ARE YOU READY TO TRAVEL AGAIN?
By Valentina Gutchess
Many of us are already looking forward to getting out of town after a year of confinement and being able to explore other places. Figuring out where to go is complicated and understanding the procedures for the new reality of traveling can be somewhat tricky.
Recently, and because I couldn’t wait any longer to get into a travel adventure, I found a destination where traveling is possible and I am sharing it here in case you are considering traveling too.
St. Lucia is a beautiful island in the Eastern Caribbean Sea only 3 hours direct flight from Miami. Unlike many of the islands in the Caribbean, St. Lucia has a rich geography with high peaks, rainforests and waterfalls in the interior with pristine white-sand beaches and coral reefs rich with sea life in the coast.
Booking our trip was fairly easy with two direct flights from Miami to the island per day from Miami International Airport. The rates were also very reasonable as there are still not many people venturing out of the country.
We contacted the St. Lucia government via their website: https://www.stlucia.org/en/covid-19/international-arrivals/. There is some paperwork to take care of prior to landing on the island. You will need to fill out a travel authorization form and follow their instructions to get permission to arrive in the country. Once they approve all your papers, they email you with the approval form that you need to present upon arrival in the airport. You are also required to have a negative COVID-19 test done no more than 3 days prior to arriving at your destination.
Where to stay: There are many government COVID certified hotels and villas available where you can enjoy your stay. Some of the most popular hotels are Sugar Beach Viceroy, Jade Mountain Resort, Ti Kaye Resort and Spa, and Marigot Bay Resort among others.
If you prefer to stay in a private villa there are also several options. We chose to stay in one of the most beautiful, serene villas in the island: Villa Susanna. This is really an amazing spacious yet intimate property built in 2012 with the most exquisite taste and with the use of local materials as well as the finest Italian design. Check out their website for more info: www.villasusanna.com.
Unfortunately, and because of COVID restrictions, exploring the island is very limited. Transportation is only available by a government certified COVID taxi, which wasn’t a problem to find, and you can only go to certified COVID establishments. Many hotels do not allow guests to leave their premises and a curfew is imposed after 7 pm every day.
All these restrictions didn’t matter to our group as we made the best of our stay by enjoying the villa and its tropical surroundings, the amazing food prepared to us by the house chef who used only local fresh ingredients, sunbathing, and relaxing while enjoying the spectacular views of the island. We even managed to go boating and snorkeling in the pristine waters of this paradise island.
Dinner with friends
Boating around the island
You can also plan to go for a hike to one of their famous small mountains named Pitons, bathe in the local sulfur springs, or organize a visit to some of the towns around the island.
You will need to get tested for COVID-19 and have a negative result before you return to the United States and this is fairly easy as there are many local doctors that can either come to your hotel or villa and give you the results within minutes.
There are also phone apps you can use to upload all your information and some airlines accept the usage of these apps, making it easier at the airport to travel back to the country. We used VERYFLY for this purpose.
Ultimately the decision of whether you want to venture and start traveling is a personal one and I encourage you to do your research to make sure this is the right thing for you. The CDC still recommends against nonessential travel but if you’re like me and you are craving adventure and traveling to new exotic destinations, consider beautiful St. Lucia as an easy option during these unusual times.