The next few months might be the last of an era where travel meant short security lines, hotel deals, and nary a crowd to be seen at a major sight. So while a lot of the countries that have been closed to Americans remain that way, dozens of others with lots to see and do are open. And since the U.S. no longer has one of the world’s worst rates of infection but does have one of its highest in terms of vaccination, the U.S. dollar is much more welcome.
That being said, if you do go, obviously being vaccinated would be best for you, the local population, and their health system. Please follow all the testing requirements and other safety protocols. And since you may be in places that are open because they have no choice financially, the least you can do is tip well and not be obnoxious.
Our list is made up of countries that are open without requiring quarantine—after all, Americans don’t have much vacation time. Nearly all do have testing requirements before you fly, and some after. We left out countries where it’s considered extremely dangerous to visit in normal times, ones where it wasn’t entirely clear what the situation would be in terms of COVID requirements, ones where it’s exceptionally complicated (Chile), and ones tourists don’t typically visit even in non-pandemic times. We also have not included countries like Iceland and Greece, which have announced future openings. (Note, we haven’t included additional info like visa requirements.)
Mexico has been open for tourism for nearly a year and without any test or vaccination requirement. However, if you go, try to go somewhere other than Cancun, Tulum, or Cabo. There are fantastic road trips across the south and plenty of places with rich history to check out instead.
Spring Break is over, so it’s probably safe to assume the worst of the crowds have gone. Visitors to the Bahamas are required to have a less-than-five-day-old negative COVID test, fill out the Travel Health Visa Application, buy health insurance, and get retested on Day 5 of their visit.
The island has long been a popular escape, what with its fetching beaches and pastel colonial architecture. To enter, visitors must obtain a travel authorization with a negative PCR test (no older than five days before arrival) and then test negative again upon arrival (with a turnaround of less than a day).
Beach vacations are probably on the top of many would-be travelers’ lists, and the Dominican Republic is one of the easier options to visit. There is no testing requirement, but random passengers may be selected upon arrival for a rapid test.
This popular island destination falls under the category of slightly complicated but open destinations. Visitors must obtain a travel authorization and a negative COVID test no older than 72 hours upon arrival. From there they are permitted to travel within a “travel compliant corridor” of hotels, resorts, experiences, and sights that meet certain requirements.
Turks & Caicos
Another Caribbean island option requires a negative test that is no more than five days old, health insurance, and a travel pre-authorization.
The big three of Antigua, Atitlan, and Tikal are a tourism trifecta that could compete with any travel destination, so Guatemala is always somewhere worth considering. As of now, all those with proof of full vaccination, COVID recovery, or a negative test result less than 72 hours old can come in without restriction.
Whether you’re craving some epic diving and snorkeling, want to explore ancient Mayan pyramids, or just need to decompress from a year’s worth of stress on a beach, it’s hard to beat Belize. To enter, you can either bring proof of vaccination, a PCR test no older than 96 hours, or a rapid antigen test no older than 48 hours.
Always at or near the top of happiness polls, Costa Rica is an ideal getaway. The small country has swoon-worthy beaches and lush jungle escapes. (Want to splurge? The Four Seasons just added new private retreat residences.) There is no testing requirement to enter, but you must purchase valid health insurance.
Volcanoes, volcanoes, and more volcanoes. If you’re passionate about these geological wonders, Nicaragua might be just right for you. Toss in some jungle and fabulous beaches, and you’ve got a full vacation. A negative COVID test that is less than 72 hours old is required for entry.
Like many of its neighbors, Panama is a great destination for those keen on aquatic adventures, plus its capital has a charming old town. To enter, you need a negative COVID test that is less than 48 hours old.
Sure, there are the iconic salt flats, but Bolivia has so much worth seeing, including the Pre-Columbian complex of Tiwanaku, soaring mountains, oddly colored lakes, and, yes, the world’s most dangerous road. Travelers to Bolivia must present a negative PCR test no older than 10 days.
It’s a country with nearly everything—beaches, nature, historic cities, food, and architecture. But even though Brazil only requires a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before boarding, the country is experiencing one of the worst surges of COVID in the world right now due in part to a new variant, so we recommend following the State Department’s Do Not Travel advisory for now.
Despite a confusing U.S. Embassy post and language in other news outlets, the Colombian government’s website says you just need a negative PCR test for COVID taken no more than 96 hours before boarding. Otherwise you can take one on arrival and quarantine while you wait for results. Colombia does have varying restrictions throughout the country, from some curfews to restaurants. So, if you’re headed to one of our favorite cities, Medellin, you should instead look at some of its amazing hikes.
We’re head over heels for Ecuador. Quito is magnificently opulent, the Galapagos one of a kind, and then there’s the country’s volcanoes, highlands, and the Amazon. If you want a nice eco-friendly escape, check out Mashpi Lodge in the Choco Cloudforest. To enter the country you need to have a PCR or rapid test that is no more than three days old or proof of completed vaccination.
Whether it’s the world-famous restaurants in Lima or the idea of strolling around Machu Picchu without any competition that’s got you thinking Peru, the good news is the country is open. There’s currently no quarantine, but you must arrive with a negative COVID test that isn’t older than 72 hours and then take a rapid test one day after arriving.
In many ways, Albania is the last unexplored frontier of Europe, especially its unexploited hiking opportunities. It is a summer destination—winters are tough—but full of living history. It is also one of the few destinations that does not require a negative COVID test upon entry for American travelers. Instead, all visitors will be screened at the airports and provided a test if they show symptoms.
This tiny Caucasus country is chock full of history and culture, and as we’ve written about in the past, late spring/early summer is an incredible time to go. Armenia requires a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of arrival or you can take a test upon arrival and isolate until results come in.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
While Sarajevo may conjure up images of smoldering buildings and urban warfare, the city has definitely put its past behind. The Old Bazaar is one of the most exciting in the world, featuring picturesque coffee houses and tea rooms among the carpet-sellers. BiH requires a negative PCR COVID test taken within 48 hours of departure to skirt quarantine.
At the time of this writing, Croatia was under a two-week lockdown with its borders closed, but it was the first and only EU nation to allow Americans in last summer when the rest of Europe balked. And travel they did, exploring the lush beaches, ample snorkeling and diving opportunities, and stunning Mediterranean views. Croatia is expected to open back up to Americans soon, and when it does, proof of a negative COVID test is compulsory for entry—and so is proof of paid accommodation. Visitors are required to submit an entry form online before entering the country.
Europe’s newest country often gets overlooked on travel agendas, but since it does allow Americans to enter and skip quarantine with a negative COVID PCR test, it is a perfect opportunity to see 13th century domed monasteries and unspoiled hiking trails. Americans entering without a negative COVID PCR test are required to quarantine for seven days.
Before COVID hit, Georgia was fast becoming one of the hottest destinations in the world. Tbilisi is not only cool-looking but benefits from the country’s famed food and wine scene. And the mountains along the Russian border are some of the most beautiful in the world. For U.S. residents with proof of full vaccination there are zero restrictions on visiting. For the unvaccinated, you must present a negative PCR test result taken within the past 72 hours upon arrival and take another one three days into your visit.
Sure, it’s probably not on the top of your list, but maybe you’re out to tick off some more countries, are a hardcore wine enthusiast, or are just curious about this corner of the world. Moldova only requires a COVID test that isn’t more than 72 hours old.
After a tumultuous past and fierce fight for independence from Serbia in 2006, this tiny Balkan state is starting to come into its own. Well known across Europe for its pristine Adriatic Sea beaches and luxurious mountains, Montenegro requires a negative COVID molecular test to skip quarantine.
A crossroads between Mediterranean and Balkan charms, North Macedonia is an often overlooked paradise. The country does not require negative COVID test for American travelers, but all visitors from outside the European Union are required to complete a 14-day quarantine, though the country’s many beachfront hotels make it easier.
Rich in history, this Balkan nation has a lot to offer, from its overlooked art nouveau gem Subotica to the city of Belgrade, rebuilt from the ashes of heinous wars fought here. Serbia will take either negative fast antigen or molecular PCR COVID tests taken within 48 hours of travel, which can be tricky since there are no direct flights from the U.S. The country has very few restrictions of movement, including the rare absence of a curfew.
There is so much more to see in Turkey than Istanbul, as we have pointed out. The local cuisine is among the world’s richest, and the architecture, history, and landscapes lure tourists from all over the world year round. Turkey requires a negative PCR COVID test taken within 72 hours of arrival by air and has sporadic landing testing at some airports to avoid quarantine.
From the Black Sea coast to the magnificent cathedrals of Kiev, Ukraine has plenty for travelers of all types. To enter you need a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours upon arrival and Ukrainian health insurance that covers COVID treatment.
This former Soviet nation is one of the most open to tourists (visa-free for Americans) and is famed for its natural beauty. To enter, you must have a COVID test that is no older than 72 hours upon arrival.
Sri Lanka is open, but with a caveat. You must stay at one of a number of pre-approved resorts and hotels, but you can leave those resorts and hotels to visit sights in a safety bubble. You must have a negative PCR test that is no more than 96 hours old to board a flight to the island.
The ’Stans have gone under the radar with their reopenings, but this oddly shaped country known for its outdoors and historic Silk Road sights is open so long as you present a negative COVID test that is no more than 72 hours old upon arrival.
This landlocked country has some of the world’s most spectacular UNESCO sites due to its central location on the Silk Road. To enter, you need a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours and to test negative again with a rapid antigen test upon arrival.
Increasingly popular as a movie set, this Southern African nation offers some of the best unspoiled safari adventures in the world. Botswana requires a negative PCR COVID test taken 72 hours before entering and before leaving the country, but the rules are not regularly enforced. Still, it is best to arrange for the departure test well in advance, since labs can be tricky to come by.
One of the world’s most amazing countries, rich in culture and history, has not felt the wave of COVID effects on tourism like many other nations, in part because of strict lockdowns early on and aggressive testing. Egypt requires travelers to present a negative COVID test taken 72 hours before departure, but even those arriving without one can take one on landing and quarantine until the results are in.
This fascinating country, steeped in religious history and historical significance, has never been a better destination for those with wanderlust itching for an isolated wildlife tour or to explore the country’s vast churches and temples. Ethiopia requires a negative COVID test taken five days or less before arrival to avoid quarantine.
While not often on must-see lists, Ghana has piqued a number of travel outlets’ interests over the past few years because of its safety and growing economy. There is a lot of history here as well as beautiful nature. To enter you need a negative COVID test that is no more than 72 hours old and to test negative again at the airport upon arrival.
Nairobi was one of the most exciting (and busiest) cities in the world in the last decade, but now isn’t really the time for sinking your teeth into a new metropolis. Instead, go to Kenya for its legendary safaris. All that’s required to enter is a negative COVID test that is less than 96 hours old.
From camel rides in the Sahara to haggling over lamps in a souk, Morocco instantly conjures up certain images for all of us. The kingdom is currently open but has rules in place requiring reservations with Moroccan hotels and travel agencies, as well as a negative COVID test that is no more than 72 hours old.
When you daydream about pristine stretches of Indian Ocean coastline, chance are it’s Mozambique that’s caught your brain’s fevered imagination. The East African country is currently open for visitors, but the State Department recommends you get your visa in advance of going rather than upon arrival. You must also have a negative COVID test that is no older than 72 hours.
Giant sand dunes tumbling into the ocean—it’s what many of us think of when we think of Namibia. But this coastal African country is more than the Skeleton Coast. It’s also got some of its best safari experiences. Currently, Namibia requires a negative COVID test that was taken a maximum of seven days before arrival.
Many of you have no doubt never needed an excuse to go to a national park, but the big exception to Rwanda’s seven-day quarantine requirement is for visitors who have proof of bookings at a national park. And since that’s probably why you’re visiting, that’s perfect. Visitors will still be required to show proof of a negative COVID test that is less than 72 hours old and be tested again upon arrival.
Certainly a must-visit for anybody who considers themselves a foodie, the other main draw for tourists to Senegal (nightlife) is probably on hold for a bit longer. To enter this West African coastal country you need a negative COVID test that is no more than five days old.
These popular Indian Ocean islands have reopened for visitors who have a negative COVID test that is less than 72 hours old or proof of completed vaccination.
It won’t be summer in Cape Town if you head there in the next couple months, but the shoulder season here is about as nice as anywhere. Plus, you can head on safari, do a road trip up the Garden Coast, or just retreat to the idyllic wine country. However, it should be noted that one of the variants scientists have their eye on originated in South Africa, so it is likely wise to wait a little bit longer. As of now, the only requirement for entry is a negative test not older than 72 hours.
Tanzania has no requirements for entering the country as it relates to COVID (the country’s president claimed to have prayed the disease away). As a result, Zanzibar has become a party hot spot. If you’re looking for something less, well, superspreader-y, safari is always a good option.
There’s plenty to do in this landlocked country, but the biggest draws are probably its lakes and national parks. Visitors to the country must have a negative PCR COVID test taken no more than 120 hours before flying to Uganda.
Regulations vary based on the Emirate, but as of now, Dubai is open for those with a negative COVID test taken less than 96 hours prior to boarding. And now may be the time to live it up shopping and soaking in the luxury, as this crossroads of global travel will likely never be so empty again.
Combining outdoor activities like bird-watching and scuba diving with historic sights that are thousands of years old, Bahrain typically attracts millions of tourists a year. Today, it’s back open. There is no test requirement before you come to Bahrain but there is a test on arrival, then again on the fifth day, and on the 10th day if applicable. The cost for three tests is roughly $95 altogether. You must download the “BeAware Bahrain” app before you travel.
Having Petra to oneself sounds like a dream, no? Well, now that Jordan has reopened its borders, that just might be a possibility. The kingdom now requires proof of a negative COVID test no older than 72 hours and then re-tests visitors upon arrival.
Questions about a specific country? The State Department has put them all in a list right HERE.