Even while Covid is no longer the disruptive illness that it once was, and many Northern Hemisphere nations have eliminated all travel restrictions, the Global South has failed to catch up. A startling 75% of South America still discriminates against unvaccinated American tourists, publicly making it more difficult for them to cross the border.
Earlier in the pandemic, nations like Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay were among the easiest to enter, at least before widespread vaccinations. However, in late 2021, measures as stringent as those of Europe or Canada were adopted, and they were suddenly more difficult to access than their reference nations for limitations.
Even the overly conservative Canada has now eliminated all its restrictions, but the same cannot be said about the Americas’ southern portion:
The region, which has some of the most stunning landscapes and is rich in history, is becoming increasingly popular with American backpackers, particularly now that solo travel is the number one trend post-Covid. Unfortunately, only three of the locations are completely operational in terms of pandemic rules. Argentina, Ecuador, and Guyana are the only South American nations that do not have harsher entrance rules based on immunization.
When visiting these three countries, all U.S. passport holders must do the following:
- Vaccination is no longer required for entrance.
- No pre-departure testing is required, regardless of vaccination status.
- There is no need for post-arrival testing.
- There are no quarantine mandates in force.
Argentina was the first to open the border crossings, followed by Guyana on October 7 and Ecuador at end of October. On the other hand, its nine neighbors, accounting for 75% of the continent, continue to prohibit unvaccinated foreigners from visiting, and while outright bans are no longer in effect, alternative testing criteria are.
- Brazil requires inbound travelers to provide either a valid vaccination certificate or a negative Covid test taken ‘at most 1 day’ before departure. This is repeated in Uruguay, except that the latter allows the unvaccinated to be tested up to 72 hours before boarding.
- Unvaccinated people can enter Paraguay if they have a negative test (within 72 hours of traveling) or a positive Covid test result provided by a laboratory between 10 and 90 days before boarding.
- Chile exempts vaccinated tourists from testing, while all others must present documentation of a negative PCR test result obtained 48 hours before boarding the ‘last aircraft’ to Chile. This implies that if you’re on a connecting flight to Santiago with a layover that exceeds this time limit, you may have to go through testing twice.
- Venezuela is the most restrictive, as one of just a few nations in the world that requires vaccination certificates to be valid for a certain amount of time. You will be required to observe the regulations for unvaccinated passengers unless you have gotten a booster dose and your original vaccination course was finished more than 270 days ago.