This month marked my first working trip in 16 months (last month, I took my first vacation, which you can read about here). I traveled with my husband to Nassau Paradise Island for my first-ever visit to The Bahamas. For some context, my husband was vaccinated in January, and I had my second vaccination in late March.
So what's it like to travel to The Bahamas during a pandemic? Here, I break down my three-day trip.
Flying to The Bahamas During a Pandemic
We took a non-stop Jet Blue flight from JFK to Nassau that left New York at 10 a.m. and arrived in Nassau around 1:15 p.m. — just a few hours to get to paradise. Passengers on the flight were often reminded to keep their mask on properly, especially if taking a nap so that they're not woken. Prior to arrival, visitors should fill out this Health Visa form, which is required a handful of times. Once we arrived at the airport, we grabbed a taxi; it took less than an hour from touch down to hotel arrival. We had a non-stop flight on Delta on the way home, which felt equally smooth and safe.
Where to Stay in The Bahamas During the Pandemic
We stayed in two different properties during our time in The Bahamas. Greycliff is a family-owned historic hotel that dates back to 1740. The property was purchased in 1973 by Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli who turned the private home into the elegant hotel and restaurant it is today. You'll find the couple mingling with guests during breakfast or pre-dinner drinks in the lounge, accompanied by live piano. The hotel is home to the first five-star restaurants in the Caribbean and a wine cellar stocked with more than 200,000 bottles.
We spent our last two nights at the SLS Baha Mar Hotel. The sleek and sophisticated resort has something for everyone. For us that meant a lovely beach, swimming pools, and fine dining. Our room was well-appointed and had a large balcony overlooking the turquoise waters, for which the islands are known.
Restrictions in The Bahamas During the Pandemic
Mask-wearing on the island was enforced. Whether walking around outdoors or inside a hotel or restaurant, we saw locals wearing masks; and most places (aside from, say, the beach), guests seemed to comply accordingly. Taxi drivers and tour guides are tested regularly and were asked for proof of a negative test before dropping off guests at hotels. Additionally, a 10 p.m. curfew is in place, so plan accordingly when having dinner off-property. The current regulations made us feel completely safe, but in no way stifled.
What to do in The Bahamas Right Now
There's no shortage of outdoor activities in The Bahamas. A few of our favorites included swimming in the gorgeous mosaic pool at Grayfliff and outdoor dining at Bahamian Cookin' Kitchen in downtown Nassau and SLS Baha Mar's Katsuya. For animal lovers, the Private Flamingo Encounter is super fun, and swimming with pigs on the private Rose Island with Sandy Toes was an all-time favorite. The highly anticipated Baha Bay Waterpark will open July 2 of this year.
Do I Have to Take a COVID Test Before Entering The Bahamas?
You do not have to take a COVID test before entering The Bahamas if you are fully vaccinated. Visitors can upload a negative test or their vaccine card to the online health visa and show this upon arrival. Prior to re-entering the United States, regardless of vaccination status, a negative COVID test must be presented. Many of the hotels on Paradise Island-Bahamas provided free and efficient on-site testing. We took ours one day prior to leaving, which took about five minutes, and had our emailed results in a half hour's time.
The bottom line: Just a few hours' flight from home, with plenty of outdoor activities and ample safety measures, Nassau Paradise Island is a safe and relaxing international tropical getaway.