Mexico to the rescue. It's not too far and there are airlines that go directly there. Right now a few places are opening up, but still not too many. Of course you still need to check on the requirements for COVID tests, quarentines, and vaccinations.
Travel to Mexico
The rules for Mexico were that you could travel from the US to Mexico without showing anything. However, in order to return, you had to show a negative COVID test taken within three days before travel. Luckily, most resorts provide COVID and it is included in the stay.
I packed my bag and brought a few masks and shields to help protect me. I decided to only use a carry on so I wouldn't have to check it at the counter. I didn't want to be surrounded by people standing in line.
When I got to the airport, I looked for the security line. I have Pre-Check where there was only a 2 minute wait. However, for those of you who don't have pre-check, expect a long wait. My friend that was with me didn't get pre-check and she waited in line for at least 30 minutes. It seemed like they weren't giving free pre-check to anyone.
Security has also changed. At some airports I have to pull out my computer, even with pre-check, when going through security. It didn't happen this time. It seemed like not all the security lines had the technology for this. I guess I just lucked out.
There were no bells or buzzers as I went through the screen process. It was nice and smooth.
I have to say that I have been on another trip since Mexico, later in March, and the airport was more crowded. I think as more people get vaccinated, the airports will be more crowded. I had a stop in Dallas Fort Worth and my flight took off at 10 pm. There were a lot of people traveling at that time. The gates in my area were full and people were coming and going often.
I flew Sun Country and it was not crowded. The plane may have been half full on the way there and back. I feel like Sun Country's exchange policy may have something to do with that. They charge a full change fee if you make a change within 7 days of your flight. Lots of people don't want to take the risk with the possibility of having to quarantine before they come back.
When we arrived at our resort, we had to have masks on in the lobby. I was very grateful that people were being vigilant. You didn't have to wear a mask in the pool area or on the beach. Even when we went downtown, people were wearing masks on the street.
Our resort was only occupied 30%, but some of the beaches were crowded. It looked like it was a lot of local people. Also, we took a city tour and the excursion was 80% Mexicans. However, we booked a drive through the mountains to the city of Talpa. We lucked out and had our own private tour.
One of the things I really enjoy when I travel, is meeting people. There were still plenty of people to talk too. Even though there were a lot of vacant rooms, there was still an energy around the resort that was very pleasant. The resort had a welcome party and a Mexican fiesta with lots of dancing and singing. The si restaurants were all open, but some nights one or two of them were closed. The resort next door seemed to have a wedding every night. We were treated to their fireworks as we sat outdoors eating dinner.
The time at the resort went by fast. We couldn't believe it was time to get our COVID tests already. We were the first ones scheduled for the day, so no waiting line. The results were ready later in the afternoon.
I was very happy to have left the cold environment of Minnesota for a well needed vacation in Puerto Vallarta. The people are very friendly, lots of things to do, and the sun was amazing. I really enjoyed the 7:00 sunsets every evening.
One of the events we went on was a Yelapa and Majahuitas Adventure. It was a day long activity starting at the marina. We left the dock around 9 am a cruised to Majahuitas Beach. As we sailed there we saw dolphins and beautiful rock formations. It was a true day in paradise including a secluded beach surrounded by palm trees and turquoise waters,snorkeling, kayaking, banana boating and paddle boarding! On the way, we even spotted whales. After our beach experience we sailed to Yelapa where we walked through the quaint town to nice waterfalls. After returning, we enjoyed the beach where we saw severl people wind surfing. It was only $40 for a nice ride. On the way back to Puerto Vallarta we were entertained by the crew with lively songs and dance. It couldn't have been better.
We had a great time, made friends, and enjoyed the sunshine. Remember, an adventure a day keeps the doctor away. Now is the time to book your dream trip. Usually you only need to put down around $200/person for the deposit and pay the remainder 60 days before the trip. Most companies are very flexible since COVID in regard to changing dates. Let me know if you'd like help planning a trip. E-mail Info@PetersonTravelPros.com
Judy Peterson, Travel Advisor