Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula has a lot going for it. Namely, it’s home to Cancun, Cozumel, and Tulum — with their sandy beaches and beautiful resorts.
Unfortunately, the rising number of COVID-19 cases means the entire state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula is high-risk orange on the state’s COVID-19 stoplight map.
With these numbers in mind, Governor Carlos Joaquín wrote on Twitter and posted on other social media on May 14 that, if residents aren’t careful, it is “very probable” that Quintana Roo will switch to maximum-risk red on the state’s stoplight map. If that happens, it would mean “lockdown, closures, and cancellations,” Joaquín wrote.
He then added, “We’re facing a very significant risk.”
We wanted to know what this developing situation means for anyone traveling to — or making plans to travel to — anywhere in Quintana Roo. To get those answers, we consulted with the travel advisors at our partner, SmartFlyer, a full-service luxury travel agency.
Read on for some practical advice from Michael Holtz, founder and CEO of SmartFlyer.
Don’t Skip Insurance
Travel insurance covers unforeseen losses incurred while traveling. Although basic policies typically only cover emergency medical expenses, comprehensive policies may provide coverage for a number of events — most importantly, in these times, unexpected trip cancellation.
A knowledgeable travel advisor can run through insurance options with you to protect your investment. “This step is vital within our current climate where travel regulations can change at any moment,” Holtz says.
Stay Up-To-Date On Testing Requirements
From mask mandates to testing requirements, it seems travel requirements are now changing at lightning speed. It may be challenging to stay up-to-date on requirements, but it is vital to do so. If you are a U.S. citizen traveling overseas, one crucial requirement that cannot be overlooked is this: What is necessary to reenter the U.S. after your trip?
“Top resorts in Mexico are facilitating tests on-property for seamless reentry into the U.S.,” Holtz says. “Be aware that you may incur some additional costs required for testing.”
Pre-Book On-Property Experiences
If you’re planning a relaxing getaway, the last thing you want to do is worry about details. This is where a knowledgeable travel advisor can help.
“Whether it’s a personal training session, massage, private cooking class, special dinner, or babysitter for the kids so you can sneak away for the evening, getting as many of these elements of your stay pre-booked as possible is critical to a smooth stay,” Holtz says. A knowledgeable travel advisor “can help to coordinate all of these finer touchpoints so you don’t have to stress!”
Be Mindful Of The Weather
Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula can seem idyllic. On the other hand, it is a coastal area — subject to extreme weather.
“May through August brings both the prospect of hurricane weather to the Gulf of Mexico as well as increased sargassum seaweed [which can wash up on beaches],” Holtz says. “In terms of seaweed, most resorts do an incredible job combing the beach, but it still may be a turn off to those who love to swim in the sea.”
Book Travel With A Knowledgeable Travel Advisor
For the most seamless travel experience, it is crucial to book travel with a knowledgeable advisor. That way, they will be able to “provide tailored recommendations for a resort that best suits your needs — as well as source optimal flights, vetted transfers, and key experiential elements,” Holtz says.
Know Before You Go
The state of Quintana Roo has recorded 25,598 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and 2,712 COVID-19 deaths, according to state data. Only around 226,000 of the state’s 1.8 million people have been vaccinated, an Associated Press story reports.
It should be noted that the entire country of Mexico saw a booming increase in tourists in March. Cancun International Airport, for example, reported 692,686 passengers, which was 5 percent more than in 2019 — pre-pandemic, Riviera Maya News explains.
In his statement, Governor Joaquín suggested that increased tourism around Easter played a role in the continued rise of COVID-19 cases.
“We knew that during Easter week there were great risks,” Joaquín said. “We knew that there could be a large number of infections, and, unfortunately, that’s what happened. There is a significant number of infections, and hospital occupancy has increased.”
Mexico is open to travelers, and there isn’t a requirement to provide a negative PCR test or quarantine on arrival. However, the U.S. Embassy explains that a negative viral COVID test or documentation of recovery is required for anyone over the age of two traveling by air to the U.S. — regardless of vaccination status.
It also must be pointed out that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies Mexico as a Level 4 country with very high levels of COVID-19. The CDC explains that this means “even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Mexico.”
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