September 30, 2022

Countries in Central America have been easing their travel restrictions in recent months, making them even easier destinations for Americans to plan visits to during the busy spring summer travel seasons. Still, each country has its own sets of rules and restrictions, and what’s acceptable in one destination may not work for another.

As you plan some much-needed vacation time, it can be helpful to brush up on the latest rules surrounding testing, vaccinations, and other requirements in popular destinations, including Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Here are the latest travel requirements and restrictions in Central American countries, according to the Central America Tourism Agency.

Belize travel restrictions

Vaccinated travelers do not need a negative COVID-19 test to enter Belize as of March 1, 2022. However, you must provide proof of vaccination upon arrival to Belize’s airports or seaports, or to cross a land border. If you’re not vaccinated (or you don’t have sufficient proof), you’ll need to show negative results from a PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival, or a rapid antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival to Belize. You can also get a test at most points of entry to Belize (including the airport) for $50.

Most travelers must also buy Belize Travel Insurance. It costs $18 per person and offers coverage for emergency medical services and COVID-19 quarantine.

More information on Belize travel restrictions is available through the country’s tourism board.

Guatemala travel restrictions

To visit Guatemala by air or land, travelers age 12 and up must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. You must have received your last dose at least 2 weeks before the start of your trip.

Travelers to Guatemala who haven’t been vaccinated must show proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken by a certified laboratory no mare than 3 days ahead of your trip.

Visit the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala’s COVID-19 information page for the most up-to-date details on restrictions and requirements.

El Salvador travel restrictions

El Salvador is among the least restrictive Central American destinations when it comes to COVID-19. As of November 2021, travelers to El Salvador do not need to present a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination. However, keep in mind that some flights to El Salvador from the U.S. have stopovers in other destinations, which may have their own requirements for vaccination and testing.

More information on traveling to El Salvador during the pandemic can be found through the country’s Ministry of Tourism.

Honduras travel restrictions

Honduras requires that travelers provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Unvaccinated travelers must show negative results from a PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of arrival. No matter which option applies to you, you’ll need to fill out a pre-registration form 7 days before you enter Honduras.

The U.S. Embassy in Honduras has more information on travel restrictions on its website.

Nicaragua travel restrictions

Nicaragua has stricter travel requirements than other Central American countries. Most visitors must get a COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours or less prior to entering the country, even if you have proof of vaccination. You must also fill out the online entry application form at least a week before your trip.

You can learn more about travel restrictions to Nicaragua through the country’s tourism board.

Costa Rica travel restrictions

Costa Rica has eliminated most of its travel restrictions as of April 1, 2022. You no longer need to complete the country’s Health Pass, purchase an insurance policy, show proof of vaccination, or have a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. However, the country still recommends that travelers purchase insurance that covers medical treatment and quarantine accommodations, just in case.

The tourism board has more information on travel requirements for visiting Costa Rica.

Panama travel restrictions

Unvaccinated travelers who wish to visit Panama must show negative results from a COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours before arriving. You can also get a rapid test upon arrival to Panama for roughly $50. No COVID-19 test is required for travelers to Panama who have proof of vaccination.

Regardless of your vaccination status, you must complete Panama’s affidavit of health before boarding your flight.

Check out the latest Panama travel requirements to make sure you’ve got everything you need before your trip.

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