Our main interest is to see and swim with the humpback whales, and we will. But there are important steps we need to take to get everyone safely aboard and underway. Here’s an explanation of our pre- and post-cruise COVID-19 testing protocols.
Please understand that we are taking these steps to ensure as safe and trouble-free an experience as possible once you are aboard and then on your way back home. We will literally all be in the same boat together so your help and understanding are appreciated. Let’s keep COVID-19 from coming aboard.
The Dominican Republic’s E-Ticket:
Prior to 2021 visitors arriving into the Dominican Republic were required to complete two paper forms during their flight: an International Embarkation/Disembarkation form for Immigration; and a Customs Declaration form. Now the DR has adopted an electronic system that provides digital versions of these forms online plus a new Traveler’s Health Affidavit. These simple forms only apply to international air arrivals and should be completed online 72 hours or less before your trip.
Complete within 72 hours of arrival, or the forms can be completed on your phone online at the airport.
Booster shots are not required but highly suggested for those who are eligible to receive them. If you have had the required number of doses of a given vaccine that will be sufficient.
If you have not done so already, please send us proof of vaccination. If you already have, thank you very much.
Pre-Cruise Covid-19 Testing:
Conscious Breath Adventures and M/V Sea Hunter require a negative PCR test administered within 3 days of your boarding on Saturday. The timing of the test is important. There are two options: Have the PCR test administered before flying or after flying.
• If you’ve had the PCR test administered before flying, you will need to have a follow-up quick antigen test administered within 24 hours prior to boarding.
• If you arrive in the Dominican Republic several days before the trip and timing does not allow you to test at home, you can have a PCR test administered locally.
Most everyone arrives in the DR at least one day before boarding which means you’ll stay in a hotel or resort. The best course of action for pre-trip testing in the DR—either PCR or antigen—is to contact your accommodations right away for help coordinating this service. It is important that you receive your results before checking out of the hotel/resort. Here’s why:
Negative Test Results: When you take the PCR or antigen test through the resort and test negative (no COVID-19), you are good to go: check out on Saturday, bring your results to the marina, and welcome aboard. This is the result we all want!
Positive Test Results: If you get your results before checking out and test positive (you have COVID-19), you won’t be allowed to board the boat. But the hotel will keep you during quarantine; you are still their guest. If you test positive after checking out, most hotels will not take you back in. We have a line on some private accommodations (apartments) with support personnel just in case but it is simpler, better, and more pleasant to quarantine in a hotel. Hopefully it won’t be needed!
Arriving for a whale excursion and finding yourself in quarantine on shore is an outcome that will be disappointing to all of us. Please exercise diligent COVID-prevention practices during the week before boarding.
Where to Get Tested in DR:
We are working with Grupo Rescue in Centro Medico Bournigal who can provide PCR and antigen test results in hours. One of my staff got a PCR test upon arrival on Thursday and results were received in 5 hours. You can coordinate with them directly if you want. Our contact there is Charlotte Contreras and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Her WhatsApp number is +1 (829) 986-3385. It is a walk-in clinic, you can stop by on the way into town. Be sure to mention that you are traveling with Capt Gene Flipse & Conscious Breath Adventures so she makes the connection.
Post-Cruise Departure Testing:
Most countries now require a test for citizens to return from abroad. Testing for outbound guests will be straightforward. For some it is an antigen test, for others a PCR test.
If your travel plans in or out do not match one of these general scenarios please let me know and we will help find a solution for your specific needs.
We have contracted with a qualified testing service who will meet us at the dock on Friday afternoon when we arrive from the Silver Bank. Fast test results are available so you can fly out the next day.
To help ensure smooth travels, we encourage guests to be prepared. If possible, bring K95 or KN95 masks for your personal use, and a few antigen self-tests just in case.
This may seem daunting but be assured that there are many resources at hand in the DR. 2021 was a record year for tourism in the DR, their best tourism year ever, in the middle of a pandemic. All those people needed testing and the infrastructure is in place. Many of the large resorts have testing services on site and virtually all can help coordinate it. If not, there are local facilities that can provide the services, too.
There Will Be Whales!
We’ve never had to prepare guests for a whale season quite like this before. Usually, we talk about dive masks and fins, not COVID masks and tests! It has been an unusual challenge we thank you for your patience and understanding. While we can’t avoid the distractions of these days, don’t forget why we are doing it: to see and swim with the wonderful humpback whales on the Silver Bank. It really is an exceptional experience and the Conscious Breath Adventures team, and the crew of the M/V Sea Hunter will all do our best to make it the most memorable wildlife experience of your life.