Last updated January 14, 2021
Today’s Status, Looking Towards Spring 2021 — Green
After a successful Fall 2020 semester in this location, we’re very excited to announce that Montenegro is an option for Spring 2021.
Check below to get more details on some key aspects that we’re watching (it’s stuff you’re going to want to know). Also, this info is changing often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.
In early January 2021, Montenegro eliminated the need for a negative Covid-19 test result for incoming travelers.
ILP volunteers don’t need visas for Montenegro, and the former 90-day limit has been temporarily removed.
We get to vacations later, but traveling out of the country may be a little tricky depending on the quarantine and border policies of the countries you may want to vacation to. We’re carefully watching which countries have restrictions for US passport holders, versus countries in Europe who are more concerned with where you have been traveling recently.
Montenegro’s two airports (Podgorica and Tivat) have been open since June 1st for international flights.
Early on in the pandemic, the virus did not impact Montenegro very hard. However, as tourism reopened over the summer, there was an increase in cases. Initially it appeared that they would be in check with restrictions taking place, but currently the numbers are still on the rise. Budva was declared a “red zone” in October, bringing more restrictions, which, along with the tourist season ending, will hopefully bring case numbers back down.
ILP volunteers have been back in Montenegro since September 2020 and are having amazing adventures despite the changes in restrictions. To see some of their experiences, check out the takeover reel on Instagram.
As of January 14th, the number of active cases is currently 1,504.5 per 100,000 people. By comparison, Utah is at 1,725.5 active cases per 100k and the USA as a whole is around 2,754.5 per 100,000.
Schools opened early summer. Although public schools have opened and closed with fluctuations in the number of cases, the school where ILP volunteers teach is a private center that has different regulations than public schools.
So far for the Spring 2021 semester, Kindergarten classes will be continuing outdoors as they were previously. 1st Grade (and higher) will likely remain at the school for classes. There may be a few different teaching options depending on the virus situation and how that develops (like a different teaching location and online teaching in order to stay in compliance with new restrictions).
Beaches, stores, tourist sites are all generally open which means you can soak up the best of what this coastal city has to offer. We’ve heard good things from our volunteers in-country who are visiting Old Town, hanging out at the beach, and enjoying what Budva has to offer. Some tourist-oriented businesses have closed down for the fall and winter, which is typical for the low tourist season.
Out & About
In Budva, there’s a restriction that doesn’t allow visits to residential buildings unless you live there. Private gatherings are also restricted (birthdays, weddings, etc) to those people living in the household. Lingering outside (at parks, on the beaches, etc) is restricted to four adults. Only seated passengers on public transportation are allowed.
There is currently a curfew in place from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM, daily. Grocery stores and other businesses are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
Things are looking good for bus routes and taxis to some of our favorite places in Montenegro. Think about spending weekends and vacation time exploring dozens of beaches, taking mountain hikes to glacial lakes, and photographing ancient monasteries hiding in the cliffside.
Out of country travel is extremely limited now and may not be possible to many places. In a nutshell, in order for you to travel out of the country, that country has to let you in and Montenegro has to let you back. A lot of popular destinations in Europe aren’t allowing US travelers but potentially, volunteers may be able to check out places in south eastern Europe, spots like Serbia, Slovakia, and North Macedonia. That list could shrink or expand, but that’s what things are like now.
Can I still apply for Montenegro?
Absolutely! We currently have volunteers abroad for a Spring 2021 semester, so if you’re considering volunteering Fall 2021, we’d recommend getting a jump on your application ASAP (reminder, we don’t have a summer semester for this location). Or if you’re considering traveling in Spring 2022, now is a great time to start your application for that semester as well.
We are so excited for volunteers to be back in Montenegro!
What is traveling and living in Montenegro like right now?
For Montenegro, things have slowly been opening back up both for domestic and international tourism. We’re seeing similar precautions you’re taking at home (like wearing a mask and social distancing). Just like there is a risk to go out in Utah right now, there will be risks to traveling anywhere, including Montenegro.