Last updated April 16, 2021

Today’s Status, Looking Towards Summer 2021 — Green

Mexico never completely closed airports or blocked entry of foreigners (and main tourist sites have been open since last summer).  Overall, the country was hit pretty hard with a surge of cases, but after the holidays and since vaccinations began in 2021, there has been a steady decrease in case numbers. We are planning to have a program in all of our Mexico locations for Summer 2021.

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.

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. In mid-November, Mexico saw the biggest surge in cases ever and despite increased restrictions, the number of cases and hospitalizations continued to increase. Vaccinations started in Mexico in January, and a downward trend started. We are re-opening in Mexico for the Summer 2021 semester.

The nation is continuing their color-coded system to help manage the reopening of their country. The 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 April 16th, Mexico reports 204.2 active cases per 100,000 people, which is considerably less than the United States (which has 2,090.9 active cases per 100,000 people).

We are mostly watching the virus trends in the Mexican 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 have been “Yellow” (second to lowest risk) for several weeks.

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.

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

Restrictions have been determined by the color level of each state, and as virus cases have gone down, color statuses have changed. Mexico City is now allowing swimming pools and gyms to be open (which have previously been closed) and allowing restaurants to operate outdoors until 10:00 PM.

From April 12th to 25th, most Mexico states are Yellow with a few in  Orange, and eight Green. In “Green” states, all activities are allowed. It’s important to keep in mind that masks and social distancing are still required. In April, Mexico closed Chichen Itza for a short time due to tourists not abiding by local restrictions and regulations.

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 currently have some restrictions, like reduced schedules and requiring all passengers wear a mask while riding. There may be some itinerary restrictions based on states that are “Orange”.

That’s great news for locals and travelers looking to experience all the best parts of Mexico.

Mexico volunteers generally do not travel out of country because there is so much to see and do there! You may be able 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 this 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. A lot 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!