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Traveling to Mexico? Here's what you should know

Michelle Friedman, minister of tourism for the state of Yucatan in Mexico, spoke to WFAA about safety and COVID precautions being taken.
Credit: Lourdes Vazquez
Chichen Itza is located in the state of Yucatan, Mexico, and is one of the "New 7 Wonders of the World".

TEXAS, USA — As Texans begin to travel again, Mexico is taking precautions for tourists and residents.

According to the Embassy of Mexico, there was a 38.6% decline in international visitors to the country during January-April 2021. The number of travelers has increased for the state of Yucatan, Mexico, Minister of Tourism Michelle Friedman said.

“Our domestic flights are 80% recovered, and our international flights are even more than before COVID-19,” Friedman said. 

Travel restrictions are in place for non-essential travel by land from Canada and Mexico through September 21. This does not impact travel by air, sea, or rail.

American Airlines added a direct flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico during the 2021 summer season.

Yucatan is where Chichen Itza is located, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The state is located next to the popular tourist location of Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

“We don't have thousands of rooms in huge resorts. We have thousands of flamingos flying on the top of our heads while we're on the beach,” said Friedman, “but we also have the Mayan villages, we have the charming towns, pueblos magicos.”

Friedman adds Yucatan is the place to relax and truly learn about Mexico's history.

"People are always getting new experiences in our landscapes. And of course, we have thousands of years of the Mayan culture, which is a living culture," said Friedman, "but it's not only the Mayans that make part of the history of Yucatan, it's also the European, the colonial, the Caribbean and the Latin influences that make us and it plays with so much of our history."

COVID protocols

If you are planning a trip to Yucatan or other states in Mexico, here are some things you should know.

As of Aug. 23, Mexico has a total of 124,835 active cases, according to data from the Mexican government.

Friedman says "Friends of Health" are local health authorities that ensure people are respectful and follow the following COVID protocol:

  • Temperatures are checked before entering any establishment
  • Masks are required
  • There are capacity limits
  • A negative COVID-19 test is required of anyone traveling by air to the U.S.; it is not required to enter Mexico
  • Some states have curfews in place and businesses cease operation at 11 p.m.

Safety

Yucatan has invested in technology to reinforce security with more than 1,000 surveillance cameras throughout the state, as well as panic buttons that will dial Mexico's emergency number, which is 911. 

“Yucatan is the safest place in Mexico, but one of the safest in the world,” said Friedman.

According to data presented by the Executive Secretary of Public Safety, Yucatan had the lowest rate of homicides in relation to other states in the country between January to May 2021.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a level 3 travel advisory for Mexico due to COVID. The advisory cites specifics states in the country to avoid travel due to criminal activity, but indicates a level 1 for the state of Yucatan.