St. Kitts and Nevis will begin reopening in October, just in time for fall and winter escapes, and the Centers for Disease Control has just updated its status to “No Travel Health Notice: COVID-19 Risk is Very Low.” That’s great news for its battered tourism industry.
The one major caveat is that it looks like a two-week quarantine will be required. The following information pertains to citizens and “incoming travelers,” for now. Formal rules for tourism will be announced in the coming weeks, but it could be similar to what’s on tap for repatriation. A representative for St Kitts and Nevis told TPG, ” The regulations that will be in place for incoming visitors once borders reopen in October have yet to be announced.”
St. Kitts and Nevis has been very lucky with just 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths.
Now, the nation is beginning a gradual reopening of its borders in October. Abdias Samuel, chair of the country’s COVID-19 National Task Force, says “.. because we don’t have an outbreak in St. Kitts and Nevis, we need to still be vigilant. It is critical. This is why every day we get up and continue the fight. I am appealing to the general public to understand what we are trying to do to protect you and your livelihoods and I am asking you to remain vigilant.”
If you are interested in visiting the country as it reopens, here are the rules for potential travelers.
What you need to visit St. Kitts and Nevis
Fill out a form prior to arrival with quarantine requirements
Email form to government of St. Kitts and Nevis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Must take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of arriving in St. Kitts
Wear face masks when traveling to the departure airport
Wear face masks and practice physical distancing at the departure airport
On the plane
Wear a face mask while on the plane
Practice social distancing to the extent possible
Present form verifying quarantine
Show negative coronavirus test results
Potentially face a health screening
Quarantine for two weeks at Ocean Terraces Inn
Travelers will have a two-week quarantine at Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI), in Basseterre, St. Kitts at a cost of $500. They will also need to pay $100 for another COVID-19 test at the end of the quarantine. Travelers will also need to sign a quarantine agreement you can find here.
More information can be found here including frequently asked questions.
What is open in St. Kitts and Nevis
There is a $500 fine for not wearing masks in public. Hotels and other tourism businesses will be required to get a “Travel Approved” certification and seal in order to reopen. Government officials are offering complimentary training sessions on health and safety protocols for more than 5,000 tourism workers.
Related: 9 places to use points in the Caribbean
Most things on the islands are gradually reopening. The Royal St. Kitts Hotel has already reopened, though at reduced capacity. The St. Kitts Marriott and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts will reopen in October. The Hilton Curio Collection in will reopen sometime in the fourth quarter of 2020. The Four Seasons Nevis hasn’t yet announced an opening date.
How to get to St. Kitts and Nevis
Flights tend to be expensive, starting around $500 round-trip in economy from East Coast hubs and closer to $800 from other parts of the country.
The only airline offering daily nonstop service to St. Kitts from the U.S. is American Airlines. There are other carriers that offer less-frequent flight service, but — unless you’re based in South Florida — you may need to connect to get to SKB.
I found flights in October on American Airlines from New York-JFK for $629 round trip in coach or $569 in basic economy. By playing with the dates, however you could fly American from Miami as low as $350 in basic economy or $378 in main cabin.
There is also a ton of availability using American Airlines miles. It’s 25,000 round trip in coach or 50,000 round trip for business class. ($75 in taxes and fees.)
Where to stay in St. Kitts and Nevis
In St. Kitts, there are some options for using hotel points, but not a lot. Nevis is home to luxury hotels like the Four Seasons, where you can maximize Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits if you have either The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee, see rates and fees) or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express ($595 annual fee, see rates and fees).
But the neighboring island of St. Kitts is surging in popularity.
St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino is one of TPGs favorites. Prices are very reasonable right now for dates in October. You can book a king suite for as low as $138/night.
We also love the new Park Hyatt, a Category 7 World of Hyatt hotel you can book rooms for 30,000 points per night. Cash prices in October are as low as $232 a night which is a great deal.
If you don’t already have World of Hyatt points, it’s easy to get them. The program is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards; you can instantly transfer those points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. If you open a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which is currently offering a 80,000-point sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, you’ll have enough points for two nights at the Park Hyatt.
World of Hyatt also allows you to use points to book or upgrade to suites. Paid rates at the Park Hyatt are sometimes quite reasonable, so often it makes sense to pay for the room and then use points to upgrade to a suite.
You could also book the hotel through the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program, using a Platinum Card® from American Express. Booking through FHR brought with it a full suite of additional perks, including complimentary breakfast, an upgrade subject to availability, guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout and a $100 property credit. Not bad for a room that goes for as low as $232 a night.
Conclusion on visiting St. Kitts and Nevis
Hopefully, the United States will get the spread of coronavirus under control soon, and the quarantine order will be lifted. It may not yet be time to plan a trip to St Kitts and Nevis considering the 14-day quarantine, but we’ll need to wait to see what the final rules are for tourism. It’s a good sign they are at least beginning the reopening process.