The world isn’t as open to US citizens right now as it was nine months ago, but nonetheless, our travel prospects are looking much better than they were this spring. Although much of Europe remains off-limits, several countries in Asia have slowly started to welcome back US visitors, and many other countries around the world have cautiously opened their doors. Latin America is probably our best chance right now for revisiting our love of travel. With over 20 destinations welcoming US citizens across Latin America — each with their own COVID-19 protocols, of course — there are plenty of opportunities for a fall vacation. These are the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean currently welcoming US tourists.
Where can US citizens travel in Latin America?
Although Brazil has been assigned a Level 4 travel advisory (Do Not Travel) by the US Department of State, Brazil is open to US tourists traveling by air. The country does not require a negative COVID-19 test, quarantine, or health insurance.
Americans are allowed to enter Ecuador quarantine-free as long as they have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 10 days before entering the country. Those who don’t have a test can take one at their own expense at the airport upon arrival, though you must quarantine while you await your test result. Those wanting to visit the Galápagos Islands must show a negative PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before entering the Galápagos province.
As of October 1, all incoming passengers to Colombia must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before departing. They must also complete Migracion Colombia’s Check-Mig immigration form. As long as you fulfill these two requirements, you won’t be expected to quarantine.
Although land, river, and lake borders remain closed, Bolivia’s air borders are open for commercial flights. US tourists will be allowed into the country with no quarantine as long as they submit proof of a negative PCR test taken within seven days of departure. Expect health screening procedures, including temperature checks, at airports, and if you’re found to have a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, you will be evaluated by the airport medical unit. Entry rules are expected to change without notice, so make sure to stay up to date.
French Guyana’s international airports opened on October 12 to international flights. To enter, you must complete a Passenger Locator Form at least 48 hours before your arrival and have a copy of your negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of your departure. If the results are more than 72 hours old, you will be tested at the airport at your own expense and then required to wait for the results at a government-approved facility or at the airport itself. Results are usually available within 24 hours. Approval must be granted before your flight. Keep in mind that a curfew is in place from 9:00 PM until 4:00 AM every night.
At the end of November, Chile will lift its international air restrictions through the Arturo Merino Benítez Airport to all international visitors. Before their flights, travelers will need to fill out an affidavit mentioning their origin and destination, as well as their health condition and the eventual presence of COVID-19 symptoms. Travelers are required to present the negative result of a PCR test from a recognized laboratory and taken no earlier than 72 hours before departure. They will also need to download a contact tracing app — currently in development — that will monitor their health for 14 days.
El Salvador reopened its international airport on September 19, 2020. A negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure is required, and as long as you fulfill this requirement no quarantine is necessary.
Belize reopened to tourists from the US on October 1, as long as visitors book a hotel compliant with the country’s Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program. Hotels in the program have implemented health and safety measures deemed acceptable and necessary to keep everyone safe. Visitors must also download the Belize Health App at least three days before boarding the flight for the purpose of contact tracing (you’ll be asked to check in the app daily) and present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.
Last month, Costa Rica removed all COVID-19 test requirements for entry, which were previously required for US citizens since August 2020. Under the new protocol, visitors will have to fill out an online health form and purchase travel insurance covering accommodation and medical expenses in case quarantine becomes necessary.
US citizens can enter Honduras with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. Those who have symptoms of COVID-19, have been in contact with a confirmed case within the past 14 days, or have traveled to a country with confirmed cases may be isolated in a medical center or the traveler’s residence for 14 days. Some curfews and movement restrictions are also in place, and the details are available online.
Panama opened to all international tourists, including those from the US, on October 12. The country requires incoming passengers to fill out an electronic affidavit before checking into their flight and present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure. You can also choose to take a rapid test upon arrival at your own expense ($50). If the rapid test is positive, however, you must quarantine for seven days at a hotel in Panama at the government’s expense. To start filling out the affidavit, visit the Panama Digital platform.
Curaçao will welcome some US tourists starting the first week of November but only if those tourists are from New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. Residents of these three states will be asked to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before traveling and fill out an online immigration card and Passenger Locator Card within 48 hours of departure. You’ll have to show a state-issued ID to prove you reside in one of the three approved states. Other states will likely be permitted as time passes, according to their respective public health situations. On November 7, flights to the island resumed on United Airlines from Newark Airport.
To enter Grenada, you must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days of departure and have a hotel booked for a minimum of at least five days so you can quarantine. On day four of your trip, you can take another PCR test, and if you test negative you’ll be allowed to leave the property and move freely around the island. If you choose not to take a PCR test, you’ll have to remain at the hotel for the duration of your visit. You’re also required to fill out several travel forms, including acceptance of the Waiver Of Liability Agreement. You’re also asked to download a contact tracing app, though the app isn’t available to iPhone users yet (they are exempt from this requirement).
Antigua and Barbuda
All US travelers arriving to Antigua and Barbuda must complete a Health Declaration Form upon arrival, a traveler accommodation form, and complete a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days of arrival. Passengers should also expect to pay for an additional COVID-19 test upon arrival if authorities determine it’s necessary. No quarantine is needed unless you’re arriving by sea, in which case a 14-day self-isolation period is required until a negative test can be produced.
Aruba is only allowing residents of half the US states — those considered low risk — to enter with a negative PCR test taken between 12 and 72 hours before departure. The high-risk states have to upload test results online or take one at the airport upon arrival for $75 and quarantine for 24 hours while awaiting results. All incoming visitors must complete an Embarkation/Disembarkation card and purchase mandatory Aruba Visitors Insurance covering up to $75,000 in expenses should they test positive during their stay. The updated list of high-risk states can be found online.
US citizens can enter the Bahamas as long as they’ve submitted a Travel Health Visa Application online. The application requires a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken no more than seven days before arrival. Applications take approximately 72 hours to process, and you must submit the final confirmation document upon arrival in the Bahamas. Tourists are also asked to download the HubbCat Monitoring Platform app to their phone, which will allow the government to conduct contact tracing. Before November 1, all travelers must still undergo a 14-day quarantine even if they fulfill these requirements. After November 1, the negative PCR test will be sufficient to skip the quarantine, though a rapid antigen test will also be required upon arrival and another one four days later.
Since the US is considered a high-risk country by the government of Barbados, US citizens must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival and fill out an immigration and customs form online. Incoming passengers will also undergo health screenings at the airport. All travelers will be asked to self-isolate at their pre-approved hotel, resort, or villa, and then get retested four to five days after the first negative test. If that test is negative they will be allowed to move freely about the island.
To enter Bermuda, US travelers are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure and complete the Bermuda travel authorization form online that comes with a $75 fee. Upon arrival, visitors will undergo mandatory temperature checks, another COVID-19 test at the airport, and must quarantine until results are ready.
The US is on Dominica’s “red list” of high-risk countries, but that doesn’t mean US citizens can’t visit. US travelers are required to fill out an online health questionnaire and show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 24 to 72 hours before arrival. Upon landing, travelers will be given a rapid test at the airport and must quarantine (even if negative) at a government-sanctioned quarantine facility for five days. After five days, another test will be given.
No COVID-19 test is required to enter the Dominican Republic, but since September 15, rapid tests have been randomly administered to travelers upon arrival. Those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be targeted for testing. Through the end of 2020, the Dominican Republic will provide free emergency travel assistance to tourists staying at hotels, covering the expense of testing, lodging, and flight change penalties in the event of an infection during the trip. A curfew is currently in place Mondays through Fridays from 9 PM to 5 AM and Saturdays and Sundays from 7 PM to 5 AM. More details can be found online.
St. Barts is open to US visitors but requires travelers older than 11 to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. If you’re staying longer than a week, you must take a second test on the eighth night of your trip at your own expense (around $155). If you choose not to take a test, or you test positive, you’ll be expected to quarantine on the island for 14 days.
Visitors to Jamaica must present negative results of a COVID-19 test taken within 10 days of their arrival on the island. All passengers must also complete a Travel Authorization screening form to be submitted for approval between two and five days before departure. Travelers must also take a test upon arrival and quarantine at their accommodation while awaiting the results. Some properties operate within the “resilient corridor” — with hospitality workers specially trained in COVID-19 protocols, and those guests will be free to move about the corridor upon receiving a negative test. All others must quarantine for the full 14 days regardless of their test result.
Additionally, as part of the Jamaica Cares program, travelers are required to pay a $40 health insurance fee to cover emergency medical treatment while on the island.
Visitors to Puerto Rico should present the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. If you’re still awaiting results, you should quarantine for 14 days. Those arriving without a test will be required to quarantine for 14 days. An online travel declaration form is also required before entry.
Like most other Caribbean islands, visitors to St. Lucia are required to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within seven days and complete a travel registration form. They must also have confirmed reservations at a COVID-certified accommodation, a list of which is available online. Health screenings will be carried out at the airport. Those without symptoms must take a taxi to their lodging and are required to remain on the hotel or resort grounds during their stay with the exception of water-based activities arranged by the hotel.
Travelers over the age 10 arriving in St. Martin are required to fill out a health declaration form and have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of travel. You’re also asked to bring a thermometer, mask, hand sanitizer, and have travel insurance that covers COVID-19. US travelers specifically are asked to monitor their body temperature and any flu-like symptoms for the first 14 days of their trip.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
US citizens must fill out a pre-arrival travel form, as well as show a negative COVID-test taken within the five days prior to departure. You must also have proof of paid accommodation in an approved facility and quarantine there for five days. Between day four and five of quarantine, another test must be taken. All travelers are asked to track their temperature for two weeks and report any concerning signs.
Turks and Caicos
To travel to Turks and Caicos, you must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of travel and have insurance covering any COVID-19-related medical costs you may incur. All passengers must also complete the online Travel Authorization Form before boarding your flight. Upon arrival, travelers should expect a health officer to take biological samples by swabbing or other means at the airport. No quarantine is required for those who test negative.
US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands requires visitors to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of arrival. You can also show the results of a positive antibody test taken within the previous four months. If you don’t have a test result, you’ll be required to quarantine for 14 days or the duration of your stay. You can take a test on the island to leave quarantine early.
Cuba is reopening Havana Airport to commercial flights on Sunday, November 15. Authorities will be testing all incoming passengers for COVID-19 upon arrival, charging a sanitary tariff to cover the costs of hygiene protocols. You don’t have to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test before entering, but tourism agencies are encouraging visitors to monitor their health before traveling.
Unlike most other countries, Mexico does not require a negative COVID-19 test for entry. Passengers should, however, expect health screenings and temperature checks at airports. No quarantine period is required either. Before going to Mexico, you need to be aware that each state operates differently and is at a different stage in its reopening process. Each Mexican state falls into either the red, orange, yellow, or green category, which dictates what’s open and at what capacity. The updated list of states and their color designations is available online.
A version of this article was previously published on October 15, 2020, and was updated on November 13, 2020, with more information.