What you need to know before heading to Mexico

While our neighbors abroad figure out the best way to move forward with travelers coming from the United States, Mexico is great alternative to getting that European feel without the lengthy travel time. But what safety precautions are in place and what should you know before heading southbound?

First, you should know that Mexico is currently at level 4 according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). That means COVID-19 levels are very high and the department is strongly encouraging people to stay out of the country until further notice.

But for those willing to take the chance, be advised: land crossing from the U.S. to Mexico is still restricted. The rule is that only essential travel is allowed. That ban is scheduled to lift on June 21, 2021, but that is not ironclad. This rule does not apply to Americans returning home.

Air travel is allowed and is probably the least complicated to understand. Still, masks are required on flights and some airlines are adhering to social distancing rules. Airports do health screenings and temperature checks. Those showing a high temperature or COVID symptoms may be subject to further safety measures.

So keep in mind, you may not need a COVID vaccine to enter Mexico by air, but you must have proof of vaccination when you return. This rule does not apply to people traveling by land or sea or children under two years old.

Per the CDC: a negative COVID-19 test taken within the 3 calendar days prior to flight departure, or documentation of recovery from a COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days is required for air passengers entering the United States.

As with most travel to Mexico during the pandemic, guidelines and directives have reportedly been loosely followed so you should do your research thoroughly before realizing your dreams of Cabo. That's not to say that all of Mexico is roughly following guidelines; high tourism areas are imposing mask usage and social distancing measures.

You also need a valid passport with enough space for visa stamps.

In summary if you are an American planning to go to Mexico you should know:

The CDC strongly recommends not visiting the country at this time due to high cases of COVID-19.

Land entry is not permitted unless it is a special circumstance.

Air travel is permitted without proof of vaccination, but you must provide proof upon returning to the United States.

You need a valid passport with enough space for visa stamps.

Some airlines still implement COVID-19 safety measures.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Mexico.

Mexico is a wonderful place full of culture, heritage and some of the best scenery in the world. This makes it a popular international vacation spot for Americans since it can be accessed in less than a day depending on where you go. With current restrictions abroad, Mexico seems to be a national staycation for vacationers in 2021, but safety should be your first consideration.

Be sure to check the CDC website for current alerts about Mexico. There is also extensive information on the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico site.

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