Many of the world’s greatest travel destinations are reopening to international travelers this summer.
But not all openings are created equal. A handful of countries are letting in everyone, while others are inviting only a select few.
Here is a definitive guide to the countries that are now welcoming travelers — or have indicated they will before August.
- We are excluding countries that require a 14-day quarantine upon entering; we assume even those staying at the poshest of places want to occasionally leave their rooms.
- Importantly, this is a list of where you can go — not whether you can ease back into your home country. Americans who have always dreamed of seeing the Maldives can likely do so only if they’ve got the vacation time for a 14-day quarantine upon returning home.
- Nearly all countries have special requirements to enter; some are noted.
- We will update this list as new information is made public.
Some of the Caribbean’s most famous islands are already open, including Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Many islands are requiring passengers fill out travel declarations and provide negative Covid-19 test results before departure.
The Bahamas reopened its borders on July 1, then closed them to some travelers less than three weeks later.
Grenada is taking a more cautious approach. Citing an increase in infection rates, especially in the U.S., it delayed reopening in favor of a three-tiered approach to begin on August 1. Travelers from high-risk countries, such as the United States, must arrive with a negative PCR test, undergo a rapid test on arrival and quarantine for 14 days in accommodations approved by the Ministry of Health.
Less than three weeks after it reopened, the Bahamas reversed its border policy, effectively shutting out most American tourists from the island nation. Now only travelers coming from Canada, the U.K. and the EU or those arriving via private airplane or boat can enter due to a rise in coronavirus cases in New Providence and Grand Bahama.
After a patchwork of internal border openings in May, the EU announced that the bloc would begin allowing in residents of select countries from July 1.
On June 30, the European Commission released its much-anticipated list, which included Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. If China reopens its borders to EU residents, it will also be included. Nearly two weeks later, Serbia and Montenegro were removed from the list.
The list was created by senior EU diplomats in Brussels after difficult negotiations and will be reviewed every two weeks going forward. Despite intensive lobbying, Americans did not make the first cut.
The list is non-binding, however, and EU member countries can choose to allow residents of other countries in, though the EU has greatly discouraged this. Croatia broke ranks when it announced it would allow foreign tourists, including Americans, to enter provided they show a negative PCR test upon arrival.
Italy has reopened its borders to most European countries but not everyone has returned the gesture.
The continent took a giant leap forward to reopen internally in mid June. On June 13, Poland reopened its borders to EU nations. On June 15, Germany lifted a travel ban to 31 European countries, Greece to 29 countries (including Australia) and the Netherlands to 12 EU countries. Iceland, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain have since opened their borders to all EU and Schengen Area travelers, though travelers from the U.K. are subject to a 14-day quarantine in some countries.
June 15 also marked easing of restrictions among the Nordic countries of Norway, Denmark and Finland. The countries are excluding Sweden, which has taken a more lax approach to contain coronavirus infections.
A few considerations:
- After June 30, travelers to Greece are subject to random Covid-19 testing based on assigned barcodes.
- Certain parts of southern Italy, including Puglia, Basilicata and Sardinia, require travelers to send health and registration forms before arriving.
- Travelers who are allowed into Iceland can avoid a 14-day quarantine by testing negative for Covid-19 upon arrival at Keflavik International Airport.
Asia is largely closed to foreign holidaymakers for the time being. Most countries have not announced reopening dates, though the Indonesian island of Bali has tentatively said it will allow foreign tourists to enter starting September 11.
In early July, authorities in Thailand announced it will reopen borders in August through a system of “travel bubbles” created with low-risk countries. In the first of three phases of reopening, Thailand will allow a limited number of tourists to visit specific locations, such as Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Krabi, Phuket and Pattaya. The list of countries is to be finalized in July.
Opening July 1, the Maldives is allowing travelers in without new visa requirements and fees.
So where can you explore in Asia? Private jets and yachts are already welcome in the Maldives, and the country will reopen the borders to others starting July 15. After first announcing strenuous testing and visa protocols, the country is now allowing tourists to enter without any coronavirus-related measures in place.
On June 17, Taiwan opened its borders, albeit ever so slightly. Short-term business travelers from select Asia Pacific countries can enter (though shortened quarantine requirements still apply). Japan is also allowing select business travelers from Vietnam and Thailand to enter as early as July.
Turkey has indicated it will be welcoming tourists in July, as has the Caucasus nation of Georgia (though who exactly can enter Georgia is unclear).
After initially announcing an August 1 reopening, Sri Lanka is now scheduled to accept international travelers in the middle of August. Visitors can avoid quarantine if they produce proof of medical insurance, plan to stay at least five nights, and can show a negative Covid-19 test taken less than 72 hours before departure. Travelers to the “teardrop island” will also undergo a second test upon arrival.
On June 11, Cambodia announced foreign travelers could enter upon paying a $3,000 deposit to cover a mandatory Covid-19 test, hotel stays (pending results or for as long as 14 days, should anyone on your flight test positive), necessary treatment fees and even a funeral (the latter valued at $1,500).
French Polynesia announced tourists from all countries can arrive from July 15.
The country, which includes Tahiti, Mo’orea and Bora Bora, is requiring travelers to have either a negative Covid-19 test (administered 72 hours before departure) or an “immunity certificate” that proves you’ve recovered from a previous infection. Travelers may be retested during their stay.
Travel to the U.S. is prohibited for some nationalities; all others may be subject to state-mandated quarantines, such as Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine requirement that was extended this week to July 31.
Canada has two-week quarantine requirements too. The border closure for nonessential travel between the U.S. and Canada has been extended through July 21, though it’s reported some Americans are entering via a “loophole” that allows travelers to transit through Canada in order to drive to Alaska.
The Riviera Maya in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo is open to international travelers.
Mexico is opening state by state, and Quintana Roo — home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Tulum — opened this week. Los Cabos officially reopened on June 15, and flights from major U.S. cities, such as Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago, are scheduled to resume in late June to July.
Mexico’s travel industry has been hindered by a joint agreement between Mexico and the U.S. that restricts nonessential travel. It has been repeatedly extended and is now effective through August 21. Mexico has also been named one of seven coronavirus “international hot spots” — a list that also includes the United States.
The Middle East
From Israel to Qatar, much of the Middle East is not open for travel yet.
On July 7, Dubai reopened its borders to foreign travelers provided they have travel insurance, and have a negative PCR test result (taken no less than 96 hours before departure) or submit to a test upon arrival. The other emirates are expected to start welcoming visitors in the coming months.
Popular African tourist destinations, such as Morocco and South Africa, have not announced plans to loosen border restrictions yet.
After widespread reports that South Africa wouldn’t open until 2021, the country’s tourism officials clarified this week that this was a “worst-case scenario” and that it hopes to welcome travelers by September.
Last week, the Seychelles opened to tourists arriving on a private jet, chartered flight or yacht. Plans to resume commercial flihts are set for July.
Commerical flights are expected to resume to the Seychelles in July.
Tunisia is opening land, air and sea borders to residents from Algeria and select European nations, including Germany and the U.K., from June 27.
Tanzania unconditionally welcomed tourists from all nations in May, one of the earliest countries to do so. The country has been criticized for a lack of transparency regarding infection rates, as well as statements by President John Magufuli that the coronavirus could be cured by drinking ginger and lemonade. He also said the virus had been removed from Tanzania “by the powers of God” despite evidence to the contrary.
Central and South America
Costa Rica reopened on August 1 to those living in the Schengen Zone and the EU as well as the U.K and Canada; travelers must present negative coronavirus test results upon arrival.
Much of South America — including Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Peru — remains off-limits to international travelers for the time being.
Colombia banned all passenger flights until at least Aug. 31. Argentina has a similar flight ban through Sept.1, though there is talk of bringing this date forward to July.