How the Americas are opening up to tourism, and where you can go

Oliver Smith
·9 min read
The world is slowly lifting travel restrictions
The world is slowly lifting travel restrictions
LOGO: Unlock Long Haul
LOGO: Unlock Long Haul

While much of Europe is adding restrictions, the rest of the world is slowly opening up to tourists – including those from Britain. Here we outline which nations in North, South and Central America are welcoming UK travellers, and the rules on entry. 

As things stand, only one country in the region – Chile – has a travel corridor, permitting a completely quarantine-free holiday. However, as part of our Unlock Long Haul campaign, we are urging the Government to lift restrictions to more destinations with a lower Covid rate than the UK (that’s nearly all of them). And we’ve had some early success, with eight new corridors announced on November 12. 

Four countries (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico) have no major barriers to entry (full details are below). A further 10 (Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) require arrivals to show evidence of a recent negative test to avoid a quarantine. 

Be warned, however, that direct flights – particularly during the current UK lockdown – are hard to find. Currently there are non-stop services to Bogota (Colombia), Mexico City, Cancun (both Mexico), Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo (both Brazil) and Santiago (Chile) planned for December. BA usually flies to San Jose (Costa Rica) but has suspended the route.

If more travel corridors are announced, airlines could be convinced to launch extra services. Failing that, indirect flights via Mexico or Spain can unlock the rest of the region. 

Where can I go? North America
Where can I go? North America
Where can I go? Central America
Where can I go? Central America
Where can I go? South America
Where can I go? South America

Argentina 

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 153.5 per 100,000

Open to British tourists? No. 

Entry rules: Argentina’s borders are closed to foreign nationals and non-residents entering the country. It plans to reopen to visitors from Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile in December, but no further rules have been announced. 

Belize 

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 184.6

Open to British tourists? Yes. 

Entry rules: Belize has re-opened its international airport, but land borders remain closed. Arrivals must download Belize Health App and take a PCR test within 72 hours of boarding your flight. A negative result will provide a ‘fast track’ arrival process. If you are unable to take a test prior to travel, you must take a test on arrival at your own expense for US$50 per passenger.

How to get there: There are no direct flights, and the fastest route is via Miami. However, you cannot enter or transit the USA if you have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, or China within the previous 14 days, so a more circuitous route via Toronto is required.  

Belize is heaven for diving - Getty
Belize is heaven for diving - Getty

Bolivia

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 6.6 

Open to British tourists? Yes.

Entry rules: Passengers boarding flights to Bolivia must have negative test results for Covid, in some cases certified by a Bolivian consulate. Check specific requirements with your airline. Land, river and lake border crossings remain closed.

How to get there: There are no direct flights, with most journeys requiring two stops. 

Brazil

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 93.3

Open to British tourists? Yes.

Entry rules: Foreign nationals are allowed to enter Brazil by air. This is subject to regular entry requirements.

How to get there: BA flies direct to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. 

A postcard from Brazil: 'You would think coronavirus does not exist in Rio'
A postcard from Brazil: 'You would think coronavirus does not exist in Rio'

Canada

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 90.1

Open to British tourists? No.

Entry rules: Canada is closed to most foreign nationals, including Britons.

Chile

Travel corridor? Yes.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 51.9

Open to British tourists? Yes (from Nov 23). 

Entry rules: Chilean authorities have said that Santiago International Airport (not land borders) will open for international visitors from November 23, subject to a range of protocols (including a negative Covid test certificate) – but without a quarantine period. Full details to follow. 

How to get there: BA has non-stop flights from Heathrow to Santiago de Chile scheduled for Saturdays in December, returning Sundays. 

Colombia

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 110.5

Open to British tourists? Yes

Entry rules: Between 24 hours and one hour before departure, you must fill out the ‘Check-Mig’ form available on the Migración Colombia website. You will receive a confirmation email that you will need to present upon arrival in Colombia.

How to get there: Avianca flies direct from Heathrow to Bogota. 

Costa Rica

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 137.2

Open to British tourists? Yes.

Entry rules: You need to buy insurance with specific cover requirements and complete an advance epidemiological information form.

How to get there: BA’s direct service to San Jose has been put on hold. In the meantime there are options via Paris and Madrid. 

Costa Rica is within reach - Getty
Costa Rica is within reach - Getty

Ecuador

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 31.5

Open to British tourists? Yes.

Entry rules: Upon arrival, passengers will be required to sign a declaration form with their itinerary and local contact details. They must also present a negative PCR test, taken up to 10 days prior their arrival to the country. 

How to get there: There are no direct flights from the UK – a stop in Madrid or Amsterdam is necessary. 

El Salvador

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 18.9

Open to British tourists? Yes

Entry rules: Arrivals must produce a PCR test certificate with a negative result received not more than 72 hours prior to your flight or land border entry. 

How to get there: There are no direct flights, so you’ll need to find a route via Mexico City, Bogota, Toronto or Madrid. 

French Guiana

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): N/A

Open to British tourists? No.  

Entry rules: Travel to French Guiana is severely restricted until further notice. Only travellers who can prove that entry is for urgent family/work reasons will be allowed to enter, and they will be expected to fill in a travel certificate and provide proof, as well as carry evidence of a negative Covid-19 test. 

Guatemala

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 21

Open to British tourists? Yes. 

Entry rules: 24 hours before your arrival, you are required to register your via the Guatemalan Health Pass website. Once you have submitted your details, you must print the form and bring it with you. Upon arrival, you are required to present a negative PCR or antigen test, dated no more than 72 hours before the date of your arrival in Guatemala, together with a printed copy of the form. 

How to get there: There are no direct flights, so you’ll need to find a route via Mexico City, Bogota, Toronto or Madrid. 

Antigua, Guatemala - Getty
Antigua, Guatemala - Getty

Guyana

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 39.8

Open to British tourists? Yes.  

Entry rules: Passengers arriving into Guyana must obtain a negative PCR test, taken within seven days prior to their arrival.

How to get there: There are no direct flights from the UK – a stop in Toronto (the US is closed to transiting passengers from Europe) is necessary. See the rules for transiting in Canada

Honduras

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 26.2

Open to British tourists? Yes

Entry rules: Prior to arrival on an international flight, you are required to pre-register online with Honduran Immigration. You must present evidence of a negative test taken in the previous 72 hours.

How to get there: How to get there: There are no direct flights, so you’ll need to find a route via Mexico City or Madrid. 

Mexico

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 32.7

Open to British tourists? Yes.

Entry rules: On arrival in Mexico, travellers have to fill in a Health Declaration form. No PCR or other test is required.

How to get there: Tui flies direct to Cancun, BA offers non-stop flights to Mexico City. 

A postcard from Mexico, where remote workers are moving in
A postcard from Mexico, where remote workers are moving in

Nicaragua

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 1.1

Open to British tourists? Yes.

Entry rules: You must present evidence of a negative test taken in the previous 72 hours.

How to get there: There are no direct flights so you’ll need to find a route via Mexico City. 

Panama

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 170.6

Open to British tourists? Yes.

Entry rules: Entry to Panama is open to tourists and business travelers with a negative PCR test certificate obtained no more than 48 hours before you travel. If you cannot do this, a test can be taken at the airport on arrival at a cost of US$50. 

How to get there: There are no direct flights, so you’ll need to find a route via Mexico City, Bogota, Toronto or Madrid. 

Panama offers tests on arrival - Getty
Panama offers tests on arrival - Getty

Paraguay

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 50

Open to British tourists? No.

Entry rules: People wishing to enter the country (nationals, foreign residents and non-residents) must complete mandatory quarantine at their home for 14 days. The quarantine time may be reduced to seven days if the person arrives with evidence of a negative test, taken less than 72 hours before entering the country, and repeats the same test with a negative result on the seventh day of the quarantine.

Peru

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 46.5  

Open to British tourists? No. 

Entry rules: Commercial international travel restarted on October 5, but only within the Latin American region. Air passengers need to wear a face mask and a face shield/visor and need to have proof of a negative test taken 72 hours before the commercial flight. 

Suriname

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 6.9

Open to British tourists? No. 

Entry rules: Suriname’s borders remain closed to tourists. 

United States

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 326.3

Open to British tourists? No.

Entry rules: British nationals cannot enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil or China within the previous 14 days. If you are eligible to enter the USA you must be prepared to self-isolate for up to 14 days after arrival. 

Uruguay

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 12.8

Open to British tourists? No.

Entry rules: While authorities in Uruguay have spoken of a desire to restart international tourism, only nationals and legal residents are allowed to enter the country at present except under exceptional circumstances.  

Venezuela

Travel corridor? No.

Seven-day case rate (Nov 16): 7.1

Open to British tourists? No. 

Entry rules: Entry into Venezuela is currently limited to Venezuelan citizens and foreign national residents.