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Guatemala Covid entry requirements

Guatemala Covid Entry Requirements Eliminated for Travelers Entering the Country

All Guatemala Covid entry requirements are now eliminated, effective August 12, 2022. Testing and vaccines are now a recommendation rather than a rule.

Last week, Guatemala’s Immigration Department posted on its social media that entry restrictions for Covid were still in place – reminding everyone that if they wanted to enter the country, they’d need to adhere to existing testing or proof of vaccine requirements. It was almost as if everyone had forgotten and needed to be retold.

A day later, on August 12, Guatemala about-turned and abolished all this, making it the fourth country in the region after El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Belize to have zero Covid restrictions for travelers. There are now no more vaccine requirements or negative test proofs needed to enter Guatemala, only recommendations.

As it stands, here is what Guatemala now says to travelers entering the country:

  • They recommended everyone continues with biosecurity measures including hand hygiene and maintain physical distance.
  • Proof of vaccination is not required.
  • It is not necessary to present a negative Covid test.
  • Do not travel if you have any Covid symptoms.
  • They recommend mask use for anyone over the age of two.

In effect, the above is all that remains of the previous Guatemala Covid entry requirements in effect in some form or another since September 2020 when it reopened to travelers. In that time, Guatemala has been perhaps the most inconsistent country with its rules, chopping and changing on a regular basis.

Internal restrictions in Guatemala are also moot, although not in an official sense.

It’s up to each venue or business to decide how to enforce things, and masks and distancing are voluntary. If you’re traveling to Guatemala, we recommend keeping a mask handy in case restaurants demand it. Or finding another place with no such restrictions.

The tourist centers of Antigua and Lake Atitlán are both relaxed right now, with few to zero places demanding masks or social distancing. Masks are now only compulsory in the following areas:

  • Hospitals, health centers, swab and vaccination posts, medical clinics, and laboratories.
  • Care and attention centers for the elderly.
  • Detention and arrest centers.
  • Public transport.

Guatemala operates on a system where each department or municipality is color-coded depending on the amount of Covid cases in each area, which determines risk.

Green is “normal”, yellow is “moderate”, orange is “high”, and red is the highest alert. But despite Guatemala still updating this system around every two weeks, it’s now essentially meaningless. Unless you’re in a red area, where both mask mandates and social distancing remain.

Outside of that, it’s up to each municipality and venue to enforce rules, and many don’t.

In Central America, only Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama still have Covid entry requirements for travelers entering their territories. Of these three countries, only Honduras and Panama still have internal restrictions with any teeth. As in Guatemala, the vast majority of restrictions in Panama, however, are now recommendations.

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