a group of chairs and umbrellas on a beach
Virgin's Departure Beach in Barbados

Planning travel right now goes beyond googling a few pictures and entering your card details on the first result that makes you blink.

Safety concerns, access to first rate facilities and changing environments play a greater role than ever in the “where”, and then there’s hassle too. Justified or not, some travel destinations have made entry restrictions so difficult, travel feels more like some form of adventure prison than relaxation at your own dime.

Of the few countries outside of Europe which are widely open to visitors right now, Barbados seems to be striking the most reasonable balance between practical safety measures for visitors and locals, and creating a desirable winter getaway. With the best season in Bajan weather fast approaching, Barbados is looking like one of the best options for winter travel.

a body of water with trees and a beach

Winter In Barbados Is Warm

Barbados sits near enough the equator that it’s warm all year round. Typical December weather brings temperatures around 29°C, or the mid 80’s Fahrenheit, and welcomes in the dry season until July, when rainy and hurricane seasons kicks in once again until October.

Hot tip: October through December tends to be fantastic shoulder season months to visit, bringing fewer crowds, lower prices and plenty of sun. As one of the few countries still open to American visitors, as well as those from most of the rest of the world, it’s not only an option, but a great one.

Barbados Covid-19 Entry Restrictions

Barbados currently classifies incoming travelers into four groups, from very low risk to high, with low and medium in between, all dependent on the country you’re traveling from. For those coming from very low risk countries, the “ask” of travelers is absolutely nothing, with no need to submit a covid-19 test in advance of, or during travels.

But for those coming from everything but high risk countries, practical restrictions and safety measures remain reasonable, compared to other destinations alternatives. You simply need to fill out a form in advance of travel, and are encouraged to submit a recent negative covid-19 result, rather than wait to test on arrival.

According to the Barbados Covid-19 Tourism Resource, country risk assessments are broken down by the following…

High-Risk: Includes; Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Columbia, Dominican Republic, France, Guyana, Haiti, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Africa, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela

Medium-Risk: Includes; Bermuda, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Martinique, Norway, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates

Low-Risk: Includes; Australia, Cuba, Egypt, Sri Lanka

Very Low-Risk: Includes; Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Cayman Islands, China, Dominica, Finland, Greenland, Grenada, Montserrat, New Zealand, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines

For travelers originating from very low risk areas, no testing is required. For everyone else, a recent negative covid-19 test is required to enter Barbados, but the terms are more flexible than other countries.

For low and medium risk travelers, you can either take a covid-19 test in advance of travel, on arrival for free, or pay to test and wait on arrival in a resort. Results for low risk travelers can be taken within 5 days of departures, rather than 72 hours.

For travelers from high risk countries, like the USA, travelers to Barbados would need to bring a recent negative test result taken within 72 hours of departure, or wait at the airport facility for up to 24 hours, until results are delivered.

From high risk countries you’ll still need to quarantine on arrival for up to 5-7 days at a government approved holding hotel or approved villa accommodation of your own until a second negative result. Test results tend to be delivered in hours.

Basically, for the sake of yourself, and everyone, just take a test in advance of arrival into Barbados.

The resort option, utilizing two nearby resorts the four star Crane Resort and three star Sunbay Hotel, allow travelers to pay a modest nightly rate of $150 in order to wait out their 24 hours of quarantine while awaiting results in comfort.

Tourism officials and first hand reports suggest not taking advantage of the generous options to test on arrival though. If someone from the plane tests positive on arrival, everyone must quarantine for 8 days. If the entire plane arrives with a recent negative covid-19 result, no further testing which could jeopardize plans would be needed.

a group of chairs and umbrellas on a beach
Virgin’s Departure Beach in Barbados

Barbados A Best Option?

With testing accepted in advance of travel, or on arrival, Barbados is taking meaningful measures to mitigate covid-19 travel safety concerns, while creating opportunity for locals and visitors alike. Restaurants in Barbados are open, resorts are in full swing, and the weather is likely warmer than wherever you’re reading this.

For US travelers, with few options, Barbados was never a bad one and these entry measures make it an ideal happy medium for those who want to getaway, but not to a place which isn’t taking necessary precautions. For any traveler, Barbados in 2020, or early in 2021 is a unique opportunity to enjoy fantastic weather, and with lower prices at every turn.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Where do I find the list of countries and their risk level? I’m from Jersey in the Channel Islands and presume we are very low risk.

  2. Completely agree — was there during lockdown and went back for most of August. The island is COVID-free, restaurants and shops are open and the safety protocols make sense without being overbearing. Shameless promo (if this is allowed?) — if you are looking for a villa, check out http://www.barbados-villa.com. I still have availability 🙂

  3. Barbados is not COVID free. Let’s not spread misinformation just so you can rent out your empty home. I’ve passed by there many times.

    1. Sorry ABC, i dont appreciate the accusation. Barbados has no active cases in the community and about 20 people in quarantine. The givernment announced that was COVID free about 8 weeks ago

      1. Read the newspapers and visit the governmental sites. One additional COVID case was recorded on the 8th of September. You clearly don’t know what it means to be COVID free. My family in Barbados, all native Bajans disagree with you.

          1. Your reading comprehension needs improvement. Read it again and perhaps you will understand that I am talking exclusively about my family living in Barbados.

  4. If someone on the place is positive everyone has to travel for 8 days?? That is your holiday ruined and money down the drain- that should be the headline Gilbert! That is the deal breaker for most

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