South America takes its first steps on the path to reopening international travel
Latin Americans are known for their passionate impulses and for prioritizing emotion over reason. But the official approach of reopening to foreign visitors – including from neighboring countries – has been kept across the continent. Nonetheless, after 18 months of some of the toughest social measures seen since the era of military dictatorships, the Southern Cone countries are relaxing controls – just in time for their 2021/2 summer season.
Starting today, Chile is reducing its quarantine period from ten to seven days for Chileans and foreign residents. It’s a small but important change. The government, under pressure from business leaders and unions, speaks openly of opening up to normal “short-term” tourism. The Chilean Ministry of Health says 84.6% of the population has received two doses of a vaccine against Covid-19.
Uruguay, which closed its borders on March 13, 2020, now allows foreign families who own vacation homes to enter. From November 1, all foreigners who can present proof of vaccination will be free to enter. Uruguay, using the Chinese Sinovac, delivered two doses to over 70% of its population and began to deploy a third “booster” jab; the country ranks three places above the UK on the global vaccine table.
Argentina plans to open its borders to Chilean and Uruguayan tourists on September 6. The country’s Migration Patron, Florencia Carignano, explained in a radio interview that the land borders reflect the health protocols in place at Ezeiza, the country’s main airport. Argentina has doubly vaccinated just over a third of its adult population and 61.5% received a single dose. The Argentine government has just approved the resumption of Atlantic and Antarctic cruises from October 20 – watch this space.
As temperatures drop in England to around 14 ° C and 7 ° C from October, summer arrives in the Southern Cone. From Buenos Aires to Santiago de Chile, temperatures of 25 to 33 ° C are common. The seaside resorts of Uruguay, southern Brazil and central Chile reopen fully from November. The southern summer is also the flowering of the Pampas, the Pantanal floods, the receding waters of the Amazon basin, the big cities host major festivals and parties, and the Andean vineyards come to life.
Colombia, Ecuador (including the Galapagos), Guyana and Peru are already open to UK visitors, subject to usual testing, as are a number of Central American destinations; daily cases in all countries except Belize and Costa Rica show a downward trend. As UK airports are no longer shown on the Latin American flight map, routes through the United States (especially Miami) and Spain are generally the best option; note that travelers from Great Britain currently cannot transit through America unless they meet one of the exemptions such as being a US citizen. Check out the Latin American Travel Association’s dedicated Covid page for the latest news.