Central America Tourism Update: Guide To International Travel Restrictions

International travel for Australians has been strictly off-limits since March 2020. As vaccinations surge across Australia, the Australian government has signalled its intention to lift international travel restrictions and Australians are once again looking forward to spreading their wings and exploring our beautiful planet once again.

UPDATED 13 APRIL 2022

Similar to Australia, countries across Central America have endured high COVID-19 case numbers in the community. However, there are signs the worst of the outbreak is behind them, and cases have been declining across most of Central America since mid-August 2021.

Most Central American countries remain open to international travellers providing they meet the current entry requirements and protocols.

As every nation has faced difficulties throughout the pandemic, navigating the complexities of COVID-19 travel restrictions can be daunting. As Latin America travel specialists, we have had teams on the ground reporting on the evolving situation throughout the past few years. Below is a summary of the government travel restrictions currently in place across Central America.

Belize

Belize has reopened to international tourism. The country has implemented a Tourism Gold Standard program designed to enhance the health and safety standards of hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and other relevant businesses to ensure the safety of all travellers from arrival to departure.

In March 2022, Belize changed its entry requirements so that fully vaccinated travellers no longer need to show a negative COVID-19 test.

Current requirements to travel to Belize:

  • Fully vaccinated travellers must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers are required to show a negative PCR result taken within 72 hours of arrival or a negative rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival
  • All travellers are required to purchase Belize Travel Insurance prior to their trip.

Visit the Belize travel website for more information.

Guatemala

Guatemala began reopening to international travellers in late 2020. International travellers can enter the country, providing they meet the current entry requirements.

Travellers to Guatemala should be aware restrictions can change and are advised to monitor the situation prior to travelling. There are currently no quarantine requirements.

Current requirements to travel to Guatemala:

  • All travellers over 12 years of age must present full proof of vaccination, administered at least two weeks before arrival.
  • All passengers aged 10 and over must present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.
  • Children under 10 are not required to meet the above requirements.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has one of the highest vaccination rates in Central America, and its borders are open to international travellers. There are no requirements to produce a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. Vaccines are not mandatory to enter the country. However, unvaccinated travellers do face stricter requirements regarding travel insurance.

From January 8 2022, only fully vaccinated people may enter commercial establishments such as retail shops, restaurants, bars, etc. Face masks are required in public and indoor spaces.

Current requirements to travel to Costa Rica:

  • Unvaccinated travellers must purchase travel insurance that covers lodging in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19 disease.
  • Fully vaccinated travellers can enter the country without a travel policy.

Please visit the Visit Costa Rica page for further information.

Panama

Panama has one of the highest rates of vaccination in Central America. The country is currently open to all international travellers. However, there are stricter entry requirements for unvaccinated travellers. Curfews remain in place in some areas, and masks are still mandatory in most situations.

Current requirements to travel to Panama:

  • Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test result – taken within 72 hours before departure.
  • All travellers are required to present a completed Electronic Health Affidavit to their airline carrier prior to departure.

Please visit the Panama Tourism website for further information.

Cuba

Cuba has the highest vaccination rate in Central America.

Current requirements to travel to Cuba:

  • Produce a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate from your country of origin.
  • Present evidence of a negative PCR test – taken within 72 hours prior to departure.
  • Cuban authorities undertake random PCR tests within the airport. If a positive result is received, travellers will be moved into a government quarantine centre. Close contacts of positive test results may also be required to quarantine.
  • All arrivals must complete a Health Declaration form.

Mexico

Mexico has suffered the worst outbreak of COVID-19 in Central America. The country has experienced a high number of cases and has been one of the hardest hit in the region. The most recent outbreak peaked at the end of August 2021, and cases have been dropping since. However, community transmission remains high and local restrictions may vary across different regions.

Mexico’s borders remain open to international travellers.

Current requirements to travel to Mexico:

  • Travellers to Mexico must complete a health declaration form.
  • There are currently no requirements to produce a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of vaccination to enter the country.

We are incredibly excited to get back out there and explore the spectacular destinations of Central America – once it is safe to do so. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about planning your Central America adventure. Australian travellers are also encouraged to visit the Australian Government travel advice website, Smart Traveller, for up-to-date international travel information.

This piece is one in a series on travel restrictions throughout Latin America. For information on travel restrictions in South America, please read our dedicated South America Travel Restrictions piece.

Author: admin

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