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Coronavirus in Latin America: Help, what to do? As a traveler, you want to know what traveling looks like and what the destination requirements are. In this article, you will get the answers. We describe the current travel situation in Latin America regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. With the latest health updates, travel requirements, and useful information. We help you to make new plans to travel and study Spanish abroad. The insights we give are about the specific situation in a country. Because we want you to give a better picture of the whole situation and stimulate tourism in Latin America. We will tell you also everything about the impact of Corona and how the tourism vibe is. One thing is a fact. The Spanish schools in Latin America are waiting for you!
Effect of Coronavirus on Tourism in Latin America
Latin America was struck particularly hard by the worldwide tourism slump. The tourism sector increased at a 10% annual rate across the region in the five years leading up to COVID-19. Tourism generated an annual average of 4% GDP in Latin America by 2019. This equates to 10% of Latin America’s total exports of products and services. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Latin America’s tourism industry faced a $230 billion loss in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Pandemic also cost the tourism industry 12.4 million jobs, which is linked to other industries including agriculture, food and beverage, construction, transportation, and the creative arts. The pandemic’s impact on the region’s tourism economy is uneven. Mexico, which boasts Latin America’s largest tourism sector, has lost $129 billion in this sector alone, with a 69 percent decline in the tourism workforce.
Traveling during COVID-19
During COVID-19, we all were locked in our homes for months and months at the initial stage of 2020. Traveling was completely restricted initially. By the time the spread of coronavirus has slowed down, traveling is luckily allowed again with different rules for each country.
Let’s jump into each particular country- to learn everything what you need to know
The impact of the tourism sector in Peru is huge. In 2020, Peru took action right away. The Peruvian government declared a statewide lockdown in March in the hopes of containing the virus before it wreaked havoc on the country’s population and economy. Peru’s population is concentrated near the coast and in major cities, as shown on the map, rather than being evenly distributed across the country. This means the country is at a greater danger of sickness spreading at an exponentially faster rate, which is likely why their leadership opted to put the country on lockdown so quickly. The shutdown, however, persisted until late June, resulting in significant economic losses.
The beauty of the Peruvian terrain, which includes mountains, forests, and rivers, is a major draw for tourists. Peru’s terrain has a lot of biodiversities, a range in the types of plant and animal life and/or landscape in a certain location, concerning natural wonders like the Amazon River and Machu Picchu. Many Peruvian inhabitants rely on tourism to create money.
Due to the pandemic, their government established severe travel restrictions, preventing residents from leaving and visitors from returning. Many people were left trapped, unable to return home. There was hardly any tourism in the country at the time because of the travel restrictions.
But after a strict lockdown, Peru is luckily open again. Except for travelers who have been in South Africa in the past 14 days before travel. Cusco – one of our destinations for Spanish classes in Peru is starting up again and the school receives more and more students. By taking some health precautions students can enjoy this historical Inca city again. Masks are required in all public spaces in Peru. But double face masks are required on flights, and to enter some establishments such as shopping centers, galleries, department stores, basic product supply stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, etc. Students let us know that they get used to it very quickly. In many places, they have loosened the rules a little bit (they sort of allow you to walk without a mask). But don’t expect a big nightlife. In Cusco there is a curfew from 1am – 4am. But maybe now is the time to visit if you want to explore the tourist sites like Machu Picchu. The Peru Government released tickets and Machu Picchu is at full capacity through the end of December 2021. Also, Inca Trail permits for 2022 are now available. But the sites are now less crowded than before COVID- 19, which makes it pretty awesome. The travel restrictions that you should be aware of are the following:
- All travelers must have a negative COVID-19 molecular test result issued a maximum of 72 hours before boarding. There is no quarantine require
- Travelers who have recovered from COVID-19 must present the test with which the COVID-19 diagnosis was made and a health document from the country of origin proving that they have been discharged in the period of up to 3 months before travel.
- Travelers are required to submit a health declaration form online a maximum of 72 hours before departure to Peru. Travelers must present the QR code from the online form either digitally or printed.
- As a recommendation. Travelers can install and complete a “Pre Registro de Control Migratorio” in their personal device a maximum of 48 hours before departure to Peru. This will generate a QR code that can be presented upon arrival. This will accelerate controls with immigration.
- Cross land borders from and to Peru are closed.
Ecuador is a country that has a strong tourism industry. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is expected to have lost Ecuador’s tourism industry more than 1.2 billion dollars by 2020. Many rules were implemented that caused the downfall of the tourism industry of Ecuador.
Also, Ecuador is ready to welcome tourists back. They have put in place a variety of COVID-19 protocols to ensure that whilst visiting the country you remain safe. The Spanish schools in Ecuador are receiving students again. Especially, in Montañita it seems like things are getting back to normal. The clubs and bars are open, and you will meet for sure other backpackers. The school is very excited to welcome you so that you can enjoy the sun, beach, and Spanish lessons. The most popular trip is Spanish with surfing in Montañita. Some important rules that travelers must supply upon entering Ecuador are the following:
- Travelers are allowed to enter Ecuador by air. Landborders remain closed. Asymptomatic travelers who do not have a travel history in Brazil or India before arriving in Ecuador, are not required to quarantine on arrival.
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR or quick antigen test took no more than three days before entering Ecuador,
- OR a COVID-19 vaccination card proving the traveler received the whole series of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before entering Ecuador.
- Travelers entering Ecuador who has previously been diagnosed as COVID-19 positive may present a medical certificate from their country of origin attesting to their recovery and current good health as an alternative to the above entry requirements, as long as the onset of COVID-19 symptoms occurred more than 30 days ago before the entry in Ecuador.
- All travelers going to the Galapagos Islands must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result. The test must be taken a maximum of 72 hours before boarding their flight to the Galapagos. Travelers must also complete a traffic control card issued by the Galapagos Government Council. Travelers can receive this card from the Galapagos Government Council counter located in Quito or Guayaquil airports.
- Travelers are required to complete a health declaration form before departure to Ecuador. The form will also be provided by the airline.
Colombia draws lots of tourists because of its beautiful places. But the pandemic hit the tourism industry of Colombia very badly.
Luckily the strict lockdown is over and life is pretty normal again in Colombia. Travelers must wear masks in most public places and while using public transportation. But there is nightlife, you can go watch soccer matches, etc. All commercial establishments and other economic activities have been reopened for a few months, while maintaining all biosafety procedures (face masks, separation, hand washing, ventilation), prioritizing outside activities, and controlling capacity. Yes good news, this means that you are welcome to Study Spanish in Colombia. The teachers are ready to make fun and practice Spanish together. Many rules are implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic and some of them are:
- To enter Colombia, international passengers are not required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before traveling to Colombia. Travelers are not required to quarantine on arrival in Colombia.
- You do not need to present your negative PCR test if you are traveling to the interior of the country. You need to complete your Check-Mig registration 24 hours before your trip. It`s not necessary to download and fill out the information on the CoronApp mobile application.
- Land borders with Ecuador and Panama remain closed.
Costa Rica’s tourism industry is one of the country’s economic engines, producing around 10% of GDP and generating 600,000 direct and indirect jobs before the pandemic. Because of the pandemic’s uncertainty and restrictions, world tourism has collapsed, and Costa Rica has only received a third of the tourists that would regularly visit the country. In March 2020, foreign arrivals were down 51% year over year.
But Costa Rica is also open again for travelers. Travelers can enjoy the beautiful nature and immerse themselves in the ´Pura Vida´ culture. More and more travelers are coming to Costa Rica. All national parks can run at 100% capacity and also beaches are open. But you must wear masks in all public spaces and in all indoor settings except when eating or while alone. The use of masks is also mandatory at bus stops and on all forms of public transportation. Bars, restaurants, casinos, and shopping have to close at 21.00. But in December, this will be extended to 23.00 and at a capacity of 75%. Nevertheless, there is a lot of nature and culture to explore. The Spanish schools in Costa Rica are receiving more students these days. Below you find the most important rules that you should know:
- To enter Costa Rica, travelers are not required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result when traveling to Costa Rica. Travelers are also not required to quarantine on arrival in Costa Rica. They simply need to fill out an Epidemiological Health Pass Form a maximum of 72 hours before arrival in Costa Rica. An individual form must be completed for every person. https://salud.go.cr/
- Unvaccinated travelers are required to have proof of international travel insurance or travel insurance purchased in Costa Rica. For international insurance policies, tourists must request a certification from their insurance company, issued in English or Spanish, verifying at least the following 3 conditions: -Effectiveness of the policy during the visit to Costa Rica; -Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with COVID-19 while in Costa Rica, for at least USD $50,000; -Includes minimum coverage of USD $2,000 for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic. National insurances meet all the requirements to have coverage of medical expenses for illness. This requirement does not apply to: -Travelers who have been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine at least 14 days before travel.
- The land borders with Nicaragua and Panama are open. Good news! Because our Traveling Classroom in Costa Rica and Panama is running again. The first groups of students have been studying Spanish along the road.
Panama’s tourism industry is expanding and now accounts for at least 6% of the country’s GDP. The tourism sector has huge multiplier effects on the Panamanian economy, as indicated by this study, and has the potential to provide significant benefits to the disadvantaged.
In 2019, the number of overseas visitors to Panama topped 2.5 million for the first time. However, with the commencement of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, this number decreased by roughly 70%. Before the outbreak, the country’s capital was one of Latin America’s most visited cities.
Also in Panama tourism is getting a boost. Travelers must wear masks in all public places but the travel vibe is really good. During the nighttime, a curfew is in place in some provinces from 1 am to 4 am. You will meet again other backpackers and you can visit all attractions. Also, the incredible San Blas islands are open for tourism. The Spanish schools in Panama are welcoming students again. With safety protocols and social distancing in place. Tourists can learn Spanish again in the beautiful mountains or at the beach! But what should you be aware of?
- Travelers are allowed to enter Panama., Unvaccinated travelers must have a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result. The test must be taken a maximum of 72 hours before arrival in Panama. Travelers arriving without a negative test or without a valid negative test must also take a COVID-19 test at the airport on arrival, at their own cost
- Non-vaccinated travelers arriving from or that have transited through a high risk country (Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Cuba, Estonia, Fiji, French Guiana, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Malaysia, Mongolia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, South Africa, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States ) in the 15 days before arrival you need to quarantine on arrival in Panama.
- Travelers are recommended to have health insurance with COVID-19 coverage before arrival in Panama.
- All travelers are required to complete an Electronic Affidavit (sworn statement) before boarding their flight to Panama. After filling up the document, travelers will receive a QR code that must be shown on their smartphones.
- The landborders with Costa Rica is open, but there is no visits allowed to the border region to Colombia.
The COVID-19 pandemic had brought a huge change globally. It has not affected only some particular countries but the whole world. The epidemic has had an impact on every sector like tourism. But luckily all of the described countries in Latin America are open again. Tourist agencies all over Latin America have designed new protocols to organize tours with maintaining all biosafety procedures.
Depends on what you are looking for. We at Spanish travel Classes can help you decide which country will match your travel plans, interests, and learning goals. Contact us today or by using the WhatsApp button and we will give you personal and honest advice.
Information is provided as guidance only and is accurate at the time of publishing. Always check government websites and airline materials before booking and traveling.