Traveling to Cancun? Here’s What You Need to Know Now

Orange vs yellow for travel to Cancun during covid
Cancun Airport

There’s a new update from the US State Department and the Governor of Quintana Roo, so if you’ve been thinking about traveling to Cancun and Riviera Maya, read on …

In a nutshell: According to Riviera Maya News, the northern region of the state of Quintana Roo (where Cancun and Riviera Maya are located), has turned its epidemiological light to yellow.  Yellow means that occupancy at hotels in the area can go up, public beaches reopen, and the area will see less restrictions.

Are you thinking about traveling to Cancun during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As with any destination right now, travel is still considered a risk and the Mexican border is closed to “non-essential” travel through September 21, but that doesn’t apply to air travel.  There are also safety protocols and safe zones in place. In fact, Cancun was one of the first to receive the “Safe Travels” stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council.

This latest update by Carlos Joaquín, Governor of Quintana Roo, also means that hotels, restaurants, historic sites, theme parks, golf courses, tourist services, beaches and public parks, religious services, theaters and cinemas, and shopping centers can now operate at  60% capacity.  By the way, the public beaches that are reopening include Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, and Tulum.

Orange vs yellow for travel to Cancun during covid
Riviera Maya News

In addition, on September 14th, the Archaeological Zones of Quintana Roo begin a gradual reopening. Tulum, Cobá, San Gervasio and Muyil open to the public at 12 pm under new guidelines for the safety of tourists and workers. Limited entry and physical distancing are required and upon entry visitors are given a temperature check and hand sanitizer.

What is the Travel Advisory for Cancun?

The Mexican Travel Advisory was also just reduced to a Level 3, which means Reconsider Travel vs Do Not Travel (Level 4).

Mexico does not require a pre-arrival test either and they never did for travel to Cancun during COVID. There are, however, safety and hygiene protocols in place at the airport, hotels, and throughout tourism to protect workers and visitors. The CDC Travel Advisory is at Level 3.

What are flights to Cancun like right now?

According to Cancun Airport Transportation, flights continue to increase with international airlines and scheduled flights from American, Avianca, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country and United. And, in looking ahead, Alaska Airlines announced it will be adding three new nonstop routes.  San Diego and Fort Lauderdale flights begin in November 2020, and March 2021 for Missoula, Montana.

By the way, according to Statista, tourism during the first half of 2020 was $6.53 billion, which was about 26% of the total revenue of 2019.  Statista further reported that in May 2020, it was forecasted that the decrease in inbound tourism in Mexico could translate to losses worth up to 245.2 billion Mexican pesos.

So, yes, Cancun (and Mexico) depends on tourism and the impact of this COVID pandemic has certainly taken a toll on citizens and tourism workers as well as travelers.

What are all-inclusive resorts like for travel to Cancun during COVID?

All-inclusive resorts have been quite creative this year with special pricing, touchless options, “workation” opportunities for remote workers, free medical insurance, and most importantly new protocols for health and hygiene.

For example, a colleague of mine just returned from Riviera Maya and she shared that people kept their distance through the airport and a thermal temperature system was in place and taken both ways.

She stayed at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, which also has the WTTC Safe Stamp, and Stay Safe protocols in place. Her transportation, provided by Grand Velas, was also easy from Cancun Airport directly to the Resort.  A temperature check was also done at the gate, at check-in and at all restaurants.  Restaurants also require the use of hand sanitizer.  The resort was, of course, more quiet than usual and with the latest announcement that could change since they’ll be able to go to 60% occupancy.

Cancun - Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Three of the eight restaurants were currently open including Piaf for French cuisine, Cocina de Autor for Creative Plates, and Bistro.  Bistro is currently offering an à la carte menu for breakfast and lunch and dinner is quite creative as they’re using rotating menus from their other restaurants, like Frida, along with each of their chefs.

Se Spa wasn’t open yet and there’s a chance that will be updated with the new “yellow” status, but beachfront cabanas were allowed as well as designated spa suites for in-suite services.  Use of masks throughout the resort, of course.

If you want to explore ‘beyond the gate’ at any of the all-inclusive resorts in Cancun and/or Riviera Maya, it may be prudent to inquire about the excursions your resort is offering.  Be sure to check the health and safety protocols at your desired hotel, the cancellation policy, and special offers.

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About Donna Adinolfi - Editor-in-Chief 182 Articles
In addition to being our Editor-in-Chief, Donna Adinolfi is a wellness travel expert, a freelance writer, an award-winning photographer, and the founder/publisher of MindfulAdventures.com. Her 30+ year career includes serving as the Travel & Spa Editor of Balance Magazine as well as planning wellness travel & retreats. An avid fan of the freedom from carrying cash or credit cards, Donna loves to visit all-inclusive wellness resorts in the U.S, and traveling to some of Mexico's and the Caribbean's many all-inclusive resorts several times each year. She's also a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association.

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