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Nova Felder of Queens flew from New York to the west African nation of Ghana in March. It was supposed to be a 17-day trip, to the country where his parents were born.

On March 13, however, Ghana’s president closed the borders indefinitely and halted all flights into and out of the country, an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Four months later, Felder is still in Ghana — stranded, he says, along with hundreds of other Americans.

Puerto Rico is all set to welcome back tourists from July 15, but with all health and safety measures in place. It is part of the island’s four-phased reopening plan.

The vibrant island has a distinct vibe, which is the result of a mashup of cultures–African, Spanish, French, Dutch and British blood pumps through the veins of the islands’ diverse population.

With this step, Puerto Rico will join the expanding list of Caribbean islands opening up for tourism. However, Puerto Rico never closed its borders to the citizens of the United States, or foreign nationals who hadn’t been to Iran, China, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Brazil, or any of the European Schengen area in the previous 14 days.

During all this time, a 14-day quarantine rule was applied on anyone who was flying into Puerto Rico, along with other stringent lockdown measures, which meant that tourists were discouraged from visiting the island.

Reportedly, Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez recently announced that from now on, travellers who can show negative COVID-19 test results, which were obtained 72 hours prior to arrival, will not be required to undergo quarantine.

Here’s what you should know:

When You Arrive At The Airport

Arriving travelers may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days no matter whether they have symptoms or not. The National Guard will be assisting with health screenings of all arriving passengers, including rapid COVID-19 tests.

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Getting Around

Ridesharing options like Uber have mandated face coverings for both the drivers and the passengers.  The front seat will be prohibited.

Certified transportation carriers will properly disinfect vehicles and have hand sanitizer available. In addition, drivers will wear gloves when handling doors and luggage.

Things To Do

Restaurants will open with a maximum occupancy of 25% in their dining rooms. Similar to the airport, temperature checks will be performed before entering. Anyone with a temperature of 100.3 will be denied entry.

Employees will be required to use face coverings, and buffets, salad bars, and self-serve options, as well as reusable menus, are prohibited.

Attractions, with the exception of outdoor recreation spaces, including public beaches, natural reserves, and golf courses are closed.

Shopping malls will enforce social distancing and some stores even require appointments before entering.

If you’re planning to attend a casino,  wellness checkpoints will be conducted at entryways, which includes temperature checks and hand sanitizer.

Gaming stations and slot machines will be cleaned every hour of after each guest.  Social distancing will be strictly enforced.  Face coverings by employees and guests are required.

For more information and to stay up-to-date with the latest in Puerto Rico, click here for its visitor health and safety guidelines.

 

As the world slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, some countries are planning to lift the travel restrictions that have been imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 in time for summer. Other countries, meanwhile, will remain closed to foreign visitors.

With many people around the world aching for a summer vacation after a difficult start to 2020, it is important to know which destinations will be possible to travel to in June, July, August, and September.

We’ve created a comprehensive list of what’s open and what’s not.

The Caribbean

Popular destinations, including Antigua, Jamaica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and St. Lucia are already open.

The Bahamas and Bermuda have opened their borders to travelers who comply with certain safety measures.

Aruba will welcome residents of Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean islands (excluding the Dominican Republic and Haiti) on July 1. Americans can join on July 10.

Puerto Rico will open its borders on July 15.  Travelers can head to Turks and Caicos later this summer on July 22.

As far as Grenada, the country announced on social media that they would consider a June 30 reopening.

Some islands, including St. Lucia, Bermuda, and Jamaica are requiring negative Covid-19 tests at least 48 to 72 hours before entering.

Europe

For now, the European Union has banned Americans from traveling to Europe, citing the way the United States handled the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States has reported more than 2 million cases of coronavirus and over 120,000 deaths – more than any other country.

The New York Times added that the list of acceptable countries would be revised every two weeks, so the US could be added later on.

Asia

There are widespread closures across Asia with some hope that countries will start opening as early as August.

Thailand has reportedly announced a potential reopening for Aug, 1. Thailand’s draft plan includes three phases of reopening:

  1. Phase One: Business travelers, investors, skilled workers, people with Thai family members, teachers, etc.
  2. Phase Two: Medical tourism travelers
  3. Phase Three: General tourists

Bali is said to be reopening in October but there are no reported dates just yet.

The Maldives are is resuming commercial flights on July 1 but the country has testing and visa protocols that require at least a 14-day quarantine.

Sri Lanka is preparing to reopen its borders to all nationalities on Aug. 1, if individuals can produce proof of medical insurance, plan to stay at least five nights, and can show a negative Covid-19 test taken less than 72 hours before departure.

Cambodia announced foreign travelers could enter upon paying a $3,000 deposit to cover a mandatory Covid-19 test, hotel stays (pending results or for as long as 14 days should anyone on your flight test positive), necessary treatment fees, and even a funeral.

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French Polynesia

French Polynesia announced tourists from all countries can arrive from July 15. That includes Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora

If you’re planning to go, you will be required to have either a negative Covid-19 test (administered 72 hours before departure) or an “immunity certificate” that proves you’ve recovered from a previous infection.

North America

Mexico is opening state by state. Quintana Roo, where Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and Tulum are located, has opened.

Los Cabos has officially opened as well,

Meanwhile, in the United States, the popular destination Hawaii may forgo its 14-day quarantine requirement with its new pre-testing program.

Canada has two-week quarantine requirements. The border closure for nonessential travel between the U.S. and Canada has been extended through July 21.

The Middle East

The Middle East is not open for travel yet with the exception of Dubai, which is aiming to reopen between July and October.

Africa

Popular African tourist destinations, such as Morocco and South Africa, have not announced plans to loosen border restrictions yet but South African officials hope to open as early as September with 2021 being the worst-case-scenario.

Seychelles opened to tourists in mid-June arriving on a private jet, chartered flight, or yacht. Plans to resume commercial flights are set for July.

Tanzania welcomed tourists from all nations in May, one of the earliest countries to do so. The country has been criticized for a lack of transparency regarding infection rates, as well as statements by President John Magufuli that the coronavirus could be cured by drinking ginger and lemonade, as reported in CNBC.

South America

Many South American countries, including Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Peru, remain closed to travelers.

Colombia banned all passenger flights until the end of August and Argentina has a flight ban through September

Travel Advice for Summer Holidays 2020

Many people are asking “will coronavirus be gone in summer?”. In the majority of countries, COVID-19 has not been completely eradicated, although the number of cases is dropping and the likelihood of catching it is falling at the same time.

A number of countries will insist that visitors take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus and even in locations without such rules, it is a good idea to follow these safety tips:

  • Practise social distancing — maintain a distance of at least 2 m between yourself and strangers.
  • Wash your hands frequently and when returning from outside.
  • Wear a protective face mask when in public.
  • Cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough.
  • If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself until you can be tested and alert the local medical authorities.

In addition to checking the travel restrictions for the destination, travelers should consult global visa information and check if they require any travel authorization to enter the country.

 

Each year, thousands of people visit Africa for many reasons. Some visit as tourists, experts, volunteers or for business purposes. How these people interpret their experiences in Africa sometimes serves as representing images to their friends, family, or colleagues.

I often read disappointing blogs or watch YouTube videos that don’t sit well with me.

If you are looking to visit Africa and have a wonderful time here, I have put together a few tips to help you achieve that. I left Africa as a teenager about 16 years ago and this is my first return.

Vivienne Okafor is a travel content creator, content strategist and coach. She is a Nigerian-American, a healthcare consultant and an avid traveler. Vivienne  loves to explore a variety of destinations and to share all of her travel tips on her blog.  In this interview she shares what it’s like to be a travel blogger, what travel will look like post Covid-19 Pandemic and a lot more.

 Cuba has some of the best food in the world. A unique blend of African, Spanish, and Caribbean influences. The cuisine of Cuba reflects the island’s rich and dynamic history.

French colonists over from Haiti and enslaved Africans brought their own culinary influences. On an island offering ultra-fresh seafood and sweet fruits straight from the vine, the diverse people of Cuba created flavors all their own.

Let’s dive into Cuban cuisine! Here are the dishes you MUST eat in Cuba.

Arroz con pollo

Chicken and rice is the most common staple in a Cuban household. This one pot dish is similar to Spanish paella. There are many variations of arroz con pollo, but the basics include rice, quartered chicken leg or thighs cooked with sofrito, Bijol seasoning, chicken broth, and beer. Peas and roasted red peppers are also traditionally mixed in.

Arroz con pollo

Ropa vieja

Considered the national dish of Cuba, ropa vieja literally translates to “old clothes” and comes from Spain. The dish is made with shredded beef that’s slow cooked in a tomato-based sauce with onions, bell peppers, garlic, and cooking wine. It is always served over white rice and accompanied by maduros (sweet plantains) or tostones (fried pressed plantains). A similar dish with a twist is vaca frita, or fried cow, which is a flank steak marinated in mojo and then fried with garlic and salt.

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Typical cuban dishes you must try while in Cuba

Picadillo

This simple dish is another Cuban classic that’s a perfect weekday meal. It’s ground beef that’s browned with garlic, onions, bell peppers, oregano, bay leaf, and salt. Then, the beef is simmered over low heat with tomato sauce, cooking wine, olives, and raisins. White rice is mixed in once all the flavors combine. The dish comes from Spain, and the name comes from the word picar, which means to chop or mince.

Typical cuban dishes you must try while in Cuba

Ajiaco

A stew that’s made with a little bit of everything, ajiaco is a recognizable and well-loved Cuban dish. Cooks often throw together what they have on hand to make ajiaco, but common ingredients include corn, sweet potato, malanga, plantains, beef or pork, tomato paste, garlic, onion, and lemon juice

Ajiaco

Pastelitos

A pastelito is a baked puff pastry filled with something sweet or savory or both. Traditional Cuban fillings include guava and cream cheese, sweet cheese, or ground meat. Like croquetas, pastelitos are usually eaten for breakfast, but can also be a snack

Guava bars

Arroz con lech

Rice pudding, or “rice with milk” is another popular Latin American dessert. But in Cuba, again, evaporated and condensed milk is used, making it a sweeter and richer dish. Lime peel and other traditional ingredients like rice, vanilla, and cinnamon complete a proper Cuban arroz con leche.

Rice pudding