How to get to Anguilla and what can do once you’re here (spoiler alert: just about everything!)
Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means the Hurricane Season is officially over in the Caribbean, and Anguilla is ready to welcome back visitors from all around the world.
The most exceptional year in living memory, 2020 has posed some serious challenges to all of us but Anguilla in particular has managed to sail through these troubled waters with enviable success. A seven-month closure of the country’s borders resulted in only three positive cases of Covid-19 being detected on the island, and an amazing spell of more than 6 months with no new cases between April and November.
Since November 1 Anguilla has deployed a phased reopening strategy, accepting visitors under certain conditions and putting in place all the necessary procedures to guarantee the safety of its residents. But that doesn’t mean the comfort and enjoyment of your stay, whether it’s a few days or a few months, should be at all compromised.
Anguilla’s “vacation bubble” concept has been devised to preserve both the quality of your Anguilla experience and the health of the population at large. But what exactly does it entail, and what do you need to do to adhere to it? The process, in fact, is fairly simple (even if the logistics behind it are seriously complicated). You can find out all about it on the official website of the Anguilla Tourist Board, ivistanguilla.com, but here’s a simplified rundown of the requirements.
Ahead of booking your flights you need to complete a visitor application form with health assessment and accommodation details. This can be done online, and it’s a similar process to filing an ESTA form or waiver when entering the US. This is a brief checklist of what you need to get pre-authorization:
- Insurance coverage for expenses linked to Covid-19, including hospitalization. Most regular health insurance policies will give you the required coverage, as will many travel insurances.
- A negative Covid-19 PCR test conducted 3 to 5 days prior to your arrival in Anguilla.
- A reservation in one of the certified safe hotels and villas on the island.
Upon arrival on Anguilla you will have to present your negative Covid-19 test to a customs official and be subjected to a new test, before being transferred in an approved vehicle to your holiday bubble, where you will be able to quarantine for the next two weeks in complete leisure.
Each Certified Safe Environment hotel has a bubble of its own, with bars and restaurants associated to it. You will be able to move without restrictions between these venues and in all safe areas of your hotel, and where transport is required from one place to another it will be arranged with an approved taxi. You will also be able to hop between bubbles, which essentially means that the vast majority of tourist attractions on the island, from the most famous restaurants to the most exclusive hotels, will still be perfectly within your reach.
If you intend to stay longer than two weeks you will be cleared to move out of the vacation bubble once your second Covid-19 PCR test comes back negative. At this point you will be able to rent a car, move to any accommodation on the island, and go shopping!
In order to cover the costs associated with the current health protocols, the government of Anguilla has introduced three tiers to their visitor program. The first tier is for brief holiday makers who intend to stay on the island for a maximum of 5 days. Successful applicants will have to pay a fee of US $300 for individual travelers, $500 for couples and $250 for each additional family member. If this sounds like a stressful or daunting task, ask your hotel if they can give you a hand with the process. Many of the island’s properties are handling the application procedure on behalf of their clients, leaving you to worry only about getting tested ahead of starting your journey.
The second tier of the program covers stays ranging from 6 to 90 days, and carry a cost of $400 for individual applicants, $600 for couples, and an extra $250 for each additional family member. Finally, those aiming to stay up to a year on Anguilla are liable to pay an application fee of $2,000 per person, or $3,000 for families of up to four people (additional family members incur the same $250 fee as in all other tiers).
One exceptional offshoot of Anguilla’s safe-visitor program is that you can now plan ahead your long-term stay without having to renew your permit every three months. It also means that you can work remotely from the comfort of your beach house for a full year. To be clear, that is great news, so kudos to the government of Anguilla, which has managed to squeeze something good and exciting out of this dreaded pandemic.
Whether you’re planning a relaxing long weekend on one of Anguilla’s heavenly beaches or you’re looking to take advantage of this opportunity to spend a long stint on The Rock, Anguilla is eager to have you and ready to show you that, even in the most difficult of circumstances, you’ll have a blast.