Updated: Feb 19
As of the time of writing this (mid-February 2021) the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued an order requiring anyone flying to the United States to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before departure.
But if there's one thing that 2020 has shown us, it's that the travel industry is resilient, creative and able to adapt to the most challenging of circumstances.
Mexico (in particular) quickly implemented a multitude of easy, in-country testing options for travelers to meet this new CDC requirement and continues to safely welcome travelers.
I traveled to Mexico last week - checking out the lovely new One & Only Mandarina - so this week wanted to share what it was like traveling to Mexico right now.
Departing the U.S. for Mexico
Flying from the U.S. to Mexico was a piece of cake. Flights were generally about half full, which translates to plenty of space to spread out.
On the flight to Mexico you will be given a QR code to complete a health questionnaire upon arrival. As soon as you land, you will walk by an infrared screen that checks body temperature prior to immigration. Other than that, arrival protocols are not out of the ordinary.
Covid Testing on Property
Most properties in Mexico are now offering on-site Covid testing (or access to nearby options) to assist travelers in complying with the CDC requirement of a negative test before flying home. Prices and process will differ by resort.
The One & Only Mandarina is offering complimentary in-room tests. And the process could not have been easier! Your test will be scheduled the morning of the day before you depart (so 48 hours before departure) and takes place right in your villa.
You'll have initial results immediately, which offers peace of mind. Then the test is sent through to a lab for formal certification and you receive an email confirmation verifying negative results. This is the document you will present to the airline staff at check in to receive your boarding pass.
It's also worth noting that all staff at the resort, all drivers, and anyone working in local restaurants are masked at all times. This dedication to masking - combined with the fact that we were seated outside for all meals - made me feel incredibly safe throughout the trip.
Returning to the U.S. from Mexico
Returning to the U.S was as simple as the flight down. Armed with our negative Covid test results, we were able to complete our check-in upon arrival at the airport. There is a second online health questionnaire to complete prior to arrival at the airport (there are QR codes throughout the airport, and our driver happened to have it for us in the transfer vehicle - see below.)
From there, everything pretty straightforward and normal.
So what happens if you test positive?
Of course, it's possible to text positive for Covid - even without symptoms. If this happens, you'll need to quarantine in Mexico. Most resorts are offering discounted room rates if this should happen.
While all policies are different, we have a few partners who offer coverage that includes coverage in the event you need to unexpectedly need extend your trip.
Bottom line - the addition of the Covid test to re-enter the U.S. did not add stress to my trip. And if requirements like this help keep us all safe while allowing people to travel safely - we're all for it!
After nearly a year laying low, I felt beyond grateful to spend four days at a beautiful new resort, enjoying the warm weather, and soaking in the warm, rejuvenating ocean.
Throughout the pandemic, I've been heartbroken for all the individual small businesses and people travel and tourism touches. While in Mexico, I was reminded just how many people were involved in my one small trip. Tourism has an exponential impact around the world.