Reopening borders for international tourism – updates from our collection in Africa and Latin America

2021-02-16T19:23:36-05:00January 26th, 2021|

Updated February 16th, 2021

Note: This post is updated as of the date above. We endeavor to provide the most succinct and accurate information from our destination partners on all border reopenings. However,  agents and travelers should always check official government statements and consult with local suppliers and airlines on the latest entry requirements. Beginning January 26, US-bound travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hrs before their flight to the U.S. departs. This requirement extends to all passengers including US citizens. Airlines must confirm negative test results or documentation of recovery for each passenger before they board. If not provided or if one chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding. Our partners have been helping travelers from around the globe navigate their countries’ testing requirements for months and have well-established procedures in place – click here for more info.

Africa

Tanzania: Tanzania’s borders are open with international flights arriving. Upon arriving in the country, visitors will be required to have their temperature taken, and there will be a range of specific health and safety measures taken on transport and at accommodation to protect against the spread of the Covid-19 virus. More details from Albatros Travel here.

Kenya: Kenya’s borders are open with international flights arriving. Arriving passengers must present a negative PCR based COVID – 19 test carried out within 96 hours before travel. They will also need to fill out a health survelliance form. They will then receive an email with a QR code that they should print and carry when traveling to Kenya. They must also apply for a visa online before visiting Kenya as it is no longer possible to obtain one on arrival. More details from Albatros Travel here.

Rwanda: Rwanda’s latest COVID-19 lockdown does not affect tourism activities. With existing COVID requirements/protocols in place, tourism continues and primate trekking is open. Questions? Ask Mandy.

Rwanda’s air borders are open with international flights arriving. Land borders remain closed. Arriving passengers must present negative PCR test results from within 72 hours of arrival and will be tested again on arrival followed by quarantine in a local for up to 24 hours while awaiting results. Travelers must also have a negative PCR test taken within 120 hours prior to departure. All international tourists visiting national parks are required to schedule their visit within 72 hours of receiving a negative test result. For almost all CAS travelers, the test on arrival will be valid as most stays are fewer than 5 days. More details from Classic Africa Safaris here.

Please note:

As of January 20, 2021, Rwanda has imposed a 15-day lock down on its capital, Kigali as the country battles a second wave of coronavirus cases. Travel between Kigali and other provinces and districts will not be permitted, except for essential services and tourism. Tourists must have a  negative Covid-19 certificate.

Uganda: As of 01 Oct 2020 Uganda resumed international airline arrivals and is accepting foreign visitors from all countries. The Entebbe International Airport has provided these SOPs for arrivals and departures. Arriving passengers must show PCR COVID-19 negative test results issued within 120 hours before boarding the first flight of their journey to Uganda. More details and all entry/exit requirements from Classic Africa Safaris here.

KLM Airlines is requiring rapid antigen testing for all passengers boarding flights to the Netherlands (and onward destinations) from Entebbe International Airport (EBB). Testing is available at a clinic inside the airport and costs $50 per test, with an approx. 15 min wait time. The test cannot be pre-paid. This test is in addition to the negative PCR test required for departure from Uganda. There is a four (4) hour advance check-in requirement at EBB. Please note that KLM is not applying this antigen test requirement for departure from Rwanda.

South Africa: International borders are open, with no further restrictions on leisure travellers from ‘high-risk’ countries. A negative COVID PCR test certificate within 72 hours of departure from country of origin is compulsory, as is the completion of screening and health questionnaires on arrival. Any symptomatic travelers will be required to undergo further testing and should they test positive, they must quarantine at their own cost. Transit facilities are open and passengers are allowed to transit through South Africa provided they are in possession of the negative PCR certificate and adhere to screening and health protocols. Please note that the transit hotel at ORT is currently closed and any transit passengers needing to overnight will have to do so at the very basic designated government ‘inadmissible’ facility.

PLEASE NOTE: Adjusted Alert Level 3

As of Jan 11, 2021, South Africa extended their advanced Level 3 alert until Feb 15, 2021 with a list of restrictions and protocols in place (login required). All international travel is still permitted subject to the traveler providing a valid certificate of a negative test which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. New Frontiers has a very comprehensive COVID-19 page on the NF Agent Zone that we recommend you review for full details (member log-in required).

Botswana:
International borders opened on November 9th, 2020 with no restrictions on leisure travelers from ‘high-risk’ countries. A negative COVID PCR test certificate within 72 hours of departure from departing country is compulsory for entry. Travelers will also be required to fill out a screening and health questionnaire on arrival. Any symptomatic travelers will be required to undergo further testing and should they test positive, they must quarantine at their own cost. International travellers returning to South Africa to stay or transit will require additional negative Covid PCR test certificate valid within 72 hours.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe’s international air borders opened on October 1, 2020, with no restrictions on leisure travelers from ‘high-risk’ countries. All travelers are required to have a negative PCR COVID-19 test issued by a recognized facility with 48 hours before arrival. Ethiopian Airlines resumed flights into VFA from ADD on Oct. 6th. More details on Zimbabwe’s reopening here.

Please note:
Adjusted emergency regulations valid till mid-February.
Curfew in place from 6pm to 6am.
All non-essential movement between these hours is restricted.

Zambia
International borders opened in July, with no restrictions on leisure travelers from ‘high-risk’ countries. Proof of a negative COVID PCR test certificate within 7 days of arrival is compulsory. As at October 20th, 2020, all travellers DEPARTING Zambia, must obtain a Travel Certificate from Zambian authorities which includes a Negative COVID PCR test taken within last 14 days within country. Travelers will be required to fill out a screening and health questionnaire on arrival. Any symptomatic travelers will be required to undergo further testing and should they test positive, they must quarantine at their own cost. International travellers returning to South Africa to stay or transit will require additional negative Covid PCR test certificate valid within 72 hours.

Namibia: Namibia’s Hosea Kutako International Airport outside Windhoek is open and international flights are arriving. All tourists must have a negative PCR result not older than 72 hours before boarding their flight to Namibia. The earlier requirement for a mandatory Day 5 retest has been WITHDRAWN! More details from Ultimate Safaris here.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia is now open for international tourism. A negative PCT Covid-19 test issues no earlier than 72 hours before arrival is required for entry. More details from Ethiopia Tourism here and comprehensive entry requirements from Ethiopian Airlines here.

Latin America

Belize: Belize’s international airport, the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) is open with international flights arriving. Arriving passengers who provide a certificate of a negative Covid-19 PCR test from within the last 72 hours will be allowed immediate entry into Belize. Arriving passengers without a negative Covid-19 test, must be tested upon arrival in Belize, at the passenger’s expense. More details from Maya Trails.

Guatemala: Guatemala’s Aurora International Airport reopened on September 18th. Passengers must have a medical certificate with a NEGATIVE PCR test result issued at most 72 hours before arrival. (this does not apply to children under the age of 10, passengers who have proof of recovery from a COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days or passengers that have proof of vaccination with the second dose administered at least 2 weeks prior to arrival). Facemasks are required and all passengers will pass through thermal heat scanners and must complete an online health pass form before departure.  More details from Maya Trails.

Costa Rica: Residents of all U.S. states and Canada are allowed entry to Costa Rica with no Covid testing required! The latest details from Costa Rica Sun Tours here.

Ecuador: All arriving guests must present proof of a negative PCR test result from within 10 days of their arrival (previously it was 7 days). After providing the negative test results, travelers can begin their journeys throughout Ecuador’s mainland without further ado. Effective Sept. 16th, the process to enter the Galapagos has been streamlined and passengers arriving in Ecuador can use proof of a negative PCR test administered within 96 hours (4 days) of arrival for transit to the Galapagos Islands – no local test or quarantine required.  More details from Tropic Ecuador here.

Baja California Sur, Mexico: There are no entry requirements for travelers arriving at Los Cabos International airport, though travelers will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about recent travel and exposure for safety. More details on TOSEA’s safety protocols for Covid-19 here.  With the new requirement of a negative test result for passengers returning to the US, TOSEA can arrange for tests for clients either at Los Colibris or at their bodega in La Paz. Rapid antigen tests are 1,200 pesos/test.

 

About the Author:

Tad Bradley

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