Lucy gives us the low down on what it’s like travelling to Barbados during COVID.
Having recently returned from a dream break on the island, Blue Bay Travel customer Lucy tells us what it’s like travelling to Barbados during COVID-19.
After returning from a week in the Bajan sun at the stunning Sandals Barbados resort. We caught up with Lucy to find out what she thought of her island escape.
Over to Lucy for all the deets
Our journey started a few days prior to us actually setting off for the airport.
We had to complete our details on BimSafe. This is the app used by the Barbados Government to collect information regarding COVID tests, vaccinations, and passport details.
After updating our details in the app, we were free to head down to Heathrow. We actually stayed at the Heathrow Hilton Garden Hotel the night before as we had an early morning flight to catch.
What was the airport experience like?
Upon arrival in the terminal it was very strange to see the area so quiet. But getting through check-in and security was a breeze.
We had to show proof of negative COVID test to the airline staff at the check in desk. I’d recommend having the information bookmarked on your phone so it’s easily accessible. Of course masks are compulsory inside the terminal building (unless exempt) but we’re all used to that now.
After some airport shopping we went to the lounge where the rules are similar to restaurants and bars. Masks had to be worn when moving around, but could be removed when seated.
We flew with Virgin, who now have their hub set up at Terminal 3 rather than the Virgin Lounge at Terminal 2. However, the lounge we had access to was very nice.
To be honest the only real difference in our departure experience was the lack of travellers and the addition of masks.
How was the flight?
The flight was actually great. Not that we were ever tentative about travelling to Barbados during COVID. But we thought the flight could potentially be the most uncomfortable part.
Nevertheless, we boarded the plane and were immediately welcomed with a hygiene pack. The pack included three masks, hand sanitiser, anti-bac wipes and a bag for the disposal of used items.
Again masks had to be worn throughout the flight, unless eating or drinking. Most travellers complied and even those who needed to be reminded by staff replaced them when asked.
Touchdown in Barbados
Upon arrival we needed to complete the Barbados entry requirements. So we were asked to show evidence of our vaccination status and negative COVID test.
The Barbados Government are specific about tests needing to be administered by a medical professional. This means not self-administered or even under medical supervision. As we met the requirements we were given a blue wristband to signify we would have another test once we reached our resort. Once the negative results came back it would be removed.
We stayed at Sandals Barbados and, following our masked-up transfer, we were checked-in and taken for our arrival COVID test.
While we awaited the results the only restrictions were we couldn’t use the resort gym, spa or go on the beach (didn’t quite understand the beach bit as using the pool was still allowed).
However, our results came through that evening. So first thing next morning our wrist bands were removed and we could use all the facilities. We still avoided the gym though!
Inside Sandals Barbados during COVID
We stayed in a Club Level Swim-Up Room.
It was ideal for us as I like to get up for an early-morning swim, whereas my husband likes to sleep in. Staying at club level means the room service is included, which was really welcome after a long journey. It also meant we could chill out for a few hours and decide where we wanted to go for dinner.
Every single member of staff we encountered, without exception, were friendly and welcoming.
All the facilities seemed to be open. Apart from two restaurants across the whole Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados site. I don’t know what percentage of capacity the resort was at. But it felt like staff out-numbered guests 4 to 1.
The resort was beautiful and the facilities are outstanding. Staff even ensured there was somewhere for us to watch, what turned out to be, the very anti-climatic football match between England and Scotland in the Euros!
During our stay we dined at most of the restaurants. Particular favourites were La Parisienne (for breakfast and dinner) and Portofinos.
Although one of the highlights was definitely the returners dinner. An evening of food and entertainment put on specially for returning Sandals guests. We were even given a large bottle of rum as a gift to take home!
Our lives back home are quite hectic. So, when we get the chance to jet off on holiday we like to do as little as possible. This resort was perfect for that, even during COVID
We were hoping the journey back to the UK was going to be as pain-free as travelling to Barbados. And for the most part, it was.
The hotel arranged the COVID tests for our return journey. They were carried out on site at no cost to us.
Our experience in departures was very similar to that at Heathrow. We still had to wear masks and show our COVID results to airline staff and security. Again, we were able to remove our masks when we took a seat in the business lounge.
The only negative experience we encountered happened when we arrived back at Heathrow Airport.
The queue for passport control was rather long and moving very slowly due to there only being two Border Force officers available.
Further officers eventually arrived. But it was taking longer for each passenger to get through security. Passenger locator forms, test results, booking confirmations for COVID tests to be taken on days two and eight and passports, of course, all had to be shown.
It actually took an hour and twenty minutes to get through security. However, it’s worth mentioning, since our trip Barbados has become a Caribbean green list destination. So those COVID test booking confirmations won’t be needed going forwards, especially with quarantine-free travel for vaccinated travellers coming into force. Which should help the queue times.
A successful trip then?
We could not fault anything about our stay, other than it wasn’t long enough, and will definitely go back.
Considering we thought about rescheduling due to the perceived restrictions & complications, I can honestly say, with the exception of the Heathrow arrival experience, it was trouble free and very easy.
Follow in Lucy’s flip flop steps
As Lucy says, Barbados is now living it up on the green list, so those return journey frustrations will be improved.
If you’re thinking of travelling to Barbados during COVID. Or any of the other green list countries. We’ve outlined seven destinations that are perfect for ending your isolation. Click the button below to learn all about them.