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Is It Safe To Visit Mexico During COVID-19?

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While the U.S. Department of State and CDC continue to warn that traveling is unsafe, you might start seeing more and more of your friends posting beach pics from Mexico. What gives? Are you being overly cautious or are they risking their lives by traveling? Trust me, it's gone through our own heads a million times.

If your deciding if it's safe to visit Mexico right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, your definitely not alone. At Travel Off Path, we get that question daily and it's a decision that each person has to make for themselves. 

What we'll do in this article is give you all the facts so you can make an informed decision on whether it is safe to visit Mexico during COVID-19 and how it may impact your winter getaway. 

Traveler in Puebla

Disclaimer: Traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic can cause increased risk to your health. 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 or recommend traveling against government advisories.

The U.S. government and CDC have stern warnings that will tell you not to travel to Mexico during COVID-19. It doesn't mean you can't go but government organizations are always going to err on the side of caution. 

Mexico city downtown at dusk

What The CDC Says About Traveling to Mexico During COVID-19

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has listed Mexico as a level 3 risk. That is the highest level of risk the organization gives but keep in mind they have also given this same rating to 201 countries  including Canada and the United States. 

The warning from the CDC states, “The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel to Mexico. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Mexico.”

Cancun beach

What The United States Government Says About Visiting Mexico During COVID-19

The United States government has dropped its level 4 ‘Do Not Travel' warning for Mexico. 

On September 8th, the United States level 4 Travel advisory for Mexico was downgraded to a level 3 ‘Reconsider Travel'.

Traveler in Tulum

The official warning from the U.S. Department of State says, “Reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime and kidnappingSome areas have increased risk.”

Currently the U.S. government still has a level 4 ‘do not travel' for the following areas due to crime and not COVID-19. 

Do Not Travel To:

  • Colima state
  • Guerrero state
  • Michoacán state 
  • Sinaloa state 
  • Tamaulipas state 
Traveler in Mexico at ruins

How Many People Are Actually Traveling To Mexico During COVID-19?

Mexico has quickly become one of the top travel destinations during the during COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 entry requirements for Mexico do not require any mandatory tests or quarantines upon arrival. This has made it a top choice for many travelers looking for a quick getaway without the worry of being granted entry into the country. 

Mazatlan coast

According to ASUR, The Cancun International Airport registered over 1 million passengers in October, 2020. Cancun has already recovered 59% of its tourism when compared with October, 2019 when 1.7 million passengers were registered at the airport. 

While Cancun has seen the strongest recovery in the country since reopening for tourism back in June, other top tourist destinations including Los Cabos, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta have also been welcoming back tourists. 

cancun resort

Risks of Lockdowns in Mexico

While Mexico never officially closed its borders during the pandemic, certain regions closed resorts, beaches and tourism related services during the initial wave of the pandemic back in March. 

Since the second wave of COVID-19 began in October, only Puerto Vallarta has announced new restriction measures which include beaches and restaurants closing earlier than usual. 

Other top tourist destinations such as Cancun may limit hotel capacity when cases spike but this measure does not affect travelers vacations. 

Compared to other nations around the world that have stranded passengers by strict lockdowns, Mexico has never implemented border closures and has allowed tourists in and out of the country at anytime. 

This of course is an unprecedented time and lockdown measures could come into effect at anytime. 

COVID-19 Cases in Mexico

As of November 6th, 2020 there have been 949,147 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Authorities have recorded 93,772 deaths due to the virus. The high death rate could point to a lack of testing.

According to information published by Oxford University here are the latest testing figures:

Mexico is testing about 9 people per 100,000 people in a country of approximate 129 million people.

United States, by comparison, is testing 392 per 100,000 in a country of 330 million people.

Canada tests about 166 per 100,000 in a country of 38 million people. 

Although Mexico is not testing as many people as the United States, it is important to know that the U.S. does have 10 times the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. 

Daily COVID-19 Cases In Mexico

Daily COVID-19 Cases In Mexico (Source: Worldometers)

Daily COVID-19 Deaths In Mexico (Source Worldometers)

Daily COVID-19 Deaths In Mexico (Source: Worldometers)

Destinations in Mexico Earn Safe Travel Stamp 

The ‘Safe Travel Stamp‘ by the World Travel and Tourism Council recognizes “governments and companies around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.”

While the ‘Safe Travel Stamp' doesn't guarantee to keep visitors safe from contracting COVID-19 it does show that the destinations are working to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Many of our Travel Off Path community readers have submitted stories of just how impressed they were with the safety protocols resorts had implemented to protect travelers. 

All major tourist destinations in Mexico including Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Mazatlán have earned the ‘Safe Travel Stamp'

Los cabos famous tourist attraction rock formation

Mask Requirements and Social Distancing In Mexico

While there is not a country wide mandate on masks, individual states have implemented strict rules for wearing masks in public including fines and jail time for violators. Mexico takes its tourism industry serious and goes to great lengths to protect it. 

Social distancing policies are in effect across the Mexico especially in tourism areas that are following strict capacity guidelines based on the epidemiology of the area. 

Health Care In Mexico

Before traveling to Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers need to be aware that they may not receive the same level of health care that they may be used to.

In some areas of Mexico quality of care can be excellent, especially in private hospitals while public hospitals may have a lower standard of care and be reaching capacity during outbreaks. 

Last week the Federal Ministry of Health said that 54 designated COVID-19 hospitals in the Mexico were at 100% capacity in regards to the their general COVID-19 treatment beds. This did not include acute COVID-19 beds. 

Travel Off Path highly recommends travel insurance that covers COVID-19 for the duration of your trip to Mexico. 

So Is It Safe To Travel To Mexico?

It's a great question that truly only you can answer. There are so many factors and unknowns with the pandemic that there is no right or wrong decision. Every traveler is different and each traveler has their own comfort zone of risk.

In the end it's up to you. 

If you do decide to travel to Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic, stay safe and happy travels. 

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Originally Published November 6th, 2020

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


Friday 15th of January 2021

I just visit Cancun a couple weeks ago and overall I feel safe! I think the worst part was the airport in the US. My hotel had all the measures necessary so we can have a nice time and relax. We didn't took any crowed tours instead we took tours where we can be separated from crowds like the jungle tour where you drive a two-person speedboat.


Friday 25th of December 2020

We just came back from Cancun and I felt safer there than I do here in the states. Not sure why the states can implement some of the things Cancun has. Masks are worn by everyone and is pretty stricken (at the resort) if you don’t have them on. I appreciate it. They were not booking to capacity so there wasn’t a lot of people there. Employees standing at the entrances to hand sanitizer and take your temperature. If you are thinking Cancun. Go for it. Our mental health is important too.


Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Mea - I'm with John, you certainly are fear mongering and you go on & on about off topic issues that have nothing to do with covid just to drive home your point (rainy weather, wifi, "cat-calling"). I was in Cancun in October and saw none of what you described. I stayed at an all inclusive resort which took all the protocols very seriously and the taxi driver wore a mask the entire time, wiped down our luggage with sanitizer before putting in the seems like you went to other (cheaper?) areas out & about but your experience is definitely not the norm everywhere. I felt more safe in Mexico than I do here in America, with all the precautions that were taken.

Your comments about Mexico City in March are irrelevant now in December. The world was different then. Mexico City today is just like everywhere else, some areas follow the safety protocols better than others. Your great experience in March doesn't mean someone should go there now if they want to be safe.


Tuesday 1st of December 2020

Hi planning to travel to cancan in dec. can we do any activities or are there restrictions on the type of activities that you can do? Thanks in advance!

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 1st of December 2020

Many things in Cancun have reopened, I am sure you will have a great time


Sunday 15th of November 2020

In a response to Alex about his confusion about why some people think that the pandemic is over, I suggest to check the updated statistics and compare this with the projection made by faulty computer modeling earlier this year. It is a fact that the World Health Organization announced that this epidemic Is a pandemic based on the faulty projection rather than on actual statistics. It is not that people believe the pandemic is over, but that there was no pandemic to start with, at least no according to the definition of what a pandemic is.

However, I find all this information, especially the one given by Mea useful for my next trip. I now decide to pay myself a trip to Quintana Ro, and I do believe that Chiapas has never had any mask mandates, so I will go there as well.