June 24, 2020 - Meagan Palmer
Many travelers had to call-off their trips to Cancun, Mexico this year, unfortunately. As travel advisories from COVID-19 are lifted and travel begins to resume, you may not be so sure to jump on an airplane due to health safety concerns. Below is a comprehensive guide on the current travel safety tips and steps towards a safe trip to Cancun, whenever that may be.
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As many other locations around the world, Cancun has had its moments of negative press. Increased levels of gang violence and violent crime led to the state department raising travel advisories, especially in 2019. However, in 2020, new travel bans and global health advisories caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have prohibited travelers from crossing the border for fear of spreading the virus.
But… yes, Cancun is safe to visit. Tourism is a main source of revenue for Mexico, so the government has implemented strong security measures to ensure travelers’ safety and continued tourism. In addition, Cancun boasts lower crime rates than the top populated cities in the United States. This should comfort those who opt for solo travel or even families with young children. The best way to ensure you’re out of harm’s way is to enjoy areas within the hotel zone, Cancun beaches, and Isla Mujeres –all guarded by heavy security.
Mexico, like the U.S, has a high rate of active COVID-19 cases and is seeing a steady uptick in sick citizens. However, it has had far fewer documented deaths than its northern counterpart. Similar to the States, social distancing is still taking place in the local life of Cancun and locals are staying home, unless they are an essential worker. Locals are also wearing masks outside their homes and refraining from large gatherings.
If you plan on traveling to Cancun in the coming months, purchasing travel insurance can give you much needed peace of mind. Look for coverages like Cancel for Any Reason in case the hopeful reopening plans fall short, travel warnings are still in place, or you aren’t able to travel. This specific coverage would allow you to cancel your trip for any reason at all (literally any reason at all!) and receive 75% of your trip expenses back, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.
Having other benefits such as emergency medical expense and change fee coverage can be advantageous when traveling. Many don’t realize that your major medical health provider won’t offer coverage in other countries, not even Mexico. If you were to contract COVID-19 (or any other illness or injury for that matter) while on your trip, your travel insurance plan could reimburse you for the hospital stay and medical care you receive. Likewise, if you needed to change your flights, a comprehensive policy could cover the change fees to do so.
As much as we’d love to be sitting on a beach right now, there’s still a travel ban on non-essential travel (such as tourism and recreation travel) to Cancun, Mexico. The current ban is set to expire on June 22 of this year. The tough part about giving an exact answer to “when can we travel to Cancun again?”, is that the travel advisory could be extended by Mexico or the U.S. State Department if there is a possibility of a resurgence of the pandemic.
Given that current travel plans are out of the question, there’s still a plan of reopening in the next month for parts of Mexico. Popular tourist destinations within the Mexican state of Quintana Roo such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum are potentially reopening tourist attractions and hotels around June 8th. However, you might not be able to actually book a reservation until July 1st (more on that later!). Of course, this is dependent on government mandates and businesses meeting new health and safety standards.
Prior to 2010, this could be the case. However, since then, it has been required that all those entering Mexico from the U.S. must present a valid passport, not just a passport card –this is important, otherwise you might not be able to officially enter the country. For less hassle, also double check prior to departure that you have one blank passport page per stamp you’ll need while traveling to Cancun, Mexico.
Find information about specific tips on how to get to Cancun, Mexico safely, amongst the current pandemic. We’ve also included some enjoyable activities to try to lighten the mood!
Travelers can look forward to more flights traveling to Cancun from the U.S. in the coming weeks, if all goes according to plan. Some routes from Atlanta to Cancun and Mexico City via Delta Airlines will soon return and Aeromexico has already begun ramping up their operations, however, there are still various restrictions on specific departures to keep a close eye on. Other airlines like Spirit and JetBlue seem to be opening up routes soon as well with Southwest waiting until 2021 .
Commuter rail travel has been restricted by the land-travel ban between Mexico and the U.S until June 22.
Current restrictions include only essential travel when traveling to Mexico from the U.S. by car. If you fall into this category, be sure to follow the newest regulations such as wearing a face mask, permitting a temperature check, and only allowing two people per vehicle.
Note that if driving at least 12 miles beyond the border of Mexico, a temporary import permit is mandatory if your car is registered in the U.S. Save some time going through border control by having the necessary requirements such as your passport or passport card, an entry permit, and valid proof of vehicle registration.
When considering renting a car in Mexico, you’ll want to be wary of the renting requirements and what type of rental coverage you’ll need. Similar to the U.S., a renter must be at least 25 years old, have a valid credit card, and have had your license for at least two years.
In regards to coverage though, it can help to at least purchase civil liability Mexican car protection so you aren’t stuck in Mexico needing to pay the cost of accident damage. If your comprehensive travel insurance policy had rental collision damage coverage, then you could additionally file a claim for any of the expenses you incurred due to the accident.
If you’re not the most experienced driver or your anxiety is easily spiked when on the road, you may opt out of driving in Mexico altogether. Drivers from here can tend to be laid-back in their approach on the road, which could seem more intense than U.S. drivers. Before starting off your adventure, be sure to brush up on some important differences you might see when driving in Mexico to avoid any mishaps.
As mentioned before, July 1st is the tentative date most hotels in Mexico (including Cancun!) are opening to travelers at 30% capacity. To ease your worries about safety and sanitation efforts, you can rest assured that each hotel is required to get “Health First” certified prior to reopening. If staying at a hotel or resort still doesn’t clear your apprehension, try booking a vacation villa. Some of the perks include added privacy and higher ability to maintain cleanliness.
As the region of Cancun has stabilized it’s COVID-19 cases, places like movie theaters, malls, and salons are beginning to open at 30% capacity –great news for locals. Travelers on the other hand, will be excited to hear that museums, marinas, restaurants, and transport companies have been given the go-ahead to open at 30% as well. Some specific activities like beaches, clubs, bars, and social events are still banned until further safety progression.
Want all-around fun for everyone on your trip? Spending your days at Xcaret by Mexico is sure to create lasting memories due to its parks of all kinds (water, theme, amusement, eco-archaeological, and more!). If you fall in love with Xcaret and don’t want to leave, just book a room at Hotel Xcaret. If you book the All Fun Inclusive option, you’ll get access to various parks plus transportation!
Another option for those adventure and water sport lovers is Garragon Natural Reef Park. Enjoy snorkeling, zip lining, sport fishing and even sailing here. Don’t feel left out if you like to soak in the sun –they have hammocks, lush greenery, and stunning ocean-facing views for you to relish in as you relax.
If you already have your hotel plans in place, but want to see the sights, booking a private tour from Cancun Elite could be the answer. This company is a gold mine for travelers who love to learn the history of a destination or those who prefer a bit more adventure. For example, they have day trip tours to the Riviera Maya region, including Tulum and other dolphin experiences. However, if you plan on doing more tours outside of Cancun, it might be worth it to find a vacation rental in one of the Riviera Maya cities for more flexibility to explore and be a tourist.
Cancun offers a wide variety of kid-friendly activities and tours. If you have some safety concerns though, just plan to stick to the area referred to as the hotel-zone and opt for hiring a guide if you venture out anywhere else. The hotel-zone includes the areas of hotels and resorts along the arch of white sand beaches, away from downtown Cancun.
Based on the attractions and amenities available, Cancun is a great place for families to vacation. Those who are searching for new sights, experiences, and even adventure will find a treasure trove of opportunities to make memories here.
Yonder hopes this guide helps you make a more informed decision about planning your next trip. We realize there are various risks to taking a trip domestically let alone an international trip. That’s why we included information about travel insurance since it can save you thousands if you nix your trip or if something else unexpected comes up. Once you book your trip or if you’re even curious about how much a policy costs, you can run an instant quote on our website to get a feel for the coverage and the prices.