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Bahamas, Caribbean open to GA

If you are ready to escape the cold weather or are planning a vacation early in the new year, the Bahamas and Caribbean are open to international general aviation flights.

If you plan to island hop, make sure you do so during the day if you want to fly under VFR. Flying at night in the Bahamas requires pilots to be on an IFR flight plan.

“The Bahamas is back, and open for business,” said the Honorable I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister, Member of Parliament for Exuma and Ragged Islands and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation for The Islands of The Bahamas, during a visit to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, October 31 in reference to the multiyear toll the coronavirus pandemic has had on the country’s tourism industry.

Located less than 60 miles from Fort Lauderdale, the Bahamas is a popular destination for GA pilots, their friends, and their families. (Check out these 10 tips for a successful flight from Florida to the Bahamas.)

In addition, Caribbean islands are also welcoming international GA flights. CST Flight Services provides free, detailed information specific to each country regarding COVID-19 testing requirements before and upon entry. St. Martin is the only country that currently has bans regarding travel. Pilot should read the information on CST Flight Services carefully to determine whether they would be eligible to enter the country.

The Caribbean’s clear water ranges in temperature from the just above 70 degrees Fahrenheit to the low 80s, and if you do your research, you can find times in the southern islands even during the winter months with comfortable water temperatures. Even if you aren’t up for swimming, you can still enjoy beautiful, warm days on the beaches in the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Before flying to the Bahamas or Caribbean destinations, pilots should check CST Flight Services COVID-19 guide to determine what COVID-19 testing requirements must be met. Pilots should also check that guide, and websites for the local governments, to ensure that they are still open the date of the flight based on new concerns that the omicron coronavirus variant is creating.

AOPA also offers helpful resources for flying to the Bahamas and Caribbean, and will release its new Pilot Guides: Bahamas and Caribbean Editions in December.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

AOPA Senior Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Senior Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Cobb began working at AOPA in 2004, is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and son. Alyssa is also co-host of AOPA Live This Week.
Topics: Travel, Bahamas, Caribbean

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