Central American countries have eased their travel restrictions in recent months, making them even easier destinations for Americans to plan visits to during the busy spring and summer travel seasons. Yet each country has its own rules and restrictions, and what is acceptable in one destination may not work for another.
When planning a much-needed vacation, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the latest rules regarding 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 American 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 at Belize airports or seaports, or to cross a land border. If you are not vaccinated (or do not have sufficient proof) you will need to show negative results from a PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival or from a rapid antigen test taken no later than 48 hours before your arrival. Belize. You can also take a test at most Belize entry points (including the airport) for $50.
Most travelers should also purchase Belize travel insurance. It costs $18 per person and provides coverage for emergency medical services and Covid-19 quarantine.
More information on travel restrictions in Belize is available from the country’s tourist office.
Travel restrictions in Guatemala
To visit Guatemala by air or land, travelers aged 12 and over must present 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 have not been vaccinated must present proof of a negative Covid-19 or PCR antigen test performed by a certified laboratory no later than 3 days before your trip.
Visit the U.S. Embassy Guatemala Covid-19 information page for the most up-to-date details on restrictions and requirements.
El Salvador Travel Restrictions
El Salvador is one of the least restrictive Central American destinations with regard to Covid-19. Since November 2021, travelers to El Salvador no longer need to present a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination. However, keep in mind that some flights to El Salvador from the United States have stopovers in other destinations, which may have their own vaccination and testing requirements.
More information on traveling to El Salvador during the pandemic can be found from the country’s Ministry of Tourism.
Honduras Travel Restrictions
Honduras requires travelers to provide proof of vaccination against Covid-19. Unvaccinated travelers must show negative PCR or antigen test results within 72 hours of arrival. Whichever option applies to you, you will need to complete a pre-registration form 7 days before entering 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 take a Covid-19 PCR test 72 hours or less before entering the country, even if you have proof of vaccination. You must also complete the online registration request form at least one week before your trip.
You can find out more about travel restrictions in Nicaragua from the country’s tourist office.
Costa Rica Travel Restrictions
Costa Rica removed most of its travel restrictions effective April 1, 2022. You no longer need to fill out the country’s health passport, purchase an insurance policy, show proof of vaccinations or have a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country. However, the country still recommends that travelers take out insurance covering medical care and quarantine accommodation, just in case.
The tourist office has more information on the travel requirements for visiting Costa Rica.
Panama Travel Restrictions
Unvaccinated travelers wishing to visit Panama must show negative results of a PCR or Covid-19 antigen test taken within 72 hours of arrival. You can also get a rapid test upon arrival in Panama for around $50. No Covid-19 test is required for travelers to Panama who have proof of vaccination.
Regardless of your vaccination status, you must complete the Panama Health Affidavit before boarding your flight.
Check out the latest Panama travel requirements to make sure you have everything you need before your trip.