Is Mexico Open for Tourism?
You’ve heard people have been traveling to Mexico and you’re ready to head south or at least get your tickets for some winter sun. We hear ya’!
Here’s everything you need to know to make your informed travel decisions for Mexico.
First of all you’re wondering, can I even go to Mexico?
Yes, you can travel to Mexico. Mexico never closed its borders and has been one of the unique destinations in the world to remain open without any requirements. Mexico is still one of the easiest destinations to visit in the world in spite of the recent surges of the Delta variant. So what’s it really like in Mexico now? Are there any protocols? And what do I have to do to get home? Very valid questions. Let’s explore.
What Has Tourism Been Like This Past Year?
In spite of Mexico’s third wave of the pandemic, international tourism strongly rebounded this summer (178% increase in tourist numbers) compared to 2020 and has even surpassed the summer of 2019 by about 32% in air arrivals, according to the Federal Tourism Ministry (SECTUR) statistics. As of July 31, 20.2 million tourists have traveled to Mexico this summer.
More Americans have traveled to Mexico this summer than usual, followed by Spanish, Swiss and French travelers.
During the entire pandemic, Mexico has kept borders open and does not require travelers to show negative Covid-19 tests, get tested or to quarantine. (Land borders are still closed as of August 2021 to non essential travel). The ease of travel to Mexico has made it a top destination even though in the case of Americans, the CDC has advised to reconsider travel plans or warned against traveling for the moment. Currently at “Level 3” or “high risk”, the CDC recommends being vaccinated before traveling to Mexico.
Mexico’s states operate on a tri-colored traffic light system. States move through the colors depending on number of cases, hospitalizations and fatalities. Oaxaca is currently orange and the Yucatan is yellow. This stoplight system is also used locally. Although across Mexico, cases of the Delta variant are up, hospitalizations and fatalities are down compared to the first and second waves. This is true along the Oaxaca coast.
What You Need To Know If You Are Planning Travel to Mexico
Mexico does not require testing before or upon arrival nor does it require quarantine procedures. However, local protocols may be in place. Check your destination’s local protocols before you travel to be sure you are comfortable with them. All in all, measures are mainly local as the federal government has taken a laissez-faire attitude since the beginning of the pandemic.
What’s Open in Huatulco?
Almost everything is open in Huatulco. Restaurants, beaches and hotels are open with varying capacities depending on any protocols in place. Periodic local measures may be implemented at any time according to the local health situation. For example, from Aug. 9th to the 31st, 2021, a mask mandate and dry law were in effect in Huatulco and along the Oaxaca coast. Masks were required in businesses, stores, markets, banks and government buildings and wherever a lot of people are gathered.
Beaches are open in Huatulco. Depending on local case numbers, authorities may suggest beaches have opening and closing times but even the authorities admit this is a difficult measure to control. The local government and citizen organizations say that the beaches will remain open as long as there are no large gatherings of people. A section of beaches closed in Puerto Escondido for this reason.
Travel Back to the U.S., Canada and Europe
This past year, we have experienced high tourism numbers. PCR and rapid antigen tests are widely available in Huatulco and Puerto Escondido and everywhere in between including Mazunte, San Agustinillo and Zipolite. It is quite easy to get a test that is accepted in the U.S. and Canada. Test prices range from 400 pesos to 1200 pesos depending on the type and who is administering the test. You receive your results via email or Whatsapp or a printed copy.
As of August 2021, the U.S. requires a negative test within 72 hours of your flight, either PCR or antigen test to enter the United States if you’ve been vaccinated or not.
As of August 2021, Canada requires a negative PCR test whether you are vaccinated or not and may require quarantine dependent upon your vaccination status. You can check requirements for re-entry into Canada here: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid
You can check Canadian quarantine information here: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/isolation
As of August 2021, Europe requires proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test or proof of having recovered from COVID to re-enter.
Requirements evolve quickly. Please check them before you leave your country and again before your planned return trip.
Anitgen tests are ready within 15 minutes and PCR tests are ready usually within 24 hours. However, we encourage you to make an appointment for either test at any of the labs or pharmacies providing the test. All tests are readily available.
If you’re flying American Airlines, you may use the Verifly app to upload your information and negative test result which will be shown to the airline upon check-in. Without the negative test at flight check-in, either paper, digital or via the Verifly app, you will not be allowed to board the flight. American has a direct flight from Dallas to Huatulco.
Please check the links here for up-to-date information on entry requirements.
- Travel to/from US and Mexico: https://mx.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-for-u-s-citizens-in-mexico/
- Travel to Canada from Mexico, vaccinated travelers: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/covid-vaccinated-travellers-entering-canada
Should I Book My Winter Sun Trip?
We recommend taking all of the above into consideration when buying your airline tickets. Buy refundable tickets or tickets that allow changes for free. You can always buy insurance but be sure to read the fine print because not all insurances will reimburse because of sickness or a positive Covid test result.
We also recommend taking this into consideration when booking your accommodations. Many accommodations offer changeable dates or refundable reservations. Privilege these accommodations. Ask specifically about the cancellation policy before booking. Make sure you are comfortable with it. Some accommodations no longer offer Covid-related cancellations because they assume travelers know there is a risk involved in travel now.
If you test positive before your flight home, you will need to delay your flight and wait for a negative test.
Huatulco’s Local Health Situation
We feel fortunate to live where we do. Huatulco is a low-density, master-planned community with modern infrastructure. We have an amazing expat community and a friendly local community. We have a great health care system along the coast. We have enjoyed being outdoors, swimming, paddle boarding, hiking, biking, walking on the beach and soaking up plenty of Vitamin D.
Until this past July, we were not strongly affected by the pandemic. Cases have gone up locally with the Delta variant recently. And this is why local protocols have been implemented. At the same time, vaccination campaigns have increased so now anyone over the age of 18 who wants a vaccine has been able to receive the vaccine.
We are sure, as everyone is participating in health and security measures that cases will decline and we will be ready for a safe winter season. If you are planning on visiting us this winter, be sure to check your country’s re-entry requirements. They may change. We don’t expect Mexico’s entry requirements to change, but here is a link to verify: https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/eua/index.php/en/2016-04-09-20-40-51/tourism/1760-mexico-s-covid-19-monitoring-system
So, yes, the good news is you can go to Mexico. Mexico’s economy relies on tourism to stay healthy. It provides many people’s daily bread. So, be socially responsible and kind. Follow local rules and mask up.