Traveling right now can be hectic, to say the least. With the rising cases and travel restrictions, traveling during the pandemic is no easy task.
However, there are still many popular destinations that are opened to tourists during this trying time.
Mexico is one such amazing place that I visited quite recently. Right before Christmas, I traveled to Cancun, and I’m here to give you my insight so you can also know what it’s like to travel there during Covid.
Since this was my first time in Mexico, I had no idea what to really expect, but I ended up having an amazing time!
Quick Covid & Travel Info
Mexico currently has over 1.4 million cases of Covid-19. In Quintana Roo, the Mexican state where Cancun is located, there are about 16,000 reported cases.
Mexico has been using a national “stoplight” system and classifies states as either red, orange, yellow or green.
Cancun is currently at orange which means that places like gyms, restaurants and hotels can only operate at 50% capacity.
Currently, Mexico has no testing requirements to enter the country or any mandatory quarantine restrictions for tourists, which makes it easier to travel to than other foreign countries.
Still, before I went, I made sure to get a Covid test just to make sure. Thankfully, it came back negative!
I constantly checked the state department’s website for any updates on travel restrictions (and also may have constantly checked the weather in Cancun -but turns out that was very unnecessary- the weather was sunny and beautiful even when there was a high chance of rain.)
There are currently no travel restrictions from the US to Mexico if you travel by air. However, non-essential travel by land is still restricted.
What’s it like at the Airport?
In the US, everyone at the airport is required to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
However, while everyone did follow the mask requirement, I found that people stopped adhering to the social distancing rules in the security line (although I tried my best to put as much space as possible between myself and those around me).
We were also required to fill out an electronic health questionnaire which can be found here.
But I found that I didn’t actually have to use this form until I was leaving Cancun and heading back to the States. So don’t worry if you forget to do this before you depart.
You are allowed to complete it at the airport in Cancun. You just have to do it right before security as you do need it at that checkpoint.
Traveling with Spirit
Since I am a budget traveler, I took Spirit airlines (definitely a good choice if saving money is your priority, but do not expect any frills).
However, for the time being, they do allow you to change and cancel your flights free of cost and you are given a refund in the form of a flight voucher to use for future travel.
I actually did end up canceling my original flight to Cancun and found their voucher system to be quite easy to use when I booked my flight again.
For safety, they do explain that the flights are equipped with HEPA filters which remove 99.97% of particles and filters the air every 2-3 minutes. They also use hospital-grade disinfectants and two different fogging treatments to clean the aircrafts.
On the flight to Cancun, the middle seat in each row was left open. Everyone, ages 2 and older, was required to wear their masks and had to keep them on for the duration of the flight.
The flight attendants were also not afraid to reprimand those who kept pulling their masks down below their noses.
While in the air, they did let us play a fun little trivia game to win a free plane ticket (sadly I did not win lol).
Arriving to Cancun
Because travel, as expected, was nowhere as busy as it used to be, going through Customs and Immigration in Cancun was a breeze and took maybe less than 20 minutes.
Getting from the airport to the hotel
Pretty close to my trip, I knew I had to nail down how to get to the hotel.
Taxis seemed like they could charge a very high fare to take us to our destination (and I didn’t want to have to deal with haggling the price or risk being way overcharged and I also didn’t know how safe it was).
And, according to the internet, Uber seemed to be controversial, at least at the airport (so I left that alone).
My hotel did offer their own shuttle service, but it was really expensive for what was offered.
In the end, I decided to research Cancun shuttle services and chose a company that had pretty good reviews and was a cheaper and better alternative to all my other options.
We ended up going with Cancun Shuttle and Tours and for a round trip for two people only paid $50 in total.
This covered picking us up from the airport and taking us to the hotel, and then, of course, getting us back to the airport at an agreed-upon time.
What I also really liked was that the price was for a private ride (and it was nice not to have to worry about sharing the space with others with everything going on).
The service also had various safety protocols implemented like sanitizing the vehicle before and after each use.
And just so you know, after you exit the airport, you will be bombarded by taxi drivers and other transportation services trying to convince you to go with them.
Fortunately, if you sign up with a private shuttle service beforehand, they will be there waiting for you, which is what happened with us.
We easily found our driver (after saying, “no thanks” for the hundredth time), holding up a sign with my name scribbled on it.
He was really friendly and courteous during the trip to the hotel. On top of that, the company even provided free beer and water while on the ride!
As you can see, you definitely have options when it comes to getting to your hotel. I would recommend booking your transportation before going unless you want to face all the pushy salespeople and taxi drivers.
Within 20 minutes, we were at our hotel which was located in Cancun’s hotel zone.
At the entrance of the lobby, the polite and courteous staff checked our temperature, gave us hand sanitizer, and then had us go through a sanitization booth. The booth lightly sprayed us down from head to toe, which made me feel better after our long journey.
When checking in to get our room, there was also plexiglass separating us from the receptionists.
Staff and guests were required to wear masks around the hotel (except guests did not have to wear them on the beach or at the pool) and I appreciated their adherence to our safety.
The staff was lovely, incredibly courteous and supportive of whatever we needed and they even upgraded our room free of charge!
The hotel was great and the beach was gorgeous with clear, crystal blue water.
We had an all inclusive package which meant we could order as much food and drinks as we wanted (which led to a few food comas that we had to sleep off lol).
We had quite a bit of options when it came to food, between the room service menu and the meals provided by the multiple restaurants within the hotel.
The restaurants, which for breakfast and lunch would normally be buffet style, were now served by the chefs and waiters (although if you had the all inclusive plan you could still order as many times as you liked).
For dinner, each restaurant had an a la carte menu, with Italian cuisine, mexican fare, and other dishes.
There was one restaurant dedicated to international cuisine and changed their menu every night. They featured Asian dishes, Caribbean dishes and much more depending on the night. I really do wish I could have tried them all!
There were also fun daily activities like bingo and other competitions where you could win cute prizes like a nice little tote bag or a t-shirt with “Cancun” splashed across it.
It was very family-friendly.
There was also live entertainment by the pool and in the lobby by the bar. And every other night they had a really great live dance show at their entertainment center.
You could also go to the spa and get a massage, go parasailing, or even go jet skiing at an additional cost.
We also had the option to go on adventure tours like going to the famous archaeological site, Chichen Itza, but we decided to save that for our next trip.
Also every night, there was a little souvenir market near the poolside where local vendors set up stalls and you could get all the goodies your heart desired while still supporting the local economy.
While some vendors accepted cards, many only took cash.
Fortunately, there were also ATM machines provided by the hotel in case you needed Mexican Pesos (which I had not gotten before the trip- silly me).
Thankfully, I had just recently opened a Capital One 360 checking account, and after using the hotel’s ATM to get some cash, I found I wasn’t charged any fees. Something I was very happy about.
When our trip was over and it was time to return home, we found our shuttle came right on time (and was even a bit early!) to pick us up.
I would definitely use this service again!
Going through the airport on our way back, I experienced the same issues like the lack of distancing in some lines (especially at my own airport in my home state).
Also, while everyone wore their masks while walking around the airport, there were a few who kept pulling them down while waiting for their flights (I tried to stay especially distant from those individuals).
However, I had such an amazing time so I’m still really glad I went.
2020 was not the best year, to put it very mildly, but our vacation was a nice, fun escape. While being at the hotel, I felt pretty safe as most everyone followed the safety protocols.
However, traveling through the airport was a bit trickier and the issues I mentioned are definitely something to keep in mind when deciding on your own trip.
Of course, traveling during the pandemic is a completely personal decision and you have to determine what works for you and your family.