What is it like to Travel to Mexico right now?
What our trip to Playa Del Carmen showed us about staying safe and sanitized.
We recently went to Playa Del Carmen Mexico. Coming from Florida it seems like you could risk your life just trying to go get groceries. So we were interested in what the safety and sanitization procedures would be like when we traveled to Mexico. To our surprise they had a lot more procedures in place than we thought they would. And they certainly had a lot more than the state and country we had just left.
Flying to Mexico
Playa Del Carmen does not have its own airport. We had to fly in to Cancun International Airport. We have flown a few times and it was a smooth flight and we did not even feel the plane landing on the ground. We may have also been helped out by sitting next to the wings.
On the plane we received forms for customs and immigration. We had to fill this out on the plane and thank goodness we had a pen on us because the flight crew did not provide any means of filling out these forms. Also make sure to have your passport and boarding passes handy as you will need this information to completely fill out this form. Make sure to fill out this whole thing! We left the bottom third of the custom form blank because it asked for information that we had already provided above. We thought that section was just for the customs agent to fill out, but when we reached the customs agent she sent us to the side to complete this bottom section as well.
Immigration was easy for us as we did not have anything to declare and we were only traveling with our backpacks. We had to run them through a security x-ray type scanner and they had a dog walking around to make sure there was no funny business going on. Good thing we had nothing to hide.
Airport to Bus Terminal
Cancun International Airport to Playa Del Carmen is about a 45 minute drive so we decided in advance that we wanted to take a bus for journey. We knew that airports and cruise ships in some countries could be hectic and this lived up to our expectations. When we were walking through the airport toward the doors to outside there were booths on both sides with people trying to get us to book a tour or transport with them. Of course they wouldn't make a lot of sales if they just stood there quietly, so they yelled at to use their services from the right and from the left as we walked past.
For these reasons we wanted to buy our bus tickets in advance. And that is what we did. Or so we thought... We did some research and found that ADO buses were a popular and legit bus company in Mexico. We went to the website to purchase our tickets in advance before we left America. There must have been a pop up or some other kind of redirection from the ADO sight because we ended up with a receipt to Cancun Auto Buses. And unfortunately we did not notice this until we were walking around outside of the terminal trying to find where this company was.
We quickly came to find out that this company did not exist. With the acronym of c-a-b, we were basically out of luck. We checked the credit card statement to find a charge to Elle Transportation. This was frustrating but at least we were only out about $24. Wanting to get to our hotel, we went back inside of the terminal. We found the actual ADO kiosk and purchased 2 bus tickets from the real company.
Bus Terminal to Hotel
Most people will recommend that you get a SIM card when traveling around a foreign land. That is probably the wise choice but that is not the decision we made. Google Maps allows you to download almost an entire city worth of a map to be able to navigate around without using wifi or cell phone data.
Playa Del Carmen has a lot of options for entertainment. Unfortunately, it only has one option for bus terminals. Once we were able to get on a bus it was a painless ride to the bus terminal. At the bus terminal we were able to get wifi to download the area on Google Maps. We looked for a landmark for which street to turn on to reach our hotel as well as the first few streets we needed to pass to ensure we were walking in the right direction.
Sanitation and Masks
Surprisingly enough we felt more safe in Mexico than we did in the U.S. All establishments in Mexico took the following precautions: they took your temperature, they physically gave you hand sanitizer, they required masks, and they made you sanitize the bottom of your shoes.
I'm not sure what the passing mark for your temperature is supposed to be; especially in celcius. But there was one time when we were walking around in the sun for a few hours, so we had to cool down for a minute before we passed the threshold to enter a store. Temperature checks happened before you entered bus terminals, restaurants and shops.
Stores in America have hand sanitizer available if you would like to use it. In Mexico it is not a suggestion. They physically pump hand sanitizer into your hand as you walk in the door. They also require masks. It is not the Disney level of precautions where they don't let you in with a thin buff or handkerchief, but at least you have to cover your mouth and nose with something. Everyone also had to wear masks the entire time when in buses or vans or taxis.
The part that really threw us off is the fact that you had to wipe your feet twice. Once on a mat with a thin layer of disinfectant and then on a normal rug to make sure you were not trailing in any dirt or germs. Before we got into one of the little vans they sprayed the bottom of our shoes directly with disinfectant. One shop even had disinfectant showering from from the entrance as customers walked in.
The further you get away from the beach the better the protocols are for sanitation. Each city in Mexico we stayed at (Playa Del Carmen, Valladolid, Tulum) had the above restrictions. Valladollid is close to Chichen Itza, but it was the most authentic city we stayed in. The hotel we stayed at in this city even had the bellhop completely spray down our backpacks with disinfectant. They also put our pillows and towels into plastic shrink wrap. Each day they wouldn't just give you one or two new loose towels they would give you a whole new set of sanitized and shrink wrapped towels. In Playa Del Carmen and Tulum there were plenty of Americans and tourists walking around the streets without masks (until they had to put one on to enter a building) but in Valladolid the majority of people were wearing them and doing a good job social distancing.
Hear more about our trip in our Podcast video on YouTube:
We go behind the YouTube scenes and provide you with details that could not fit into this week's YouTube show.
What is it like to travel to Mexico right now?
We share our person experiences from our trip to Playa Del Carmen Mexico for our honeymoon vacation.
We talk about some of our other honeymoon ideas.
We share pro tips and tricks on: getting through international security, customs and immigration, getting a bus to the hotel, getting from the bus station to the hotel with no data plan, Mexican safety and sanitation procedures, and give an overview of the Hilton Playa Del Carmen (all inclusive adult resort).
Listen to it on your preferred podcast provider:
Thanks for reading our blog on traveling to Mexico!
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