As destinations worldwide begin to reopen regionally at first, our plans to travel to Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and South America have to be put on hold for a bit. This gives us the opportunity to rediscover America and travel domestically. But we can also this summer take advantage of the good luck that we’re in the same region as the wonderful islands of the Caribbean.
These islands are largely dependent on tourism, and they were still on their way to full recovery from the devastating 2017 hurricane season when the novel coronavirus hit. Fortunately, most of them have managed to avoid large-scale medical damage from COVID-19, but the lack of visitors has certainly hurt their economies.
Being careful to protect their people from potential infection, many Caribbean destinations are getting ready to reopen to tourism in time for the summer season.
Antigua and St. Lucia began welcoming visitors last week, requiring proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 48 hours of boarding a plane to either island. The U.S. Virgin Islands have reopened to tourism, but safer at home orders remain in effect, limiting bar and restaurant capacity to 50% and gatherings to 10 people. Jamaica will open to tourists June 15, with facemasks required in airports, taxis and hotels and travelers screened on arrival. Aruba plans to reopen between June 15 and July 1, with entry requirements still to be announced. The Bahamas have reopened all airports, and tourism will resume July 1. Turks & Caicos plans to reopen to visitors July 22.
Grenada hopes to welcome visitors starting June 30, but plans are not firm. St. Maarten, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the hardest hit Caribbean nation with more than 500 deaths, anticipate July reopenings. The Cayman Islands will not open before Sept. 1, and several other islands have not yet announced reopening dates.
As always, we ask our travelers to be respectful of the places and people they are visiting and follow any face covering and social distancing rules in place. We at DMC Travel Tailor will be happy to provide more specific information about individual islands and resorts. It’s been a tough few months, and we can’t freely roam everywhere in the world just yet, but we’re thrilled that some of the most beautiful islands you could ever hope to see are welcoming us back, and we’re thrilled to support them.
Sunday marked the 120th anniversary of the birth of Ernest Hemingway. The Nobel Prize-winning author lived a life as full of adventure as any of his characters, and he traveled the world in pursuit of a good story throughout his life. “Papa” left his mark on several places, and they left their marks on him, appearing as characters in their own right throughout his works.
Hemingway was the first American wounded in Italy during World War I as he had joined the Red Cross after being rejected from the U.S. Armed Forces because of poor eyesight. He was bringing supplies to soldiers on the front line at Fossalta di Piave when he was wounded in a mortar attack. He spent six months recuperating at a military hospital in Milan and fell in love with a nurse, inspiring the plot of “A Farewell to Arms.”
Hemingway’s first novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” popularized the San Fermin Festival and running of the bulls that is an annual rite in Pamplona. His nonfiction work “Death in the Afternoon” details the culture of bullfighting in Spain, and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” dramatizes events of the Spanish Civil War, during which Hemingway worked as a foreign correspondent.
After World War I, Hemingway and his first wife moved to Paris, where he began his writing career in earnest and hung around with the likes of Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and James Joyce. It was this time in Paris between the world wars, living in the Latin Quarter that Hemingway really came into his own as a writer and voice of the “Lost Generation.” The posthumously published memoir “A Movable Feast” chronicles this time.
Though he suffered near fatal injuries in successive plane accidents in Africa later in life, Hemingway’s 10-week safari in 1933 had such a profound impact that it inspired his works “The Greens Hills of Africa,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” He and his second wife toured around what are now Kenya and Tanzania, marveling at the abundance of wildlife.
Hemingway spent several winters in Cuba, raising cats and possibly hunting German U-boats in the waters around the island. He returned to Cuba after working as a foreign correspondent during World War II, when he was a witness to the D-Day landings in Normandy. His time in Cuba inspired “The Old Man and the Sea,” which he wrote in eight weeks and for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and which was cited as a major factor in his winning the Nobel Prize in literature.
As you may have heard, the U.S. government issued new restrictions on travel to Cuba last week. They were effective immediately, with educational and recreational (“people to people”) itineraries no longer allowed. Cruise ships, recreational vessels and non-commercial aircraft originating from the U.S. may not go to Cuba.
If you are booked on a cruise that included Cuba in the itinerary, contact your travel advisor for details. Virtuoso-preferred cruise lines are initiating policies to make it up to guests who were looking forward to visiting the island. Land tours and flights booked through June 4 may be grandfathered in, but it best to confirm with your travel advisor, tour operator or airline.
So, is it still possible for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba under the new policy? The answer is yes, for religious travel, meeting and support for the Cuban people programs. You will need to travel with a licensed tour operator that has permits for these types of itineraries.
More than ever, it’s important to work with a trusted travel advisor who stays on top of the latest updates and knows which tour operators are still taking groups to Cuba. Even with the new restrictions, you can still go to Cuba. Contact Stefany at email@example.com or (917) 653-9346 for assistance planning your trip safely and legally.
It’s a big world out there, and while every country has something unique to offer, political situations or natural disasters can put destinations out of commission for a while. Fortunately, these wonderful places are making a comeback.
The land of the pharaohs was not safe for several years in the wake of the political upheaval of the 2011 Arab Spring. Thankfully, major tour operators have returned, bringing travelers to such world treasures as the pyramids of Giza, the temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel and cruising the Nile. Egypt tourism surged more than 40 percent in the first half of this year, signaling that a place so full of history the Romans considered it ancient, is retaking its rightful place on the world stage.
Fears of ISIL presence near Turkey’s southern border coupled with a bombing at the Istanbul airport and coup attempt in the summer of 2016 made Turkey a no-go. Things have settled down, and now travelers are safe to take in the beauty of the Bosporus and the Hagia Sophia in the Turkish capital, as well as explore the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. Istanbul served as the capital of three empires and contains an immense amount of cultural heritage.
Travel to Cuba was all the rage in 2015 when the Obama administration thawed relations with and eased restrictions on the island just 90 miles off the tip of Florida. Things changed when the Trump administration reversed some of those policies and when the State Department issued a travel advisory concerning alleged attacks on embassy personnel. This year, however, Cuba travel is up 40 percent over 2017 as uncertainty has dissipated.
After the devastation of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria last year, several islands that had their lifeblood industry, tourism, decimated are back open for business. Many resorts in Puerto Rico have reopened, as have some in the British Virgin Islands and St Barth’s.
St. Martin’s top resorts will be open in time for the holidays, as will Anguilla’s. As word trickles out slowly, there are great deals to be had at places that are normally filled months in advance. The region needs travelers to help in its recovery, so it’s a win-win situation.