It’s no secret that people are traveling and visiting Tulum these days. Almost a year after the global pandemic started, more countries are starting to open their borders to US citizens, but travel to Mexico has remained largely open – if you’re traveling by air. A nonessential travel ban for land borders is still in place between the Canada, US, and Mexico borders.
I visited Tulum in September with my friend, Teresa, and since then, the number of Americans visiting Tulum only continues to increase. Many of you haven’t traveled internationally in a while and might be wondering, “What’s it like to travel during COVID?” so I put together this Tulum travel guide for important tips and information you need to know if you’re thinking about it!
Restrictions and requirements are always changing nowadays, so check embassy websites according to your country for the most up-to-date information before you travel in Tulum. You can check the US/Mexico embassy website here, but these are a few things to note.
When I traveled in 2020, there weren’t any restrictions to visit Tulum, Mexico. That meant as a US citizen I didn’t need proof of a negative COVID test to enter the country and I didn’t have to quarantine for any period of time either. As of January 2021, there still aren’t any restrictions to enter the country if you’re traveling by air.
A mask mandate is in place in Tulum, but there has been some difficulty in enforcing the mandate for travelers who are visiting Tulum to unwind and relax. Recently, there was a huge festival that was packed with a lot of partiers not wearing masks or social distancing. Don’t be one of those people. Respect the country you’re traveling to and follow the rules put in place aka WEAR A MASK AND SOCIAL DISTANCE.
Additionally, most local establishments will take your temperature and have sanitizing measures at their entrances. When it comes to restaurants, all staff are required to wear masks at the very least. Wherever you travel in Tulum, take time to be aware of the rules surrounding COVID precautions.
As of January 26, 2021, the CDC is requiring all travelers flying into the US to show proof of negative COVID tests before boarding their flights. Yup, this also affects US citizens coming in from any international destinations, including Mexico, and those who have been vaccinated. Tests must be taken no more than 3 days before flying and you have to bring written or electronic proof of the results.
Neither of the following things are requirements, but are good things to consider and include when putting together your own Tulum travel guide.
Since last year, most airlines have become extremely flexible when it comes to changing your flights by waiving fees and allowing you to keep credits until 2022 if you need to cancel your flight. But travel insurance covers more than just flights.
It can protect and assist you if any issues come up when you travel in Tulum, such as with hotels. Be sure to read the fine print to understand everything that is included or not in your coverage.
With the lack of restrictions to enter the country, an increase in travelers visiting Tulum, and large gatherings or parties taking place, coronavirus cases are rising in the area. If you decide to purchase travel insurance for your trip, make sure it has COVID coverage in case you get sick.
Even though quarantining and testing are not required upon arrival, consider doing both before you travel in Tulum. Something to keep in mind is that just because a country is allowing us to visit, doesn’t mean we should be careless about bringing COVID into their country. Some countries that are open to travelers don’t have the bandwidth or capacity to manage the pandemic if it gets out of control.
After visiting Tulum, if you’re returning to or entering the US, check your state’s travel guidelines. For California where I live, nonessential travel is strongly discouraged and a 10 day self-quarantine is strongly encouraged if you are entering the state or returning from traveling abroad.
We all have our own travel must-haves (here are mine!) but here are some items I highly recommend you bring anywhere you travel during COVID times:
Travel-sized hand sanitizer to clean your hands when you’re on the go and sanitizer is not available wherever you are.
After my travels there, here are 4 of the most important tips I can offer to you about visiting Tulum when it comes COVID travel.
Your dates are set. You bought your tickets. You’ve decided you’re visiting Tulum. Now what? Do as much planning in advance! Make your own Tulum travel guide with a list of things like your accommodations, places to go or things to see, and where to eat.
While Tulum is welcoming travelers with open arms, like everywhere else in the world, COVID affected many businesses, so do some research beforehand to check what is open or closed. If you need ideas or help planning, I gotchu covered with my other Tulum blog posts:
One thing to definitely include in your planning is transportation and how you’re going to get around. If you’re planning to sightsee by visiting Tulum ruins or Tulum cenotes, you can grab taxis or catch a ride on a colectivo (shared ride minivans), but I highly recommend renting a car.
If you’re going to be there for more than a few days, a rental car when you travel in Tulum offers the most convenience and efficiency. On my trip, it cost us less than $100 USD for a 4 day rental.
With hella people traveling in Tulum, popular places can easily get crowded even though social distancing measures are in place. To get around this, Teresa and I would be up, out, and about by 7am each day. That way we could get to the cenotes early, when it was still empty.
PRO TIP: Getting to popular spots early not only helps you avoid crowds when you visit Tulum, Mexico, but lets you get all those IG worthy shots you see when people travel in Tulum!
Generally speaking, having flexibility is a must when you travel at all during COVID. Travel rules, restrictions, and requirements can change overnight. Businesses can be open one day and closed the next. Prices for visiting Tulum cenotes or ruins can change. For instance, the owner of Libelula Tulum recommended us to check out Holistika in town and it was the most serene hotel we’ve been to the entire trip! Most of us travel there to have a relaxing time anyways, so just have back up plans if things don’t go the way you expect them to.
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