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Tempting to travel to Central & South America, is it safe and recommended?

Updated: Oct 29


Update May 2021 Reopening-soon? When will international travel return?




Argentina: Argentina has one of the world’s strictest travel bans, restricting all international visitors indefinitely, according to the U.S. Embassy in Argentina. Some international flights have resumed, but they are limited and only Argentine citizens and foreign residents of Argentina, along with some essential and government workers, are allowed at this time.

  • COVID-19 Pre-Test for Arrival Required: Yes – proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hrs of arrival (or a doctor’s note documenting no symptoms of COVID-19 issued within 48hrs of arrival).

  • Assuming No Symptoms, COVID-19 Testing Upon/After Arrival?: Travelers and flight crews may be subject to additional testing upon arrival.​

  • Assuming No Symptoms, Quarantine Required?: Persons authorized to enter the country must complete a mandatory self-quarantine for a total of up to 10 days. Passengers must undertake quarantine in a hotel designated by the government in the capital city. After the full quarantine, passengers can then move about freely and attend business meetings, etc


Brazil: Brazil has the most coronavirus cases in South America as well as a COVID-19 variant that has caused many countries to ban entry of travelers from Brazil and continues to spike cases to record levels in the country (roughly 2 million monthly cases in both March and April) and many hospitals have been at or close to capacity in recent weeks.

  • Pre-Approval for Entry Required: Yes

  • COVID-19 Pre-Testing for Arrival Required: Yes, RT PCR COVID-19 must be taken within 72 hours prior to boarding flight. The test must be in English, Portuguese or Spanish to be accepted upon arrival.

  • Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Required? No

  • Assuming No Symptoms, Quarantine Required: No



Colombia: Since Jan. 7, 2021, all travelers to Colombia are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of their departure flight. Passengers also face health screenings at their point of arrival and if they have been allowed to enter the country without the required PCR test (if they sign an affidavit that they were unable to obtain a result in the required timeframe), they are required to test upon arrival and quarantine until getting a negative result. Testing and/or quarantine upon arrival is mandatory for all travelers who were unable to obtain a test before their flights.

  • Pre-Approval for Entry Required: Yes, negative PCR COVID-19 test was taken 96 hours prior to arrival

  • COVID-19 Pre-Testing for Arrival Required: Yes,

  • A negative PCR COVID-19 test taken 96 hours prior to arrival is required

  • The requirement for a negative test will apply to all incoming international passengers.

  • Only Colombian citizens, residents, and their families, as well as diplomats, will be allowed to board flights without the test result and subsequently either take a PCR test upon arrival in the airport and self-quarantine until they obtain the results, or self-quarantine for 14 days.​

  • Assuming No Symptoms, Quarantine Required: No quarantine required with a negative test. People with symptoms or travelers that refuse to take the COVID-19 test are required to self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days.​

  • Assuming No Symptoms, COVID-19 Testing Upon/After Arrival: No

  • Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Required? No


Ecuador: Many countries are restricting entry for travelers who have visited a variant virus hotspot, including the UK, Brazil, and South Africa. Travelers from neighboring countries may also be restricted.


Quito and Guayaquil airports are open and airlines are now required to verify that all travelers traveling to Ecuador have a negative test result (or proof of vaccination) before allowing them to board. Rapid Antigen testing may also be conducted upon arrival and if the test is positive the traveler will be required to isolate in a government shelter for 10 days. As long as the traveler has a negative test result and doesn’t display any symptoms upon arrival, quarantine is not required.


There are special requirements for the Galapagos Islands, where a negative COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours must be presented by all travelers (even if vaccinated) upon arrival in Galapagos; this can be the same test if you are transiting directly to the Galapagos upon arrival in Ecuador and your test is within required the timeframe.

  • Pre-Approval for Entry Required: No

  • COVID-19 Pre-Testing for Arrival Required: Yes, antigen or PCR COVID-19 test with negative result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. From 22Mar21, exempt from mainland test requirement with a COVID-19 vaccination card with 2 doses.

  • Assuming No Symptoms, COVID-19 Testing Upon/After Arrival: Passengers without proof of negative test will be subject to an antigen test upon arrival and face quarantine for 10 days at a government-regulated hotel or accommodations.

  • Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Required? No

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Required: Not required.

  • Travelers possessing proof of having been inoculated with a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine may enter without a negative PCR test only to mainland airports. Proof of COVID antigen or negative PCR test is still required for SEGS and SEST entry.

Panama: Panama currently requires travelers to register via an online health affidavit and present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or Antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival. Anyone unable to obtain a negative coronavirus test within that time frame can take a COVID-19 rapid Antigen test at the airport upon arrival (cost: $50), but if the result is positive they must quarantine for 14 days in a hotel.

Effective May 3, 2021, travelers arriving in Panama who have been in or who transited through the United Kingdom, India, South Africa, or any country in South America must provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within the last 48 hours and also undergo molecular testing upon arrival (at their own expense). Passengers who test positive will be transferred directly to a hotel hospital for a 14-day quarantine; those who test negative must undergo a 3-day quarantine at a hotel hospital.

  • Pre-Approval for Entry Required: Yes.

  • COVID-19 Pre-Testing for Arrival Required: Yes, PCR or Antigen is taken within 48 hours of arrival time, exempt with a vaccination certificate.

  • Assuming No Symptoms, COVID-19 Testing Upon/After Arrival: Yes

  • Assuming No Symptoms, Quarantine Required: If Americans have not traveled outside the USA in the past 14 days, they could avoid quarantine.

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Required: Effective 24 May 21, travelers with digital vaccine certificates proving that they have been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to their arrival and who have a negative COVID-test in their IATA Travel Pass will be exempt from further testing requirements at the airport.


Peru: Peru After a prolonged state of emergency, Peru began Phase 4 of its economic reactivation on Oct. 1, 2020, including the resumption of a limited number of international flights. The U.S. Embassy in Peru reports that direct flights from the U.S. have resumed and Americans are welcome to enter Peru, although pre-travel testing is required for all visitors, getting a negative Antigen test result upon arrival is required to avoid a 14-day quarantine, regional restrictions are in effect, domestic flights are currently limited and the CDC maintains a Level 4: Very High Level of a COVID-19 health advisory for the country while the State Department’s advisory is Level 4: Do Not Travel.

  • COVID-19 Pre-Testing for Arrival Required: Yes, PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival

  • Assuming No Symptoms, COVID-19 Testing Upon/After Arrival: If test negative for COVID-19 on arrival, released from quarantine early.

  • Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Required?: No

  • Assuming No Symptoms, Quarantine Required: No

  • All international travelers entering the country must quarantine for 14 days unless they have a negative result from a COVID-19 antigen test taken upon arrival.




How many tourists visit South America?


The biggest advantage of Central and North America, over South America, is its more developed infrastructure, especially air and ground. Improvements in transportation infrastructure are urgently needed. Public investment in infrastructure is vital, and I'm talking about airports, cruise ports, and secondary airports."

The newspaper "Elobservador.cr" informed that "... For a country that aims to receive 4 million tourists by 2020, air terminals must expand their capacity and improve the capacity of internal services such as Immigration and Customs."

Photo by Genaro Servín
Fiestas en Sud America

According to the report prepared by the World Economic Forum, The Dominican Republic is the country that has made the most progress in the region (76 to 73), thanks to a global improvement in 11 aspects. Panama had the largest decline in the region (35 to 47), with falls in nine pillars, including the region with the largest drop inland infrastructure (40 to 53) because of reduced efficiency of land transport (40 to 46) and the inclusion of rail data in which it ranks low (98).


Sources:

https://www.universalweather.com/blog/central-and-south-america-covid-travel-restrictions/

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/reopening-soon-a-country-by-country-guide-to-coronavirus-recovery/


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