Hedo and Jamaica Arrival

Our Hedo Trip Report as of Oct 2nd when we traveled, we were required to do a COVID test in the 10 day window prior to our arrival date and then upload it for Jamaican Travel Authorization- this requirement has changed some and I’ll mention the new changes in a few minutes. We did our testing, had the results back in a few short days and then had to wait for a 5-day window to upload for Jamaican Travel Authorization.

We did find the Jamaica Travel Authorization to be the slowest part of the puzzle – some travelers not getting authorization until literally hours prior to travel – very nerve wracking, to say the least.

At the airport, we were required to show our approved travel authorization to get our boarding pass. We flew American Airlines round trip and had no issues. The entire aircraft is sanitized between flights and each person is handed an alcohol wipe to wipe their sitting area down if they choose.

Masks are required from the time you enter the airport until the time you exit – unless you are actively eating or drinking. I suggest either bringing a water bottle that you can fill once you get through security or purchasing a beverage in the airport to keep with you for the trip duration. If you get dry mouth, need to take a deep breath, or just get a bit anxious from the mask, you can take a quick drink to remedy the problem.

Also remember that you are not allowed to use a mask with the vents in it – although the neck gaiters are allowed as well as pretty much any other mask.

On the plane, everyone is handed a customs form – the airport in Montego Bay is not allowing the electronic customs form – so you will have to do the paper form on the plane. Upon arrival in Jamaica, we had Club Mobay – which I honestly would highly recommend with the length of lines later in the day. We were met at the bottom of the exit ramp by a Mobay representative and escorted to the front of the arrivals line to go through the arrival health screening.

This was a bit redundant since all the questions are answered when you did the Jamaica Travel Authorization – they asked the same questions again. They also review your form – so make sure you have a printed copy (or 2!). The people that were trying to pull it up on their phones were holding the line up as Wi-Fi is super spotty in the long hallway.

The only thing regarding this process – it was super humid and hot in the non air conditioned hallway with a few hundred people packed in to wait for final authorization into the country and even with Mobay, it took us about 20 minutes to get through this portion. People without Mobay were said to take any where from 20 minutes to 2 hours – really depends on the time of day you arrive and how long the line is when you arrive.

The Jamaican Health Ministry will take your temp and record it on a paper and after looking through your paperwork and asking you all the questions, they will approve you to move through the line. Be aware, that based on some of your answers, they can require you to have an onsite COVID test and be isolated until a negative result is obtained.

They will hand you a card that allows you to travel in the “resilient corridor”. Yes, you can still go to places off property of the resort – shopping, Rick’s Café, restaurants, etc – just take the card with you and return to the resort by evening.

Once approved to enter the country, we were escorted to baggage claim which was honestly super easy as following the wait, all the luggage was lined up and ready to be claimed. We grabbed our luggage and with Mobay, were escorted to the final security checkpoint – again super easy and quick. We checked in with SunHoliday and in about 30 minutes, we were on our bus headed to Hedonism II.  

The bus ride is the same that everyone remembers – the drivers all wear masks the entire time, however they did not require customers to wear a mask for the ride (although that is an individual choice).

On arrival to the resort, keep your mask handy as you exit your transfer, you need to put your mask on. You are asked to use hand sanitizer as soon as you exit the bus. Your temp is taken, and you are welcomed home. The check in desk will provide you with a water bottle (they even write your name on it) on arrival.

In your room, you will find black cloth masks with the Hedo logo on the front and a small bottle of hand sanitizer. The resort has removed all the plastic water bottle stations that had once been found throughout the resort. Now you will find water fountains at every building with a bottle filler and the bars of course will still fill your water bottle for you as well.

Once you are at Hedo, masks are not required anywhere in the resort except for the gift shop. Hedo felt “normal” for us. It was probably the most normal and safe that I’ve felt being away from home since COVID started. The biggest difference is that the buffet is no longer self-service – plates are kept behind the buffet and you wait in line for one of the staff to scoop whatever from the line you choose onto your plate – same with the salad bar, bread and dessert tables.

The self-serve coffee area has been emptied and your server will bring you coffee, tea, or juice as well as your silverware once you sit down. Even the ice cream is no longer self-serve. But the staff does a great job with making sure you don’t wait too long for anything.

The rest of Hedo is as normal as ever! It was a relief once we got to the pool and realized it was the same Hedo that we all love! DJ’s playing music, poolside games being played, drinks flowing and everyone having fun!

The resort was about 50-60% capacity during the week we were there. The disco is closed, but the piano bar is open (no masks required). There were several evenings that a DJ was set up in the courtyard in the evening for late night dancing and of course the glow party by the pool was again a huge hit.

The other big change that you will note at the resort is that housekeeping is only cleaning your room if you put out the “clean my room” door hanger to alert them.  If you call the front desk, they will have housekeeping drop off clean towels for you (but they won’t pick up the dirty towels unless you have the sign out on your door).

We kind of laughed when we asked the front desk for clean towels and got the clean towels, but all the dirties were still in the bathroom – honestly not a big deal and totally understandable. Everyone is now “going green” and for now there is no longer an award for it LOL.

Checkout and return to the airport was normal and for the most part unchanged. Entering the airport, there is a sanitizing station set up at the entrance to clean your hands. Arrival airports in the states were super busy with long lines to get through customs. We came in through Miami and the lines were hours long – I would definitely recommend filling out your arrival customs information on the customs app – it allowed us to bypass a line that wrapped around for days it seemed.

I heard people that arrived through Charlotte also encountered the same crazy long lines at customs. Re-entering the states was super easy aside from the long lines. The customs agents were quick and efficient once you got to their desk.

And now for the new changes that started on October 10th. You still have a to get a COVID test done, but they’ve expanded to include antigen testing which opens the field to almost any COVID test being accepted (must be a CLIA or ISO certified lab).

Antibody tests are still not accepted. Keep in mind that the COVID test must be collected less than 10 days from your travel date. I know some tests were denied when they were collected on the 10th day prior to travel – so count back 9 days and do it then to be on the safe side. They now have a test date calculator to help figure this out.

The Jamaica Travel Authorization still has a 5 day window on it, so keep that in mind when you go to complete the travel authorization – although you no longer need to upload the COVID test results.

Not needing to upload the COVID test results should make getting your travel authorization back much easier, but I would expect that the lines at the airport to get your paperwork approved will now take even longer since they will have to confirm your testing as well. And a word on testing, make sure you have the results printed with your name as well as the lab name and test results on the paper, otherwise it could be denied when you arrive.

Anyone that has any question on arrival regarding high risk or incorrect paperwork can be COVID tested by the Jamaica Health Ministry upon arrival. If this happens, you are quarantined to your resort room until a negative result is returned.

I hope this information sets you a bit at ease regarding travel to Jamaica. It really wasn’t that difficult to enter Jamaica and the resort was the Hedo that we all know and love once we got there! All the travel headaches were totally worth it and knowing that everyone had to be COVID tested to be admitted to the country actually made us feel pretty safe as far as COVID goes.

Some comments from recent travelers:

“Hedonism feels like the one place that COVID-19 didn’t touch. Coming back in October was the first sense of normalcy I have felt since February. Every part of the government authorization process was completely worth it once I was back with my friends in paradise.” -Alyssa

Honestly flying was easy. We flew Delta and American, preferred how Delta handled things. They loaded back to front and off loaded front to back. No rushing pushing or waiting for people to get or put their things in the overhead compartments. Hoping they keep this after COVID. It just made flying easier overall.

“While it seems confusing to travel to Jamaica during the pandemic, the Jamaica website spells it out pretty well. The process of testing, getting results, and sending them along to Jamaican authorities is pretty straightforward. Once we arrived in at Sangster Intnl Airport in Montego Bay, the process of having temperatures checked, hands sanitized, and authorizations confirmed was THOROUGH, but it’s kept Jamaica safer. You feel an enormous sense of relief when you clear the airport after.

One thing to focus on: Stay on top of your testing, your results, and your travel authorizations. Minor clerical errors can derail your best-laid plans.”


Links for easy access and information updated often:

Test Date Calculator: www.visitjamaica

Find a CLIA lab near you: cdc

FAQ’s regarding Jamaica Tourism: assets.simpleviewinc

COVID 19 Test Requirements: visitjamaicac

Jamaica Travel Authorization: visitjamaica

For questions, contact Jamaica Tourist Board in Miami at:  305-665-0557 or  800-233-4582. For assistance with the Travel Authorization form or FAQs,
E Mail:
 <COVID19>   or call 888-786-2703 (you may hear a recorded message).

Posted in ,