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How is Traveling in Mexico During COVID-19?

Pool in Tulum resort
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Mexico has always been among the seven most popular tourist destinations across the world. Nowadays, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it may be more popular than ever. Are you wondering why? Despite the high number of Covid-19 related deaths, Mexico has one of the world’s loosest Covid restrictions. We are Jan and Karin and these are our experiences with travelling in Mexico during Covid-19. 

Check out the latest info about the COVID-19 situation in Mexico 

Unless you are really into adrenalin and unwanted adventures, you might want to check out the latest Covid-related info before you set off. Follow up the worldwide restrictions, recommendations and others. Although Mexican rules for travelers are pretty undemanding, you might have some troubles with airlines or your home country regulations. 

Traveling in Mexico during COVID-19

Overall situation in Mexico during COVID-19 

As we mentioned above, Mexico has a really high cases/death rate. However, a lot of the locals’ livelihood depends solely on the tourism industry. And that means good news for you… Mexico is open to travelers even during Covid! You don’t need to have negative PCR tests, nor undergo the quarantine after arrival. The only thing one has to deal with is a health questionnaire, which is to be completed before boarding. Be sure to print out the QR code when finished, you will need it at the airport. Even when traveling across Mexico by plane. 

COVID-19 traffic lights system 

Traffic light epidemiological map of Mexico states during Covid

I hope and believe this doesn’t come as a surprise for you—Mexico is a federal republic. Meaning, there might be different Covid policies from country to country. The Covid map works on traffic lights system restrictions moving from green (no restrictions) to red (the worst-case scenario for your trip). You can check the map, according to your itinerary on the Mexican government websites.  

So, what do the colors mean, you might ask. And it’s a good question, here is a simple explanation on each one of them: 

  • Red 

Red is the worst-case scenario—complete lockdown. Basically everything that isn’t completely essential to humankind is closed. There are some movement restrictions even within the zone, and for traveling outside of it. 

  • Orange 

Orange zones are perceived as epidemiologically dangerous. That means it’s still pretty bad for travelers, but not critical. Hotels, restaurants, parks and gyms are still open with 50% capacity. Groceries and markets at 75% capacity. Good thing is, the museums, churches, sights, theaters, shopping malls and cultural events are allowed to stay open at 25% capacity. 

  • Yellow 

Yellow is basically a way station to normal life. All closed public spaces reopen and all non-essential activities are allowed again. As a traveler, you should check the updates regularly though. The situation in yellow areas can easily change back to worse any minute. 

  •  Green 

Well, we guess you figure out yourself what the green color means.  

Hotels’ policy  

As we mentioned in our article with 33 travel tips from our own experience, we highly recommend staying in international hotels such as Hilton or Marriott. Especially during Covid pandemic, it will be easier for you to look up the hotel’s policy and requirements, as they are standardized. It mostly involves face masks and social distancing. 

The restaurants are mostly open during pandemic 

The regulations differ according to the color of the state on Covid semaphore. The restaurants and bars are usually open, unless it’s in the red area. By the time we are writing this, most of Mexico’s countries are labeled green. Face masks aren’t required in the restaurants, but don’t freak out if someone measures your temperature and sprays disinfectant on your hands as soon as you enter the doors. 

Covid-19 health care issues 

Even though it’s not required, we strongly recommend carrying medical travel insurance before setting off. Mexico has a national healthcare system, but only for Mexican citizens. Due to Covid hospitalization rates, it might be a bit tricky (and surprisingly expensive) to get proper medical care without the insurance. 

Tip: In case you need to take some particular medication for your condition, bring some extra and possibly also the doctor’s prescription (in case the customs’ dogs sniff them out). It is possible you will have some trouble getting them in Mexico. 

No tests needed for transport in Mexico 

Traveling in Mexico during Covid is basically all the same—masks, distance, disinfectants. While traveling from state to state, you might consider traveling by plane. Believe us, you really don’t want to spend 30+ hours in a car. If you need the car for local transport, check out our 16 facts you need to know about driving in Mexico

People in the street in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

At the airports, the same policy applies for domestic flights as for the international ones. Usually no tests are needed, just think of the questionnaire mentioned above. In case you are a control freak and want to be super sure, check the local hospital for testing (and prepare to pay an arm and a leg for that).  

Most of the other countries require a negative PCR test on the way back home, but Mexicans are clever and they thought about that too. There are testing labs almost at every larger airport and in the resorts, providing Antigen tests as well as PCR tests. The price range is from 120 to 200 US dollars. 

Tip: Some of the bigger hotels are also offering both types of tests for their paying guests for free. 

Sightseeing regulation 

Mexico is a very diverse country. And that applies for the rules as well. Even though we were there during the pandemic, some of the sites were crowded as hell⁠—especially Tulum and San Cristóbal. A lot of attractions were closed on the other hand. One may think there won’t be many tourists during Covid, but that’s not quite true. You can definitely run into some Americans, Canadians and even Russians! 

Tip: Wondering where to go in Mexico City? Here are 14 top-rated must see places

Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City

The best for last 

And finally, we have our own special personal experience for those of you, who managed to read this far. The story goes like this. Because we’re from the Czech Republic, where you can feel free to drink basically any tap water, we didn’t think of buying bottled water in Mexico. Huge mistake! Do not drink the tap water in Mexico in any case! It’s full of E. coli bacteria and you will suffer the living death.  

Anyhow… the best is yet to come. We got on the plane, with Jan living his worst nightmares. He threw up all the way, all over the plane, feeling terribly sick. And guess what the flight attendant did?  

  1. She gave him some medication and paper bags. 
  1. She asked for a doctor on board. 
  1. She told him to put his mask on and behave responsibly. 

The third option is correct. To be honest though, most of the other Mexican people we met along the way were extremely friendly and helpful and bent over backwards to help us in any way. 

Enjoy your stay in Mexico even in pandemic 

Planning a trip to Mexico? You definitely shouldn’t miss the Sumidero Canyon National Park and other places we describe in our articles

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