Last updated October 26, 2020

Today’s Status, Looking Towards Spring 2021 — Blue

Mexico never completely closed airports or blocked entry of foreigners and announced in June that tourist sites in particular areas have been opening.  Because Mexico is large with many states, they have developed a color system to rate each state based on a 4-color “traffic light” system. Recently, some ILP cities moved from Orange to Yellow, so we’re optimistic things will be under control for a Spring 2021 semester. We’re hoping that all ILP cities will be Yellow (or better) by November if they aren’t already.

Check below to get more details on some key aspects that we’re watching. Each of these components help us determine when we’ll be able to send volunteers to Mexico again (it’s stuff you’re going to want to know). Also, this info changes often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.

Getting There

Although borders never technically closed through the pandemic, things really started to open up for Mexico in June.

You don’t need a visa to visit Mexico, so no need to wait on that!

You could find consistent flights to and from Mexico before and through the pandemic, with some limitations. Most US airlines re-introduced itineraries to Mexico back in June and have been adding more as the summer progresses. Now that the country is opening up, you’ll find quite a few flights from Mexico on Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines and others (with multiple itineraries). 

Daily Life

Virus cases in Mexico have fluctuated, particularly by location — it’s a trend we see in many geographically large countries, like the United States. Numbers stayed low initially, with an increase in cases the past month or so as the country has opened up (although the increase was mostly centered in Mexico City).

The nation continued their reopening plan, deciding to have a color-coded system to help manage the reopening of their country. This colored map of Mexico assesses states on four factors: case number trends (if new infections are increasing, decreasing or are stable), hospital admission trends for COVID-19 patients, hospital occupancy levels, and positivity rates (percentage of tested people who are confirmed to have COVID-19). 

As of October 26th, Mexico reports 117 active cases per 100,000 people, which is considerably less than the United States (which has 877 active cases per 100,000 people). Mexico does have testing capacity and accessibility. ICU beds in Guanajuato are at only 10% capacity (90% available), which is a huge change from the summer when they were overwhelmed. We are mostly watching the virus trends in the states where ILP teachers live and travel as well as the country as a whole. Just as in the US and other countries, some localities do much better at managing the virus than others within the same country. Currently, locations where ILP volunteers teach in are in Yellow, or will hopefully be soon. Over the summer, these locations were orange and then red, so we are very happy about the change. We are carefully watching the color status (and other details) and will update this page when things change. 

Whether or not ILP classes resume depends on the color code of the state. Private educational centers (like where ILP volunteers teach at)  can begin classes when the level is “Yellow”. Currently, the states where ILP volunteers live are Yellow, or soon will be.

What daily activities and events are allowed are determined by the color-level of the individual state. In “Green” states, all activities are allowed.

Out & About

It’s still a bit too early to tell, because restrictions are determined by the color-level of each individual state, so we’re expecting a handful of major changes. In “Green” states, all activities are allowed.

As far as traveling in-country, it seems like you’re pretty set. Bus is the way to travel around Mexico, and the major companies have pretty regular routes (and have had them for some time). Premier Plus and ADO have some restrictions, like reduced schedules and requiring all passengers to wear a mask while riding.

That’s great news for locals and travelers looking to experience all the best parts of Mexico. There may be some restrictions based on states that are still “Orange” but we’ll have to look at that when things get closer.

Mexico volunteers generally do not travel out of country because there is so much to see and do there! You’re welcome to check out places like Nicaragua and Costa Rica (pending individual country restrictions) but we think you’d like to spend vacation time checking out all of Mexico’s adventures.

Picture turquoise swimming spots, thick jungles to hike through, ancient ruins to explore, hot springs hiding in the mountains, colorful magic towns and more. Oh, and those dreamy postcard beaches, of course!

Okay, now what? Should I still apply for Mexico?

If you’re thinking “that’s all really good to know, but what does that mean for me?” we have some good news to share: time is still totally on your side.

We’ve seen policies change without notice that have made the difference between us thinking we’ll need to wait longer and helping us determine that a Spring 2021 semester in that location is something we’re pretty optimistic about. Sometimes that has happened in the span of just a couple of weeks or even in a single day. Departures for Spring 2021 are still weeks off and a lot could be decided before departing … and even more could change for Summer 2021 volunteers.

So we say start your application now so that you’re ready when the time comes. We are going to need volunteers who are ready to go right when things change for the better, which is why we think it’s a good idea to have your application in (even if things potentially look uncertain right now). Time really is on your side.

We’re also here for all of your questions. We’d love to talk about deferring to a later semester if things still need more time or finding a country right now that’ll be a good fit for you. You can bet that once things open up, you’ll be the first to know!