Travel to Central and South America: A Reopening Timeline, Country by Country

Crowds Line Up at Caixa Economica Federal to Receive the Second Installment of the Urgent Government Benefit Due to the Coronavirus (COVID - 19) Pandemic
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As of May 18, there have been more than 2 million cases and 121,000 deaths due to COVID-19 across the Americas . The virus has surged in many parts of South and Central America, where it has spread rapidly among indigenous communities with minimal access to health care, as well as in densely populated cities, like Manaus in Brazil. Understandably, many borders are closed, and most commercial flights to the region have been halted. Read on for a country-by-country listing of border status, quarantine restrictions, and more information travel throughout Central and South America.


On April 27, Argentina banned all ticket sales for commercial flights to, from, and within the country through Sept. 1, 2020, one of the harshest measures taken in the fight against coronavirus. The nationwide quarantine has been extended through June 28, 2020 .


Belize implemented a state of emergency on April 1, 2020, including a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. The country’s Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport is closed, and effective April 5, borders are closed to Belizean nationals looking to reenter the country, unless they were traveling for emergency purposes or medical care . No cruise lines are operating in the country at this time. These restrictions will be in place through at least June 30, 2020.


Bolivia’s quarantine and travel restrictions vary from city to city, but a nationwide quarantine is also in place through June 30, 2020 . Flights to and from the country are suspended, and traveling between cities within Bolivia is also prohibited . International land borders are closed as well.


Brazil is barring foreigners from entering the country through July 5, 2020 . The country now has the highest case-load in Latin America, with 1.1M confirmed cases as of June 22. On May 24, President Trump announced that foreign nationals who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days would no longer be allowed to enter the U.S., effective on May 26.


As of May 20, LATAM is operating international commercial flights from Miami to Santiago as well as a variety of domestic flights. However, according to the U.S. Embassy in Chile, the country’s borders have been closed to everyone except Chilean citizens and permanent residents since March 18. Chile has a nationwide mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and people in confined areas, including Gran Santiago and Arica, need permits to leave their residences .


The country's lockdown is extended until July 1, and international flights to Colombia (excluding cargo and humanitarian) are grounded until August 31. Domestic flights are available for health, humanitarian, and governing purposes only, but otherwise banned through the end of June. Ground transportation between cities is also heavily restricted.

Costa Rica

Entry to Costa Rica is restricted to citizens, children of citizens, residents who left the country before March 24, and foreign diplomats until June 30. Any legal residents of Costa Rica who left the country on or after March 24 lose their status and will be unable to return until travel restrictions are eased. Tourists who entered the country after Dec. 17, 2019, will be allowed to stay, and drive, until August 18, 2020. New arrivals will have to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Ecuador Continues On Alert For Coronavirus
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International arrivals and domestic flights have resumed since June 1, with limited capacity. All arriving passengers must submit to a 14-day quarantine. Travel within the country is restricted, and there is a nationwide curfew from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m. As of June 12, five airlines can return U.S. citizens home.


Most airport operations and flights have been suspended, and the borders are closed to most foreigners (with exceptions for those arriving for health and security matters) . The country was closed until May 18, at which point it began reopening in stages, including regulations on curfews and select days for businesses to open. All tourist attractions and outdoor destinations such as beaches and lakes remain closed.


The government closed all borders on March 15, and there hasn’t been an announcement of when they could reopen . The existing curfew within the country, which regulates specific opening hours for businesses, is extended to June 28. 


Nicaragua has no travel restrictions of quarantine policies in place . However, travel to the country is not recommended due to the widespread criticism about its worrisome response to the novel coronavirus. It has denied that the pandemic has affected the country greatly despite the increasing number of noticeably quick and secretive burials of recently deceased people; its official tallies show only 64 deaths of the coronavirus, but an increase in a suspiciously widespread “pneumonia”; it has limited nationwide testing to 50 tests daily; and it has denied access to hospitals of officials from the Pan-American Health Organization. 


International flights to and from the country are suspended until July 22; the U.S. embassy suggests that U.S. citizens prepare to stay there indefinitely. Most nonessential businesses remain closed, but a plan to reopen the economy began on May 13. In most provinces, curfew is from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Sunday.


Peru is currently in a national state of emergency and has placed strict quarantine policies through June 30. International and domestic travel has been restricted since March 16, with a limited number of one-way flights to the U.S. Curfew is all day Sunday and from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Everyone is required to wear a face mask in public. Some businesses have begun to reopen, including malls and department stores.


Uruguay has closed its borders indefinitely, allowing a limited number of one-way flights to Sao Paulo and Santiago (where travelers can connect to flights heading to the U.S.) . Residents are prohibited from leaving for tourism purposes. People ages 65 and up are required to self-quarantine; everyone else is encouraged to shelter in place.


Venezuela renewed a 30-day lockdown on June 11, and The National Civil Aviation Institute has restricted commercial flights until July 12. Nighttime curfews have been put in place in some municipalities.

Article Sources
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  1. Pan-American Health Organization. “Weekly Press Briefing on the COVID-19 Situation in the Americas.” May 19, 2020

  2. U.S. Embassy in Argentina. "COVID-19 Information."

  3. Belize Tourism Board. “COVID-19 Update for Travellers.” May 5, 2020

  4. U.S. Embassy in Bolivia. "COVID-19 Information."

  5. ICAO. “Global COVID-19 Airport Status.” May 20, 2020

  6. U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Brazil. "Brazil Extends Border Closure to July 5." June 21, 2020.

  7. U.S. Embassy in Chile. “COVID-19 Information.” May 19, 2020

  8. U.S. Embassy in Colombia. "COVID-19 Information."

  9. U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica. "COVID-19 Information."

  10. U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Ecuador. "COVID-19 and Travel Information." June 12, 2020.

  11. U.S. Embassy in Guatemala. “Update For U.S. Citizens: Changes to COVID-19 Restrictions by the Government of Guatemala.” May 14, 2020

  12. U.S. Embassy in Honduras. “COVID-19 Information.” May 10, 2020

  13. U.S. Embassy in Honduras. "Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa, Honduras." June 15, 2020.

  14. U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. “COVID-19 Information.” May 19, 2020

  15. U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. "COVID-19 Information." June 22, 2020.

  16. U.S. Embassy in Panama. "COVID-19 Panama Information." June 21, 2020.

  17. U.S. Embassy in Peru. "COVID-19 Information." June 19, 2020.

  18. U.S. Embassy in Uruguay. “COV-19 Information. May 19, 2020

  19. U.S. Virtual Embassy, Venezuela. "June 16 Update for U.S. Citizens and LPRs in Venezuela." June 16, 2020.

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