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. Thus some wonder “is it safe to travel again?” It is clearly much safer to travel with a tour company like Mayan Gateway which is taking COVID-19 seriously.
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. We prioritize the health of our guests and staff, and for this very important reason we are taking as many precautions as possible to protect our travelers and staff.
The Touch-less Travel
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 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 in 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 minimum 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:
Private transportation. In fact, 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.
Vehicles with enough space. We will use vehicles double the necessary size. For example, if it is a couple, we will at least use a vehicle with 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”.
Secure hotels. The hotels we will be working with are recognized and responsible. They will also be constantly evaluated to ensure that they comply with hygiene measures, social distancing, etc.
Social distancing. In order 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 the distance of 2 meters at all times with customers.
Suitable places to eat and shop. You will have the advice and recommendations of 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 support to find the best options.
Hygiene and protection on the road. 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 world-class 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, the 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 in a secure and safe way.
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 which 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.
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. Moreover, 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 distancing, necessary for everyone’s safety, but also the opportunity to spend the time of your life
Private vs collective tours
There are many group tours that offer established itineraries to tourist attractions at cheaper prices. During these collective tours people travel in a transport that is usually full. 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 a 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:
Hygiene & Health
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 hand bag. All of our vehicles will have hand sanitizer and disposal papel 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 a 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. Keep in mind that Travel Insurance and Travel Cancellation is not included in our tour prices.
Gradually countries are opening their borders when it is safe to allow travelers to pass. They will each impose their own regulations for entry. Therefore, this can represent temporary visas, and a lot of documentation that you must take with you. Being very well informed before traveling, especially if you come from a country considered as 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.
Don’t Travel Sick
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 see a traveler sneezing a lot on a plane. To learn about these in detail and stay informed of the currently emergency, visit the link of: World Health Organization
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:
What is a COVID-19 PCR 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.
What is an Antigen COVID-19 test?
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 each single country. Therefore, this list can be adjusted at short notice.
Guatemala COVID-19 Travel Requirements:
Guatemala welcomes fully vaccinated travelers. For unvaccinated travelers. A Negative COVID-19 Test is Required to enter Guatemala. All arrival travelers must be holding a negative test, both types are accepted:
Antigen Covid: it must not be older than 72 hours upon entry.
PCR: it must not be older than 96 hours upon entry.
Important: the visitors arriving by air which do not bring a negative test result, they will be able to take the test at the international airport.
Belize COVID-19 Travel Requirements:
It is necessary to download and complete the form on the Belize Health App within 72 hours before your arrival to obtain a QR Health Code. International tourists must make sure they have a reservation at Gold Standard hotels in order to present the confirmation at immigration.
Present a negative COVID-19 test, if it is PCR it must be taken within 96 hours before traveling, if it is a Rapid Test (Rapid Antigen, SD Biosensor, Sofía and ABBOTT – Panbio -), it must be taken within 48 hours prior to traveling. Or if you have already been fully immunized against COVID-19 at least two weeks before traveling, you must present the proof at your arrival. If you have not been immunized or present any test, a COVID-19 test will be administered at the airport at a cost of USD $ 50 per visitor.
During the visit, you must observe all security protocols and before leaving the country take a COVID-19 test at any of the approved testing centers in Belize. For detailed information click here.
El Salvador COVID-19 Travel Requirements:
El Salvador welcomes fully vaccinated travelers. For unvaccinated travelers, a Negative PCR COVID-19 Test is Required to enter El Salvador, this test must not be older than 72 hours upon entry.
Honduras COVID-19 Travel Requirements:
Honduras welcomes fully vaccinated travelers. For unvaccinated travelers, a Negative PCR COVID-19 Test or Antigen is Required to enter Honduras. Each type of test which the travelers choose, must not be older than 72 hours upon entry. Travelers have to fill up a form within 72 hours prior to arrival, once they fill out the form they will receive a QR code. In order to fill up the form, it is necessary to create an account. Please, follow this link in order to create an account.
Nicaragua COVID-19 Travel Requirements:
Nicaragua welcomes fully vaccinated travelers. For unvaccinated visitors, a Negative PCR COVID-19 Test is Required to enter Nicaragua, this test must not be older than 72 hours upon entry. Additionally, tourists must send the results through email to their airline. Finally, visitors must show a medical certificate upon arrival with the results of the PCR test.
Costa Rica COVID-19 Travel Requirements:
Costa Rica welcomes fully vaccinated travelers. Travelers must fill up a health pass 48 hours prior entry, available in this link: Health Pass Costa Rica. Once they fill up the form, they will obtain a QR code and a number which they need to show on a mobile device upon arrival. All travelers and tourists arriving in Costa Rica have to have health insurance which covers medical expenses related to COVID-19 and accommodation as well.
Panama COVID-19 Travel Requirements:
Panama welcomes fully vaccinated travelers. For unvaccinated visitors, a Negative PCR COVID-19 Test or Antigen is Required to enter Honduras. Each type of test which the travelers choose, must not be older than 48 hours upon entry. Please note, that this also applies to travelers which are at the airport only on transit. The passengers who do not hold a test, will be enforced to take a test at the airport.
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.
Mexico COVID-19 Travel Requirements:
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 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.