Where Can Americans Travel? A Guide to International Post-Pandemic Vacations

Maria Gracia Santillana | May 3, 2021 | Lifestyle

Tulum, Mexico by Spencer Watson

Tulum, Mexico

As vaccines become more widely available throughout the United States and the world, some countries are loosening restrictions and allowing American tourists to visit as soon as June. From the European Union to beach destinations around the world, your vaccination card really does become your passport.

While the United States is still requires all travelers, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents, to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival regardless of destination or vaccination status, vaccinated travelers are exempt from post-arrival quarantine requirements in certain states.

As for abroad, tourism may not look exactly like pre-pandemic times. Many countries continue to enforce local masking and capacity restrictions, and nightlife around the world is not yet quite open. Expect to travel with your mask and hand-sanitizer on hand.

See also: Discover These Dog-Friendly Travel Destinations Across America

After a devastating year and a half, these countries are finally opening their borders as a small step in the long road to normalcy. Many are still battling COVID-19 cases of their own, and some don’t yet have enough vaccines for their own populations. Locals may fear rising COVID-19 cases with an influx of tourists, so remember to respectfully enjoy your much-missed wanderlust.

Just in time for summer vacations, here are the countries opening up to US travelers.

This list was last updated on May 3rd. Please check local and airline restrictions before you plan your next vacation.

AMERICAS AND THE CARIBBEAN

BAHAMAS

As of May 1st, fully-vaccinated visitors do not have to show proof of negative COVID-19 test to enter the beloved Caribbean island. However, all travelers aged 18 and older must purchase a “Bahamas Health Visa” and must upload test results or vaccine documentation into the portal before arrival.

BARBADOS

While Barbados still requires all visitors to quarantine in-room (no beaches or leaving the property) for five days upon arrival, vaccinated travelers will have their quarantine time reduced to two days before getting their second negative COVID-19 test results. Barbados also continues a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and retains strict mask and social distancing rules. Failure to comply with precautions or quarantine rules could result in fines and jail time.

BELIZE

In order to visit this diving and jungle wildlife destination, you must download the Belize Health App and fill out relevant forms no more than 72 hours before arrival. Belize also accepts vaccine cards with proof of vaccination for more than two weeks instead of a negative PCR test upon arrival.

COSTA RICA

After completing a health pass form, U.S. visitors can enter the Central American country with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. You are also required to show proof of travel medical insurance.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Dominican Republic no longer has any entry requirements, and required pre-arrival tests are now administered through spot-testing of about three to 15 percent of arriving visitors. Once on the island, however, local curfews from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. (9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on the weekends) are still in place.

ECUADOR

Ecuador is now open for tourists with either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test. If you plan to visit the Galapagos islands, additional requirements are needed for your visit. A negative COVID test result and a “salvaconducto” by your tourism agency are required before you leave the Ecuadorian mainland and explore the flora and fauna at the Galapagos.

GUATEMALA

Perfect for both wildlife and history junkies, Guatemala is now open to fully-vaccinated U.S. visitors with no required quarantine. However, passengers who’ve recently been to the U.K. or South Africa may be denied entry because of the different COVID strains present in those countries.

MEXICO

Mexico has been open to tourists since June of 2020. Perfect for beach destinations like Cancún and Tulum, metropolitan areas like Mexico City are now also open for tourists. Visitors are not required to show any sort of vaccination or negative PCR test to enter the country, but the U.S. requires all travelers entering the country from Mexico to show documentation of the above.

PERU

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As the country enters its fourth phase of an economic recovery plan, Peru now accepts visitors from the United States. All visitors must show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, and a local Antigen test is required to be exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Machu Picchu, the country’s most popular tourist destination, is currently open and accepting visitors with heavy social distancing and capacity restrictions. However domestic flights from Lima to Cusco are few and restricted, and local nightly curfews continue to be in place.

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

Opened for tourists with a negative COVID-19 test as well as a completed Health Travel form, the U.S. Virgin Islands is once again welcoming visitors. No quarantine is required for healthy visitors, and those who are not must quarantine at their own expense. The islands os St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island still require masks even when outdoors, and social distancing is encouraged on public beaches. Tourists returning from the U.S. Virgin Islands are exempt from testing for re-entry back into the United States.

EUROPE

All 27 members of the European Union will start to accept U.S. travelers with vaccination cards. All three vaccines available in the United States—Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson—have been approved by the EMA and will be accepted upon arrival. While no exact date or timeline has been established by the European Commission, current U.S. efforts for mass vaccination are on track for achieving herd immunity by mid-June.

CROATIA

Open to all visitors, Croatia requires tourists to have proof of accommodation paid in full. As for entry requirements, all visitors must show either a negative COVID-19 PCR test, proof of full vaccination, or a certification of recovery from COVID-19 older than 11 days but not older than 180 as of arrival in Croatia.

CYPRUS

The small island nation off the coast of Turkey is now open to U.S. travelers. All tourists must upload proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result before arrival. Museums, galleries and archeological sites are open but require face-coverings be worn at all times. A local 9 p.m. curfew is still in place, and restaurants and bars are open for outdoor and takeout services only.

GEORGIA

At the geographical and cultural crossroads of the Caucasus Mountains, U.S. visitors to Georgia who are fully vaccinated can now enter with valid documentation.

GREECE

One of the countries who pushed for the EU to lift travel restrictions, Greece is open to fully vaccinated U.S. visitors. Once in the mediterranean country, Greece continues to be under lockdown and curfew restrictions. As of May 3, restaurants and bars will open to outdoor dining.

ICELAND

Starting on April 6, U.S. travelers who are fully vaccinated may enter the Nordic country and be exempt from testing and quarantine requirements.

MONTENEGRO

The Balkan nation allows U.S. travelers into their country with either a negative COVID-19 PCR test or proof of a second dose vaccine received no sooner than seven days ago.

SPAIN

Already open to members of the Schengen travel zone, Spain has announced it will open as early as June for U.S. and U.K. travelers. Requiring either proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 PCR test, or recovery from COVID within the past 90 days, you can visit the home of tapas, paellas and sangria. While the borders may be open, local capacity restrictions are still present, and masks are required at all times outdoors.

TURKEY

While technically open for tourists, the country has entered another national lockdown that restricts the movement of locals—but not tourists—until May 17th. Due to a recent rise in cases, Turkey has restricted shop hours and limited restaurants to delivery-only.

AFRICA

EGYPT

The home of the Pyramids of Giza is currently open for U.S. travelers. With a negative COVID-19 PCR test result no older than 96 hours before arrival, tourists can once again visit the historical sites of the country. Masks and social distancing guidelines are still in place, and failure to comply with local regulations can result in fines.

SENEGAL

The West African country known for its beaches and music is currently open for U.S. tourists. To enter, you must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test less than five days old.

SEYCHELLES

These Indian Ocean islands are now open for tourists. Regardless of vaccination status, the islands require all visitors to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to traveling, and proof of health insurance. You must also fill out an authorization form online before you can enjoy the island’s beautiful ocean views.

TANZANIA

A popular destination for safaris and beaches, Tanzania is open to all tourists. Although the country only requires a health surveillance form upon entry, your airline may require a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. While Tanzania is open, the US Embassy says 72-hour test results aren’t readily available for U.S. entry requirements, so your trip to hike Mountain Kilimanjaro may have to wait a little bit longer.

UGANDA

Known as one of the top destinations in the world for gorilla trekking, Uganda is now open for all U.S. visitors. No quarantine is required if presenting a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. Though a nightly 9 p.m. curfew is still in place, more businesses, like hardware stores and restaurants, are now allowed to open.

ZIMBABWE

You can now visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe as the country is open to U.S. travelers. With no government-mandated quarantine required, all travelers are required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result within 48 hours from the date of departure, even if vaccinated. Local curfews still restrict movement from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. everyday.

ASIA

SRI LANKA

This island off the southern coast of India is now open to all travelers. Pack your bags, and don’t forget your negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken no more than 72 hours within your flight. All visitors will be tested again upon arrival, and all of those not fully vaccinated must quarantine in an approved hotel or result. Once you’ve met all the requirements, be sure to check out the Yala National Park, home to the highest reported leopard density in the world.

THAILAND

This popular Asian destination is once again open to U.S. passport holders, but still with strict requirements. Other than a negative COVID-19 PCR test result no older than 72 hours upon arrival, the country still has a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Vaccinated visitors still have to quarantine for a shortened period of seven days.

*For a more extensive list on country-by-country entry policies, visit the US Embassy Website or this page by ThePointsGuy.



Photography by: Spencer Watson / Unsplash