Based on advice from the WHO and World Travel and Tourism Council we have completed layers of operational protocols to boost safety on our trips.
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For Central America
The world lives in difficult times now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all in one way or another. Also, it taught us new ways to relate to one another and to appreciate what is valuable in life. Countries of the world have had to temporarily close their borders and we all had to stop, slow down or stay home.
Based on advice from the WHO and World Travel and Tourism Council we have completed layers of operational protocols to boost safety on our trips. The use of the Safe Travel logo of the World Travel and Tourism Council demonstrates that we are following the acknowledged guidelines of health and hygiene protocols in the new Covid world.
These protocols are established on medical data and guidelines from the World Health Organization, and the World Travel and Tourism Council. We are presently adopting this badge of safety, it offers our travelers an objective, third-party verification tool to verify that we have carried out science-driven protocols and are meeting great safety benchmarks.
Even though it will not be the same, we will certainly travel again, we only will need to adjust to the new protocols. There will be safety measures that you will have to take and respect in every place you go. Mayan Gateway Travel Agency keeps updated with the information of each country within our many destinations in Central America.
We are on top of everything to guarantee the safety of our travelers. Protocols and health security systems are continuously changing, but we will keep you updated on this matter. Check the web of the World Tourism Organization for the update on Restrictions on Tourism Travel.
Possibly the most immediate and visible change that you will appreciate will be the lessened contact and even areas of non-contact, not only at the airport but throughout your trip. Since minimizing risk is being sought, you will see strict cleaning protocols, especially in the areas of greatest risk, such as the areas for the exchange of travel documents. As a rule, any risky place will be avoided and there will be minimal contact with other people to keep you safe, while you enjoy the journey.
Without a doubt, after COVID-19, crowded venues will no longer be as popular as they once were. Hence you will find many more options to travel to remote or little-known places. Also, this will give you of course the great advantage of enjoying hidden paradises safely and without crowding. From jungle hikes or bird watching to sailing or snorkeling adventures, Central America surely has something for you!
Check our off the beaten path adventure: Mayan Trek El Zotz – Tikal
Covid Travel Guidelines
One of the great advantages of traveling with us is that we know the area, the people and their customs. In addition, we are also aware of important news and events from all our destinations. As a benefit, you will have experts in the field advising you in planning your next vacation in Central America. Read more about the benefits of traveling with experts: Travel with a Travel Agency vs. DIY
Due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, we will be implementing a security protocol for all trips. The measures are designed to help protect the health of our travelers, as well as the guides, pilots, etc. Read, below, the preventive measures we will take throughout the trips:
This is something we have always done. Our transportation is always private, including airport transfers. With this measure, we minimize unnecessary contact with other people and possible risks.
We will use vehicles double the necessary size. For example, if it is a couple, we will at least use a vehicle with a capacity for 4 passengers. If there are 4 travelers, we will use a vehicle for 8 passengers. In summary, there will be plenty of free space inside, so there can be “social distancing”.
The hotels we will be working with are recognized and responsible corporations. They will also be constantly evaluated to ensure that they comply with hygiene measures, social distancing, etc.
To comply with this important prevention standard, we will only include in our itineraries places where it is possible to maintain ‘social distancing’. For example, we would not take a traveler to a museum that is very small where there are many people at the same time or there is no space. Instead, we have a huge variety of places for you to visit without worrying about the crowds. Most of the attractions in Central America are outside! For example, the Mayan ruins and jungle, endless space to practice Social Distancing. It should be noted that our drivers and guides will keep a distance of 2 meters at all times with customers.
You will have advice and recommendations on the most suitable places to eat or shop in each destination. We know restaurants where there may be social distancing and where there may be space between the tables. Furthermore, we also know which are the convenience or souvenir stores that comply with the rules of hygiene and social distancing. In general, you will have our timely advice and counseling to find the best options.
Until the use of the masks in public places is maintained as a preventive measure, we will be providing our clients with new sealed face masks, if they do not have them. On the same note, all of our vehicles will also have hand sanitizer available.
The most impressive destinations in Central America are waiting for you.
Choose better to travel safer
Private vs public Transport
Despite not being very comfortable, public transportation is even a tourist attraction in some Central American countries. Although, there are also semi-private options. Nevertheless, public transport is usually colorful, very crowded, and cheap. You can see people from the local community in their daily lives.
The impossibility of maintaining social distance in public transport leaves private transport as the only viable and safe option. Moreover, it not only gives you comfort, but also the ease of traveling securely and safely.
Off the beaten path vs crowded
Central America has wonderful destinations off of the beaten path for you to enjoy a safe and fun vacation. The countries here have so many Natural and Cultural wonders, however, there are not as many tourists as there are in other parts of the world. Besides, there are plenty of places that are hidden gems. They are perfect for a thrilling jungle hike or a peaceful boat ride at sunset.
With expert advice, you can plan an exciting trip, while avoiding crowded places that pose a risk of COVID-19 infection. The greatest advantage of these kinds of places is that many times you will feel as if they are only for you.
Natural adventures vs touring cities
Without a doubt, there are many interesting cities worth visiting, each one with different and very particular tourist attractions. Particularly the Colonial Cities with their beauty and history make travelers from all over the world fall in love with them. Despite this, we must remember that we need to maintain social distance, which is always more difficult in a city, but it is not impossible if you know the ways.
The most amazing biological reserves and the Barrier Reef Reserve System will take you to a different and wonderful world. Unparalleled adventures like Zip Line, River Rafting, Cave Tubing, Kayaking, and many more. In summary, natural destinations not only offer you the security of social distance, necessary for everyone’s safety but also the opportunity to spend the time of your life.
Private vs collective tours
Many group tours offer established itineraries to tourist attractions at cheaper prices. During these collective tours, people travel in a usually full transport. While they visit the place, they all do it together in a large group. The great disadvantage in the current situation is a serious risk of contagion of COVID-19. Unlike these, a private tour firstly gives you the comfort and safety of private transportation. Secondly, the visit to the attraction is also private, this means your private guide can take you to less crowded places. In addition, you will surely enjoy more of a guided, safe and private tour.
Central America is off the beaten path. You will find chances of Social Distancing everywhere, especially if you compare these countries with the touristy destinations in the world.
Important things to consider
There are very few things to consider when planning your next trip to Central America after COVID-19. We list below some of them for you to consider:
Widely known, frequent handwashing can avoid being infected with COVID-19, but how do you do this if you are on the move? Well, there certainly are many ways, from gel sanitizer to damp towels. Hence, when you are preparing luggage for your next trip, you should take this into account. You must certainly have some in your handbag. All of our vehicles will have hand sanitizer and disposal paper towels available.
Many people today have experienced the great benefits of insuring their trips. Now more than ever, this is something you should not forget the next time you travel. Nevertheless, in the past, the insurance sold by both insurance companies and Airlines did not include things such as the outbreak of a pandemic. Today, secure providers will have to adapt to our new reality and offer better options to the traveler.
At Mayan Gateway, we always strongly recommend our clients to purchase Travel Cancellation Protection Insurance. By doing so, you’ll get the peace of mind you need to fully enjoy your next vacation in Central America.
Gradually countries have opened their borders to allow travelers to pass. They will each impose their regulations for entry. Therefore, this can represent temporary visas and documentation that you must take with you. Being very well informed before traveling, especially if you come from a country considered a critical point of the outbreak, is a very good idea.
Many countries will not even risk doing tests at the border; therefore, the immunity certificate will become the preferred passport. Whether you have recovered from COVID-19 infection or you have been vaccinated (once available), this certificate could save the traveler many lines.
It will be socially unacceptable to travel with a cold or any illness, especially those of a respiratory nature. Therefore, this recommendation goes even for those who have already recovered from COVID-19 and have built up immunity. It is a matter of social empathy. People everywhere will be very sensitive to seeing a foreigner sneezing on the street.
Requirements per country
Most countries are accepting fully vaccinated travelers. If you are not vaccinated, you will need to take a test.
Type of tests required:
1. PCR test
2. Antigen test
A PCR test for COVID-19 is an analysis used to diagnose travelers if they may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, which is the Coronavirus that creates COVID-19. The PCR test is the “gold standard” analysis for diagnosing COVID-19 because it is the most exact and trustworthy test. Molecular-based tests (PCR tests) for the explicit detection of COVID-19 are presently accepted from all countries of Central America, please check below the requirements for each country in particular.
A rapid antigen test (RAT), or rapid test, is a rapid diagnostic analysis applicable for point-of-care testing that directly distinguishes the existence or absence of an antigen. It is frequently used for the detection of COVID-19. These COVID-19 tests detect particular proteins in the virus. Applying a nasal swab to get a fluid fragment, antigen tests can generate results in minutes. In contrast to the PCR tests which may be sent to a lab for analysis.
Please keep in mind that the Government of each Central American country reviews, on an evolving basis, the extent of the situation in every single country. Therefore, this list can be adjusted at short notice. Here are the Covid requirements to enter each country in Central America:
From March 11, 2022
All tourists regardless of their nationality must present one of the following requirements:
- COVID-19 vaccination card or certificate. The last dose must have been administered a minimum of 2 weeks before the beginning of the trip. It applies only to travelers over 12 years old.
- Negative COVID-19 test: Antigen or PCR (nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab) no more than 3 days before the checkpoint on the airline boarding into Guatemalan territory. It applies only to people over 10 years of age.
Negative PCR test no more than 96 hours or negative antigen test no more than 48 hours, before the point of check-in at the airline for boarding to Belize.
Updated February 15, 2022
As long as you are vaccinated you no longer have to do a covid test to enter Belize, but as a result, all visitors must buy an $18 USDF Belizean travel insurance, which is to cover expenses incurred in case you get infected with covid. Effective February 15th, 2022, all Foreign Tourists entering Belize will be required to purchase Belize travel insurance. It’s highly recommended to purchase the new travel insurance before arriving in Belize. Pay for insurance online.
Mexico is open to tourists. There is no need to show a negative PCR test or quarantine upon arrival, though a lot of hotels and resorts ask travelers to complete health questionnaires. Mexico has some of the most relaxed border restrictions, presently, with anyone granted to travel by air for business or leisure. However, the health department is on alert to assist travelers who show Coronavirus symptoms.
Updated January 4, 2022. El Salvador has remained a safe travel destination and a country of reference for its good management of the COVID-19 pandemic. El Salvador calls upon travelers to continue voluntarily complying with the corresponding prevention and biosecurity measures such as vaccination, use of masks, and hand disinfection. Due to this, no negative test or vaccination card is requested as an entry requirement.
All visitors must present an RT-PCR test (Molecular Test) or a negative Antigen test, with a result issued no later than 72 hours before departure. If you already have your full vaccination schedule, a negative test is not required, you must present your vaccination certificate instead. Visitors must complete an electronic “pre-entry check” form before traveling to Honduras. An account must be created and the form completed within 72 hours before flight or land entry. Link to form and you must fill out the following declaration form.
All visitors, whether vaccinated or not, must have a negative PCR-RT test result for COVID. Make sure that no more than 72 hours have passed since you were tested to enter the country. Fill in your details and attach the negative test result in PDF to your airline at least 36 hours (1.5 days) before your flight.
The authorities request that this information be sent to the Aviation Authority and MINSA, who will approve your entry into the country. On the day of your trip, present the original document with the result of your PCR-RT test for COVID. You also need to fill up this form here before your arrival.
Costa Rica welcomes fully vaccinated travelers. Travelers must fill out a health pass 72 hours before entry, available at this link: Health Pass Costa Rica. Once the form is completed, they will get a QR code and a number that must be shown on a mobile device upon arrival. Travelers and tourists arriving in Costa Rica who are not vaccinated must have health insurance to cover medical expenses related to COVID-19 and also accommodation.
Travelers will not have to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter as long as they can present a card or digital certification of at least 2 doses or a complete vaccination schedule endorsed by WHO, EMA, and FDA, equal to or greater than 14 days after their last dose. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers with an incomplete vaccination schedule must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test within 72 hours upon arrival in Panama.
All travelers must fill up a sworn declaration before flying to Panama, once they fill up the document, they will receive a QR code which they need to show upon arrival on a mobile device. Please, follow this link to fill up your form.
Central America is a land of impressive natural beauty, and consequently, it is worth visiting. Its imposing volcanoes, beautiful lagoons, and magical cenotes will take your breath away.