What you need to know before you go

Editor’s note: Coronavirus cases remain high around the world. Health officials warn that traveling increases your chances of contracting and spreading the virus, especially if you are not fully vaccinated. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you are still planning to travel, last updated February 11.

If you’re planning to travel to Mexico, here’s what you need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The last

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently upgraded Mexico’s travel advisory rating from Level 3 (“high” risk for Covid) to Level 4 (“very high” risk). When a destination reaches Level 4, the CDC advises people to avoid traveling there.

The basics

Mexico remains open to travelers. There is no need to provide a negative PCR test or quarantine upon arrival, although most resorts require guests to complete health questionnaires. There are health checks at airports.

As of December 6, all US air travelers 2 years and older returning to the United States require a negative Covid-19 test taken within the day of their departure flight, regardless of their vaccination status. This is part of a general tightening of travel rules in the United States due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The US Embassy says PCR and antigen test results are reliably available within 24 hours in Mexico.

What is offered

Here you’ll find incredible cuisine, sensational beaches, charming towns and historic relics. While the resorts around Cancun attract the bulk of visitors, those who want more than a flight and a flop opt for the cultural heft of Mexico City, the Baja California coastline and traditional cities like Oaxaca.

who can go

Mexico has had some of the loosest border restrictions in the world with anyone allowed to travel by air for business or leisure.

The land border between Mexico and the United States has been reopened to non-essential travel since November 8, 2021.

What are the restrictions?

Travelers to the country must complete a health declaration form and scan the QR code it generates upon arrival.

There is no need to take a pre-departure test or undertake any form of quarantine. People concerned about having symptoms should ask the health body Sanidad Internacional.

Some Mexican states or cities may have stricter restrictions.

For example, there is the state of Jalisco, where the famous resort of Puerto Vallarta is located on the Pacific coast. There, Governor Enrique Alfaro announced a new vaccination requirement for certain recreational areas.

Since January 14, a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test result carried out within 48 hours is required to enter spaces in the state of Jalisco such as casinos, bars, clubs, stadiums, concerts , event spaces, convention centers and large events. See the command (in Spanish) here.

Tourists may want to check with their hotels or resorts for local guidelines before committing to any projects.

What is the Covid situation?

Mexico has recorded nearly 5.4 million Covid-19 cases and around 314,600 deaths as of February 18 (although some believe the actual numbers are higher). President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been criticized for taking a laissez-faire approach to the virus. The restrictions weren’t very severe and life went on as normal for many, which critics say led to high death and infection rates.

As of February 18, Mexico had administered about 175 million doses of the vaccine, or 134 doses per 100 people. For comparison, the United States administered about 165 doses per 100 people.

What can visitors expect?

Mexico has a four-tier system of traffic light restrictions, with red signifying maximum restrictions, orange limiting capacity in public spaces and at work to 30%, yellow allowing all work to resume and the holding public gatherings, and green meaning there are no restrictions in place. See a color-coded map here.

As of February 18, no states were red and four states were green. The rest were yellow and orange, with those in orange concentrated in northern and central Mexico. The status of some of the most popular tourist destinations:

Baja Californiahome of the border town of Tijuana: orange.
Baja California Surhome resort Cabo San Lucas: yellow.
Guanajuatowhere is San Miguel de Allende, the favorite of expats: yellow.
Jaliscohome of Puerto Vallarta: orange.
Mexico Citythe bustling capital: yellow.
Quintana Roowhere Cancun and Playa del Carmen are located: yellow.

Many hotels and accommodation groups, such as Mexico Grand Hotels and Krystal Hotels to name two, offer on-site Covid-19 testing for your return. Ask your hotel about on-site testing before travelling.

Visitors are likely to find different situations depending on where in the country they are travelling, with local restrictions varying. Check the Local Resources section of the U.S. Embassy website for specific information.

Useful links

Sanidad International

Covid-19 government page

United States Embassy in Mexico

U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory for Mexican States

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