It has officially been over one year since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and its numerous lockdowns world-wide. As vaccines and regulations dampened its violent spread, many countries are beginning to relax travel restrictions for international tourism. Personally I have felt trapped and stir-crazy without the ability to explore and plan future activities, especially due to the unstable nature of the global environment. I think the pandemic will end up having lasting effects on travel culture, especially how and where people decide to venture. As of May, 2021 most countries have reopened their borders to some extent. Most require international travelers obtain negative Covid-19 tests before, upon arrival, or both. This is a list of 10 countries that have even less requirements that you can travel to right now!
Remember to check your country’s embassy and the official government websites of your intended travel destination for the most up-to-date information pertaining to your itinerary.
Mexico has no travel restrictions, but will screen travelers arriving from countries with recent outbreaks. There are no mandatory quarantine requirements, but people with symptoms are subject to quarantine before continuing their trip or exiting the country. Americans travelling from Mexico will be allowed free reentry across land borders, but require proof of negative tests at airport customs. The United State’s government also suggests only travelling for essential reasons.
Essential travel includes:
- Citizens and permanent residents returning to the United States.
- Individuals traveling for medical purposes.
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions.
- Individuals traveling to work in the United States.
- Individuals travelling for emergency response and public health.
- Individuals involved in lawful border trade.
- Individuals involved in official government or diplomatic travel.
- Individuals involved in military related operations.
There are many all inclusive resorts along Mexico’s Caribbean coast offering amazing deals and recreational activities like scuba diving, sailing, Mayan ruins, waterfalls, beaches, and alcohol. Check out my guide to scuba diving the cenotes if you are headed to Cancun, Play del Carmen, or anywhere on the Yucatan!
The United States has recently required all citizens returning to the country obtain a negative viral test, up to 3 days before returning flight. There are testing stations at major Mexican airports with PCR tests starting at 2000 pesos ($98 USD), and select all inclusive resorts that include tests for guests that require it for reentry. Consider the options for obtaining a test prior to booking your trip.
Brazil has no restrictions on international travelers with proof of a negative Covid-19 test as recent as 72 hours before departure. Any children under the age of 12 are not required to present test results if they accompany adult(s) that have proof of a negative test. Brazil has transit restrictions on travelers from the UK and South Africa, subject to a 14 day quarantine upon arrival. The regulations allow transiting passengers to pass through the international airport, provided they do not leave the airport and have a ticket for connecting travel. There is no Covid-19 test requirement for reentry into the USA from Brazil.
Travelling to Brazil can include a diverse itinerary of activities catering to lavish travelers and backpackers alike. Visit famous Rio de Janeiro to see the Cristo Redentor statue and countless white sand beaches. You can venture into the Amazon to explore the lush rainforests, wildlife, and waterfalls.
Tanzania has not implemented any COVID-19 restrictions, but international travelers are subject to medical screenings upon arrival. The government collects temperatures, symptoms, and tracking information for incoming visitors. Any traveler tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to self isolate for 14 days. Tanzania is well known for the majestic assent of Africa’s tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. The country is home to the famous Serengeti National Park where you can witness the annual wildebeest migration and see the other Big Five African species. The best time to see these migrations is May to June so get those plane tickets booked! The lush country also boasts pristine beaches on the coasts of Zanzibar, tropical islands, and vast lakes.
Tanzania has had one of the lowest global infections from the pandemic, with only 300 active cases and 21 recorded deaths as of 03/30/2021. The country has implemented minimal testing during the pandemic with no current vaccination plans. The former president John Magufuli declared the country Coronavirus free in June of 2020, mocking the applicability of masks and doubting the accuracy of the PCR tests. The country instead promotes holistic measures for virus rehabilitation like vegetable mixtures and herbal medicine inhalation.
The former president became suspicious of CDC recommendations after Tanzanian security forces tested the quality of the CDC testing kits imported from abroad. The task force submitted samples from a pawpaw fruit, goat, and sheep to a Tanzanian laboratory under fake profiles. The samples from the pawpaw fruit and goat testing positive for coronavirus, supporting the president’s suspicions and potentially identifying a major fault in the test’s credibility. The president recently passed from an alleged cardiac arrest, but the nature of his death amidst the global environment remains inconclusive.
Albania is open to tourists and international travelers relying only on health screenings in ports of entry. The country has lifted many of its restrictions although some airlines have significantly reduced or canceled their flights to the country in response. Albanian tourism offers many hidden Mediterranean beaches, pyramids, hot springs, historical buildings, and food. It is less frequented by backpackers, but definitely a contender in current restricted travel conditions.
5. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is open with minimal protocols like a digital health screening 48 hours prior to boarding, and required travel insurance with Covid-19 treatment coverage. The country does not require any formal PCR test or official detection of the virus. Costa Rica is perfect for adventurous travelers offering activities like rafting, snorkeling, rainforest trekking, volcanoes, beaches, food, and tropical paradise. The country has diverse wildlife including hundreds of bird species, reptiles, insects, marine life, and rainforest animals. Flights to Costa Rica from the US are quite affordable especially with low current demands.
6. South Africa
South Africa recently started allowing commercial airlines to reenter the country with proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result, accommodation for stay duration, and valid travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage. South Africa is famous for flying great white sharks and an enormous diversity of wildlife. The best time to see the great white sharks in action is between June and September, so start saving and get out there! The country also offers hiking destinations, helicopter tours, and a melting pot of cultures on the cape of Africa.
7. Dominican Republic
Another Caribbean location that recently opened its borders is the Dominican Republic. This popular tropical island offers amazing all inclusive resort packages in its large cities like Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, and Santo Domingo. The best thing about travelling here is that international travelers are not required to quarantine or take a Covid-19 test prior to arrival. Upon arrival the government randomly selects and tests travelers, including random breath tests, and standard health screenings.
You can find deals for all inclusive resorts on Groupon or affiliate websites that have flexible packages and a variety of custom additions. The Dominican also has many affordable Airbnb options and hotels, so don’t be afraid to backpack it. This tropical island paradise will give you an amazing experience escaping from the rest of the world by relaxing at its pristine beaches, waterfalls, hikes, and national parks.
South of Brazil is Paraguay, another South American country with relaxed entry requirements. This country requires a negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival, and traveler’s health information upon arrival. The country offers spectacular Amazon tours including river expeditions, jungle treks, waterfalls, tea plantations, and national parks. The country also caters to sightseers that enjoy historical monuments, ruins, and architecture.
9. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is an amazing island destination just 2 hours from Florida by plane. This country is one of the most affordable options right now, with flights as low as $60! The only requirement for entry to the island is a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure, and a travel declaration upon arrival. You can spend your time in Puerto Rico exploring Old San Juan, lighthouses, hot springs, and countless picturesque beaches. The island has slowly been rebuilding from the disastrous 2017 hurricane season, so you can also help support the recovering economy. If you are looking for a budget experience in the Caribbean without complicated Covid-19 protocols, then add Puerto Rico to your future travel plans.
Serbia is not typically a common destination on European treks, but their lax Covid-19 restrictions during these complicated times are very attractive. The requirements for international travelers is to provide proof of a negative PCR test up to 48 hours before arrival.
Serbia is often underrepresented on common influencer channels, but the country has a rich history and culture in the Balkan region of Europe. You can explore the historical city of Belgrade, with a myriad of sight seeing tours. Outside the cities are dramatic mountains and lakes like Zaovine. The country is also known for their brandy, so a good time during this trip is inevitable.
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