Important Note: Information below is for reference purposes only and should be confirmed prior to your trip. Some information provided by third party sources and may not be up to date.
IMPORTANT CDC UPDATE
As of January 26, 2021, the CDC has mandated that all international travelers obtain a negative COVID test no earlier than 72 hours prior to their US-bound flight. Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within 72 hours before their flight to the US departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide proper documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline will deny boarding to the passenger without compensation. (Most preferred hotels have implemented onsite testing to satisfy this new requirement; please ask your Travel Consultant for your specific hotel policy details.) Full details on this policy can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.
MEXICO TOURIST TAX (QUINTANA ROO STATE)
The state of Quintana Roo has just implemented a new mandatory tax, VISITAX, to be paid by visitors departing Cancun and Cozumel on April 1, 2021 and onward. The tax is approximately $11 USD per person (depending on current exchange rate).
Visitors can pay prior to departing for their resort, at the Cancun or Cozumel Airport upon arrival or departure, or at any time prior to their departure back home. However, we highly recommend that your clients complete the transaction prior to the commencement of their vacation by visiting the secure VISITAX website, http://visitax.gob.mx/sitio/ (change between Spanish and English on upper right of screen). They will be asked to answer a few questions: name(s), age(s), passport number(s), departure date, and data for electronic payment. Upon completion of payment, they will receive a receipt in the form of a QR code. Payment for families and groups may be made in a single transaction with individual QR code receipts provided.
Kiosks will also be available at the Cancun and Cozumel airports to collect payment and provide a QR code, and assistance will be available.
MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ENVIRONMENTAL FEE FOR ALL HOTEL & RESORT GUESTS IN CANCUN/RIVIERA MAYA
As part of its work to preserve the extraordinary natural beauty of the area, the Solidaridad Municipal Government is charging an environmental tax to all hotel and resort guests in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya. This new Environmental Fee will only be charged to Riviera Maya hotel guests. It does not apply to Cancun or Puerto Morelos. In accordance with Municipal Finance Law, the Environmental Sanitation Fee that will be charged is as follows:
20 Mexican pesos per room per day (approximately $1.20 USD as of January 2021), collected at hotel check-out.
What will the tax be used for?
The proceeds from this new Green Fee charged to all hotel and resort guests in the Riviera Maya will be used to contribute to environmental protection and sanitation initiatives such as:
- Beach conservation and upkeep
- Implementation of an integral Waste Management program in urban areas
- Elimination of open-air garbage dumps
- Reduction of carbon emissions by installing LED lighting systems in public areas
- Other programs geared towards making the Riviera Maya a sustainable destination
Why is it needed?
The Riviera Maya is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Its white sand beaches are legendary and the world’s second longest coral reef is just offshore, its jungles and wetlands are home to rare species and it boasts the world’s longest underground rivers discovered to date. Yet increasing visitor numbers and population growth are outpacing public services and more action is needed to improve waste management and other services for the health of the environment and area ecosystems. The new fee charged by the Solidaridad Municipal Government will be used for such programs.
IMPORTANT SCREENING NOTICE:
TSA raising aviation security baseline with stronger domestic security measures
To ensure the security of airline passengers and the nation’s airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing new, stronger screening procedures for carry-on items that require travelers to place all electronics larger than a cell phone in bins for X-ray screening in standard lanes.
As new procedures are phased in, TSA officers will begin to ask travelers to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from their carry-on bags and place them in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for years. This simple step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image. The stronger security measures do not apply to passengers enrolled in TSA Pre✓® who are using TSA Pre✓® lanes.
We recommend you plan ahead and make those devices (iPads, Kindles, etc.) easy to access and remove from your carryon bag prior to arriving at the airport. Do not have any bulky or oversized cases on the devices or TSA officers may ask you to remove them. Make sure your devices are charged and will power up; broken devices or those with dead batteries may not be allowed on board.
IMPORTANT PASSPORT NOTICE:
New TSA regulations require that passports be valid for at least six (6) months beyond travel dates. If your passport is set to expire prior to six months from your return date, you must renew it prior to travel. For expedited passport services, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/hurry.html or your local passport office.
Baggage Information by Airline
IMPORTANT: Now that many airlines have made changes to their baggage allowances, and may charge per checked bag, please visit the airline’s website for the most up-to-date restrictions. All-inclusive packages do not include airline incidentals, such as baggage charges, carryon charges, on-board purchases, etc. If your airline is not listed, or if the link no longer functions, please see the airline’s website directly. We cannot be responsible for extra charges or denied boarding associated with baggage issues. Please note that if you are flying a charter (even using one of the carriers below), baggage charges/allowances will be different, so please contact your Travel Consultant for details.
Carry-on/checked baggage restrictions when departing Dominican Republic:
• Passengers are being directed to dispose of or pack in their checked baggage coffee beans/ground coffee, spices. These items will no longer be allowed through security. Once through security, passengers may purchase these items and bring on the aircraft.
• Unless the passenger has a doctor’s note, Security is also directing passengers to put all medicine in their checked bags.
• Alcohol/Perfume – All bottles alcohol /perfume etc must be placed in checked baggage – alcohol has a 5 liter maximum.
When departing Dominican Republic, the TSA 3-1-1 rule does not apply–even liquids in containers of 3oz or less are NOT allowed through security.
Pre-print your Mexican Immigration Form
ALL foreign citizens traveling to Mexico MUST fill out an Official Entry Immigration Form (FMM) prior to their arrival to Mexico. To ease the immigration entry process now you can fill out the Immigration Form(s) in the comfort of your home or office: https://www.mexicotouristcard.com/. The online registration process is very convenient and straightforward and all you need is your passport, flight information, address or name of the hotel where you are staying, and a printer to print your Official Entry Tourist Card. THE TOURIST CARD IS PER PERSON INCLUDING CHILDREN.
EXPEDITE YOUR ENTRY – When you arrive in Mexico you present your printed Tourist Card, your passport, and since your information is already in the system, the Immigration Officer just needs to stamp your Tourist Card and that’s it – Welcome to Mexico, Enjoy Your Stay!
Using Cash in Mexico
With the objective of limiting and controlling the movement of American dollars within Mexico, the Mexican Government recently passed a new law, making the use of American dollars cash to make purchases in Mexico will not be as free as it has been in the past. Many repeat guests to Mexico who have become accustomed to using American cash in Mexico as though they were effectively in the United States will notice the difference. Other payment methods such as Credit Cards of all types and all issuing banks, Travelers Checks, Mexican Pesos and non-American Dollars foreign currencies in cash (Euros or Canadian Dollars) are not affected in any way by this new law.
The most noticeable differences to travelers will be:
1. Hotels and Exchange Booths will only be able to change a maximum of $1,500 USD CASH per person per month into Mexican Pesos. Previously there was no limit.
2. Businesses (transportation and excursion companies) will only be able to accept a maximum of $100 USD CASH per transaction – but the number of transactions per customer are not restricted.
3. Certain businesses may not be able to, or may choose not to accept American Dollars CASH for any purchase at all (this may include shops etc)
If a customer wants to purchase from an on-site excursion company (for example) a tour worth $139 US per person, he will only be able to pay $100 USD of this amount in USD CASH and the remainder will need to be in another form of payment (credit card, Mexican Pesos cash, etc).
Travelers should not carry large amounts of American Dollars cash with them to Mexico, but instead they should consider either using a Credit Card, taking Mexican Pesos cash, taking Travellers Checks (of any currency) or withdrawing money locally in Mexican Pesos. Local tipping in small bills is still widely accepted, and Berwick Travel recommends charging any in-resort purchases (gift shop, spa, etc.) to the room, which would then be paid by credit card.