Diary of a Travel Agent: What is travel to Mexico really like these days?
November 03, 2021
Many of you are likely wondering what it’s like to travel to Mexico right now. I know I was! Pre-pandemic, I frequently travelled to Mexico, at least three to four times a year. I loved Mexico and the easiness of an all inclusive vacation. My last trip to Mexico was to Ixtapa in January, 2020, but this past week I was given the opportunity by AMR Collection (Dreams/Secrets resorts) to visit one of their newest hotel properties, the Dreams Bahia Mita (family friendly), which has a sister hotel on site, the Secrets Bahia Mita (Adults only).
To share my experience with you, I've put together some easy point form information to let you know what is required and what you can expect on a trip to Mexico right now. Please keep in mind, this is current at time of publishing, but restrictions are subject to change. I strongly recommend booking your trip with a travel advisor who is an expert and who will guide you through every step of your vacation from booking until you return home.
What is currently required for travel to Puerto Vallarta and what was the travel experience like?
- If you are Canadian, you will need a valid passport.
- You will need to fill in a Mexican Immigration form given to you on the airplane, or it can be filled out online ahead of time (it will need to be printed if you fill it in ahead).
- All visitors must now fill in a health questionnaire https://www.vuelaseguro.com/home.
- This can only be filled in within 12 hours of your arrival time in Mexico. It can be filled in online and then you can take a screen shot of the QR code on your phone. You can also fill it in while waiting in the immigration line in Mexico, but you will need phone data to do so.
- This same health questionnaire must be filled in to depart Mexico. In all honesty, they never checked for the QR code when we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, although there were signs that said they would. They were checking for the QR code/health questionnaire for everyone leaving as you went through security.
- The flight to Puerto Vallarta was 100% sold out with Westjet. The arrivals/immigration hall was as busy as I have ever seen it in Puerto Vallarta. There were many snowbirds heading down to their winter homes and lots of couples. There are very few families at this time. From what I understand, most people are waiting for their children to be elligible for the vaccine to ease travel for them.
- You will need to be fully vaccinated to board an aircraft in Canada (with the option to provide a negative PCR test until November 30, 2021).
- The entire process went very smoothly. A short wait was required due to the volume of people going through immigration and the extra health questionnaire which took about 3 minutes to complete. But otherwise, a very similar experience from before.
- Once you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, you will go through immigration, collect your bags, play the red light/green light game which determines if they had checked your bag, make your way past the time share sellers in the arrivals area and find your transfer company or taxi. They will all be located at the exit to the airport, either just inside or just outside the doors.
- Masks are required in all airports (Canadian and Mexican) and for the duration of your flight, except when you are eating or drinking. WestJet was enforcing the masking and food service in their economy section was limited to chocolate bars, pringles or hummus/crackers. If you want to eat on the flight, I suggest you grab a sandwich at the airport to bring on board or pack a lunch/snacks.
- You will need to wear a mask during your car/bus transfer to the hotel
What is currently required to travel back to Canada and what was the travel experience like?
- Travellers will need to have a negative PCR test (make sure you receive the PCR test, not the Antigen test as you will be denied boarding!). This PCR test must be within 72 hours of your return flight to Canada. The cost at Mexican hotels for this test tends to be around $150 USD per person (varies slightly by hotel – some hotels are subsidizing the cost down as low as $50 USD per person). This information should be listed on your hotels website, or check with your travel advisor.
- If you need the PCR test, it would likely take place at your hotel (or check with your travel advisor). They will require your passport to make sure the information on your PCR certificate matches your passport info. For us, we received our test results via email approximately 48 hours later. Please make sure you can access your email and that you print your email address legibly on the PCR test form to ensure there is no delay in getting the results. Once we received our results, I just took a screen shot so it would be readily available.
- You will need to complete the Heath questionnaire again for Mexico (same as step one). We filled this in just before we left for the airport and took a screen shot of the QR code.
- You will need to have your ArriveCan App filled in. You cannot fill in this app until you have your PCR test results. The App will ask you to upload your passport, your vaccination status and go through a list of questions regarding your test results, contact information etc. Once you have completed this step, it produces a QR code – again best practice would be to take a screen shot of the QR code so it’s readily available at the airport.
- The Puerto Vallarta Airport check-in process was very fast and easy. There was virtually no lineup at WestJet since I was checked in online. All I had to do was check my bag and have them print my boarding pass. When I checked-in, they looked through my passport and I had to show my negative PCR test certificate.
- At the security check point, they would need to look at your Health Questionnaire QR code and you then you would receive the standard security screening for your carry-on baggage. The entire process of check-in and security only took us about 20 minutes. Normally it’s a bit longer, but our timing must have been good (about 2 hours prior to flight time) as there were no lineups.
- All the duty free shops and restaurants were open, so we had lunch before our flight (knowing we wouldn’t have food options on board).
- When you arrive in Canada, you fill in your arrivals immigration form on a kiosk and it prints out your form. You will have to show that form and your ArriveCan QR code before going through Customs. On our connecting flight in Canada, I did not have to collect my luggage, it was checked all the way through. The check-in agent in Puerto Vallarta informed me about this ahead of time and the customs officers also reconfirmed, the communication was very straightforward.
Throughout this pandemic, Travel Advisors have been knees deep in the pandemic travel experience. We understand the requirements for your destination and stay on top of changes. We will guide you through the entire experience to ensure you are fully prepared, and provide you the proper insurance options. What is the value of peace of mind and knowing that someone has your back? Let us show you.