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When will countries in Latin America open up for visitors?

Last updated 27th November 2020

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As destinations across the globe gradually begin to reopen, our once distant dreams of travelling are becoming an increasingly tantalising possibility. But with a plethora of new rules and regulations in an ever-changing landscape, it can be difficult to make sense of when and how travel will be feasible.

Here at Journey Latin America, we are closely monitoring developments in all of our destinations around the clock. Below we’ve put together a snapshot of the latest information regarding travel updates, be that border advice, entry requirements, or questions of quarantine. We keep this vital information under constant review, so please do check back for regularly updated news, or sign up to our newsletter to be among the first to know about changes as they occur.

Of course, this is just a brief summary of the current situation. Most of our travel planning takes place several months in advance, so if you are hoping to get away in 2021, we’d be delighted to help design your perfect trip. Our Flexible Booking Policy allows you to make long term plans with complete confidence, whilst our Safe Journey guidelines ensure we will not operate your holiday unless we are confident we can do so with your safety and enjoyment at the heart of our planning.

Argentina

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required 72 hours prior to departure for Argentina, with a second test taken at your hotel on arrival
  • Visitors to Argentina are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Argentina’s borders reopened on 30 October, with international arrivals to Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires and ferries from the city’s port to Uruguay. Argentina had enforced strict lockdowns locally, including no travel between different regions of the country and domestic flights are still limited to essential travel. However, we anticipate this will soon change, subject to government approval. BA planned to recommence its direct service between London and Buenos Aires to coincide with the airport reopening in late October.

Belize

  •  The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required 72 hours prior to departure for Belize
  • Visitors to Belize are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Belize has now opened up for arrivals by air, although land borders remain closed. Air access is limited to indirect routes from the UK. Travellers may visit the country, using ‘Gold Standard’ (Belize government covid-secure approved) hotels, excursions and services, within a designated ‘travel corridor’. Testing is also available on arrival (with results available within the hour).

Bolivia

  •  The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required prior to arrival in Bolivia
  • Visitors to Bolivia are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Borders have started to re-open, although Bolivia – land-locked and with limited airlift – has always been one of the more difficult countries to access directly. Bolivia combines well with Peru or Chile and whilst Chile is open to international visitors both land borders are closed.

Brazil

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A PCR test is not required to enter Brazil
  • Visitors to Brazil are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Borders are open – indeed, Brazil never closed to international arrivals. A negative PCR test is not required, though visitors must be able to show proof of suitable travel insurance, with medical cover for Covid-19. Domestic tourism is increasing, although local restrictions may apply in some areas.

Chile – *** Book Now! ***

  • The UK FCDO no longer advises against all non-essential travel (updated 12 Nov 2020)
  • A negative PCR test is required 72 hours prior to arrival in Chile
  • Visitors to Chile are no longer required to self-isolate on return to the UK

While Chile’s land borders are currently closed, Santiago Airport has reopened to international arrivals. At present, Chile has a range of restrictions in place to try to manage the pandemic and reduce transmission. Some measures are national – for example, the use of face masks in public. Others vary by region. In areas with the very highest level of restriction people have been expected to self-isolate at home. In others, cinemas, restaurants etc have been able to re-open, but with reduced capacity and social distancing in place. Local restrictions are gradually being lifted as the government works to gradually re-open regions in a covid-secure way.

Easter Island remains closed for the time being and while some properties are planning on it reopening in January, there is some reluctance on the island to reopen too soon, so it may be a while longer before travellers can return to this remote Pacific island.

Colombia

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is no longer required 96 hours prior to departure for Colombia
  • Visitors to Colombia are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Colombia has very recently re-opened its borders, and while a number of restrictions remain in place locally, the country has reopened for travellers. Flights from Europe have recommenced and direct flights from London with Avianca have resumed.

Costa Rica

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is no longer required to enter Costa Rica
  • Visitors to Costa Rica are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Costa Rica opened its borders to international arrivals at the beginning of August and has been receiving a small number of visitors ever since, mainly from North America. From 1st November, visitors from the UK will no longer be required to show a negative Covid-19 test certificate on arrival. Instead, they will have to complete an online health assessment and visitors must have adequate travel insurance, providing cover for any covid-related medical issues or local quarantine. BA is scheduled to re-start its direct service between London and San Jose in January.

Cuba – *** Book Now! ***

  • Exempt from the UK FCDO travel ban
  • A PCR test is taken on arrival in Cuba
  • Visitors to Cuba are NOT required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Cuba was effectively closed to international arrivals, with the exception of a small number of charter flights (none from the UK) to designated resort hotels until November, when flights resumed to Varadero and Havana airports. While a small number of places remain closed to visitors, regional touring is now possible.  Contact us for details.

Ecuador and Galápagos

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required 96 hours prior to departure to Ecuador and the same amount of time before flights to the Galápagos Islands (available locally).
  • Visitors to Ecuador are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Ecuador re-opened borders, including access to the Galápagos Islands, in mid-July. Visitors must show evidence of a negative PCR test on arrival to the mainland. Visitors to the Galápagos must be able to show a negative test taken within the previous 96 hours. Testing is available locally to ensure travellers are able to comply. Throughout the pandemic, Ecuador has been extremely proactive in preparing to offer enjoyable and safe covid-conscious holidays.

El Salvador

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required 72 hours prior to arrival in El Salvador
  • Visitors to El Salvador are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

The borders to El Salvador are open, although flights remain limited. Those planning to arrive by land should check for last minute changes.

The Falkland Islands

  • Exempt from the UK FCDO travel ban
  • 14 days quarantine is required on arrival to the Falklands Islands
  • Visitors to the Falkland Islands are NOT required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Although exempt from the UK travel advisory, visits to the Falkland Islands are unlikely to be possible in practical terms. There are only military flights from the UK (a permit is required for residents) and access routes by air and cruise via Latin America are currently suspended.

Guatemala

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required 72 hours prior to arrival in Guatemala
  • Visitors to Guatemala are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

International flights resumed in October and some land borders have reopened, though we don’t currently recommend using them due to potential last-minute changes.

Guyana

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required 72 hours prior to arrival in El Salvador
  • Visitors to Guyana are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Guyana’s borders reopened 19 October for international flights.

Honduras

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required 72 hours prior to arrival in Honduras
  • Visitors to Honduras are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

The borders to Honduras are open, but visitors must show evidence of a negative PCR test and also quarantine for 14 days.

Mexico

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is not required to enter Mexico
  • Visitors to Mexico are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Mexico is open to international arrivals by air. Some land borders remain closed – for example, with the US, and Belize. There is no requirement to present any evidence of covid-testing prior to arrival. There are some local restrictions in place, which vary by region. BA re-commenced their direct flight between London and Mexico City at the beginning of November and direct flights to Cancun start in early December.

Nicaragua

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required 72 hours prior to arrival to Nicaragua
  • Visitors to Nicaragua are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Nicaragua’s land borders are open and the international airport in Managua began receiving arrivals in early September. A negative PCR test is required, taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Panama

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR test is required 48 hours prior to arrival to Panama
  • Visitors to Panama are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Panama’s borders re-opened on 12 October. A negative PCR test is required, taken within 48 hours of arrival. Testing is also available on arrival (cost USD50, with results available within the hour).

Paraguay

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • Visitors to Paraguay are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

Paraguay’s borders are currently closed and there is no information available regarding possible date of re-opening

Peru

  • The UK FCDO advises against all non-essential travel
  • A negative PCR or antigen test is required 72 hours prior to arrival in Peru
  • Visitors to Peru are required to self-isolate on return to the UK

From 1 November Peru will open to commercial flights of up to 8 hours duration, thus potentially connecting Lima with a range of destinations throughout the Americas. Visitors must provide evidence of a negative covid test (PCR or antigen), taken within 72 hours of arrival. Quarantine is still required for those aged over 65. Machu Picchu and other important sites have reopened with reduced visitor numbers.

Uruguay

  • The UK FCDO no longer advises against all non-essential travel (updated 19 Nov 2020)
  • Visitors to Uruguay are no longer required to self-isolate on return to the UK
  • However, Uruguay is not allowing tourists to visit at present

While business travel is now permitted (with a 7-day quarantine on arrival) Uruguay’s borders are officially closed to tourists until March 2021.  There are indications that they may be reopened, on a limited basis, slightly earlier but this remains to be seen.  Requirements are likely to include evidence of a negative covid test per-arrival and suitable travel insurance, including medical cover for Covid-19. Visits to Uruguay are potentially complicated by issues of access – there are no direct flights and most travellers arrive overland from Buenos Aires, or by air via European hubs.

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