Hawaii is open to tourists who are willing to jump through some hoops to get there

Plan to arrive with a negative test result in hand or quarantine.

Written by
Sarah Medina
Travel Editor, North America
Photograph: Shutterstock/Theodore Trimmer

Hawaii has reopened its borders with plans to allow some tourists back on its pristine beaches—as long as they test negative for the virus or are willing to quarantine. 

As part of the state's Safe Travels program, tourists from the United States, Japan, Canada and South Korea can skip quarantine if they arrive with a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

However, and we can't stress this enough, Hawaii is very strict about what kind of test and where it's taken. FDA-approved NAAT tests, processed by a CLIA-certified laboratory, are the only types of coronavirus tests currently being accepted, and the state will only consider tests taken at one its trusted testing and travel partners to bypass quarantine. Test results must also be uploaded to the Safe Travels Hawaii site before your flight to the islands.

Once on the islands, travellers from the four permitted countries can still expect additional temperature screenings, and approximately 25 percent of arriving passengers (across all three island airports) will be randomly chosen to take a Covid-19 test. All visitors to the Big Island will be required to take a second test upon arrival to bypass quarantine.

As for the rest of the world: anyone who has been in Brazil, China, the European Schengen area, Iran, Ireland, South Africa or the United Kingdom in the past 14 days will be denied entry completely. Travelers from any other country must undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine.

If you plan to island-hop while in the Pacific, you'll have to follow much of the same guidelines as you did to enter the state, including being tested again by one of Hawaii's Inter-County Trusted Testing Partners. Maui has also implemented a mandatory contact tracing requirement and visitors must download the AlohaSafe Alert app—otherwise you're in for a 10-day quarantine.

Only visitors who have been in the state of Hawaii for more than three days may visit Kauai without quarantining, and you'll also have to get tested more than three days after arriving in the state but within 72 hours before traveling to Kauai. Thankfully, Kauai will rejoin the Safe Travels program starting April 5, so direct travel to the island will be a little easier.

The state is also looking at a possible vaccine passport program that will allow fully vaccinated visitors from the mainland to skip testing and quarantine starting in May.

If you are one of the lucky ones who have already been vaccinated though, there are a bunch of countries who are willing to let you in right now – and a lot of them have beautiful beaches, too.

Remember, many countries (including the USA) are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about traveling.

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