snorkeling caribbean belize underwater

At time of writing, Americans can travel with visa-free access to about 40 countries, with the vast majority having some measure of health and safety protocols in place. But before you start packing your bags, it is important to ask if you should travel. This is a personal judgment call, and factors to take into account are:

  • Your age
  • Your immunity levels and overall health
  • The prevalence of COVID-19 in the areas you are traveling to
  • Travel insurance

The following countries allow Americans to travel where there is no quarantine on arrival, along with ways you can make a difference whilst there:

1. Belize

belize adventure waterfall repelling

Let’s rapel down a waterfall in Southern Belize! Photo by Duarte Dellarole

Taking a PCR test within 72 hours of your arrival date will help ‘fast track’ your arrival process inside the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE). You may still be required to take a secondary test on arrival based on your health screening results. Additionally, travelers must stay at approved Gold Standard hotels, and travel with Gold Standard approved tour guides and operators. These are what comprise Belize’s ‘Tourism Safe Corridor‘ where guests will be limited in this phase of its Travel Reopening Plan. Belize has a bounty of eco-friendly lodges, whether in the remote jungle or on a self-sustaining island, with initiatives like Pack for a Purpose and more. Make your stay meaningful by visiting a protected area to support conservation through organizations like APAMO and Programme for Belize, or volunteer helping rescued manatee calfs with Wildtracks Belize.

Find Belize’s Entry Requirements here

2. Brazil

Health insurance covering COVID-19 is required. So much to explore, from the Amazon and Pantanal, to Rio and Salvador, plus Iguassu Falls, Lencois Maranhenses, Paraty and Buzios for good measure. You can help run sports clinics in Rio to make it meaningful.

3. Dominican Republic

You are subject to random breath tests. In addition to relaxing on the beautiful beaches, you can help create a basketball court. Or, provide healthy meals to Dominican youths.

4. Maldives

If you can tear yourselves away from arguably the world’s finest beaches, you can get immersed in the culture and help build a classroom in the local village.

5. Mexico

You must arrive by plane, and the Yucatan Peninsula is a great choice, where you can explore the Mayan ruins of Chitzen Itza and Tulum, swim in your own private cenote (freshwater sinkhole), snorkel, swim with Whale Sharks (seasonal), or discover the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. Whilst there, you can teach at a school, sort donated clothes and food, renovate classrooms, or entertain the elderly at a Seniors Home.

6. Tanzania

You may be tested for COVID-19 on arrival, so it is best to have a negative test just before you leave the US. Safari beckons in spectacular parks such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Selous. You can see and even trek up Mt Kilimanjaro. Plus, the beaches of Zanzibar are a superb way to round out your trip. Whilst there, you can make your trip meaningful by building a home for a family.

The following destinations allow Americans to enter, where there is  some travel restrictions:

7. Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica reopens its borders to foreign tourists on August 1.

A test is required, though they have now opened to all US states. in US states can enter (this is subject to change). An extraordinary country that leads the world in terms of eco-luxury, you can view volcanoes, zip-line, kayak, spot wildlife, surf, snorkel, and much more. Inspire your kids to be wildlife conservationists by helping at a wildlife rescue center or at a turtle protection site.

8. Ecuador

A COVID-19 test is required. And if you pass, the rare opportunity to encounter the wildlife on the Galapagos Islands with few tourists awaits. The same applies to the Amazon, Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest, Otavalo Markets, colonial Cuenca, and more. Make your stay meaningful by renovating a low-income daycare center in Quito.

9. Kenya

Travelers from Texas, California, and Florida must quarantine for 14 days. But if you live in one of the 47 other states, you can catch the end of the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara with far fewer visitors than in previous years. Other wildlife parks, Mt Kenya and a gorgeous coastline are also on offer. Not to mention, you can help the local children by building a classroom in a school on the edge of the Masai Mara.

10. Rwanda

A COVID-19 test is required to enter Rwanda. One of the world’s most beautiful countries, with its mountains and lakes, its harrowing recent past should not be ignored, and the genocide museum and memorials are excellent. And of course, there is the Mountain Gorillas (minimum age to hike to them is 15) – the hour you spend with them is unforgettable. You can bond closer with your kids and help build a home for former street-kids in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.

This article on where Americans can travel October originally appeared on
Header photo by Duarte Dellarole Photography

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