As my first blog, I’ve decided to write about probably the HOTTEST topic of 2020, but we hope not much longer: COVID-19. So how is COVID in Mexico? In particular, how is COVID in Riviera Maya and in our 2nd home, Akumal? Here’s my take:
We had last left Akumal back in early February, expecting to return, as usual, in later April. But this year due to COVID, it didn’t happen as travel to Mexico was restricted; the borders were closed and stayed closed until mid-June. Just in time for us to use long ago purchased tickets to get back to paradise and just in time to leave Texas (our #1 home) to have a significant increase in Coronavirus cases.
Before coming back, we were concerned that many people in Mexico may not be taking this any more seriously than those in the United States did, though the Mexican government had more controls in place than Texas. For ourselves, we have taken a pragmatic approach. For the first few months, we did mainly work from home and did not go to any public gatherings. Although we were not totally isolated either.
We started wearing masks — as well as gloves initially — whenever we went out grocery shopping, and over the past month, when we went to a few outdoor restaurants once they reopened. Of course we also got lots of takeout/delivery from our favorite restaurants. But for everything, we only went at non-peak times.
Mexico has a color coding intensity system: yellow, orange and red. In mid-June, Quintana Roo had graduated to orange, which meant that it could open on a limited basis, following strict safety measures and protocols. At least that meant we could finally travel to Mexico right then.
But we were concerned. Were people consistently practicing this? Are Mexico’s travel policies being properly followed? Were restaurants and stores really open, and were they taking precautions? How is the Cancun airport (where we fly to), and what was it like to fly and travel to Mexico this 2020? Airplanes? Airport?
The Trip Down
After doing some research on Mexico’s travel policies, we decided to take the plunge. We flew on American Airlines via DFW International Airport. Upon arrival at DFW, we saw many people wearing masks, perhaps 60%. So we distanced ourselves. On the plane, everyone was required to wear a mask, but thankfully they were allowed to be removed while drinking or eating. To limit exposure to the employees, they only gave limited service. I wore a mask, as well as a face shield, and brought my own wipes for the chairs. I do understand though that the planes are sanitized between flights. Our plane was the cleanest I have ever seen. It actually looked brand new!
Upon arrival, everyone was required to walk through a thermal imaging camera and was given a couple of squirts of hand sanitizer. At all times, masks were required and social distancing encouraged; signs were posted reaffirming expectations. Due to COVID, all arrivals were in Terminal 4. Everyone everywhere was following this protocol, fully wearing their masks, unlike in the US. It immediately made us feel more comfortable.
Home to Akumal!
One of the key reasons we had decided to make this trip during this time is that Akumal and particularly Half Moon Bay, is extremely small unlike other Quintana Roo towns/cities. Also, there are only a few permanent residents around, who we know have been strict in their social distancing and contact with others. Like the rest of the Mayan Riviera, Akumal has been closed to tourism since mid-March, and there have been very few people there.
Upon arriving into Akumal Beach, we found it to be more quiet than usual. With only locals in Akumal with limited outside access, and everyone following safety protocols, so far COVID in Akumal is almost nonexistent, as there have been NO incidents of the virus.
Our friends and staff were immensely happy to see us, and it felt very great to be safe AND back to paradise, as everyone was social distancing and wearing masks. The complex staff has been busy doing projects that are normally done in the low season. This is so they can complete them early, in hopes that the COVID-19 situation improves enough for more people to visit Akumal this 2020 in the late summer / fall.
The management implemented new cleaning and disinfection procedures, and the work done has made La Sirena look fabulous.
As we have gotten out and about in the past 2 weeks that we’ve been back, we’ve seen consistent adherence to the COVID 19 safety protocols in the area. Everywhere we go our temperature is first taken, followed by a squirt of hand sanitizer and the wearing of masks. This makes us feel immensely comfortable and actually safer than we did in Texas. We hope this continues.
Overall, matters are quieter here than usual, but the restaurants and businesses are open and just as welcoming. And the sea turtles and reefs are happy and healthy!
Once better travel advisories are released and the COVID situation gets better, Akumal is definitely one of the first places you must visit. Our vacation and condo rentals are as untainted as ever, and the nature of the place ensures your peace and safety when visiting. Feel free to check out our properties here for more info!