Covid & How to Travel to Abaco in 2021 – Updated August 6, 2021

Update:  August 6, 2021
The Prime Minister of the Bahamas announced new protocols for travel to the Bahamas that will be effective August 6, 2021 and requires testing of
vaccinated travelers again, but now if you are vaccinate you can submit a Rapid Antigen test (or PCR test).  He also added testing requirements for  children 2-11.  See the STATEMENT below:
This easy to read chart is not ‘official’ from the government, but it makes the current requirements easy to understand. 
I looked on the government site:  https://travel.gov.bs/file/travelProtocols again this morning (August 6th) and was disappointed to see that it has not been updated with the new protocols.  I do hope they will update it soon!
Please remember that even if you are vaccinated, YOU STILL HAVE TO APPLY FOR A BAHAMAS TRAVEL HEALTH VISA and submit your vaccination card – and now (starting August 6, 2021) your test results.
If you have not been vaccinated, you still can visit!….see the process below, and for now now…the USA is still requiring a Rapid Antigen Test within 3 days of your return to the USA – for vaccinated AND unvaccinated travelers.
We are very thankful that so many past guests and potential guests still want to visit Abaco, and we have had a busy & fun summer!
Now it is easier than ever to get tested for Covid, and once you receive your negative results – you apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa.  (This is the link to the government website: https://travel.gov.bs/ )  It is an easy process – online, and they are providing very fast turnaround. They have been charging $60 for unvaccinated visitors, and $40 for vaccinated travelers (because the vaccinated travelers were not required to take the 5 day after arrival Rapid Antigen Test).  The Travel Visa provides some health insurance to cover medical evacuation or the cost of staying in the Bahamas to receive a negative test if you DID test positive.
Our best places for the 5 day rapid test are Dr. Charite’s office near the airport – Integrated Medical Centre is the name of his office, and the phone number is:  242-699-1304.  (driving from Casuarina Point, take the 2nd left on the airport roundabout (the new road to the port).  Dr. Charite’s office is on the left right before the next roundabout.)  OR Siren David offers tests by appointment at the Sandpiper Inn at Schooner Bay.  Ask Siren what the charge is for the 5 day test.   The charge for the test to return to the US is similar to the charge at Integrated Medical – $50, the last I heard.  I want you to know this option in case it is more convenient for you.  You might dine at the Sandpiper and get your test the same visit.  Call Siren Davis for an appointment for the test at the Sandpiper:  1-242-829-3322.
Because of these testing requirements they do not require any quarantining, so it seems like a pretty good strategy to me, and it is keeping the Covid numbers down in the Bahamas.
You will need to print out and bring 1 copy of your covid test and 2 copies of your travel visa, because you have to turn them in to immigration when you arrive, and the extra travel visa is what you present (you can show it on your phone, but I think it is best to just bring 2) when you go for your quick test – so they it will cover the cost and also report that you complied with the requirement.
While  in Abaco unvaccinated travelers will need to complete a short survey everyday – 5 or 6 questions that you fill out online.  It asks if you have been exposed to Covid since being in the Bahamas, and asks if you have any symptoms.
Starting January 26, 2021, a negative Covid test is required to return to the United States:  U.S.-bound air travelers (2 years of age and older) must get tested no more than three days before flying and bring written or electronic proof of the results. Airlines can accept both PCR and Rapid Antigen tests. If you don’t have the documentation with you, airlines won’t allow you to board, according to the CDC’s order.
The GOOD NEWS for stays of 6 – 8 days is that the test you take on your 5th day is what you will need to return home to the USA.  Very convenient!  If you are staying longer than 8 nights, you can still go to Integrated Medical to get a Rapid Antigen test.  They ask you to wait about 15 minutes and give you printed results that you present when you check in for your flight.  We did this, and it was easy.  We were never asked for it again – only at checkin for our flight departing Marsh Harbour.  I THOUGHT US Immigration would want to see it, too, but they did not ask for it.  We went through Miami, and Immigration and Customs were a quick walkthrough – fast and easy.
ALL THIS COULD CHANGE, and I will do my best to keep this blog updated with the latest news, but their system seems to be working for them, Covid numbers are down, so I think it may still be required for a while.  Bahamians go through this same process to travel.  Abaco is a GREAT place to be right now – low density, warm weather, and lots of fresh air!

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