New COVID-19 Restrictions for International Travel from the United States to Xcalak
Written by Rob Mukai on Jan. 17, 2021
LAST UPDATED Jan 13, 2022 UPDATE: As of Dec 6, 2021, the CDC announced that all travelers from outside the US returning will require a negative antigen test 1 day before getting on their flights. This is for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people. Please note, it is not 24 hours before your flight, just the day before, so as long as you get the test the day before your flight even if it is over 24 hours ahead you should be fine. E.g. if you get your test at 8:00 am on Friday and your flight is 5:00 PM on Saturday, it is still valid. Here is the announcement
On Jan 12, 2021 the CDC announced that as of Jan 26, 2021, travelers from Mexico, including Xcalak, would require a "qualified test" for COVID-19 within 3 days of departure in order to enter the United States. Alternatively, proof of a positive test and recovery within 90 days of travel. They also require a signed Attestaion. You can download the form, fill it out and sign it. Please see the notice here. According to the CDC a "Qualified Test" is a Viral test, either a PCR or Antigen test. They don't specify exactly what kind of Antigen test is ok. You do need to make sure that the name on the test results and Date of Birth (paper or electronic is acceptable) is EXACTLY the same as your passport. At the end of the day, it is the airlines that are going to be enforcing this. So your best source of information on what is acceptable would be your airline. However, I will be keeping this blog post up to date as more information comes in. For now here is a summary of what the requirements are. I would plan a day to get your COVID-19 test. So if you were planning on fishing every day, or diving everyday, pick a day within 3 days of leaving and plan on getting your test out of the way. If you go to Chetumal or Bacalar, you can combine it with a trip to the ruins at Dzibanche, Kohunlich or Chacchoben or you can hang out in Bacalar and check out the sights there.
From Jan 26, 2021, Travelers from Mexico to the US including returning US citizens will be required to have a "qualified test", either a PCR or Viral Antigen Test within 3 days of their flight.
PCR Tests are available here, however, the availability is limited to a few hospitals in the big cities. A second consideration is the fastest of them only promise results in
3-5 days. UPDATE 1/18/2021 - There are a couple of places that can get PCR Results back in 24 hours or less. I've updated the list below. Although you can usually get your results earlier than that, it makes it difficult to plan. So I would not recommend PCR tests for travelers even though they are more accurate.In Spanish Prueba PCR (pru AYba peh seh eh reh)
Rapid Antigen Tests are widely available here at many hospitals and many labs throughout Quintana Roo. This is what I would recommend for travelers, they are a lot cheaper than PCR tests and you can usually get your results in 20 or 30 minutes. In Spanish: Prueba Antigeno (pru AY bah An TEA Je No)
Antibody Tests are also widely available here, however, these would NOT be a "Qualified Test" as they don't detect the actual virus. Just the antibodies your body produces to fight a COVID-19 infection. In Spanish Prueba de Anticuerpos (pru AY bah de An TEA ku AIR pos)
Here is what the major airlines are saying:
- PCR or Viral Antigen Test. Rapid Antigen test is acceptable. Must make sure that Name matches passport.
- They sent me to this website. They say they will keep it updated
- Pointed me to this website however there wasn't much information on it as of Jan 16, 2021.
Here is a very incomplete list of places you can get tests.
CostaMed - Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cancun
- PCR and Rapid Antigen Test
- Many English Speakers
- As of Jan 6, 2021 no need for appointments, It opens at 8:00 am. My experience was that at 8:00 there was a long line. It took me 3 hours at the Tulum CostaMed to get a PCR test. You can try calling them and asking what the lines are like. UPDATE: Mar 2, 2021, still no appointment necessary, but they do ask you to fill out the [pre-registration questionaire](https://www.costamed.com.mx/en/covid-19/form/hotels] on-line before you go.
- CostaMed promises PCR test results within 3-4 days. The two times I have done it there, they have averaged less than 2 days to get results back. Antigen Test results same day.
- CostaMed has an international phone number so you can call from the US: +1-855-301-4111
- Playa del Carmen Ph +52 984-803-7777 Location
- Tulum Ph +52 984-124-0830 or +52 984-229-4353 Location
- Cancun Ph +52 998-561-0309 Location
- Puerto Morelos Ph +52 998-500-2505 Location
Centro Medico Chetumal
- PCR and Rapid Antigen Test (Results in 5 Days for PCR, Antigen test results in 1 hour)
- Contact Oscar via Whatsapp +52 983 104 9853. He speaks some English Location
List of testing locations for Riviera Maya as of Jan 13, 2021
UPDATE Feb 2, 2021: Now Rapid Antigen Tests available in Mahahual, by appointment only. Call in advance to ensure he has enough tests. It takes about 1 hour for the test and the paperwork. Dr. Daniel Castillejos speaks English as well.
- Email : email@example.com
- WhatsApp : 999 335 6127
- Cost : 1400 pesos
- Address : Calle Kohunlich number 1101 , Casitas, Mahahual
UPDATE Mar 2, 2021 - Testing is available via a mobile testing lab at the Fairfield Inn Marriott at the Cancun Airport. Phone: +52 998 868 5400 Location PCR tests $100 USD, Antigen Test $19 USD. Results guaranteed back NEXT DAY: PCR by 3:00 PM, Antigen by 5:00 PM. They are open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. No appointment necessary.
US Consulate in Merida Facebook Page
Here is the actual order for those who want the gory details
Good FAQ from the US Consulate in Merida.
UPDATE 22-Jan-2021 List of testing locations in Mexico from the US Embassy
UPDATE 24-Jan-2021 Facebook Post from the US Consulate in Merida on requirements for flying to the US.
UPDATE 26-Jan-2021 Mobile Labs available at Cancun Airport Although I would only use that if you cannot get one before you go to the airport. I am assuming the line will be long.
UPDATE 30-Jan-2021 Reports from Cancun airport are that you must check to make sure your name AND Date of Birth on the test results matches your passport. Some travelers have reported getting it checked 3 times before boarding.
UPDATE 30-Jan-2021 Also report from Traveler, COVID-19 Testing Kiosks are available at Terminal 2, 3, and 4 at the Cancun Airport. However NOT available day of your flight.
UPDATE 20-Jan-2021: Some hotels in Cancun are offering their guests free COVID-19 Antigen tests for travel. If you are spending the night in Cancun before your flight home, this might be a good option for you. Unfortunately, they won't work for our Canadian Friends.