Destination Spotlight: Jamaica
There are few places in the world where you’ll spot friendlier faces than Jamaica. “There’s nothing better than a Jamaican,” says Karen Bull of Island Luxe, Places of Personality, which represents resorts across the Caribbean and Bermuda. “They’re the warmest, most beautiful people.” Bull, a native Bermudian and the “Queen of the Caribbean,” knows of what she speaks. “Its authenticity, its rawness, it’s the real deal,” Bull says of Jamaica. “A lot of islands have come into tourism of late. Jamaica was born into this.”
These decades of experience have helped Jamaica reopen its tourism industry and give a warm welcome during the pandemic. The island devised a system of “resilient corridors,” allowing visitors access to most of the tourism attractions while keeping the population outside the tourism corridor separated from potential outbreaks. Most of the tourism infrastructure is along the island’s north coast. Serviced by Montego Bay airport, the corridor allows visitors to enjoy the best of what Jamaica has to offer while trying to keep those wonderful welcoming people safe. There are five Virtuoso-preferred resorts in the tourism corridor, all open and employing COVID-19 safety protocols.
Fortunately, the best of what Jamaica has to offer is outside. There are waterfalls and beaches, river rafting and hiking in the lush mountains and valleys. There are underwater adventures and ATV safaris. You can start your day with some of the smoothest coffee in the world, grown right there in the Blue Mountains, and end it with a rum cocktail and sunset on the beach. Any day with bookends like that sounds great, but the island and its people will make sure what comes in between is great too.
COVID entry protocol
All residents of the USA, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico or Panama who are 12 years of age or over, are required to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test result before travel to Jamaica. The test must be authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or meet the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), and must be performed by a College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) registered or ISO 15189 certified laboratory. The date of the sample collection must be less than 10 days before the date of travel. The negative test result must be presented to the airline representative in order to complete the check in for a flight.
Accepted Test Types
A Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (RT-PCR)
A Nucleic Acid Amplification test (NAA)
An RNA or molecular test
An Antigen test
Only results from oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal samples will be accepted for PCR tests
Only results from nasopharyngeal samples will be accepted for Antigen tests
Antibody tests will NOT be accepted
Results from home-based test kits will NOT be accepted
All persons travelling to Jamaica require a Travel Authorization document. A Travel Authorization is NOT required to book your flight. It is however a requirement for check-in and boarding and the airlines will not allow passengers to board without it. In order to obtain a Travel Authorization document, persons ordinarily resident in Jamaica (nationals as well as non-nationals resident by virtue of marriage, work permit, etc.) should apply at https://jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm/immigration.html and non-residents at https://www.visitjamaica.com/travelauthorization.
Non-resident applications may be submitted anytime within the five (5) day period before the intended date of travel
Where to stay
Your most memorable moments at The Tryall Club just may be on the golf course, accompanied by one of the resort’s renowned and entertaining caddies. The Ralph Plummer-designed championship golf course is one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated. In this exclusive club atmosphere, you’ll stay in a spacious, privately owned villa, with its own inviting swimming pool and expertly trained staff. After your very first stay, you’ll want to return again and again and make this your home away from home. Here, your every wish and whim is attended to by your villa’s extraordinary staff of chefs, butlers, and maids.
For more than 60 years, Jamaica Inn has been ranked among the Caribbean’s top destination hotels, especially as an ideal location for honeymooners. You’ll realize why as soon as you arrive at this intimate enclave of just 55 suites, all of which overlook the beach or the sea. Each suite boasts a private balcony or spacious veranda, air conditioning, ceiling fans, and cool ocean breezes wafting through louvered shutters. When you aren’t enjoying what many consider to be Jamaica’s finest beach, take time to indulge at the Ocean Spa, which is set atop coral cliffs and offers treatments inspired by the island’s native plants.
Half Moon, the Caribbean’s most iconic destination, is set on 400 acres of manicured grounds with two miles of private beachfront. Half Moon offers three distinctive Resort Experiences; Eclipse, Founders Cove & Rose Hall Villas. Guests enjoy extensive offerings, including the largest spa oasis in the Caribbean, an 18-hole championship golf course, the Sugar Mill (designated Jamaica’s best restaurant), an equestrian center, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, and water sports. Your little ones will have lots to enjoy at the Anancy Children’s Village and at Half Moon’s restaurants, with specially curated children’s menus.
Round Hill Hotel & Villas
At the elegantly understated Round Hill Hotel and Villas, mornings begin with breakfast and Blue Mountain coffee in bed, delivered by your cottage housekeeper. The lazy hours ahead may include a massage at the oceanfront spa, learning to windsurf in the resort’s protected waters, or strolling through the 110 acres of lush tropical gardens. Later, dine on local cuisine by the award-winning chef in the restaurant and dance under the stars to live music. Choose from 36 oceanfront rooms that overlook the sea or the infinity-edge swimming pool, a magnificent villa suite, or one of the 26 private villas.
Once the Jamaican home of renowned author Ian Fleming, GoldenEye was made into a hotel in 2011 by Chris Blackwell. The 52-acre seafront estate is home to secret coves, lagoons, and private beaches. Stay in the villa where 14 James Bond novels were written – or in the 1- and 2-bedroom Beach and Lagoon Villas, Lagoon Cottages, or Beach Huts. Dining and activities include The Gazebo and Bizot Bar restaurants, the Shabeen rooftop bar, the Bamboo Bar & Grill, weekly barbecues and cocktail parties, a spa with yoga and meditation, three pools, paddleboarding, snorkeling, glass-bottom boat tours, turtle hatching, tree planting, and tennis.