The Dominican Republic is open for tourism and Covid-19 safety protocols in Punta Cana are in effect for all travelers. Hotels are operating in lower occupancy, excursions have implemented hygiene protocols and the airports are measuring the temperatures of all arriving passengers. Those are just a few of the regulations to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the Dominican Republic and to protect travelers during their vacation in Punta Cana. Furthermore, the government has implemented a tourism recovery plan, which underlines the importance of tourism for the Dominican Republic and proves, that the borders will remain open. But how is the situation of Covid-19 in Punta Cana? What has changed?
What can you expect when booking your holiday to Punta Cana in times of Coronavirus? This article will highlight some of the aspects of post-Covid-19 travel to the Dominican Republic with first-hand information from Punta Cana.
- What to expect during your flight in times of Coronavirus?
- What to expect in the Dominican Republic upon arrival in times of Coronavirus (airport and transfers)?
- What to expect in the all-inclusive resorts during Coronavirus?
- What to expect during your excursions in Punta Cana during times of Coronavirus?
- How to get travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage for your Punta Cana holiday?
- How is the beach in Punta Cana during Covid-19?
- Hospital situation in Punta Cana in times of Coronavirus
- Situation and regulations regarding Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic
- Governmental program in the Dominican Republic in the response of Covid-19
- Frequently Asked questions (FAQ) about Covid-19 in Punta Cana
What to expect during your flight in times of Coronavirus?
When flying to the Dominican Republic during Covid-19, you can expect the safety guidelines most of the airlines have implemented. The main change compared to pre-Covid travel is the mandatory use of face-covering masks during the flight, but also catering has been restricted by most airlines. In-flight magazines have been removed and deep-cleaning protocols after every flight have been implemented – all to secure passenger’s safety and to avoid getting infected with Coronavirus during the flight.
While all these measures don’t sound too appealing, traveling in the end is much more relaxed than it seems to be. Thanks to the (usually) low number of bookings, you have enough space in the plane and as far as possible, (some) airlines are blocking middle seats. As regulations and guidelines due to Covid-19 are changing frequently, please check with your preferred airline on their measures regarding Coronavirus.
When I flew to Punta Cana a couple of weeks ago for the first time after Covid-19 hit our world, the flight was super smooth. I had the whole row on my own and United Airlines provided an alcohol-soaked wet tissue to additionally disinfect your seat so that you can be extra sure to have a clean environment.
The biggest change when booking a flight to Punta Cana (and to all other destinations in the Dominican Republic and the world) compared to times before Coronavirus is a positive one. While airlines usually sold 100% non-refundable tickets with hefty change fees, most of the tickets nowadays – thanks to Covid-19 – are flexible and changeable as the airlines would like to stimulate bookings. This allows you to react to any new situations, it doesn’t matter if they are Covid-19 related or not. However, please note that most airlines only allow 1 change and if you ask for a refund, they usually give you a travel credit for your next trip instead. Make sure to check the current regulations of the airlines (they change frequently as well) to take advantage of flexible cancellation guidelines when booking your flight to the Dominican Republic in times of Covid-19.
What to expect in the Dominican Republic upon arrival in times of Coronavirus (airport and transfers)?
Once you are on your way to paradise (the Dominican Republic), you can relax and sit back as you have managed the biggest challenge in these unprecedented times: getting started! Soon you are going to arrive at Punta Cana International Airport, where you pass a temperature screening as part of the entry requirements. Furthermore, you have to fill out a health declaration with different questions related to Coronavirus and your well-being. This questionnaire is available in English as well.
Starting from the end of September, no negative PCR-test is required anymore to enter the Dominican Republic, which makes it easier for you to travel to Punta Cana. However, random Covid-19 tests (fast checks) might be performed upon arrival at Punta Cana International Airport and all other ports of entry into the Dominican Republic.
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Those measures are part of the governmental plan the Dominican Republic has implemented to recover the sector of tourism from the aftermath of Covid-19, which also hit the Caribbean very hard.
See below for further information on this tourism recovery plan.
Once you have passed immigration and customs, you can proceed to your prebooked transfer, grab a taxi or start your journey on your own by taking public transport. Please check this comprehensive article on all the transfer options you have at Punta Cana International Airport (or Las Américas International Airport if arriving in Santo Domingo). Alternatively, you can also rent a car, which is a perfect alternative to explore the Dominican Republic the authentic and independent way.
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In case you have booked your transfer (get the best prices on your Punta Cana private airport transfer here* or reserve yourself a space in a shared shuttle* if you would like to lower the costs), you will be greeted by your representative. According to the Covid-19 guidelines in Punta Cana, hand sanitizer will be held available to disinfect your hands and you have to lift your luggage into the transfer vehicle on your own to prevent that others are touching your suitcases – at least that’s how it was when I used an airport transfer a few weeks ago, maybe it’s going to change in the future.
Furthermore, all transfer vehicles are only operating with limited capacity (around 50%) to ensure social distancing in times of Coronavirus.
As you can see, all of these measures in Punta Cana are complying with the Covid-19 guidelines, but they are not imposing any serious travel restrictions, meaning that you can enjoy your holiday in the Dominican Republic to the fullest.
What to expect in the all-inclusive resorts during Coronavirus?
The all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic are probably those “institutions” with the most Covid-19 measures and guidelines in effect, which is particularly due to the many different aspects of the holiday an all-inclusive resort is affecting: food, activities, pool, room, service, drinks … there is hardly anything which hasn’t been put under the new coronavirus hygiene protocol in Punta Cana. This protocol was created by the tourism associations, the government and the industry leaders and guarantees the highest level of Coronavirus protection without imposing too many Covid-19 related restrictions.
The most important measures to protect the spread of Coronavirus in the hotels of Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic are:
- Social distancing at all times
- Wearing face masks in all public spaces (except restaurants, pools and at the beach)
- Providing sufficient hand sanitizer
- Guaranteeing sanitation methods in restaurants and buffets (or not offering buffets at all)
- Deep-cleaning of rooms
- New protocols for the interaction between guests and employers
- Postponing activities where social distancing can’t be guaranteed
- Implementing a paperless check-in where possible
- Health protocols for guests and employers
- Running hotels and all-inclusive resorts with a limited occupancy
- And many more …
If you are interested in the full protocol of Covid-19 guidelines in Punta Cana and beyond, you can download it here.
While these guidelines and Covid-19 restrictions might sound pretty general, I have visited an all-inclusive resort quite recently to check how these measures are implemented. While you can read my full review of Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana here, the following measures were some which called my immediate attention in terms of the new Covid-19 hygiene protocol in Punta Cana:
- Upon arrival, your body temperature gets screened, your luggage disinfected and you shall sanitize your hands.
- Check-in can be done completely paperless in times of Coronavirus.
- Check-in agents are separated by plexiglass from the guests.
- All employers are wearing face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
- When ordering a drink, the waiters won’t touch your glass (you either grab it from the tray or they pass it to you with a napkin).
- At the buffet, you won’t serve yourself, so the food tongs won’t get touched by multiple persons. You rather choose at the buffet what you want to eat and one of the service staff members will put it on your plate.
- Tables get properly disinfected before and after using.
- According to the Covid-19 hygiene protocol your room gets fully disinfected before you check-in.
- Multi-touch items such as remote control, tablet or bathroom amenities get disinfected and will be placed in a sealed bag afterwards.
- Pool and beach chairs are being moved away from each other to maintain social distancing.
- As an additional Covid-19 measure, dining menus and resort information are available via QR codes.
- Frequent hand sanitization is encouraged when entering restaurants, bars, the lobby and other common areas.
In general, you still can enjoy life while being on vacation in an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. Especially when you want to relax in your hotel, times might never have been better than now, as everything is super quiet, the properties are not fully booked and party-activities have been postponed as social distancing is in effect. Just if you are looking for a lot of social interaction, unforgettable beach parties and wild animation, times now are more difficult while Coronavirus is present.
What to expect during your excursions in Punta Cana during times of Coronavirus?
Excursions are up and running in Punta Cana, even some tour operators have paused their operations until November or December, as booking numbers are still very low. Unless other countries after the outbreak of Coronavirus, you are also allowed to venture out on your own in the Dominican Republic. Here on Punta Cana Travel Blog, you find a lot of ideas on how to explore the authentic Dominican Republic. Check out this multi-day itinerary from Punta Cana, have a look at the best day-trips from Punta Cana or check out one of Punta Canas’ waterfalls.
– Most Popular Posts on Punta Cana Travel Blog –
However, also the excursion operators follow a strict hygiene protocol and have implemented strict Covid-19 measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in Punta Cana. Some of those Coronavirus guidelines are:
- Mandatory face coverings during transfers
- The guide has to perform a medical check (of his own) before each tour
- Vehicles have to be deep-cleaned before and after every tour
- Vehicles can only be occupied with 50% of its maximum capacity
- Temperature checks for all excursion guests before the tour starts
- Public toilets have to be available and sanitized every 2 hours
- Lunch can only be served in disposable plates and cutlery
While these Covid-19 restrictions might be quite hard for some excursion tour operators in Punta Cana due to the limited capacity, there are not too many changes for you as a visitor. You can be excited to see the Dominican Republic in all its beauty – probably just with fewer tourists in your tour group, which is an additional plus.
How to get travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage for your Punta Cana holiday?
When you have set everything up for your all-inclusive vacation in the Dominican Republic, it is also time to think about travel insurance – because traveling without would be highly insane amidst a pandemic. Travel insurance for foreign countries always is important as it protects you from the high medical costs in clinics and hospitals when having an accident or getting sick. This is important for Punta Cana as well. Even the general price level in Punta Cana is reasonable, health care is quite expensive, especially when consulting English-speaking doctors or using a hospital with an international standard.
During the times of Coronavirus, travel insurance is even more important as you still can catch the virus in the Dominican Republic, despite all Covid-19 regulations and measures according to the hygienic protocol. Luckily, there are travel insurances with Covid-19 coverage which fully protects you even if you get the virus during your holiday.
I am protected with Safety Wing*, an easy and straight-forward international insurance covering me in all countries in the world (except Iran, North Korea, Cuba), including the Dominican Republic. Safety Wing also covers any medical treatment of Covid-19 as long as you have not contracted the Coronavirus before your insurance policy started. In other words, if you travel to Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic and get sick during your holiday, Safety Wing covers you (please read their user-friendly terms & conditions for any exclusions*) – it doesn’t matter if it is Covid-19 related or any other health issue. Even Covid-19 tests for Coronavirus are included if medically necessary.
While Safety Wing initially was a digital nomad company offering long-term health insurance, you can also take out their insurance for short vacations of just a couple of days. Please note that they have a deductible of 250 USD for most medical cases and liability is capped at a certain (reasonable) amount, but this comes with the big advantage that their insurance policies start for as low as 1.20 USD a day (!). Health and travel insurance for a 1-week trip to the Dominican Republic incl. Covid-19 coverage only costs you 12 USD for the entire week and a month is just 40 USD. This even includes travel insurance, so in case of flight disruptions, natural disasters, travel delay or lost checked luggage, you are covered as well – without deductible! Safety Wing covers nationals from all over the world, including US and European citizens.
SafetyWing is probably not recommendable for every type of traveler, but the low prices and strong coverage are absolutely worth a look, taking into consideration that it is health, travel AND Covid-19 insurance in one package. I can recommend it from my experience, so have a look at the services and prices!
If Safety Wing is nothing for you, you can have a look at Visitors Coverage. Visitors Coverage is a price comparison tool* for international travel and medical insurances, doesn’t matter where you are from or where you are traveling to. More or less half of the insurance offers at Visitors Coverage include Covid-19 coverage when traveling, so make sure to activate this filter when browsing through the results. Prices are super low as well (10 USD for a 1-week trip to Punta Cana) and the deductible is as low as 50 USD, which is important if you don’t want to pay much in case of medical treatment. Visitors Coverage offers different insurance companies and packages, some of them for travel insurance (travel delay, trip cancellation, etc.) and some of them for health insurance (medical treatment, hospitalization, etc.). You can use the tool below to check the best prices and services for your trip.
How is the beach in Punta Cana during Covid-19?
While the beach itself isn’t directly affected by any Covid-19 restrictions in the Dominican Republic, it is very interesting to see how the beach has changed in the recent months, since Coronavirus hit our world and stopped all travel immediately.
While most of the beautiful beaches in Punta Cana were highly frequented before Covid-19, with all the all-inclusive resorts open, many people walking along the beach and beach bars frequented with happy travelers, everything is (obviously) super quite now. While this is not particularly worth mentioning, it is impressive to see how pristine and virgin the beach turned in these few months without visitors. If you ever wanted to see how the beach of Punta Cana looked 30-40 years ago before mass tourism started in the area, you have a chance to get this picture now. Natural flotsam is piling up at the beach, palm trees are swaying in the wind without any people around for miles and some fishing boats seem to not have moved for ages. It is a totally different atmosphere, especially when you leave your accommodation and walk along the beach passing all the other all-inclusive resorts of Punta Cana which are currently closed.
Apart from that, you can enjoy the marvelous beaches of Punta Cana as much as you want, especially with fewer tourists than normal. If you’d like to know more about the best beaches in Punta Cana, check out this article.
Hospital situation in Punta Cana in times of Coronavirus
When traveling in times of Coronavirus, it is also important to check the available hospitals and medical infrastructure in your holiday destination, just in case you – despite all the measures – get infected or have any other accident. Luckily, Punta Cana has a particularly good supply of international hospitals, private clinics and English-speaking doctors, so that you don’t have to worry about medical treatment, as long as you are properly insured. Also, thanks to the low population density of the area, emergency beds and ventilators were always available even during peak times of Covid-19 in Punta Cana and it is not expected that this is going to change in the future.
There are several clinics and hospitals in Punta Cana. All of them have English-speaking staff and accept different kinds of insurances. In case you need to see a doctor, it doesn’t matter if it’s Covid-19 related or for another reason, make sure to call before to check if the hospital does offer the treatment you are looking for.
The biggest clinics and hospital in Punta Cana are the following:
- International Medical Group Punta Cana (IMG Punta Cana)
- Centro Médico Punta Cana
- International Medical Center TCMS
- Hospiten Bavaro
The biggest and most modern hospital in Punta Cana is the IMG Punta Cana from the International Medical Group. You can find all kinds of clinics and departments here, with (partly) bi-lingual doctors, the latest technology and the cleanest environment. Without having tried all the hospitals, I would say that the International Medical Group has the best hospital in Punta Cana.
It is also not a problem to get a PCR test in Punta Cana if you would like to get checked for Covid-19.
Situation and regulations regarding Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic
While all the above is regarding tourism, the safety guidelines during your Punta Cana holiday and any Coronavirus restrictions imposed on certain activities, it is also important to look left and right what’s happening in the Dominican Republic in terms of Covid-19.
While Latin America in general has a harder time preventing the spread of Covid-19 due to big families, limited housing space and a large informal economy, the Dominican Republic is doing ok so far compared to other Latin American countries. Images from death people on the street, people queuing up with their gas bottles to buy oxygen for their infected loved ones or week-long 24-hour lockdowns fortunately have spared the Dominican Republic. The number of new Coronavirus cases is also falling for a few weeks now which consolidates hope that the country is on a good way to the new normal.
Despite the way of opening up for tourism, there are still some restrictions in effect due to Covid-19. One of them is the daily curfew between 9 pm and 5 am (weekends starting from 7 pm) to prevent big parties and big agglomerations at night when the Dominicans love to mingle and drink their ice-cold Presidente beer. While it sounds weird to plan a holiday into a country where a curfew is in effect, it won’t affect you too much. If you stay in an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, you won’t notice anything from the curfew and even if you travel around on your own by rental car, you should usually reach your hotel before dark, even if there is no curfew. I have done a couple of trips through the country with the curfew in effect and while it sometimes needs some adjustments on the travel plans, you won’t be restricted too much, as you still can enjoy all the beauties and hidden gems of the Dominican Republic.
A further Covid-19 measure in Punta Cana is the mandatory use of face coverings in all public spaces, including public transport. This regulation is valid until further notice
Besides this, some tourist attractions are still closed, especially those where it is difficult to implement hygiene protocols or social distancing. While this might change daily, it’s best to inquire directly with any attraction you are interested in visiting when traveling to the Dominican Republic. Most excursions from Punta Cana are not affected by these temporary closures, but a face covering is still mandatory.
Governmental program in the Dominican Republic in the response of Covid-19
As tourism is an important industry in the Dominican Republic, the government has declared its recovery after the worldwide Coronavirus lockdown as one of the main targets when restarting the economy. To achieve this, the new ruling party – just governing since July 2020 – has implemented a plan which includes several measures to help both, travelers and suppliers.
One of the most important measures is that all travelers to Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic are protected by a Covid-19 health insurance issued by the Dominican government. In case you get infected with the Coronavirus, the government will cover for treatment as well as for necessary itinerary and flight changes, if applicable. Furthermore, labor regulations and a sanitary bubble for the employers will be implemented to make sure that all hotel and excursion staff will have the least risk possible to be infected and to infect other travelers. Last but not least, entry requirements in the Dominican Republic do not enforce bringing a (negative) PCR test, but you might get tested randomly when arriving into the Dominican Republic.
Further entry restrictions are not in effect, all countries can enter the Dominican Republic, however, visa regulations might apply.
With all these guidelines and regulations, the Dominican Republic is open for everyone and ready to receive you. Are you ready for your vacation in the Caribbean? If so, check out the articles about the best day-trips in Punta Cana, 15 amazing things to do for free in Bavaro and beyond and don’t forget to visit some of the highlights of the Dominican Republic, such as Isla Saona, Santo Domingo and Los Haitises.
Frequently Asked questions (FAQ) about Covid-19 in Punta Cana
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CHRISAuthor, Travel Coach & Punta Cana based digital nomad
Hey, I am Chris, a born and raised German, travel-addictive and Caribbean Soul. Since 2011 I have been living in the Caribbean, among them 5 years in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is my home-base here in the country and I’d love to tell you more about how to experience Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track and give you all the advice you want to know for your vacation in Punta Cana.
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