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Is It Safe To Book A Trip To Mexico This Winter?

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As summer begins to wind down, millions of Americans and Canadians will begin planning their winter getaways to popular Mexican beach destinations including Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Mazatlán. With the rise in the Delta variant, travel restrictions and fears over waning immunity, some travelers may be on the fence about booking. So is it safe to book a trip to Mexico this winter? Here is everything travelers need to know.

Caribbean beach in Cancun

Mexico Border Restrictions and Entry Requirements

Mexico has been the most consistent with entry requirements during the entire pandemic. Travelers can feel confident knowing that the borders will not close for tourism and vaccine passports will not be used for entrance into the country. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador dispelled rumors at a press conference earlier this month.

“We will not require that type of proof whatsoever,” Obrador stated. “I want to be very clear about that.”

Puerto Vallarta Mexico Coastline and Beach Resorts

Mexico does not require pre-testing to enter the country and does not have any mandatory quarantines upon arrival. As one of the countries that never did close its borders, travelers can feel confident that their flights will depart as scheduled and entry into the country will not be dependent on a negative test.

The only Covid-19 entry requirement Mexico has is an online form that must be filled out within 12 hours of your scheduled flight departure time. It only takes a few minutes to complete and declares that you’re free from symptoms of Covid-19.

Cancun beach panorama, Mexico

The Surging Rise of the Delta Variant

Mexico is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of Covid-19 as the Delta variant continues to surge in tourism hotspots across the country. Health authorities on Wednesday reported nearly 29,000 new cases in a 24 hour period, which was Mexico’s highest day yet. Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Cancun and Mazatlán are all seeing record numbers of cases. While Mexico is experiencing its third wave of the pandemic, cases are likely to fall over the coming months based on past trends.

cancun-airport-masks-1024x815-1

When booking a trip to Mexico for the winter, expect that Covid-19 will still be around but the risk of contagion is going to fluctuate throughout the season. Based on information from the CDC, Covid-19 vaccines help reduce the risk of falling severely ill.

Returning Home Could Be A Challenge

Both the United States and Canada require proof of a negative test before boarding a flight home. This could become a challenge if a traveler tests positive for the virus.

cancun covid testing

In order to board a flight home, Canadian travelers will need a PCR test and Americans will require a Rapid test within 72 hours of flight departure time. Most large resorts are providing their guests testing free of charge. In the event a traveler tests positive, they will need to self-isolate in Mexico until a negative test can be produced which could take up to two weeks. Some hotels are providing free accommodations in the event of a positive test so be sure to check with the concierge at your hotel before arrival.

Be sure to have travel insurance that covers Covid-19 incidentals and trip interruption in case you test positive or need medical attention while in Mexico.

Luxury tropical resort with white sand. Aerial view

Local Covid-19 Restrictions In Tourism Hotspots

Wherever travelers are headed in Mexico, they’re likely to face stricter prevention rules than currently being enforced in Canada or the United States. Masks are required indoor and outdoors in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Mazatlán as well as most other popular Mexico tourism destinations. Travelers can expect temperature checks, reduced capacities and closures of high contact venues such as bars and nightclubs.

Tourism has been deemed an essential service in most Mexican tourism cities and therefor hotels, restaurants, tours and most hospitality services will remain open regardless of the risk level.

Cancun-Beach

U.S. State Department & CDC Travel Advisory For Mexico

The U.S. State Department currently has a Level 3 ‘Reconsider Travel’ in place for Mexico due to Covid-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC states there is a “high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine.”

cancun-tourists-in-masks

Crime Advisory For Winter of 2021

The U.S. State Department is warning that violent crime is widespread and common in Mexico. While most tourist zones are highly policed, travelers should not display signs of wealth including expensive watches or luxury jewelry.

There is currently a ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory in place due to crime and kidnapping in the states of:

  • Sinaloa
  • Michoacán
  • Guerrero
  • Colima
  • Tamaulipas 

Local Use of Vaccine Passports

The only city currently using a vaccine passport system is Mazatlán, Sinaloa which began on August 2. Proof of vaccination or a negative test is required to enter all businesses including grocery stores, malls and shops. Multiple injunctions have been filed in the courts and lawyers saying the new rules impact freedom of movement.

The Mayor of Mazatlán has stood his ground saying “I am asking for the vaccination certificate in order to enter a public place, and it’s for everyone’s health.” He added that the rule applied for both locals and tourists.

No other cities in Mexico have adopted a vaccine passport system at this time.

Tourist-Beach-in-Mazatlan-Mexico

Is It Safe To Visit Mexico This Winter?

While there’ll still be the risk of Covid-19 and crime in Mexico this winter, travelers need to assess what their own comfort level is. While occasional crimes do occur, tens of millions of Americans and Canadians visit Mexico yearly without problems. Mexico is the same beautiful destination it was before the pandemic, stay safe and enjoy your trip. The choice to travel to Mexico is yours to make!

Cancun beach

Read More:

U.S. Extends Land Border Closure With Mexico

Mexico Will Remain Open For Tourism

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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Maureen

Tuesday 24th of August 2021

We are booked to go to Mazatlan El Cid in December 2021. We are both vaccinated. Do we need the vaccine passport or is the vaccine card proving double vaccinated sufficient?

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 24th of August 2021

Currently, Mazatlan (yes, just this city so far) is requiring proof of vaccination for restaurants, hotels. etc, but it might not be in December. Today's rules, you just need to show your CDC card (if you are American) or your paper cards if you are Canadian. It's not extremely formal.

Jason

Sunday 22nd of August 2021

Thank you Trevor. Although trip to Mexico will always have this certainty, however I can only do Cancun so many time. lol. Will you provide an update for Cuba? Would love to go back this winter.