Traveling to Playa del Carmen soon and worried about the Covid testing requirements? Have no fear, in this post I’m sharing all the information you need on testing requirements and exactly where to get a Covid test in Playa del Carmen.
What is the Covid situation like in Playa del Carmen?
In normal times, international travel can be a stressful experience. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the stress that comes with international travel with rapidly evolving travel and testing requirements, which are different for almost every country around the world.
If you’re planning to travel to Playa del Carmen, hopefully the information in this post will help you to better understand the current requirements and alleviate any concerns. It’s really a straightforward and simple process.
At the start of the pandemic, Mexico started operating under a stoplight system to evaluate the Covid-related risks for each state. Each state is evaluated every 2 weeks and assigned a color (red, orange, yellow, or green) to indicate its current risk level.
The evaluation criteria is based on a variety of factors including the number of cases, deaths, hospitalizations, infection rates, and availability of hospital beds. The color then dictates the restrictions, regulations, and occupancy levels that local establishments must abide by.
Throughout most of the pandemic, the state of Quintana Roo (where Playa del Carmen is located) has been back and forth between yellow and orange.
However, as of October 2021, Playa del Carmen has returned to the green status, which means that local establishments can operate at near-normal occupancy levels and hours of operation.
There is not an official mask mandate in Playa del Carmen, but masks are required to enter most indoor establishments including restaurants, stores, and grocery stores.
However, in outdoor spaces, at the beach, and walking down the street many people will not be wearing masks. Wearing a mask outdoors is more at your own comfort level.
Travelista Tip: Masks are known as “cubrebocas” in Spanish. If you see a sign with this word posted outside of an establishment, masks will be required for entry.
Most stores and restaurants will require you to use hand sanitizer and will perform a temperature check on your arm or wrist upon entering. Enhanced cleaning procedures and sanitation measures have also been implemented at hotels, restaurants, and stores.
Tours and Activities
Most tours and activities in Riviera Maya are still open but tour companies may be operating at reduced capacity or offering smaller group tours. Masks will be required during transport and in parts of the tour that are in more enclosed spaces. Tour companies have also implemented increased sanitation procedures.
Covid Testing Requirements for Travel to Mexico
Disclaimer: Covid regulations are constantly changing so I will do my best to keep this post as up to date and as accurate as possible. Please do your research before your trip to verify the current requirements for your specific travel arrangements and/or country of origin.
Mexico Entry Requirements
Currently there are no entry requirements in order to enter Mexico by air. A proof of vaccination and negative Covid test are not required to enter the country. In addition, quarantine is not required after entering Mexico.
The only extra thing you’ll have to do when entering Mexico is complete a Health Questionnaire form (“Cuestionario de indentificacion de factores de riesgo en viajeros”) and present it to immigration upon arrival.
The form can be completed on your phone here. Once submitted, a QR code will be generated and you may be asked to present it to immigration upon arrival.
From my experience, this requirement seems a little lax depending on your airline. I personally did not have to show my health questionnaire the last time I entered Mexico but I would complete it just in case you are asked.
Mexico Exit Requirements
While there aren’t any requirements to enter Mexico, there are however requirements you must abide by when leaving the country in order to re-enter your country of origin.
Re-entry to the United States
In January 2021, the CDC issued mandatory Covid testing requirements for all international travelers entering the United States. Proof of a negative viral Covid test is required within 72 hours (3 days) before your flight. You are required to provide:
- (A) a physical or electronic documentation of a qualifying COVID-19 negative viral test taken within 3 calendar days preceding the passenger’s flight’s departure to the U.S. that identifies the passenger (i.e., name, date of birth) and includes specimen collection date and type of test.
- OR (B) evidence of recent recovery from COVID-19. To show proper evidence that the passenger has successfully recovered from the COVID-19 virus, the passenger must include: (1) a signed letter on letterhead from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official that the passenger has recovered from COVID-19 and is cleared for travel, and (2) physical or electronic documentation of a COVID-19 positive viral test result obtained within the 90 days preceding the passenger’s flight to the United States.
What’s important to know here is that the United States will accept an antigen test, which is the rapid Covid test and is much less expensive than a PCR test.
Re-entry to Canada
Canada’s testing requirements are much more strict than the US, especially if you are not fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated Canadians must provide proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their return flight. PCR tests are more expensive and take about 12-16 hours for test results.
Once you complete your test, you must submit your travel plans online at ArriveCAN including your vaccination status, flight details, and proof of negative PCR test. Upon arrival in Canada, you are then required to monitor yourself for COVID symptoms for 14 days and report any symptoms to your local health authority.
More information on Canada’s entry requirements can be found online here.
Re-entry to Other Countries
Many other countries around the world have varied re-entry requirements including proof of vaccination and negative Covid tests. It’s best to consult official government resources for your country for the most up to date information.
Where to Get a Covid Test in Playa del Carmen
There are plenty of places in Playa del Carmen to get a Covid test depending on where you’re staying. Below is an overview of where you can get a Covid test in Playa del Carmen:
At Your Hotel or Resort
Many of the larger hotels and resorts in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya offer complimentary Covid testing that is included in your stay. Normally you will schedule your Covid test with the resort staff upon check-in.
On Fifth Avenue
If your hotel does not offer a Covid test or you are staying at an Airbnb or vacation rental, you can get a test very easily in downtown Playa del Carmen. Playa del Carmen reacted pretty quickly to the mandatory Covid testing requirements and since then, tons of Covid testing locations have popped up all over town.
On Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen, you will find Covid testing sites literally on almost every block. The most common testing locations are called Amatista Center and Protech Labs, however tests are also provided at some pharmacies, outdoor tents, and pop-up trailers.
Playa del Carmen Covid Testing Locations Map
Here’s a map of the Covid testing locations just on 5th Avenue. As you can see, you will have no issue finding a place to get a Covid test in Playa del Carmen as there is one on almost every block. Most locations are open daily from 8:00AM – 8:00PM.
What kind of test do you need?
As I mentioned above, there are two types of Covid tests offered in Playa del Carmen–the antigen test and the PCR test. If you are returning to the United States, you will only need an antigen test. If you are returning to Canada, you will need a PCR test.
Playa del Carmen Covid Testing Costs
At all of the Covid testing locations on Fifth Avenue, the price is pretty much the same across the board:
- Antigen Test: $30 USD ($500 MXN) – Results within 20-30 minutes
- PCR Test: $90 USD ($1,700 MXN) – Results within 12-16 hours
You’ll be able to pay for your test in USD, pesos, or with a credit card.
At Farmacias del Ahorro
Another more economical option for getting a Covid test is at Farmacias del Ahorro, where an antigen test costs only $299 MXN + IVA taxes so the total price is $346 MXN (~$15 USD). The downtown location is at 10th Avenue and 10th Street.
I personally went here for my Covid test and had a smooth experience but it’s not as convenient as the testing locations on 5th Avenue. The reason it’s not as convenient is because you have to make an appointment in advance and the attendants will most likely not speak English.
At the Cancun Airport
There are also testing locations available at the Cancun Airport, where you can get a test done right before your flight (antigen test only). I personally have not done this so I’m not sure what the experience is like or how busy they are.
I would highly recommend getting a test a day or two before your flight for added peace of mind. If for some reason you cannot get a test at the airport, you will be denied boarding.
Covid Testing Experience
The Covid testing experience in Playa del Carmen is very quick and streamlined. It will only take about 15 minutes from start to finish.
Arrival and Payment
Once you arrive to the testing center, you’ll be required to fill out a form with your contact information. Once the information is entered into the system, they will print out a receipt for you to verify your full name, phone number, date of birth, and email address.
Make sure this information is 100% correct as this is where they will be sending the test results. You’ll also make the payment at this time, which can be paid in USD, pesos, or by credit card.
After the check-in process, they’ll take you behind a screen where the medical attendant will administer the test. They’ll ask you to pull down your mask and proceed with the nose swab.
When I got my antigen test, it was just a gentle nose swab and honestly didn’t hurt at all. I was worried the nose swab was going to be very painful but was pleasantly surprised that I could barely feel it.
This could just depend on the person that’s administering the test but it’s very quick so any discomfort you may feel will only last a few seconds.
After the test is completed, you are free to leave and your antigen test results will be emailed to you within 20-30 minutes. PCR results take longer and will be emailed to you in 12-16 hours.
If you wish, you can also return to the testing location later on for a printed copy of the test results. If you are not super tech savvy and are not comfortable with saving the electronic copy of the results to your phone, then I would recommend getting a printed copy for peace of mind.
What to Do After Your Covid Test
After you get your negative test results, there’s a few steps you’ll have to complete to provide proof to your airline. You’ll also likely receive an email from your airline with more detailed information.
Check your airline requirements
You’ll want to check your airline policy for providing proof of your test results. Some airlines partner with health passport apps where you can securely upload your test results and receive verification prior to check-in.
Here’s an overview of the current requirements for some of the most common US airlines:
American Airlines uses the VeriFLY app where you can upload your negative COVID-19 test results to get verified status for travel. Once you upload your test results and it is verified, you’ll receive a green check in the app which will expedite the check-in experience at the airport.
More information can be found on the American Airlines website here.
Southwest Airlines does not use a verification app so you’ll just need to submit an attestation form and show your negative test results upon check-in at the airport.
Satisfaction of these travel requirements will be verified at the airport and prior to boarding, and if any passenger does not meet these requirements boarding will be denied.
More information can be found on the Southwest Airlines website here.
All air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the US will be required to complete an attestation form, which can be found online here. Once you complete the form, it will be automatically updated to your itinerary.
More information can be found on the Frontier Airlines website here.
United Airlines offers a Travel Ready Center to find up to date information and requirements for your specific flight.
More information can be found on the United Airlines website here.
More information can be found on the Delta Airlines website here.
Fill out the Health Questionnaire
When departing from Mexico, you must fill out the same health questionnaire again and submit it up to 12 hours from the time of your departure. Once submitted, you will receive a confirmation and QR code, which will be valid up to three hours past the scheduled departure time.
Check-in at the airport
Once you have all of your required documentation, you’ll need to present it on your phone or printed out during check-in. After check-in is complete, you should be done with all of your testing requirements. Breathe easy for safe travels to your return destination.