Unlocking the World

Travel to Mexico during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN staffUpdated 16th April 2021
Life's a beach on the sands around Cancun.
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on April 16.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Mexico, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Mexico is open to travelers. There is no need to provide a negative PCR test or quarantine on arrival, though most resorts ask guests to complete health questionnaires. The land border between Mexico and the United States is closed for nonessential travel through at least April 21. However, air travel is allowed.
American travelers should remember they will need a negative Covid-19 test result taken 72 hours or less before travel to return to the US. The US Embassy says results for PCR and antigen tests are reliably available within 72 hours in Mexico.

What's on offer

Incredible food, sensational beaches, buzzing towns and historical remains. While the beach resorts around Cancun attract the bulk of visitors, those who want more than a fly and flop go for Mexico City's cultural heft, the coastline of Baja California and traditional towns such as Oaxaca.

Who can go

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

What are the restrictions?

Travelers to the country must complete a health declaration form and scan the QR code it generates on arrival. There is no need to take a test before departure or undertake any form of quarantine. Those concerned they may have symptoms should ask for the Sanidad Internacional health organization.
The land border with the United States remains shut to all but essential travel, while the southern border with Guatemala has also been subject to periodic closures.

What's the Covid situation?

Mexico had logged nearly 2.3 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 211,000 deaths as of April 16 (although some believe the actual numbers are higher). President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has come under fire for taking a laissez-faire approach to the virus. Restrictions have not been far reaching and life has gone on as normal for many, which critics say has led to high death and infection rates.

What can visitors expect?

Mexico has a four-tier traffic light system of restrictions, with red signifying maximum restrictions, orange limiting capacity in public spaces and at work to 30%, yellow allowing for all work to resume and public gatherings to take place, and green meaning there are no restrictions in place. See a color-coded map here.
As of April 16, most states were categorized as yellow and green, with a handful of orange states and no states listed as red.
Quintana Roo, where popular tourist destinations Cancun and Playa del Carmen are located, was listed as yellow.
Mexico City, still designated orange, has stringent measures in place, with fluctuating restrictions on restaurants and bars.
Visitors are likely to find the situation different depending on where in the country they travel, with local restrictions varying.

Useful links

Our latest coverage

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