As winter makes one last hard squeeze before the first fingers of spring, many of us are absolutely itching to travel. In fact, a Trivago poll found that nearly 40 percent of Americans would give up sex for a year if they could go on vacation tomorrow. But it’s not a simple prospect right now. Just about anywhere warm and tropical you can go either requires a lengthy quarantine or simply won’t let you in.
But consider Puerto Rico. A U.S. destination that doesn’t feel like one, for better or worse it doesn’t require quarantine if you’re arriving from the continental United States. All visitors to Puerto Rico must provide is a negative swab test, and a travel declaration form to allow the territory’s government to track visitors. You can even be tested on arrival – the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan offers testing for $110. And you don’t have to test again to go home, unlike any other international travel.
While there, tourism has been ramping back up to full swing since Fall 2020. Beaches and nature preserves have re-opened, which means there are thousands of acres of tropical island to explore. Museums, hotel pools, casinos, and event venues are open at 50 percent capacity. Restaurants can seat at 30 percent capacity. Flights and lodging to the island haven’t been this cheap in years as they work to claw back the tourist-based economy that COVID-19 ravished through most of 2020. The only thing missing is bars and late-night-life – bars remained closed and an island-wide curfew from midnight to 5am is still in place to reduce community spread.
While travel right now is still not recommended, for the growing percentage of the population that’s already had at least one dose of one of the COVID vaccines, perhaps there’s never been a better time.
Photo: One of the many streets with colorfully painted buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Credit: Shuttesrtock