For many families, the thought of traveling out of the country right now seems like a distant hope for the future. But for Texans, who can access Mexico faster than many domestic destinations, landing on the sandy shores and sparkling beaches of our neighbors to the South may be within reach for the upcoming vacation season.
It really depends on your comfort level.
As with traveling anywhere during a pandemic, one has to weigh the risks and take precautions, which is exactly what my family did before taking a recent trip from Houston to San Jose del Cabo.
Mexico’s borders are open to Americans via air travel. While the Mexican government doesn’t require a negative COVID-19 test upon entry, travelers are required to complete a pre-flight health questionnaire and may be subject to health screenings at airports. Masks are required to be worn in public places throughout the country. And you will need a negative COVID-19 test to get back home. In January, the CDC began requiring travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flight to enter the U.S. However, many resorts in Mexico offer on-site COVID testing or testing at the airport, the logistics of which you can verify before booking.
While it may take a bit more planning and caution than pre-pandemic, a vacation in Mexico has a lot to offer for those comfortable with traveling. Airlines are continuing to provide non-stop service from Houston that can get you from H-town to a Mexican resort in about 2 hours or less. Most resorts in Mexico are operating at reduced capacity to foster environments for social distancing. And, the family friendliness of beaches, pools, on-site activities and all-inclusive resorts makes moving around once in Mexico extremely optional.
OUR FAMILY EXERIENCE IN CABO
While just one of many desirable destinations in Mexico, San Jose del Cabo in the Baja California peninsula was my husband and I’s recent choice for a sunny weather, desert vacation with our three kids (ages 6, 4 and 2) on the beautiful Pacific coast. In addition to reviewing reported COVID-19 rates in Cabo, our ability to social distance while having everything we would need within proximity was a major factor in our decision.
In any environment, traveling with kids is an art. And having an enjoyable experience requires planning and taking advantage of convenience as much as possible. Thankfully, Cabo provides all the convenience a family needs for a stress-free getaway, particularly in the area where we stayed at the Viceroy Los Cabos.
The Viceroy’s five-star rating is well deserved for its coastal modern design (marked by bright whites, natural accents and shades of blue) as well as its thoughtful architecture that strategically provides stunning, continuous water views from nearly every vantage point of the resort. Being at the Viceroy felt like an oasis in the most genuine sense of the word.
The resort offers spacious rooms, suites and multi-bedroom villas. Each comes with a private balcony complete with an outdoor, full-size lounge bed and dining table (making in-room meals a comfortable option with kids). The resort is also home to several open-air restaurants (ranging from traditional Mexican casual cuisine to robatayaki Japanese fare and rooftop fine dining). Keeping our kids entertained was easy as the resort has three infinity pools, a Kid’s Club for ages 4-12, private beach areas and oceanfront access for walking along the shore, playing in the waves, whale watching or even horseback riding (all of which we took advantage of!)
Across the street from the resort, plenty more restaurants line Paseo Malecon San Jose. And you can access a major grocery store, La Comer, within an eight-minute walk. (Take note that at the time of our trip, only adults wearing masks were allowed to enter the grocery store as a COVID-19 precaution. My husband and kids waited outside while I shopped for snacks and extra diapers).
Throughout our stay, we felt safe and were able to social distance while enjoying beach views, activities and restaurants. And, after an amazing week of relaxing in the sun, devouring tacos and making memories with our kids, the Viceroy staff scheduled our COVID-19 screening for the day before our departure. The test was conducted on site through a partnership with Saint Luke’s Hospitals and we received our results within a few hours with no issues.
While I can’t advocate that our experience will be mirrored in anyone else’s experience, I can say that the logistics of traveling to and from Mexico weren’t as daunting as I had initially thought. And after a year of isolating at home due to the pandemic, it was a welcomed and satisfying experience to getaway as a family.