For the first two weeks, the visitors holed up in their rented villas. You couldn’t access a rental car until quarantine was complete, said Patrick Bennett, whose family visited in May and June.
“They check on you,” he said. “Every once in a while you hear a car slowly drive by.”
He did not feel trapped, he said, given that he, his wife and his 7- and 10-year-olds were coming from a 1,200-square-foot New York City apartment. Now, suddenly, they had a huge veranda.
Mr. Bennett runs a travel website called Uncommon Caribbean, which focuses on off-the-beaten-track locations. Even for him, experiencing an island without tourists was novel. What he found even more interesting was the locals’ commitment to the island. They were the ones who had stayed after the volcano drove thousands away.
The two-month minimum did not feel excessive, he added. It’s not until the second month “that you are starting to get into the swing of things.”
Dr. Cort, the sociology professor, agreed that the minimum stay was part of the allure. (His family stuck around for three months.)
“This pandemic gives people the opportunity to get to know people and places more intimately,” said Dr. Cort, who normally resides in Laurel, Md.