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Note: Certain regulations mentioned below, including the CDC's requirement of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the U.S., have changed since publication. Check the CDC's news page for the most up-to-date information.
Itching to escape to a tropical paradise in Mexico or the Caribbean? It’s not as simple as it used to be. As of early 2021, travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before entering the U.S., even if you're a citizen returning home. But now, dozens of resorts in sun-drenched hot spots are making travel easier by helping guests get tested before they return to the U.S.
The international hotels that are easing travel with COVID-19 tests often let you take them without leaving the property. Here's a roundup of the hotels offering on-site COVID-19 testing to their guests.
When you’re looking at any list of destinations coordinating simple COVID-19 testing, remember that most will help schedule off-site testing appointments. But certain hotels and resorts make your travels even easier by offering testing on site.
Marriott hotels with on-site COVID-19 testing
Many of Marriott’s properties in the Caribbean and Latin America will help you schedule an appointment, not to mention provide transportation to and from clinics for off-site testing.
But the following Marriott hotels also offer rapid antigen and/or PCR testing on-property:
JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa.
Marriott Cancun Resort.
The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun.
Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa.
W Punta de Mita.
The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta.
The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort.
Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos.
Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba.
The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club.
Four Points by Sheraton Puntacana Village.
You have to stay at least three consecutive nights to have access to this service, and most free tests are available only for U.S. residents. Generally, you'll get two free tests per room booked; some suites may come with three. As always, check with your hotel when you arrive so you know you have an appointment and will be able to depart on schedule.
If you test positive, Marriott will offer a discount on extended stays until you are cleared to return home.
Tips to book your Marriott stay with points
To sweeten the deal even more, try to book your stay with Marriott Bonvoy points.
Among the least expensive of these properties, the Four Points by Sheraton Puntacana Village in the Dominican Republic starts at 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. A higher-end stay like the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun runs from 35,000 to 60,000 Bonvoy points per night.
If you don’t have enough Marriott Bonvoy points to cover lodging, consider the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card to bankroll your stay. Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card! You’ll also automatically score 15 Elite Night Credits and achieve Silver Elite status and enjoy a free night award every year after your account anniversary. The annual fee is $95.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Marriott Bonvoy award stays
Hyatt hotels with on-site COVID-19 testing
All 19 of Hyatt’s resorts in the Caribbean and Latin America are offering free on-site COVID-19 testing for guests heading to the U.S., at least through May 31, 2021. The complimentary tests are available for up to two registered guests per room at the resorts, but the type of test (antigen or PCR) varies by location.
The Hyatt properties that offer on-site testing are:
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino.
Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, Bahamas.
Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana, Dominican Republic.
Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, Dominican Republic.
Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, Jamaica.
Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, Jamaica.
Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo.
Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Thompson Playa del Carmen Beach House, Mexico.
Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House, Mexico.
The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Thompson Zihuatanejo, a Beach Resort, Mexico.
Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, Mexico.
Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Hyatt Zilara Cancun, Mexico.
Hyatt Ziva Cancun, Mexico.
If a guest tests positive and must postpone travel, Hyatt will offer a discounted rate up to half-off for extended stays.
Tips to book with Hyatt points
The number of World of Hyatt points you need for a stay depends on the property you choose and the date, but because these are mostly luxury beachfront resorts, don't be surprised by relatively high rates. For a standard room at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour, for example, expect to pay around 30,000 points per night.
Start collecting Hyatt points for your stay with the World of Hyatt Credit Card. Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent. Benefits of card membership include a free night stay every year after your cardmember anniversary as well as five qualifying nights toward the next status level every year. This card has a $95 annual fee.
Hilton hotels with on-site COVID-19 testing
So far, just three Hilton properties offer guests the chance to get tested without leaving the property. Costs start around $30 for an antigen (rapid) test and $220 for a PCR test:
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos.
Conrad Punta de Mita.
Outside of those three hotels, there are several Hiltons across the region that will help guests coordinate getting a COVID test prior to their return flight. It is best to contact your hotel directly to see what services they are offering.
Tips to book with Hilton Honors points
The only way to be sure how many Hilton points you’ll need for a stay at one of these properties is to search their booking engine for your exact dates and location. We found rooms for mid-March at the Hilton Aruba starting at 69,000 Honors points per night.
Apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Card (with a $0) and you’ll earn 7 points for every dollar you spend at Hilton properties and 5 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets. Terms apply.
Or, earn 12 points per dollar on Hilton stays and 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets with the $95-annual-fee Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. Plus, this card gets you a free night when you spend $15,000 in eligible purchases in a year. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Benefits of the Hilton Honors loyalty program
What are the current policies on international travel?
As some international destinations open up to U.S. travelers, including Mexico and the Caribbean, it’s important to stay up to date on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest travel policies and recommendations.
Passengers are required to wear masks on public transportation (including airplanes) whether flying into or out of the U.S. Additionally, all passengers returning to the U.S. from international destinations must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test that — beginning Dec. 6, 2021 — was taken no more than one day before scheduled travel.
And while not required, the CDC also recommends getting tested a few days before and after travel, plus self-quarantining for seven days after you return to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The bottom line
If you’re planning to travel to Latin America or the Caribbean during the pandemic, do so safely. Follow CDC recommendations and guidelines, and don’t forget that you need proof of a negative COVID-19 test before flying into or returning to the U.S.
For the most streamlined process, stay at one of these international hotels that are easing travel with on-site COVID-19 tests.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card