What You Need to Know Before Going to Mexico Right Now
Tourism is booming—here are the hot tips to know before you go this spring.
Picture it now: You, languorously moving through a perfectly chilled infinity pool that overlooks a turquoise ocean, with a salty margarita in hand and sunshine beaming above. Wafts of sunscreen and festive música swirl in the air, and you've already begun thinking about your next ceviche encounter.
If you're daydreaming about Mexico—or have a vacation already lined up—you're one among many doing precisely the same. Mexico was one of the first countries to relax its COVID restrictions during the pandemic, and as a result, saw a whopping 27.7% increase in tourism from 2020 to 2021.
"There are new developments throughout the country, such as the construction of a new airport in Tulum that will only further increase the country's tourism in the years to come," notes Dr. Terika Haynes, founder of Dynamite Travel. "For families or groups traveling, as well as destination weddings, Mexico is a great option for budgets of all types."
Before packing your bags, take a minute to review this must-know info about traveling to Mexico right now. And then, don't miss the 10 Best Places to Travel Internationally This Spring.
You don't need a COVID test to enter Mexico.
Currently, Mexico does not require U.S. citizens to provide proof of a negative COVID test, nor does the country require travelers to be vaccinated to enter the country. However, you should review re-entry requirements for your country before returning home. For instance, the United States requires a negative COVID test or documentation of recovery in order to re-enter the country.
Note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that "Mexico has a moderate level of COVID-19." For your safety, exercise caution when possible, such as wearing masks while indoors and avoiding overcrowded areas.
COVID protocols within Mexico vary.
As is the case with many parts of the world, COVID rules vary throughout Mexico.
"Mexico follows a color-coded mechanism that outlines which regulations are in place on a state-by-state basis," notes Naveen Dittakavi, founder and CEO of Next Vacay. "Most areas and public spaces currently have a green light, which means you can resume all activities in public or private establishments with precaution."
These color-coded guidelines are updated every two weeks by the federal and state governments according to Mexico's Ministry of Health Specialists, so double-check with local authorities for the most up-to-date information.
Also, note that some airports may require you to complete a quick health screening upon arrival. And even if your home country doesn't require you to wear a mask on the plane or at the airport, many Mexican airports still have mask mandates in place.
The most luxurious destinations.
Mexico boasts some of the most luxurious destinations in the world, complete with state-of-the-art facilities and lavish spas that give places like the Maldives and Turks and Caicos a run for their money. Top luxury destinations in Mexico include:
Tulum: Known for its artsy aesthetic and wellness vibes, Tulum is ripe with boutique properties ranging from swanky jungle treehouses to posh beachside suites. It's also home to gorgeous natural cenotes and Mayan ruins.
Riviera Maya: About 30 minutes away from Tulum you'll find Riviera Maya, a coveted destination home to exquisite beaches, sweeping luxury resorts, and a vibrant spectacle of diverse flora and fauna.
Cabo San Lucas: Known simply as "Cabo," this luxurious destination in Mexico is known for its renowned culinary scene, breathtaking beaches, and top-ranked golf courses.
The most luxurious hotel option is perhaps the newly opened La Casa De La Playa in Riviera Maya. Starting at around $1500 per night, this all-inclusive resort is home to 63 outrageously gorgeous suites featuring personal pools and jacuzzis, jellyfish tanks, and eclectic handmade art and furniture from local artists. Your stay also gives you access to decadent experiences, such as private cave touring and private romantic dinner in the Rio Azul Cenote (complete with live jazz music).
READ THIS NEXT: 5 Hotels So Amazing You'll Never Want to Leave.
The best budget-friendly destinations.
There are many beautiful, budget-friendly destinations to consider when traveling to Mexico. The country is well known for its incredible hospitality and service industry, and budget-friendly options still pack that wow factor. Top budget-friendly destinations in Mexico include:
Puerto Vallarta: This coastal town revolves around the water, which means your stay will likely include water activities, marine exploration, and plenty of lazy beach days.
Cancún: Along with its turquoise blue water and white sand beaches, Cancun is known for its affordable all-inclusive resorts, vivid night scene, and water sports. This destination is also located close to the Cancún Airport, which makes your airport to hotel commute an easy one.
Puerto Peñasco: Also known as Rocky Point, Puerto Peñasco is a quick drive from Southern California and Arizona, making it an easy weekend getaway for those in the area. This small fishing village cradles the Sea of Cortez and boasts lots of all-inclusive resorts and amazing seafood.
One of the top-rated budget-friendly stays is The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, which averages around $200 per night. This beachfront hotel features sparkling pools across the property, spacious rooms, delicious on-site dining, and a dazzling spa so you can get your self-care on.
Book private transfer to get around.
Some find that airport arrivals are a bit overwhelming due to the number of taxi pushers at exits. Navigating public transport can also be stressful. Spare yourself any trouble or distress by booking private transfer before your vacation.
"It's reliable transportation, comfortable, spacious, and doesn't make other stops getting you straight to your destination and allows you to limit your exposure to other travelers," says Dr. Haynes. Many resorts will also pre-arrange inexpensive (or complementary) transfers to and from the hotel and airport.
READ THIS NEXT: 8 Airport Secrets That Make Traveling Super Easy.
Don't drink tap water.
Tap water in Mexico often contains contaminants that will make you sick. Traveler's diarrhea—also known as "Montezuma's revenge"—is perhaps one of the more common ailments affecting travelers to Mexico, but it can be avoided by drinking only bottled water.
Many resorts and restaurants in Mexico are careful about the water provided to guests, and some even have higher quality filtration systems on location. Still, avoid getting water in your mouth when showering or brushing your teeth, and never drink directly from the faucet. Also avoid drinks with ice (particularly at non-resort locales) and raw foods that have been rinsed or soaked in water, such as salad or vegetables.
Consider travel insurance.
Travel insurance is not mandatory in Mexico, but it's always a good idea to secure insurance whenever venturing abroad.
"It can help to protect against unforeseen accidents, emergencies, and illnesses," says Dr. Haynes. "Having a 'cancel for any reason' clause in your travel protection can also help to alleviate any stress or uncertainty, allowing you to be more at ease and put your energy towards joyously preparing for your vacation."
Dittakavi adds that some areas—such as Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit—may require tourists to show proof of travel medical insurance for the duration of their stay. Check in advance with your resort.
Be a smart tourist.
Dittakavi says: "Traveling in most of Mexico is safer than you think, with little incidents impacting tourists recently, so travelers shouldn't let these worries overshadow this amazing cultural destination."
That said, wherever you travel, be smart. Try not to walk down dark or deserted alleyways, refrain from being outside of your resort late at night, and do not purchase any type of drugs. It's also a good idea to leave expensive jewelry and clothing at home, and always lock your valuables—including passports—in your hotel safe.
For more travel news, check out The 9 Best Places in America to Travel to This Spring.