Looking to get away but not sure what to expect or worried about whether it’s safe? There’s no better beach getaway right now than Cancun, Mexico. With all Cancun resorts currently operating at 30% capacity, it really makes you feel like you’re in your own safe slice of paradise away from what has been our reality.

American Airlines Vacations has been sending and escorting teams of travel advisors and travel industry representatives to popular vacation destinations throughout Mexico and the Caribbean, to report back on all the new health and safety protocols the airports, airlines, transfer companies, and resorts are taking to keep people safe, feeling comfortable, and confident to start traveling again.

These industry experts discovered some impressive safety enhancements, notable differences between the resorts, and changes visitors can expect.

The Travel Experience

The airports have a handful of noticeable differences which include; mandatory masks, less people traveling, increased hand sanitizer stations, and social distancing stickers on the floor throughout food lines and in between seats at each gate.

Industry experts recommend you to take even further precautions by using the American Airlines app for a touchless boarding pass process, carry your own pen, take multiple facemasks on your trip, and bring along sanitary wipes.

A Covid test is currently not required to travel to Mexico, but you can however expect to fill out a traveler risk factor questionnaire as you are departing Mexico. You can fill out the form on afac.hostingerapp.com ahead of time or you will be provided a paper copy at the Cancun airport. The form simply just asks for your flight information, what countries you have traveled to in the last 14 days, and if you are experiencing any symptoms like high temperature, cough or sneezing, and breathing difficulties. The form only takes a few minutes and is no different than any form you may now be filling out in the states before a doctor’s appointment. Customs and immigration forms are filled out on the plane the same as they have been.

You may experience a full flight as people start to travel again. With American Airlines, passengers are boarding the plane from back to front for less people-to-people contact. Masks are mandatory at all times during the flight, even when seated.

American Airlines is currently not providing food and beverage service as another safety precaution. You may be handed a care bag as you board containing a bottle of water, a small snack, and a sanitary wipe. This is the same for those in Business Class. Though the airlines have their new disinfectant practices, industry experts recommend you, again, take extra precaution by wiping your surrounding areas with a sanitary wipe.

Upon arrival in Cancun, expect to see infrared temperature screening as you walk out of Customs. You simply walk passed the screen as your temperature is monitored. If your temperature reads higher than normal, they would sit you in a separate room and conduct a few more tests (unspecified). If you do not pass these tests, they will arrange for your return back to the states.

American Airlines Vacations works with Best Day shuttle services on your airport transfers, who will warmly welcome you outside the airport. Shuttles are now only transporting clients of the same hotel at a time, rather than making drop-offs at multiple hotels along the way. Or your travel advisor can request a private transfer for you or your group.

The Resort Experience

American Airlines Vacations chooses their hotel partners wisely and across the board, all resorts have increased hand sanitizer stations, luggage disinfecting, and even shoe sanitizing before entering different parts of the resort. Hotel staff, who are required to get tested every two weeks, which is paid for by the government, all where masks and even face shields or goggles. Spas and gyms are open at most resorts and elevators are capacity controlled. For sanitary purposes, coffee machines have been removed from the rooms and coffee can be delivered through room service if requested. TV remotes, cups, and toiletries are all sealed in safety packages. One important change to be aware of, is most of the resorts are only opening certain restaurants per day. For example, if Mexican and French are open on Monday, Italian and Japanese are open on Tuesday. A reservation is not needed in most cases since the hotel is already capacity controlled, however there are some exceptions.

There are also some notable differences between the resorts. Most are facemask optional, however there are some requiring guests to wear masks while roaming about the property or at the buffets. As for the breakfast and lunch buffets, some resorts have switched to “assisted buffets” where hotel staff follow you along and dish the food for you, or “cafeteria style” with plexiglass barriers rather than “self-serve” buffets.

Regarding alcohol service, you should ask your travel advisor whether your resort offers a swim-up bar and if it is currently open. Some of the resorts are also restricting the hours they are serving alcohol.

The Activities Experience

Beaches are open and available to resort guests. Lounge chairs have extra spacing between them both at the pool and on the beach. Parasailing, waver runner rentals, scuba and snorkel tours are operating. The resorts are still offering pool entertainment and activities like water aerobics. Kids' clubs are closed. As for nightlife, live entertainment, shows, and games such as late-night Bingo are available, but with the resorts operating at 30% capacity, it is much more of a relaxed atmosphere. Resort staff does not recommend venturing into town right now, as the restaurants and bars may not be taking the same cleanliness precautions. Most of the clubs like Mandala and The City are currently closed, and popular attractions such as Coco Bongo are operating at reservations only and capacity controlled.

Excursions to the eco-parks such as; Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xenotes, and Xplor are currently operating, but Xavage and Xoximilco are closed. The archeological sites such as Chichen Itza and Tulum are closed at the moment.

The Summary

Overall, you may feel more appreciative of your surroundings than ever on a post-quarantine getaway, as you all have had plenty of time to dream about your travel plans. The team at American Airlines Vacations and professional travel advisors are working with their hotel partners and experiencing the different destinations and properties first hand to ensure the new standards are met and ready for your visit. Though there may not be one answer across the board to all the changes, you can expect these hotel partners are taking all the necessary precautions and it will be the matter of your preferences and comfort level that will determine which resort fits your needs best.

Cancun Vacation Packing List

Massage Oil

Great for a romantic weekend in the sun, also includes aloe to heal burns.

Dress Sandals

A sandal that can go from day to night is the prefect weekend in Mexico shoe!

A Phone Tripod

 Don't miss any photo ops while you travel with your significant other. A phone tripod will allow you to avoid asking strangers to take your photo.

Silk Scarf 

A silk scarf is a great travel accessory as it can be worn in your hair, thrown over your shoulders, or tied to a bag as a stylish adornment.

Stephanie Werner

Stephanie grew up in the travel industry with both her mother and father in the business. A graduate of Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, with a degree in Communications, Stephanie started her career in Inside Sales with Mayflower Tours. In 2014, Stephanie was hired by MAST Travel Network in an administrative position. After taking on a few different roles throughout the company in the graphic design, marketing, and communications areas, she has been promoted to Director of Membership & Business Development since then. Stephanie is a member of Midwest ASTA's Board of Directors, participates in ASTA Headquarter's Consortia Committee and Young Professionals Society, and sits as Committee Co-Chair for the JV Program, an organization for MAST affiliated travel professionals under the age of 40.