Family Travel Returns to Grand Cayman
Friday, Jan. 21, 2022
At a press briefing yesterday, Premier Wayne Patton announced that the Cayman Islands will be moving to Phase 5 of the national border reopening plan effective immediately.
This change paves the way for vaccinated families to safely return to the Cayman Islands for an overdue Cayman vacation.
Phase 5 Changes
Under Phase 5, unvaccinated children, age 11 or younger, will assume the vaccination status of their traveling parents or guardian thereby permitting them to enter the country without quarantine.
Prior to arrival, all travelers 5 and older must show proof of a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken no earlier than the day before travel. Children ages 4 and under are exempt from pre-arrival testing.
Once on-island, all travelers age 5 and older are required to take a rapid lateral flow test (LFT) on Days 2, 5, and 7 during their stay. Children ages 4 and under are also exempt from LFT testing.
However, to return to the US, all travelers age 2 and older are required to show a negative rapid test taken no earlier than one day before departure. LFT test results can be used to meet this requirement.
More Flights Incoming
With the return of family travel, Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan confirmed additional inbound flights are scheduled to come online in the coming months.
In February, United will add direct flights from Chicago, Houston, Washington, DC (IAD), and Newark. American Airlines will relaunch direct service from Miami while Cayman Airways restarts mile-high service out of Denver.
By March, more airlines and gateway cities will see expanded service to Grand Cayman. Delta will resume direct flights from Atlanta. Southwest adds flights from Ft. Lauderdale and Baltimore. Plus, American Airlines restarts nonstop service from Charlotte.
Pre-Arrival Testing Requirement Updated
Friday, Dec. 17, 2021
Effective today, Friday, December 17, all vaccinated travelers to the Cayman Islands must provide proof of a negative COVID test taken no earlier than the day before travel. The testing window has been shortened from 72-hours to 24-hours in an effort to curb the spread of the new variant.
To help travelers meet this requirement, rapid antigen tests will now be accepted in lieu of PCR tests.
Rapid antigen tests are widely available at most pharmacies, clinics, and doctors’ offices. These tests provide results faster than PCR tests.
Accepted rapid antigen tests must be approved by the CDC, or your national health agency. At-home test kits approved for travel will be accepted.
Rapid antigen test results must show the name and address of the approved laboratory or registered provider where the test was administered. A printed or digital email copy can be provided to the airline when you check in for your flight.
To find testing locations near you, please visit www.HHS.gov.
Arrival Protocols Amended as Flights Ramp Up
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021
The Cayman Islands will reopen to fully vaccinated tourists without quarantine in 11 days.
In preparation, last Friday government amended arrival protocols to include rapid testing following arrival on Days 2, 5, and 10.
Cayman will rely on lateral flow (rapid antigen) screening tests which are less invasive and provide a test result within 15 minutes. A negative rapid test result can be used to check-in for your return flight home if taken within 24-hours of departure.
Details on where and how tests will be administered are not yet available. We are working to make this process as easy as possible for our villa guests. Stay tuned.
The government further verified that US, UK, and Canadian travelers will not need to provide a digitally-secure QR code to verify their vaccination status. Travelers are required to pre-register their flights and vaccination status with Travel Cayman, the government’s online travel portal. All travelers should carry their paper vaccination cards as further proof of inoculation.
Preparing for Takeoff
As reopening draws near, airlines have begun selling flights through the end of 2021 and into early 2022.
Canadian tourists can rely on WestJet for direct weekly flights departing from Toronto.
Across the pond, UK travelers can book with British Airways which has multiple weekly flights with a stopover in The Bahamas.
By early next year, the major US airlines will add daily nonstop flights departing out of more gateway cities just in time for Spring Break 2022.
To streamline your travel planning, we’ve compiled a one-sheet PDF guide of confirmed and scheduled flight availability through early 2022. Airlines are currently accepting reservations for flights scheduled for 2022.
The pent-up demand for travel to Grand Cayman is real. We anticipate a surge in villa bookings as flight availability ramps up and arrival protocols ease.
Our reservations team is ready to provide travel guidance and villa recommendations for guests looking to escape for the holidays, New Year’s week, or Spring Break. Just give us a call toll-free at 1-866-358-8455, drop us an email, or use our chat box in the bottom right corner to speak with a live agent.
Cayman Airways Expands Flights from JFK & Miami!
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Cayman Airways has additional flights slated for mid-December departing out of New York’s JFK Airport, plus daily non-stop service out of Miami, FL.
∗ Flights from JFK to Cayman will run Friday – Monday — Dec. 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 31
∗ Return flights from Cayman to JFK will run Thursday – Sunday — Dec. 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 30.
∗ Daily flights out of Miami, FL will begin Dec. 10 and run through the end of the month.
These new flights can be booked directly via CaymanAirways.com or toll-free on their US reservations line, 1-800-422-9626.
Additional direct flights out of Tampa, FL for mid-December will become available soon. Stay tuned.
Confirmed Border Reopening Flights
Friday, October 29, 2021
Airlines are ramping up direct flights to Grand Cayman ahead of the Nov. 20th border reopening date.
Currently, JetBlue, Cayman Airways, British Airways, Air Canada, and WestJet are positioned to be the most reliable carriers upon reopening.
Find out which cities will have direct flights to Grand Cayman this winter by clicking the link below.
Border Reopening Date Announced
Monday, October 25, 2021
The Cayman Islands are reopening to vaccinated tourists without quarantine effective Saturday, November 20, 2021 (Phase 4).
Visitors from the US, Canada, the UK, and any Country with at least 60% of the population having taken at least one dose of the COVID vaccine will not have to securely verify their vaccination. Your paper vaccine card will be accepted.
Travelers will be asked to register their itinerary and vaccination status with Travel Cayman once they are within 30 days of arrival and have confirmed flights.
Like most international destinations, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival will be required.
Locally, Cayman is moving to Rapid Flow Testing, which provides results within 15 minutes, and may require tourists to test during their stay. Airlines may also require a pre-departure test for your return trip home. We have offered to provide that testing at no cost to our Guests. More to follow.
Unvaccinated children, aged 11 or younger, are not included until PHASE 5, which was supposed to begin on November 18. Phase 5 is still under discussion at Government and we are pushing for mid-December.
Jet Blue, Air Canada, West Jet, British Airways, Cayman Airways have flights confirmed for Phase 4. The Minister of Tourism will now push Delta, United, Southwest, and American to accelerate their return to Cayman.
The most reliable carriers for travel in November and early December will be:
- ∗ Cayman Airways from either Miami, FL (5 flights per week) or Tampa, FL (1 flight per week),
- ∗ Jet Blue from JFK (2 flights per week), or Fort Lauderdale, FL (beginning Dec, 20), or
- ∗ Air Canada and West Jet from Toronto.
More flights will roll out in the coming weeks as market demand accelerates.
Cayman Airways has asked American Airlines for permission to service their hubs for the 2021 holiday season.
Quick Links in this Thread:
Border Reopening Delayed
Friday, September 17, 2021
The Cayman Islands Government (CIG) has paused Phase 3 of its border reopening plan due to a number of local transmission cases. Until last week, Cayman had not seen local transmission in well over a year.
However, a number of students at George Town Primary School returned positive for COVID. Premier Wayne Panton described these cases as a “game-changer” for the island and urged the remaining 20% unvaccinated to get vaccinated.
Panton added, “Government has a responsibility… to plan for a future which might include for some time having to live with a virus that we need to manage. We are not going to learn how to manage it by keeping the borders closed.”
Amended travel restrictions have yet to be released by the Cayman government.
Cayman’s Friendly Skies About to Open Up
Friday, September 3, 2021
The Cayman Islands are just 5-days away from Phase 3 of reopening which will see the first wave of vaccinated tourists touchdown at Owen Roberts International (GCM) airport in over a year.
Tourists waiting on the sidelines for October’s Phase 4, which removes the 5-day quarantine requirement, got a jolt of good news yesterday from Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan.
Speaking on a local radio talk show, Bryan confirmed US airlines including American, United, Southwest, and Delta have all applied for authorization to resume flights to and from Cayman beginning in October.
Those airlines alone serve as hubs for the following gateway cities: Boston, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, and Denver.
Cayman Airways plans to expand routes into new gateway cities in September.
Bryan noted that WestJet, which provided service out of Canada before the pandemic, had not yet applied for authorization. Talks are ongoing with both WestJet and Air Canada to resume flights at pre-pandemic levels for Canadian tourists.
British Airways will increase its weekly service to the Cayman Islands as well. The airliner is resuming four flights a week from London with a brief layover in Nassau, Bahamas.
Premier is Resolute: Cayman is Reopening October 14
Thursday, August 26, 2021
In an impassioned 2-hour press conference yesterday, Premier Wayne Panton confirmed the Cayman Islands will reopen to vaccinated tourists without quarantine starting on October 14th. He did not mince words, we are reopening that day.
The primary message to the Cayman people was that after October 14th, the risk to unvaccinated residents would rise. He and his cabinet strongly encouraged any unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated straightaway.
He also announced his support for all private businesses that may mandate vaccination, or viral testing, after the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.
Further, the Premier softened on the required 80% vaccination level in order to re-open, moving that target date to October 14th. Cayman’s current fully-vaccinated rate is almost 75%. In a separate interview with Travel Weekly this week, the Minister of Tourism used a target vaccination rate of 75-80%. We are there.
October 14 is the reopening “go live” date. It will happen.
The Minister of Tourism (MOT) announced that 5 major international airlines had confirmed they were ready to resume flights to and from Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International (GCM) airport.
The Minister said he is meeting next week with US airlines and the Cayman Airport Authority to set schedules and authorize flights within weeks.
Commercial flights will be permitted to resume beginning September 9th. However, most US carriers will not restart flights until October 14th when Phase 4 removes quarantine for all vaccinated adults.
A few airlines will not resume flights until November 18th when Phase 5 begins allowing unvaccinated children to travel with no quarantine.
With airlines restarting flights and vaccinated adults and families welcomed with relaxed travel restrictions, tourism should rebound nicely heading into winter and Spring Break 2022.
Safest Destination in the Caribbean
The Cayman Islands remain COVID-free. Strict mitigation efforts and a lockdown of the border, for well over a year, have proven successful in eradicating COVID from the local community.
Cayman’s fully-vaccinated rate leads all Caribbean nations. This additional layer of protection will ensure a safe reopening for both locals and vaccinated tourists alike.