Covid-19 Update – Mar 9, 2021

Covid-19 Travel Restrictions for USA and Canada

Both, the United States and Canada have imposed air travel restrictions for all passengers returning from international trips. Unfortunately, this includes those returning from a much needed, sunny Mexican vacation!

Below we discuss the specific travel restrictions for passengers returning to:

Map of the world with text saying covid-19 travel restrictions

Travel Restrictions for Traveling to the United States:

Section Divider - USA Flag

Effective January 26, 2021, all air passengers traveling to the US from a foreign country, need to get a Covid-19 viral test done no more than 3 days prior to their flight departure and show a negative result or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel). The test results will be verified by the airline before you board your flight.

Does the Covid-19 Testing Requirement Apply to U.S. Citizens?

Yes. This Order applies to all air passengers, 2 years of age or older, traveling into the United States. This includes US citizens, US residents and foreign tourists visiting the U.S. Non-citizens may also be subject to additional restrictions as per the Presidential Proclamation.

What Tests Are Acceptable for Traveling to the U.S.?

The test must be a valid viral test that can detect a current coronavirus infection.

There are currently only two Covid-19 tests that are valid for travel to the U.S. These are the Covid Antigen Test and the Covid PCR TestNote: A Covid Antibody Test is NOT acceptable. A Covid Antibody test is used to detect if a person has had Covid-19 in the past but it is not effective in detecting a current infection.

How Much Does a Covid-19 Viral Test Cost?

A Covid Antigen test is the most convenient, quick, and affordable option for travel back to the U.S. This test is also know as a rapid antigen test. This test can detect a specific Covid protein that is present when the virus is active and thus assumes a coronavirus infection. There are five different antigen tests available in Mexico. All meet the requirements for traveling to the United States.

Below are the names of the approved Covid Antigen Tests, their manufacturer, price range, specificity (ability to correctly identify negatives), and Sensitivity (ability correctly identify positives). The table is sorted based on its ability to correctly diagnose a person that is not infected (the sum of the specificity and sensitivity of the test).

Name of TestManufacturerPrice RangeSpecificitySensitivity
STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag TestSD Biosensor, Inc.$450 – $1,000 pesos100%93.12%
Sofia2 SARS Antigen FIAQuidel Corporation$590 – $1,200 pesos97%90%
SARS-CoV2 Antigen Rapid TestSD Biosensor, Inc.$450 – $1,000 pesos98.97%88.66%
Panbio COVID-19 Ag RAPID Test DeviceAbbott Rapid Diagnostics$490 – $1,200 pesos99%85%
SARS-CoV2 Antigen Rapid Test SystemMonocent, Inc.$450 – $1,000 pesos95.28%83.21 %

Where Can I Get a Covid-19 Test in Puerto Vallarta?

Many hotels and resorts offer free Covid-19 tests for their guests. If you don’t have access to a free test, below are some options. Prices vary substantially so we tried our best to rank them from least expensive to most expensive, but keep in mind these are just generalizations:

  • Complimentary Test at Hotel – Hotels include Casa Velas, Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive & Spa, Garza Blanca Resort & Spa, Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive Adults Only, The Hacienda at Hilton, Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, Hotel Mousai, Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, Krystal Puerto Vallarta, Melia Puerto Vallarta, Now Amber Puerto Vallarta, Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta, Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa and Velas Vallarta.
  • Airport – $450 pesos for international travelers and 30 minutes wait time. Located in the big tent across from the public parking lot.
  • Local pharmacy
  • Local laboratory
  • Private hospital
  • Testing at Hotel (fees vary) – Hotels include Barcelo Puerto Vallarta, Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Great Moments, Casa Dona Susana, Casa Velas, Costa Sur Resort & Spa, Crown Paradise Club, Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta, Friendly Vallarta, Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta, Golden Crown Paradise, Hacienda Buenaventura & Mexican Charm, Hilton Puerto Vallarta, Hotel Mio, Hotel Posada de Roger, Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, Kristal Puerto Vallarta, Los Arcos Suites, Melia Puerto Vallarta, Now Amber Puerto Vallarta, Playa Los Arcos Beach Hotel Hotel Resort & Spa, San Marino, Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center, Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort, Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, The Hacienda at Hilton Puerto Vallarta, Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta, Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway,

Travel Restrictions for Traveling to Canada:

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The Government of Canada requires all travellers 5 years of age or older who travel by air to Canada, regardless of citizenship, to:

These requirements apply to all travelers, including Canadians tourists returning to Canada after traveling outside Canada.

What Tests are Acceptable for Traveling to Canada?

All international travellers 5 years of age or older must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result, even those that have already been vaccinated. Antigen tests and Antibody tests are NOT accepted for traveling to Canada. Antibody tests are used for detecting if a person has had Covid-19 in the past but this test is not effective in detecting a current infection.

Although antigen tests and molecular tests are both used for diagnosing an active coronavirus
infection, the molecular test is considered more accurate. Both tests are highly reliable at not detecting a false positive, but molecular tests are much more reliable at detecting a true negative. If you test negative with an antigen test, you may need a confirmation by taking a molecular test.

The most commonly available molecular test in Mexico is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. Although a PCR test sample can be easily taken with a nasal or throat swab (some labs are now using saliva samples), processing a PCR sample requires advanced laboratory training and expertise. This delays the turnaround time for test results. Most labs have a turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours, but some labs can take up to 72 hours, so plan accordingly.

Where Can I get a Covid PCR Test in Puerto Vallarta and How Much Does it Cost?