In November 2020, I travelled to the Riviera Maya for 14 lovely days to experience the new Covid-19 safety protocols first hand. Travelling during Covid-19 is different in a lot of aspects, but it is still the same feeling of having your butt in the sand and a drink in your hand, it just seems to melt away the stress even during a pandemic!
One thing is for sure, I was impressed with the safety protocols implemented throughout the airports, while flying and in Cancun/Riviera Maya as a destination. I find that this destination seems further ahead in “collectively” trying to limit spread and found it quite comfortable knowing the protocols in place throughout my travels. Personally, I have never had my temperature taken as much, used shoe disinfectant mats or used as much hand sanitizer then I did when on my trip! This gave me comfort and confidence when travelling, knowing and seeing the enhanced protocols in place from start to finish.
In Mexico, they do not have CERB or EI, when tourism shut down the Mexican people had limited ways of making money and supporting their families. They know that tourism is their economy and I do believe as a general the Mexican people are doing what they can to prevent a shut down from happening again and to keep tourism open.
With tourism opening on a limited capacity, the Mexican people are feeling optimistic and very happy that tourists are returning. I can’t count the amount of times that people were surprised and so welcoming that I was from Canada, they would say, “First Canadians I have seen since March – welcome back!” or “I Love Canadians – welcome home”. The locals are genuinely pleased to have tourists return, they joy in their face and how they provide service, truly shows this in spades
During November 2020, Cancun/Riviera Maya had a yellow light for their Covid level, which means they are allowed to have up to 60% occupancy for their resorts and an increase in various tourism activities. During my stay at Sandos Caracol, Sandos Playacar and Majestic Elegance the occupancy was at 28%. Live Aqua Cancun is a much smaller adults only resort and it was at 56% occupancy. There were so many times when walking around the larger resorts that we felt we had the resort to ourselves. Quite a different experience and one we really enjoyed!
There are many new protocols in place as you travel, from the airport, to the transportation, to the excursions and the resorts. Each protocol is in place to limit the spread, provide a safe place for tourists and staff but also to keep tourism alive even in a limited fashion! I am personally very happy that I was able to explore and experience first hand how travel has changed.
Here are some of the protocols that I was introduced to during my travels to the Riviera Maya:
Airport (YYC and CUN)
- Temperature Taken
- Hand Sanitizer high touch points
- Social Distancing signs and measure in place where possible
- Masks to be worn at all times
- Enhanced cleaning protocols
- QR codes being used for Mexico Health Questionnaire upon departure from Mexico
- QR codes for restaurant menus
- Business lounges re-opened up in Calgary Nov 2 with social distancing measures and enhanced cleaning protocols
- Business Lounges in Cancun open with social distancing measures and enhanced cleaning protocols
- Health questions asked in security before you board in Canada
Airline - Westjet
- Masks being worn on airplane
- Provided a sanitization wipe to wipe down my chair & tray
- Limited food/drink service, so make sure to grab at airport before boarding
- Enhanced cleaning protocols for trays, seating areas, galleys, lavatories, overhead bin latches & more
- Fogging implemented to quickly and thoroughly disinfect the aircraft
- Air circulating system with HEPA filter, introduces fresh air into cabin ever 2-3 minutes and filter 99.99% of all airborne particles
Transportation (Excursions & Transfers)
- Masks being worn
- Social distancing in place with limited seats on bus
- Private transfer is a great way to social distance (my preferred method of transfer)
- Enhanced cleaning protocols of high touch areas
Resorts that I visited: Sandos Caracol, Sandos Playacar, Majesic Elegance Costa Mujeres, Live Aqua Cancun
- Luggage Sanitized before being brought into resort
- Disinfectant mats for your shoes at all entries of resorts
- Hand Sanitizer at all high touch points (entry of resort & restaurants, check-in/checkout, elevators and rooms)
- Masks are suggested for inside public areas of resorts - about 65-75% of guests were compliant depending on resort
- Masks are mandatory in restaurants unless sitting down at your table
- Social distancing of any seating indoors
- Social distancing measures & signs for elevator (2 or 4 per elevator)
- Staff were wearing masks and/or face shields at all times
- Enhanced sanitization and cleaning protocols for rooms after checkout
- Enhanced disinfecting/sanitization of common areas & guests’ rooms
- Entertainment – Social distancing measures for theaters, activities and any gatherings
- Limited activities for most resorts due to COVID-19 combined with low occupancy
- Spas used QR codes for service menu
- Reservation for gym required, limited capacity, regular cleaning (hourly with some)
Dining at Resorts - Each resort may have a bit different protocol
- Sandos was serve yourself at the buffet, some individualized portions, cutlery shared by guests
- Majestic Elegance you were served by staff at buffet, cooking stations also present
- Live Aqua was serve yourself. wrapped individual portions available; many cooking stations available
- Limited a la carte restaurants open due to occupancy level being low
- Cutlery brought to you once seated – Majestic Elegance had it bagged with a sanitize seal
- Reservations required to ensure percentage of guests and social distancing
- Menus rotating through the open a la carte restaurants
- Restaurants used QR codes for menus (remember phone lol)
- QR code for room service
- Social distancing of tables
- Enhanced sanitization and cleaning protocols for all public areas
Beach & Pools
- Masks are not required in outdoor public places
- Beach chairs and Bali beds have social distancing
- All staff wore masks and/or face shields
- Limited swim-up bars are open for social distancing measures
- Activities done to ensure social distancing
- Enhanced disinfecting/cleaning of beach chairs, Bali beds, towels etc.
Touring Off Resort
- Temperature taken at main entrances to Playa Del Carmen 5th Avenue
- Temperature taken at some stores in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun
- Temperature taken at some restaurants before seated
- Hand sanitizer used frequently in high traffic areas, stores and restaurants
- Disinfectant spray to walk through before boarding ferry
- Masks worn in public transportation and in restaurants before seated
With each step in your travels, you will experience enhanced protocols of varying measures, it is a way to help keep tourism open and limit the spread. I saw that by successfully implementing these safety measures, they are helping to limit the spread and ensure that guests who choose to travel will have peace of mind with their decision. Everyone is doing their part to ensure your vacation is an amazing experience from start to finish. I can’t say enough about the service we received during our trip, it was a great experience and in many ways that has not changed even with COVID-19.
I do feel as tourists we also have a part to play with helping the locals, as many people of Mexico can not afford healthcare or to miss work. They are doing their best to protect themselves and provide you an amazing experience with the best service they can. I feel it is up to us to reciprocate by wearing masks when social distancing can not be done, use hand sanitizer and to respect those around us. By all of us doing our part while travelling, we can help to keep tourism open, limit the spread and ensure economies can start to flourish again.
Travelling during this time is not for everyone and I completely understand that. There are many things to take into consideration when travelling including your medical insurance, family needs, time off work in case you have to quarantine, pre-testing for COVID-19, and possible cancellation of flights or further lock downs that may occur. Each person needs to weigh the pros/cons for themselves and decide their own comfort level when it comes to travel.
For those that are wanting to explore travel, I am here to help you navigate the best way possible and to ensure you have the information you need to make an informed decision. If you do decide to travel, I will be here for you each step of the way. That is what we do at Wanderlust Getaway, we provide peace of mind wherever you travel.
If you have any questions about protocols, destinations or anything else travel related, please feel free to reach out to myself or my Wanderlust Getaway team members.
Your partner in travel,
Certified Leisure Travel Specialist
Owner/ Travel Consultant
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