TPG’s picks for where to travel right now

Apr 12, 2021

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Optimism. It’s a feeling that’s probably caked with cobwebs after a year of social distancing and lockdowns. But it’s time to dust it off! Right now, with more and more people in the U.S. and around the world being vaccinated, that boredom of another day filled with Instacart and Doordash orders — and not seeing your friends and family — is being replaced by new-found optimism that life can begin to get back to normal.

At TPG, a very real part of “getting back to normal” means scheduling some much-needed vacations.

If you are dreaming of leaving the country this spring, summer or fall, here are TPG’s picks for the top countries we recommend for your first international post-pandemic getaway. These are the spots that are working hardest to remove barriers that have stopped travelers from visiting over the last year.

Note: No matter where you plan to visit, airlift has changed a lot since before the days of coronavirus. Routes you’ve taken before may have disappeared or are on pause. Options are constantly changing, so verify with your preferred airline. Some of the routes we mention below may not have yet returned to service for your dates of travel.


For more information about where you can travel, consult these top TPG stories:


For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In This Post

The Bahamas

Ocean Club, Bahamas: A Four Seasons Resort
Beachfront Villa, Residence Terrace at The Ocean Club, Bahamas: A Four Seasons Resort. (Photo by Peter Vitale/Four Seasons)

Best for…

East Coast travelers that want to leave the U.S. but stick close to home

Ease of entry

The Bahamas is a model for how countries should approach reopening tourism. It’s devised an easy-to-understand entry system that includes:

  • mandatory prearrival COVID-19 testing (RT-PCR swab test taken no more than five days prior to arrival)
  • use of the Bahamas Travel Health Visa app (where you’ll upload your test results)
  • required purchase of health insurance that covers COVID-19 for the duration of your stay in the Bahamas
  • easy-to-find COVID-19 test sites in-country so you can comply with the United States’ re-entry requirement of a negative PCR test result

Children 10 and under are not required to take a test to enter the Bahamas — which is likely a relief to every parent that doesn’t want to explain to their kid why a stranger needs to stick a swab up their nose. However, children 2 and up will need to take a COVID-19 test in order to re-enter the United States.

The price of the Bahamas’ mandatory health insurance depends on the length of your stay. For example, the insurance for a two-night stay of a TPG staffer cost $40 in January.

These thought-out practices are helping to keep Bahamian citizens, travelers and everyone employed in the tourism sector safe and healthy.

Safety precautions

The Bahamas requires visitors to wear a face mask and practice physical distance when in public places, such as waiting in a taxi line, entering a restaurant or even entering/exiting the beach. (You don’t need to wear your mask once on the beach.)

It’s important that you understand the face mask rule. Otherwise, risk a $200 fine, one-month imprisonment or both. This applies to visitors and residents.

When can you go?

Right now. The Bahamas are open for American visitors. TPG’s Nick Ellis visited Baha Mar on Nassau in January. Here’s what that experience was like.

Pros

The Bahamas is doing a great job of making it easy for Americans to visit. Many resorts now offer on-site COVID-19 testing to assist travelers who are returning to the U.S. and need to provide a test result to gain entry.

Related: US-bound travelers need a negative COVID-19 test to enter

Cons

Unless you’re staying right on Nassau, one of the larger islands of the Bahamas, you’ll need to book connecting flights or take a ferry or private boat shuttle to your final destination. That can add additional expenses and travel time, so factor that in when deciding where to stay. (See below for some of our favorite places.)

Getting there

Here’s a look at who normally flies to Nassau (NAS). Check the airlines’ current schedules.

  • Atlanta (ATL): Delta
  • Baltimore (BWI): Southwest
  • Boston (BOS): American and JetBlue
  • Charlotte (CLT): American
  • Chicago (ORD): American and United
  • Dallas (DFW): American
  • Denver (DEN): United
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL): JetBlue and Silver Airways
  • Houston (IAH): United
  • Miami (MIA): American (Use British Airways Avios to fly on American from Miami for 15,000 Avios each way.)
  • New York (JFK): Delta and JetBlue
  • New York (LGA): American
  • Newark (EWR): United
  • Orlando (MCO): JetBlue
  • Philadelphia (PHL): American
  • Tampa (TPA): Silver Airways
  • Washington (DCA): American and JetBlue
  • Washington (IAD): United

When searching for flights on American Airlines, we found a web special in June that priced round-trip flights from Boston to Nassau at 20,000 AAdvantage miles plus $120.95 per passenger.

(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

United Airlines also has good availability for award tickets for just 17,500 miles plus $5.60 each way for dates in May and June.

One-way award flights from Chicago (ORD) to Nassau (NAS) in May/June 2021. (Screenshot courtesy of United)

Check out: The best ways to fly to the Bahamas with points and miles

Where to stay

On Bimini

  • Hilton at Resorts World Bimini: from 60,000 Hilton Honors points

On Eleuthera

  • French Leave Resort, Autograph Collection: from 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points

On Nassau

  • British Colonial Nassau: from 50,000 Hilton points
  • Courtyard Nassau Downtown/Junkanoo Beach: from 15,000 Marriott points
  • Grand Hyatt Baha Mar: from 20,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Mr & Mrs Smith The Island House: 80,000 IHG points plus $60 resort fee per night
  • SLS Baha Mar
  • Rosewood Baha Mar

On Paradise Island

Pro tip: If you carry The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can book the Rosewood Baha Mar, The Cove at Atlantis and The Ocean Club, Bahamas: A Four Seasons Resort via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts. Pay cash or use your Membership Rewards points.

There’s a new welcome offer on the Amex Platinum right now that offers 100,000 Membership Rewards after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases in your first six months of card membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the card at restaurants worldwide and when you “Shop Small” in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first six months of card membership.

The perks you get when booking The Ocean Club via American Express’ Fine Hotels + Resorts program. (Screenshot courtesy of American Express)

Belize

The Blue Hole, a sinkhole in the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. (Photo by Andrew Hounslea/Getty Images)

Best for…

Americans that want to plan an international trip but are more comfortable conversing in English. It’s the official language of Belize.

Ease of entry

To begin your entry process to Belize, download and complete the Belize Health App within 72 hours of arrival. You’ll receive an ID number and QR code that you’ll need to show at the airport when you land.

On your flight to Belize, you’ll fill out the traditional Customs and Immigration form.

As an international tourist, you are required to book what’s called a “Gold Standard” hotel. These properties have implemented additional cleaning and safety precautions and received certification from the government. You’ll need to show your Gold Standard hotel confirmation at immigration, so have that handy in your carry-on.

If you’ve been vaccinated and it’s been at least two weeks since your last shot, Belize will accept your vaccination to enter. Bring your CDC vaccination card as proof.

If you haven’t been vaccinated, you can instead present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival. Alternatively, you can present a negative rapid test (Rapid Antigen, Sofia, SD Blosensor and Abbott Panbio) taken within 48 hours of travel.

Note that some passengers will be randomly selected to take another COVID-19 test upon landing, even if they’re holding a negative test result.

If you arrive with no test results, a COVID-19 test will be administered at the airport at your expense ($50 per person).

Prior to departure, you can take a COVID-19 test at any of the country’s approved testing centers as well as at the international airport.

Safety precautions

Belize is certifying hotels, tour operators, restaurants, shops and more as “Gold Standard.” You can be assured that they are taking specific safety precautions. At hotels, for example, they are implementing:

  • social distancing
  • the use of face masks while in public spaces
  • online check-in/out, contactless payment systems and automated ordering/booking systems;
    hand sanitizing stations across the property
  • enhanced room cleaning and increase sanitization of public spaces and high touch surfaces
  • daily health checks for guests and employees
  • designated ‘Isolation/Quarantine rooms’ for suspected COVID-19 cases and action plans for handling suspected employees or guests

When can you go?

Americans can visit Belize right now.

Pros

Belize is one of the first countries to accept proof of vaccination in lieu of a negative COVID-19 test result.

Cons

As of now, you’ll still need to take a COVID-19 test and present a negative result when re-entering the United States.

Getting there

These are the airlines that normally fly to Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE). Check their current schedules.

  • Atlanta (ATL): Delta
  • Charlotte (CLT): American
  • Chicago (ORD): United
  • Dallas (DFW): American
  • Houston (IAH): United
  • Los Angeles (LAX): American
  • Miami (MIA): American
  • Minneapolis (MSP): Sun Country
  • Newark (EWR): United

Where to stay

Use your Marriott Bonvoy points at Alaia Belize, Autograph Collection. (Rendering courtesy of the resort)

In Ambergris Caye

  • Alaia Belize, Autograph Collection: from 40,000 Marriott points
  • Ka’ana Resort: closed for renovations through Oct. 31, 2021 — from 25,000  Hyatt points
  • Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, Curio Collection by Hilton: from 80,000 Hilton points

In Belize City

  • Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina: from 38,000 Radisson Rewards points
  • Ramada by Wyndham Princess Belize City: from 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points

In San Pedro

  • Turtle Island Beach Resort, Trademark Collection by Wyndham: from 30,000 Wyndham  points
  • Costa Blu Beach Resort, Trademark Collection by Wyndham: from 15,000 Wyndham points

Pro tip: If you have certain Chase credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can book two very nice Belize resorts using Chase’s Luxury Hotel Collection. You’ll get perks like free breakfast for two daily, complimentary Wi-Fi and a $100 credit for tours or food/beverages.

TPG weighs in on when to book a hotel through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or Chase Luxury Hotel Collection.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase Luxury Hotel Collection)

Costa Rica

Arenal volcano Cerro Chato Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano. (Photo by Westend61 / Getty Images)

Best for…

Active travelers who want to explore a rainforest, the beach or a volcano

Ease of entry

Like other countries, Costa Rica has implemented the use of a mobile app for entry. Download and fill out the HEALTH PASS 48 hours before arrival. You must fill out the form for everyone in your travel party, including children.

Next, you must purchase health insurance for the trip that covers quarantine accommodations and medical expenses due to COVID-19 disease. According to Costa Rica, the policy you select must be:

  • Valid during your entire stay in Costa Rica (coverage dates)
  • Include $50,000 for medical expenses, including COVID-19 disease
  • Include $2,000 for accommodation expenses in the event of COVID-19 quarantine

Once you’ve purchased the policy, ask your insurer for a certificate/letter in English or Spanish stating the following:

  • Name of traveler
  • Validity of the effective policy during the visit in Costa Rica (travel dates)
  • Guarantee of coverage for medical expenses in the event of COVID-19 in Costa Rica, for at least US $50,000
  • Minimum coverage of $2,000 for accommodation expenses for quarantine or trip interruption for this same amount

The certificate has to specify that the policy covers COVID-19 and you must upload it to the HEALTH PASS app so it can be reviewed and approved by the Costa Rican authorities. Insurance cards are not accepted, it must be a letter in this format.

You can purchase your insurance from any international provider or these three Costa Rican insurers. Just note that the Costa Rican policies only include $20,000 of guaranteed coverage for COVID-19-related medical expenses instead of $50,000 in the case of international providers. That difference has been approved by the government.

Costa Rica also makes it easy to get a COVID-19 test in preparation for your return to the U.S. Tests cost between $100 and $150 each and take a maximum of 48 hours to return results. Testing may be done at laboratories authorized by the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica. Click for a PDF list of testing labs in Costa Rica.

Safety precautions

Communities, hotels and tour operators control their safety protocols. Expect a request to wear face masks, practice social distancing and use hand sanitizer often.

When can you go?

You can depart for Costa Rica today.

Pros

Costa Rica is a diverse country but no matter which destination you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy the beach, a volcano, national parks or rainforests.

Cons

Costa Rica charges a $29 per person departure tax.

Getting there

Fly to Costa Rica’s Liberia in the Guanacaste Providence (LIR) on these airlines. Check their current schedules.

  • Atlanta (ATL): Delta
  • Boston (BOS): JetBlue
  • Charlotte (CLT): American
  • Chicago (ORD): United
  • Dallas (DFW): American
  • Denver (DEN): United
  • Houston (HOU): Southwest
  • Houston (IAH): United
  • Los Angeles (LAX): Alaska Airlines and Delta
  • Miami (MIA): American
  • Minneapolis (MSP): Delta and Sun Country
  • New York (JFK): American and JetBlue
  • Newark (EWR): United

Checking dates in June on JetBlue from New York’s JFK, we’re seeing one-way award redemptions as low as 13,500 JetBlue TrueBlue points.

The outbound flight cost 13,500 TrueBlue points, while the return flight cost 15,400 points. (Screenshot courtesy of JetBlue)

Or fly to San Jose (SJO) on these airlines. Check their current schedules.

  • Atlanta (ATL): Delta
  • Charlotte (CLT): American
  • Chicago (ORD): United
  • Dallas (DFW): American
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL): JetBlue and Spirit
  • Houston (IAH): United
  • Los Angeles (LAX): Alaska Airlines and Delta
  • Miami (MIA): American
  • New York (JFK): American and JetBlue
  • Newark (EWR): United
  • Orlando (MCO): JetBlue and Spirit
  • Phoenix (PHX): American
  • Washington (IAD): United

Where to stay

Guest rooms at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo. (Photo courtesy of the Hyatt)

In Guanacaste Province (fly to LIR)

  • Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo: from 20,000 Hyatt points
  • El Mangroove, Autograph Collection: from 40,000 Marriott points
  • JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa: from 40,000 Marriott points
  • Planet Hollywood Costa Rica All-Inclusive Beach Resort: opening soon
  • Punta Islita, Autograph Collection: from 40,000 Marriott points
  • The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa: from 70,000 Marriott points
  • W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal: from 50,000 Marriott points

Near Arenal Volcano National Park (2.5-hour drive from SJO and 3-hour drive from LIR)

  • Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa: from 20,000 Hyatt points

Near Manuel Antonio National Park (fly to SJO, QXP, TMU, LIR or DAV)

  • Los Altos Resort: from 25,000 Hyatt points

In Ojochal de Osa (fly to SJO)

  • Hotel Three Sixty: from 25,000 Hyatt points (adults-only hotel)

On the Nicoya Peninsula (connect to Tambor Airport-TMU from SJO or drive 3 hours from LIR)

  • Hotel Nantipa: from 25,000 Hyatt points

In San Jose (fly to SJO)

  • AC Hotel San Jose Escazu: from 15,000 Marriott points
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cariari San Jose: from 20,000 Hilton points
  • Gran Hotel Costa Rica, Curio Collection by Hilton: from 26,000 Hilton points
  • Hilton San Jose La Sabana: from 29,000 Hilton points
  • InterContinental Hotels Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall: from 27,500 IHG points
  • Sheraton San Jose Hotel: from 15,000 Marriott points

Greece

Best for…

Europhiles who’ve been missing the continent and its glorious coastlines and seafood.

Ease of entry

Greece is the word when it comes to European countries making real progress on welcoming visitors back in time for summer travel with a solid plan of action. Officials confirmed the country is reopening its border to visitors starting May 14, 2021, with a “five lines of defense” strategy that mandates the following:

  • All visitors must be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test result;
  • A checking system at Greece’s airports and borders, where passengers can be selected randomly to take a rapid test;
  • Any visitor who tests positive for coronavirus will be isolated in a “quarantine hotel”;
  • All tourism industry workers must be vaccinated (they will move up the priority list once the most vulnerable Greek citizens get the vaccine); and
  • Strict adherence to safety protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing.

Safety precautions

Greek authorities have been strict with measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Currently, masks are required both indoors and outdoors in all public places around the country as well as on public transportation, including the ubiquitous ferries.

Fines of 300 euros are in place for people caught violating face mask and social distancing rules. For people who violate mandatory quarantines, fines of 5,000 euros and arrest are possible, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Greece’s page.

When can you go?

According to the U.S. Embassy in Greece, American visitors are currently not able to enter the country (there are exceptions to the rule that require a seven-day quarantine period on arrival). That said, the United States is among 10 countries Greece is currently working with on potential agreements that may allow vaccinated citizens or those with negative COVID-19 tests to travel freely (without quarantining requirements) between participating countries.

Citizens and residents of the European Union and residents of several other countries (including Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, among others) may enter Greece with proof of a negative PCR test.

Pros

Greece is doing well with testing, and PCR and COVID-19 antigen tests are widely available (including at major hospitals and Athens International Airport), with costs for the former capped at 60 euros. Results are reliably available within 72 hours.

Cons

As of now, you’ll still need to take a COVID-19 test and present a negative result to return to the United States. Movement restrictions in Greece currently include a nationwide curfew, in place from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. throughout the country.

Getting there

You can fly to Athens International Airport (ATH) on these airlines.

Chicago (ORD): American
New York (JFK): Delta
Newark (EWR): Emirates and United
Philadelphia (PHL): American

Where to stay

If you’re looking for boutique properties across Greece, check out Hyatt’s offerings — especially from Small Luxury Hotels. Pick up the World of Hyatt Credit Card with a welcome bonus of 30,000 points after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months. Plus, up to 30,000 more Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent.

For over-the-top luxury, don’t miss Marriott’s Luxury Collection Hotel options. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card gets you off and running there with a new cardmember offer of 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.​ Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.

In Athens

  • A77 Suites by Andronis: from 25,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Athens Marriott Hotel: from 30,000 Marriott points
  • Grand Hyatt Athens: from 12,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Hilton Athens: from 60,000 Hilton Honors points
  • Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel: from 50,000 Marriott points
  • InterContinental Hotels Athenaeum Athens: 25,000 IHG points
  • King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel: from 50,000 Marriott points
  • Theoxenia Palace & House Suites: from 12,000 World of Hyatt points

In Corfu

  • Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort: from 30,000 Marriott points
  • MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas: from 25,000 World of Hyatt points

In Crete

  • Blue Palace Elounda, a Luxury Collection Resort: from 70,000 Marriott points
  • Castelo Boutique Resort & Spa: from 15,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection: from 70,000 Marriott points
  • Domes Zeen Chania, a Luxury Collection Resort: from 50,000 Marriott points
  • Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites: from 30,000 World of Hyatt points
  • St. Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas: from 40,000 World of Hyatt points
  • The Royal Senses Resort & Spa Crete, Curio Collection by Hilton: from 90,000 Hilton Honors points

In Mykonos

  • Aegon Mykonos, Autograph Collection: from 40,000 Marriott points
  • Archipelagos Hotel: from 25,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Casa del Mar: from 40,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Mykonos Ammos Hotel: from 30,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa: from 30,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort: from 70,000 Marriott points

In Santorini

  • Aressana Spa Hotel and Suites: from 25,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel: from 40,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Canaves Oia Epitome: from 40,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Gold Suites: from 30,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Mystique, a Luxury Collection Resort: from 70,000 Marriott points
  • On the Rocks: from 25,000 World of Hyatt points
  • San Antonio: from 40,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Santorini Secret Suites & Spa: from 40,000 World of Hyatt points
  • Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort: from 70,000 Marriott points

In Thessaloniki

  • Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki: from 8,000 World of Hyatt points
  • The Excelsior: from 12,000 World of Hyatt points

Iceland

Best for…

East Coasters that can catch a quick flight from a number of major U.S. gateways.

Ease of entry

As of April 6, all travelers — including Americans — can enter Iceland as long as they show  full vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of previous infection. All arriving passengers are administered (and required to take) a free COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport in Iceland and must wait to receive the results back (usually within six to 24 hours) at the place where they’re staying. After the test comes back negative, vaccinated travelers are free to explore, with no need for a second test (until it’s time to return to the U.S.). If you travel to Iceland and have not been vaccinated, you’ll need to take a second COVID-19 test on Day 5 of your visit. These rules will be re-evaluated on May 1.

Safety precautions

Face masks are required in Iceland in public transport and shops as well as other places where keeping two meters of social distancing is not possible. Gatherings are currently limited to 10 people. Bars and clubs are currently closed, as well as some other businesses, including swimming pools and gyms, but restaurants remain open, with earlier closing times than usual.

When can you go?

Right now, if you can prove that you’re fully vaccinated or previously had COVID-19.

Pros

If you’re fully vaccinated or had COVID-19, you’re in. The required COVID-19 test on arrival in Iceland is free.

Cons

As of now, you’ll still need to take a COVID-19 test and present a negative result when re-entering the United States. On arrival in Iceland, you’re required to take a PCR test and stay at your accommodations until the results come back negative.

Getting there

From the U.S., you can fly to Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport (KEF) on these airlines.

  • Boston (BOS): Icelandair
  • Chicago (ORD): Icelandair
  • Denver (DEN): Icelandair
  • Minneapolis (MSP): Icelandair
  • New York (JFK): Delta and Icelandair
  • Newark (EWR): Icelandair and United
  • Orlando (MCO): Icelandair
  • Philadelphia (PHL): American
  • Seattle (SEA): Icelandair
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD): Icelandair

Where to stay

Hilton, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG and Radisson Rewards can all earn you stays in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. When exploring beyond there, Íslandshótel is an Iceland chain with 17 hotels across the country. Airbnbs in spectacular locales also abound.

In Reykjavik

  • 101 Hotel, Reykjavik, a Member of Design Hotels: from 50,000 Marriott points
  • Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre: 69,000 to 80,000 Hilton points
  • Courtyard Reykjavik Keflavik Airport: from 30,000 Marriott points
  • Hilton Reykjavik Nordica: 40,000 to 60,000 points
  • ION City Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels: from 50,000 Marriott points
  • Mr & Mrs Smith Kvosin Hotel: from 40,000 IHG points
  • Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton: 52,000 to 80,000 Hilton points
  • Tower Suite Reykjavik: from 40,000 Hyatt points
  • Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel: from 70,000 Radisson Rewards points

Mexico

Cancun, Mexico. (Photo by Arthur Fonoretzky/Getty Images)

Best for…

Anyone that wants to revisit a favorite tourist destination in Mexico or others that yearn for a beautiful resort and beach getaway that’s close to home.

Ease of entry

Mexico hasn’t added any special entry requirements. However, you may be subject to a health screening or temperature upon arrival.

Safety precautions

All areas of Mexico are divided into four epidemiologic risk assessment groups: red, where core activities are allowed; orange, which adds nonessential businesses running with 30% of their staff and outdoor activities being capacity controlled; yellow, where work is allowed but outdoor activities are still capacity controlled; and green that indicates all activities are available and schools are open.

According to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico, from March 15–28, there were no areas of Mexico in the red zone.

Once in Mexico, the government asks you to take commonsense precautions, such as washing your hands frequently with soap and water, only going to the doctor in case of emergency and coughing/sneezing into your elbow. Interestingly, Mexico also cautions residents and visitors not to spread “fake news.”

There was a major surge in COVID-19 cases in Mexico in late December 2020 and early January 2021 following an influx of tourists. The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Mexico is Level 3: Reconsider Travel and the CDC’s advisory is Level 4: Do Not Travel.

When can you go?

Right now. Here are some TPG guides to help you plan your Mexico trip:

Pros

It is easy to travel to Mexico. In fact, the trip likely won’t look all that different than your last pre-pandemic visit.

Cons

Mexico is a popular tourist destination — even now — so you’ll want to exercise caution and follow all of the normal safety precautions you would at home: Wear a mask, practice social distancing when in a crowd and wash your hands frequently.

Getting there

Here’s a look at who normally flies to Cancun (CUN), one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. Check the airlines’ current schedules.

And, check out how to fly in a lie-flat seat between the U.S. and Mexico.

  • Atlanta (ATL): Delta
  • Austin (AUS): Southwest and Spirit
  • Baltimore (BWI): Southwest and Spirit
  • Boston (BOS): American, Delta and JetBlue
  • Charlotte (CLT): American
  • Chicago (MDW): Southwest
  • Chicago (ORD): American, Frontier, Spirit and United
  • Cincinnati (CVB): Delta and Frontier
  • Cleveland (CLE): Frontier and Spirit
  • Columbus (CMH): American
  • Dallas (DFW): American, Spirit and Sun Country
  • Denver (DEN): Frontier, Southwest and United
  • Detroit (DTW): Delta and Spirit
  • Durham (RDU): American and Delta
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL): JetBlue, Southwest and Spirit
  • Houston (HOU): Southwest
  • Houston (IAH): Spirit and United
  • Indianapolis (IND): American and Frontier
  • Kansas City (MCI): American and Frontier
  • Los Angeles (LAX): Delta and United
  • Miami (MIA): American and LATAM
  • Minneapolis (MSP): Delta and Sun Country
  • Nashville (BNA): Spirit
  • New Orleans (MSY): Spirit
  • New York (JFK): American, Delta and JetBlue
  • Newark (EWR): Frontier and United
  • Orlando (MCO): Delta and JetBlue
  • Philadelphia (PHL): American, Frontier and Spirit
  • Phoenix (PHX): American
  • Pittsburgh (PIT): Spirit
  • Portland (PDX): Alaska
  • Saint Louis (STL): American and Frontier
  • San Diego (SAN): Alaska
  • San Francisco (SFO): United
  • Salt Lake City (SLC): Delta
  • Seattle (SEA): Alaska and Delta
  • Washington (IAD): United

To find flights to other Mexico gateways, check FromFlights.com

Where to stay

Ritz Carlton Cancun (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Note that Marriott has many alluring properties across Mexico. If you need more Marriott Bonvoy points, there are two credit cards to consider before your vacation.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers a welcome bonus of 75,000 points after making $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months and up to $200 back via statement credits at on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership. On your card anniversary, you’ll also receive an award night certificate, which can be used at any property up to 50,000 points per night. That’s up to a Category 6 on standard or off-peak dates or a Category 7 hotel on off-peak dates. The card has a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees).

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card also offers an award night certificate on its anniversary, but it’s good for hotels up to 35,000 points per night. That’s up to a Category 5 on standard and off-peak dates. The current welcome offer for this card is 3 Free Night Awards (each free night award has a redemption value up to 50,000 bonus points, that’s a value of up to 150,000 total points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 10X total points on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations within the first 6 months from account opening.

In Acapulco

  • Banyan Tree Cabo Marques: book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts

In Cabo San Lucas

  • Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection: book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts
  • Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos (all-inclusive): from 20,000 points
  • JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa: from 40,000 Marriott points
  • Montage Los Cabos: book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts
  • Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos: from 50,000 Marriott points
  • The Cape, a Thompson Hotel: from 25,000 Hyatt points
  • The Westin Los Cabos Resort Villas & Spa: from 40,000 Marriott points

In Cancun

  • Hyatt Zilara Cancun (all-inclusive): from 25,000 Hyatt points
  • Hyatt Ziva Cancun (all-inclusive): from 25,000 Hyatt points
  • JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa: from 40,000 Marriott points
  • Marriott Cancun Resort: from 30,000 Marriott points
  • NIZUC Resort & Spa: book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts
  • Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina: from 30,000 Marriott points
  • The Ritz-Carlton Cancun: from 40,000 Marriott points or book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts
  • The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa: from 40,000 Marriott points
  • The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun: from 30,000 Marriott points

In Playa del Carmen

  • Banyan Tree Mayakoba: book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts
  • Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort: from 25,000 Hyatt points
  • Grand Velas Riviera Maya: book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts
  • Rosewood Mayakoba: book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts
  • Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House: from 12,000 Hyatt points
  • Thompson Playa del Carmen Beach House: from 20,000 Hyatt points

In Puerto Vallarta

  • Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta (all-inclusive): from 20,000 Hyatt points
  • Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa: from 40,000 Marriott points
  • Sheraton Bunganvilias Resort & Convention Center: from 30,000 Marriott points
  • The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort: from 70,000 Marriott points
  • The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta: from 30,000 Marriott points

In Punta Mita

  • Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita: book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts
  • The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort: book via American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts
  • W Punta de Mita: from 50,000 Marriott points

In Riviera Maya

  • Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya: from 25,000 Hyatt points
  • Kasa Hotel Riviera Maya: from 20,000 Hyatt points

Pro tip: Before using points on a hotel in Mexico, check the cash price. You may find that it’s a better value to pay cash. For example, nightly rates in August at the Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina start at $87.

Bottom line

It is possible to plan an international trip right now — though you may have to jump through some extra hoops to make it happen. But, if you are vaccinated and feel confident about getting out into the world again — or even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated but are in good health and plan to take every safety precaution while traveling — you can make some travel memories in 2021.

This story will be updated as more countries change their entry policies and make it easier for Americans to visit.

For rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Brilliant card, click here.

Additional reporting by Terry Ward.

Featured image by Duarte Dellarole/Shutterstock.com

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.