south america reopening to tourism

South American Countries Opening for Tourism – 2021 Restrictions Update

A number of countries in South America are currently open to international travelers.

Some of them have recently enforced a few restrictions but the others are fully open and welcoming tourists from everywhere.

Travelers should be aware that local governments are still taking social distancing precautions very seriously and require wearing a mask in public areas.

Disclaimer: Travel restrictions and governmental regulations can change rapidly and the information below might be outdated within a few hours. Therefore, double-check all information with your embassy or on official websites. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel.

Read also:
Countries open for vaccinated tourists
– Best COVID Travel Insurance Plans 2021

Which South American countries are open for tourism?

  • Argentina is currently closed for tourism.
  • Bolivia is open to most countries. There is a ban on flights from Europe.
  • Brazil is open to most countries. There is a travel ban on flights from the U.K.
  • Chile has closed its borders to all countries until June 15.
  • Colombia is open to all countries. Land, sea and river borders with neighboring countries have also been reopened.
  • Ecuador is open to all countries
  • French Guiana is currently closed for tourism.
  • Paraguay is open to all countries with no quarantine.
  • Peru is open to most countries. Visitors from the U.K. are allowed entry again. There is still a travel ban on some flights from Europe, South Africa and Brazil.
  • Suriname is currently closed for tourism.
  • Uruguay is currently closed for tourism.
  • Venezuela is only open to Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Turkey and Bolivia and turned down the proposal to reopen its land border with Colombia.

Most countries open to international tourism require travelers to show a negative PCR COVID-19 test result before boarding. A few of them require health insurance.

Given the spread of new and more infectious strains of the virus in Europe, Africa and Brazil, some countries have enacted travel bans or strengthened their restrictions for travelers from these territories.

South American Countries – Latest Updates (June 9)

Argentina Reopening

Argentina

The representative of the Tourism Portfolio Germán Cardoso said in a meeting yesterday that the government is working on a “Sanitary Passport” that allows them to reopen the Argentinian borders “in the shortest possible time.” As of now, Argentina has extended its ban on international tourism until June 30.

Only the following visitors are allowed at the moment:

  • Nationals and resident permit holders.
  • Foreigners who have a close Argentinian family member. But in this case, this should be proven by providing authorities with a birth certificate, marriage, or cohabitation certificate. 

Entry requirements

Also read: Argentina Reopening Borders.

Bolivia Reopening

Bolivia

Bolivia is open for tourism to most countries but the EU. The government has extended the suspension of all passenger flights to and from Europe until June 31 in an attempt to contain the spread of the different variants of COVID-19 in its territory.

Returning Bolivians from Europe are allowed entry under a number of conditions. They must bring a negative COVID-19 test taken no longer than 72 hours and undergo a 14-day self-quarantine at home. 

The government has created an ambitious program called “Vaccines for Hope.” With the help of the COVAX mechanism vaccinates are acquired from the Chinese company Sinopharm, the Bolivian President Luis Arce hopes to finally contain the pandemic in his country.

As of now, mandatory visas have been reinstated for US and Israel citizens. (Source in Spanish)

Entry requirements

  • COVID-19 negative test results obtained in the 3 days prior (and, in some cases, certified by a Bolivian consulate). Travelers who fail to comply with this requirement will have to agree to quarantine or leave the country.
  • There may be a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from European countries.

Brazil Reopening

Brazil

Brazil is one of the few countries in the world that does not require visitors to bring proof of a negative COVID-19 and remains open to most tourists worldwide. As of today, the country has only banned visitors coming from the U.K.

Ironically, Brazilian citizens or people who have been to Brazil over the past 2 week are currently banned in 116 countries. So travelers may be in trouble returning home after visiting Brazil. (Source)

Brazil is currently experiencing a worrying spike in coronavirus cases. The ICU’s occupancy rates are the worst since the pandemic hit according to a Brazilian health research institution.

Eighteen of Brazil’s 26 states and one federal district have ICU’s at over 80% capacity. Nine of those are at over 90% capacity already. 

  • Complete a self-declaration online
  • Bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test by a certified laboratory
  • Proof of health insurance is no longer required to enter the country. (Source)

Chile Reopening

Chile

The Chilean authorities decreed a new full border closure due to the record number of COVID-19 infections last week. In order to contain the spread of the virus, the country will be closed until further notice.

As of today, all international flights have been canceled at Arturo Merino international airport, which was virtually the only way to enter and exit the country. 

The State of Emergency has been extended until June 2021. This gives the government enough power to enforce a daily nationwide curfew from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am, restrict gatherings in groups, and impose social distancing measures and other epidemiology restrictions the Chilean government considers necessary to flatten the COVID-19 curve in the country. For more information click here (Spanish only).

Entry requirements for essential travelers

  • Negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
  • Agree to a 10-day quarantine.
  • Declaration statement completed within 48 hours before arrival.
  • Health insurance that covers COVID-19

Colombia Reopening

Colombia

Colombia is open to all countries including visitors from the U.K. and Brazil. 

Earlier this month, the government reopened all sea, land and river borders with Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.

Effective June 8, all restrictions were lifted in Bogotá in an attempt to bring back tourism to the city and restart the very much damaged economy.

From now on, all clubs, restaurants, bars, gyms and the rest of the business will be allowed to open without capacity and – mostly – without schedule restrictions. Barranquilla and Medellin have also joined the initiative at a lower level.

“People need to work. This Thursday we will be introducing the biosafety protocols needed to reopen Bogotá. Bogota has the biggest industry and the most powerful workforce in Colombia and we need to keep them working,” said Bogotá Mayoress Claudia López (Source: La República).

https://twitter.com/ClaudiaLopez/status/1397029485007020033?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1397029485007020033%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fco.marca.com%2Fclaro%2Ftrending%2F2021%2F05%2F25%2F60ad074fca474149418b4590.html

Entry Restrictions:

Due to the spread of the UK, Brazilian and South African highly contagious variants, Colombian Ministry of Health has enforced new sanitary measures for air travel, as follows:

  • People aged 5 years and older must wear a face mask, at the airport, during the trip and at the port of arrival, regardless of the duration of the trip.
  • People aged 60 years and older should wear N95 masks.

Quarantine is not required. (Source)

Ecuador Reopening

Ecuador

Ecuador is currently open to all visitors traveling by air with no quarantine. Land and sea ports remain closed. The U.S. Department of State has recently changed the travel advisory for Ecuador from level 4 to level 3.

Ecuador has reportedly secured 2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine. The government expects to be able to start a mass vaccination program in the coming weeks.

Entry requirements

  • PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate
  • Travelers who show symptoms during airport health screenings are compelled to take a second PCR test on site (at their own expense) and self-isolate in a government-approved hotel until the results are made available.
  • Travelers to Galapagos need to present a negative PCR test taken 96 hours before their arrival in Galapagos, they also need to present an official permit to visit the islands or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate. (More info here). 

Also read: Ecuador open to tourists from all countries

French Guiana Reopening

French Guiana

The government has not announced a reopening date yet and the country only accepts visitors for essential travel. This overseas French territory continues to restrict entry to most foreign visitors. Only travelers with truly compelling reasons are allowed entry. 

As of today, the country is under a regional curfew from Monday through Friday from 7 pm to 5 am and on the weekend from 7 pm Saturday to 5 am Monday in these locations: Cayenne, Kourou, Macouria, Matoury, Montsinéry-Tonnegrande, Rémire-Montjoly, Roura, and Sinnamary.

Entry requirements

  • Obtain a Travel Certificate.
  • Present a PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival.
  • Declaration stating good health and no recent contact with the virus.

Paraguay Reopening

Paraguay

Paraguay remains open to all countries without quarantine requirements except for those coming from Brazil.

Entry requirements

  • Complete a Travelers Health Form.
  • Negative COVID-19 test results obtained 72 hours before arrival.
  • MERCOSUR citizens are exempt to present insurance that cover COVID-19 
  • Within 24 hours of entering the country, visitors must complete a traveler’s Health Affidavit and get the QR code.
  • Visitors arriving from Brazil must undergo a mandatory 7-day quarantine in addition to the rest of the requirements. 

Non-resident U.S. citizens arriving by air may obtain a “visa en arribo” (visa on arrival), at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Asuncion. Travelers are encouraged to visit their embassies to check the specific information applying to their countries of origin.

Peru Reopening

Peru

Peru is open to most visitors. It has also resumed commercial flights with some EU countries and the United Kingdom. The entry of visitors from South Africa and Brazil remains banned.

Peruvian nationals and foreigners from Spain, France, and the Netherlands, are allowed entry after more than a year of a travel ban. (Source)

Unfortunately, Peru is currently considered the world’s worst-hit country by the coronavirus pandemic. Data suggest that the so-called Indian variant is behind the extremely difficult situation the South American nation is going through.

Not only the country has the worst per capita COVID-19 death toll but also its health system has collapsed. 

“These two elements combine to create a bottleneck,” […] “Oxygen supplies are insufficient, and a major concern is that the vaccination rate is still very low, leaving people exposed and the healthcare system under pressure,” said Francesco Segoni, MSF’s Emergency Coordinator in Peru. (source)

Entry requirements 

  • Negative COVID-19 test results obtained 72 hours before arrival.
  • MERCOSUR citizens are exempt to present insurance that cover COVID-19 
  • Within 24 hours of entering the country, visitors must complete a traveler’s Health Affidavit and get the QR code.

Visitors from these countries must present a negative PCR COVID-19 taken no longer than 72 hours before boarding, wear a mask, wear a face shield and fill out a geolocation affidavit here.

Suriname Reopening

Suriname

Suriname is closed for all travelers, with the exception of residents, their family members (they must have a truly compelling reason for traveling), and essential workers.

The ferry service between Moleson Creek, Corentyne and South Drain, Suriname has reopened. So far 1178 passengers have been allowed to use it. Only Guyanese and Surinamese people can utilize this service because the country continues to be closed for tourism. 

Entry requirements

  • PCR negative test no older than 72.
  • Booking at an approved hotel (check SHATA list of hotels) for a minimum of 10 days.
  • Proof of health insurance that covers COVID-19 (residents are exempt).
  • Quarantine for 7 days.

Every visitor will need to pay for costs related to quarantine, testing and medical assistance.

Uruguay Reopening

Uruguay

Uruguay continues to be closed for tourism. The government has announced stricter measures to try to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases. Then, all types of clubs, gyms, public shows, parties and social events are officially banned. Restaurants and bars will have to close at midnight. “Free shops” on the border with Brazil will be closed as well as public offices and schools. 

Uruguay started its vaccination rollout yesterday. The first phase will focus on teachers, soldiers, police and firefighters. On Thursday, the country received 200,000 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine and another 1.5 million are expected to arrive from March 15.

Uruguayans, residents, their families and certain categories of essential travelers are allowed entry.

Entry requirements

  • Negative PCR COVID-19 test results obtained 72 hours prior to boarding.
  • Affidavit stating not having had symptoms or contact with a person infected with COVID-19.
  • Health insurance that covers COVID-19
  • Agree to undergo a 14-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine plus a second PCR test taken on day 7. 

Venezuela Reopening

Venezuela

Commercial flights to and from Venezuela are now limited to Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Turkey, and Bolivia. Visitors arriving with a negative COVID-19 test can bypass the 14-day quarantine.

For its part, Colombia has reopened its land borders with Venezuela but President Nicolás Maduro turned down the offer due to political and biosafety concerns.

Entry requirements

  • Negative PCR COVID-19 test results no older than 48 hours at the moment of boarding.

Related: Most Dangerous Countries in South America