for 10 days. It was the triop of a lifetime I am fairly devastated personally – but glad I not going.

    This trip was about adventure and fun not worrying about a disease. That and the locals are frightened of Europe/US travelers – if forums are any indication.

    GL Lucia – I hope your economy survives and you properly open your country back up. Don’t believe this international hoax.

  20. @erik. The problem is that there are 7 billion people on this planet, and not all of them are concerned about what’s best for you. You’re argument is along the lines of “if everyone else in the world wears a mask, I don’t need to” or “if everyone else is the world pays taxes, I don’t need to”. Etc. you want to enjoy the Benefits of society then you need to take on the responsibilities of society.

  21. Even though I had the virus, I won’t hesitate to get the vaccine as soon as it is available and I know no one who feels any differently. Not sure the anti-vaxers are really as dug in as they claim to be. One thing about epidemics is that despite precautions, age, wealth or medical care anyone can draw the unlucky number.

    In the meantime, I’ll pass on Santa Lucia.

  22. I don’t think Canadians will be visiting St. Lucia anytime soon. COVID-19 tests are only available for those with symptoms. In any case, who in their right mind would spend thousands of dollars to spend their vacation in a prison like atmosphere. And then they will have to self-quarantine for 14 day when they return to Canada.
    If the Caribbean islands think tourists will come back under these conditions, they are dreaming.

  23. I would go. In the good old days before this whole perverted mass tourism madness, I used to vacation on beautiful beaches, for weeks on end, and all that counted was to be there, by the ocean, with the waves and the sun, swimming with the turtles, and admiring the beauty of coral reefs, having a few meals and drinks a day, siesta, taking it easy, looking at the stars at night, etc. 30 years ago I moved to Hawaii. My good friend worked in a dive/tour shop. When asked, what her job was, she told me that she was selling ‘activities’. Selling WHAT ? I did not understand the concept then, and have a hard time understanding it now. Vacation to me still means, relaxing, taking a break, and not, change scenery and then continue with the madness, and all that just to avoid my Self.

  24. I likely would be safer at a St. Lucia resort than in my own state. Missouri made national news with thousands packing pools at local resorts. No masks. No social distancing. Sounds good to me to have a resort with all the amenities, few visitors and the ones who are there have been tested. Nowhere in the US can offer that.

  25. The threat of the virus is completely overblown here and everywhere else. We do not need to wait for a vaccine. Less than 0.2% of COVID cases end in death. One third of all deaths in the US were from nursing homes. It is spreading quickly simply due to no natural immunity.

    Personally, I have three international trips planned for the balance of the year. Life should return to normal. The economic damage caused by social distancing is far worse than the number of people who will die due to lack of distancing.

  26. Warning!

    A patient just Bought tickets to St Lucia and came to us asking for a test so that they could get on the flight
    We will not test asymptomatic people. Full stop.

    My group does 2,000 tests PER DAY. But they are restricted to symptomatic people, people in convalescent homes, and people being admitted to hospital or having surgery.

    In addition, insurance will not cover this test for travel purposes.

    We do not have tests to waste on travel.

    Make sure you can get a test before buying the ticket. And then think about the fact that we don’t have enough tests to test people truly in need. (We can’t even test asymptomatic contacts of COVID+ people yet. And my state tests far more per capita than most)

  27. On a side note: the patient then lied and said they had symptoms to get a test.

    our test results state paraphrased: “Coronavirus negative. Indication for test: fever, respiratory symptoms”

    Thus they could not get on flight.

    In other words: don’t lie to get the test

  28. Where’s your papers?? Sounding more like Nazi Germany in the 1930’s by the day…no thank you.

  29. @erick: the purpose of mass vaccination (measles, polio, etc) is to protect entire population, including people who cannot get a vaccine for valid medical reasons (as opposed to bogus personal/religious/libertarian reasons), as well as the small portion for whom vaccine ends up being not fully effective. By refusing to get vaccinated, you become a potential disease spreader, endangering other people. If one chooses to exclude oneself from society, they shouldn’t be surprised when it goes both ways – countries shouldn’t let them in, public schools should exclude kids who haven’t been vaccinated, etc. Public spaces are by definition shared spaces – you don’t get access to them if you refuse to follow the rules designed to make them safer (not absolutely safe, which is never possible) for everyone.

    What’s your opinion on stop signs and traffic lights? Should they interfere with your freedom to drive through an intersection without stopping?

    My hope is that other countries will find a way to allow responsible travel from the US while excluding selfish morons like the two hair salon people who worked for several days while already symptomatic or the idiot who tried boarding a flight after testing positive for the virus. The alternative is a well-deserved blanket travel ban.

  30. @Erick @Matthew Boyle

    The “all about me” generation rising to the top of the pond scum. Polio is back because some idiots don’t vaccinate their children deliberately because polio is “cured”. Same with smallpox and many other diseases. Like malaria – mosquitoes cannot pass it on if nobody has it in the first place. They have to dip their wick into someone with the disease. If nobody has covid then the danger will pass.

    Many countries rightly do not allow visitors travelling from certain foreign regions into their country without VALID Yellow Fever shots. Rightly so. Soon it will be (hopefully) VALID CORONA shots (of all varieties not just -19).

    If you are against vaccination (and one has to wonder how anyone with an IQ of over 50 would not want to be vaccinated) then you have the right to stay inside in your house. PERIOD.

    AS @mauipeter states, what a wonderful vacation it is to just lie on a beautiful white sandy beach with snorkeling nearby and drinks and delicious food at hand. The description of Sandals as an example sounds so wonderful.

    The problem is – how can you get to St Lucia from where I live without passing through several borders and countries who are doing nothing about Covid and will be rife with the virus? If I had access to a direct safe flight I would be there tomorrow. So unfortunately that’s where the model will fail, sadly.

  31. Americans who are sick of lockdown will travel. Quarantine in an apartment for more than 2 months and the same at a beachfront resort may seem like a long overdue vacation.

  32. Question: I’m scheduled to travel to st. Lucia in mid July to visit family. I’ve already rented a private house and will be staying there with may family coming in with me. No activities planned other than enjoying the beach, private pool and seeing a few people on the island.. will I be able to get in, since I’m renting a private house?

  33. Like with everything else in life it comes down to positives and negatives.

    Will these restrictions limit spread and make visiting safer? Yes. Will I enjoy my visit? No. Do I travel to feel safe or do I travel to enjoy the place?

  34. We live in Grenada, and heard that St Lucia was opening up to tourists. I was wondering what their procedures were going to be, and what the ‘travel’ would look like. It seems there are some pretty strict precautions in place and not much movement for exploring the island. I will be keeping an eye out when it reaches June 4th, and curious to see what the tourists are able to do outside of the hotels!

  35. I do not blame St Lucia for wanting to remain Covid Free and based on the Memorial Day weekend coverage seen here, giving free run of the countryside to US and European travelers in “party mode” will not help them remain Covid Free.

    I agree with SL’s policies but sadly, they won’t work to jumpstart the economy..

  36. @John

    I’m wondering which “facts” I should check out?

    United States as of today
    Confirmed Cases 1.71M +18,586 since yesterday
    Recovered 358K

    Deaths 99,782

    Interesting news for the deniers – last night published statistics for Canada showed a huge increase in Cases in Ontario and Quebec (only Provinces without successful distancing) but for the millennials a WARNING – the tide has turned and its not just us old folks…….

    New cases:
    60% for the UNDER 50″s only 40% for the elders.

    (you might laughingly state that’s because all the old geezers (like me) are already dead so obviously it’s going to become a young persons disease soon)

    My knickers are just fine at the moment – but stupidity displayed over Memorial Weekend will show up in less than 14 days – lets watch and wonder?

  37. I’m seeing all of these comments about this being strict and what’s the point of going there! Obviously this is a small island whose tourism industry has had a massive effect on the island. They made every effort to keep this virus under control and succeeded by doing that, hence there being less than 20 cases with no deaths. St Lucia does not have the healthcare system that are in countries like America or England and yet they’ve proven that if the government step up and do what is right to protect its country you can overcome something as deadly as coronavirus!
    To put it simply, this blog was created for those who may be interested in taking a holiday right now, this is their island and their rules, IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO!!!!
    There are some people whose mental health has been massively effected by this virus and an opportunity to go and be by the beach in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, could probably do someone a massive amount of good.
    A lot of the people in these comments seem very entitled and quite frankly you’re not the type of people St Lucia want on their island, you’d probably complain if St Lucia were allowing people to roam around without restriction and potentially spread the virus.
    St Lucia’s approach seems very much “you look after us, we’ll look after you”, which is fine because it’s their country, they can operate as they please, so again, IF YOU DO NOT LIKE, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO!

  38. Dominique, Thank you for your well written comment. I recently got into a similar discussion on another blog where the cheap airfares to Hawaii were brought up, which I dared to criticize, because it was like an advertisement for folks to come here, although we still have a strict 14 day quarantine, and tourism here is never going to be the same. Unfortunately I experienced a response very similar to the comments here. Politically motivated insults of our governor and criticism of his authority to fulfill his duty in this case of emergency to protect the folks who had elected him. He did a great job, and so did the Lieutenant Governor, a medical doctor. And we all here did a great job, adhering to the rules, and we are proud of that. Our numbers are the lowest of all the States. I myself had to endure gross and insensitive personal insults for voicing my opinion. Thinly veiled threats that we are all going to hell and end up in poverty if we don’t welcome their almighty tourist dollars. Folks were whining like three year old toddlers whose squirt gun was taken away. And as you put so eloquently, if I may quote: ‘A lot of the people in these comments seem very entitled and quite frankly you’re not the type of people Hawaii wants on their islands.’ This is also what I got from an online meeting on our local PBS between tourism- and community representatives yesterday. It all had gotten too much. As much as we depend on tourism. But this mass tourism had become like a plague for the locals. 30,000 arrivals daily ! We could not go to beaches anymore, because they were overcrowded or abused as public restrooms. We could not park in our communities anymore, because all parking was taken by tourists. Crowds and lines everywhere, 20,000 rental cars cruising around on Maui alone at any given time. The beaches were filthy, the ocean was suffering, it’s creatures retreating. So tourism is going to be re-evaluated. We are shooting for quality of visitors versus quantity. We are looking at ‘sustainable tourism’, or Eco tourism. And as far as opening after Corona…if we only get 15% of the visitors we had in 2019, we will have 135,000 folks here in June. If only 1% of those are asymptomatic carriers, that’s enough to infect enough local people to completely finish our fragile medical system, to kill lots of our elderly due to the fact that multi-generational households are common in Hawaii. So the idea now for opening is ‘bubbles’, or ‘corridors’, meaning only letting in folks from places where the virus is very much under control, like Japan. Health check before departure, and at arrival. But oh my, that’s going to lead to another ‘discrimination’ shitstorm.’
    And as far as I am concerned, this was my last post about this topic. I am done arguing.

  39. I just got a call from Sandals and it appears St Lucia will not be opening on June 4th as planned. Our reservation for 6/6 has been canceled.

  40. For those who say the restrictions are necessary, why are they necessary? Why ban people from renting cars? How does this lead to a greater risk of passing COVID-19 to someone than taking a taxi? In a taxi, many people will be using that vehicle in a short period of time, so wouldn’t a taxi be less safe?

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