South America Travel Restrictions – Reopenings by Country

by Miles Jackson

Reopenings – South America Travel Restrictions by Country

The world is slowly reopening to international travel. Nearly all travel was abruptly put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic early this year. It has been a protracted process in getting borders reopened. Air travel has had thousands of daily flights cancellations in the past recent months. Now we are seeing signs of reopenings and lifting of some restrictions around the globe. In some countries, South America travel restrictions have allowed reopening or offered projected target dates for welcoming visitors.

We are providing a series on global reopenings from the COVID-19 pandemic. South America Coronavirus Travel Restrictions is our fifth  installment in our series of reopenings, country by country (or state by state.) Here are our current offerings in the series:

PointMe’s Juicy Miles booking site is getting a lot of interest and flight requests for destinations in South America. That’s no surprise as it’s full of popular destinations for many travelers. A lot of our business clients enjoy the fact that the time zone differences are minimal with the United States.

Studies have shown that post Coronavirus travel is ready to take-off with a lot of pent-up demand for leisure and business travelers. Before going, travelers should know the latest South America travel restrictions for Coronavirus by country.

Countries around the world around mid-March quickly adopted sweeping measures, including full lockdowns, shutting down airports, imposing travel restrictions and completely sealing their borders, to contain the new coronavirus. Now, those measures are unwinding slowly. Unfortunately, many of the South America nations are struggling to control the COVID-19 virus within their borders. In fact, Brazil has the third most reported cases of COVID-19, and will likely soon overtake India for second place. This spells bad news for travelers seeking to visit most of these destinations. However, as we will see, there are a few opportunities for travelers looking for a South America destination.

Currently only one thing is clear: that nothing is clear and the situation must be reassessed daily.  We are keeping information updated, so check back for the latest South America (and global) travel restrictions related to Coronavirus as they are revised.

Before going make sure to take a good mask, plus sanitizer and sanitizing wipes everywhere with you.

In addition, check out these six great travel headphones.

And Google Flights will always help you get the best deals on airfare.

South America Travel Restrictions for Coronavirus by Country


Argentina has a ban enforced for most foreign travelers until at least September 20. Exceptions are made for Argentine nationals and residents, humanitarian, medical and repatriation flights.

Specifically, Argentina suspended commercial international flights from the pandemic “affected areas” (China, Europe, Iran, Japan, South Korea and the United States) in mid-March. That order is still in effect until further notice.

For those travelers permitted to enter Argentina they are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

When travel resumes, as the eighth largest country in the world, Argentina has a lot to offer visitors. Some of its best features are a vibrant city and the night life of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires has a well-developed subway and bus system, so getting around is easy. Argentina features a rich wine region known as Mendoza. Mendoza boasts the fifth largest wine producing region globally. For those seeking true nature’s beauty and adventure, Patagonia offers it all!

Where to Stay:

Buenos Aires: As a Hyatt Globalist for many years, I love the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt. My other top picks are Hilton Buenos Aires (currently offering rates as low as $130/night,) plus the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center  (offering nights for $100) and the Claridge Hotel (rooms as low as $108/night.)

Learn How to Get 100K Bonvoy Points.

Mendoza: If you want to experience Argentina’s wine country, consider the Sheraton Mendoza Hotel which is located in the heart of Mendoza.

Patagonia Reopenings South America Travel Restrictions Banner

Breath-taking Patagonia

Patagonia: An area encompassing the southernmost tip of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The Andes Mountains acts as a dividing line.  For a truly world-class experience in this remote region, try the Huinid Bustillo Hotel & Spa, located in an Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. (Rooms now on sale as low as $90/night.)

Patagonia - Huinid Bustillo Hotel Spa

Patagonia’s Huinid Bustillo Hotel Spa

We expect travel restrictions to be eased as early as late September. For more information on the latest restrictions to Argentina, check here.

RELATED POST: Is the Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Still The City’s Top Hotel?


Persons traveling to Bolivia must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within 7 days before arrival. The result must be certified by a Bolivian consulate. Arriving persons unable to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result are subject to a mandatory quarantine. For all persons, facemasks must be worn in public places while observing social distancing measures at all times.

The government of Bolivia has extended their national quarantine measures through September 30, 2020. We expect an easing of these restrictions as early as October.

For more information travelers can check here.

Where to Stay: 

Marriott Santa Cruz de la Sierra Hotel ($148/night) This Marriott 5-star resort is one of the top picks in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Outdoor swimming pool, bar and restaurant are on-site. The hotel also offers a business center and free Wi-Fi for guests.

Hotel Camino Real ($93/night) Currently offering a rates about 30% off. Includes a great breakfast. Located in an elegant district and set within an extensive lagoon pool, Camino Real Hotel is 6.2 miles from Santa Cruz de la Sierra’s city center. The property features a spa with sauna, hot tub and massage facilities.

Hotel Cortez ($85/night) This great choice property is also offering room rates at 30% off. The hotel offers a full buffet American breakfast daily featuring a huge assortment and local tropical fruits.

Buganvillas Hotel Suites & Spa ($51/night) Offers an amazing value and a great swimming pool. A great daily breakfast for two can be had for about $9 per room, per night!

Cosmopolitano Hotel Boutique ($53/night) includes a superb breakfast. Located in the heart of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Toborochi Suites ($37/night) A popular top-pick in the city for those on a budget. The Toborochi Suites feature a fantastic outdoor pool, a sauna and a fitness center. Free Wi-Fi access and complimentary breakfast are included.


Hilton Copacabana Rio de Janeiro

Hilton Copacabana Rio de Janeiro (Image: Hilton)

Brazil has lifted its coronavirus-related entry regulations and now allows the entry of foreign nationals traveling by air. The entry of foreign travelers staying for up to 90 days is currently permitted.

The Brazilian government recommends those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to self-quarantine for 15 days.

Travelers are allowed to freely transit as long as they do not leave the international airport area and have a ticket for onward travel.

A few airports still maintain restrictions in in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraiba, Rondonia, Rio Grande do Sul and Tocantins. All arriving passengers are subject to normal entry requirements. As a precaution, Brazil requires foreign nationals staying for up to 90 days to submit proof of medical insurance coverage for the duration of their stay. An exception to this insurance requirement is students attending Brazilian institutions.

Most travelers from the United States arrive into Brazil through either the Rio de Janeiro (GIG) or Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) airports.

Where to Stay:

Rio de Janeiro: If you really enjoy the beach and some fantastic views, try the Hilton Copacabana Rio de Janeiro, situated on the iconic Copacabana beach.  Rates were recently as low as $91. If you like Hyatt, I suggest the Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro, which is also beachfront. It had rooms as low as $93/night.


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Sao Paulo: For the Hilton chain, try Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi. It’s always a top-ranked property in the city. Rates are bit higher than you’ll find in Rio, but can be had for as low as $160/night. For an almost equally luxurious experience in Sao Paulo, I suggest the Hotel Transamerica São Paulo (rooms can be had for about $100/night, including a superb breakfast for two!)

Although not an oceanside city, the beaches are easily reached from Sao Paulo at the nearby towns of Guarujá, Santos and Praia Grande.


Chile has reopened its airport, non-resident foreigners will be allowed to enter Chile through the Santiago Airport (SCL.) Travelers must have a valid medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, completed a sanitary passport and a proof of health insurance policy.

Foreign travelers wishing to visit must comply with the following:

Aall travelers (of all ages) will have to present three documents when boarding:
•A completed “Affidavit of Travelers” electronic form (available here and also known as a Sanitary Passport) prepared less than 48 hours before boarding;
•Proof of a negative result from a PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to departure; and
•Proof of a health insurance policy that provides coverage for COVID-19 and related health issues during the traveler’s stay in Chile.

Chile offers a great destination choice. It also shares Patagonia with Argentina and offers a vibrant metropolitan capital city of Santiago. The farther south you go, you are exposed to dramatic landscapes and even glaciers.

There are several top-quality major chain brands to be found in Santiago, Chile’s capital city and home to their international airport. Of these major brands, the Santiago Marriott and the Crowne Plaza Santiago are offering the best current nightly rates ($125 and $145, respectively.)

Other options include:

Hyatt Centric Las Condes Santiago (~$190/night)

Mandarin Oriental, Santiago (~$225/night)

Renaissance Santiago Hotel (~$147/night)

Sheraton Santiago Hotel & Convention Center (~$160/night)

The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago (~$190/night)

W Santiago (~$200/night)

For more information on COVID-19 travel restrictions to Chile, check here


Colombia has resumed international commercial flights and no longer requires a negative PCR test result to travelers entering its borders by air.

Travelers must fill out the Check-Mig form and must comply with follow-up health checks via CoronAPP mobile app.


International visitors are now welcome in Ecuador.

Entry requirements

Travelers must present a completed Health Form and a completed Immigration form as well as a negative PCR test for COVID-19 issued within 10 days before arrival. Travelers without a qualifying test result will be tested upon arrival.

Arriving travelers with a valid test certificate no longer need to enter quarantine unless they present symptoms of coronavirus. Those without one will be tested and sent to quarantine while awaiting results and until receiving a negative testing result.

Special ‘travel corridors’ exist for tourists visiting the Galapagos.

More information is available here.

The most visited sight in Quito is the “Middle of the World” or Mitad del Mundo monument. It is the point which marks the equator. An entire tourist village has built up around the monument. It also boasts a museum, planetarium, ancestral village, and many restaurants. Not to miss! The cost to enter is $5.00.

Hotel Patio Andaluz, Quito Ecuador Old Town

Hotel Patio Andaluz, Quito, Ecuador (Image: Hotel Patio Andaluz)

Quito has a historic Old Town which is easily walked and very pedestrian-friendly. If you decide to stay near this area (Centro Historico) I recommend the Hotel Patio Andaluz (~$100USD/night) for an authentic and pampered experience. It’s a great boutique hotel, designated as an official Ecuadorian National Treasure, located in the heart of the district!

Where to Stay:

Some other great choices in Quito:

Hilton Colon Quito Hotel ($81/night)

JW Marriott Hotel Quito Comes with a fabulous breakfast! ($99/night)

If you are on a Mileage Run, or prefer to stay near the airport, the Wyndham Quito Airport is your best bet.

For those seeking to visit the Galapagos, Ecuador has set up special ‘travel corridors’ for tourists wishing to visit the islands. Foreigners wishing to visit the islands are required to present a negative PCR test for COVID-19. This must have been taken within 96 hours prior to the date of departure to Ecuador. Upon arriving, travelers wishing to go onward to the Galapagos will be required to take another PCR test, at their own expense. Visitors will also have to present a return flight ticket and a safe passage document (‘salvoconducto’) issued by the Ecuador Ministry of Tourism to be exempted from 14 days of self-isolation upon arrival in the islands. Tour and hotel operators on the islands should be able to assist visitors with these documentary requirements.

Check out these accommodations in the Galapagos

A completed Galapagos Transit Control Card must be filed online at least 24 hours before the flight.

Travel health insurance is required for all visiting travelers to Ecuador.

More information can be found here.

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

The Falkland Islands have restricted entry to all international visitors. Although the Falkland Islands have not had a positive test result of COVID-19 in more than 135 days, the government is very reluctant to open up their borders. The government will take up the issue in October whether to keep travel restrictions should continue past December 31, 2020.

Commercial air carrier LATAM plans to keep its Punta Arenas-Santiago route suspended until January 2, 2021. In addition, their Sao Paolo route is suspended through the end of September 2020. Both situations will be reviewed as these dates draw near.

More information can be found here

French Guiana

French Guiana is restricting the entry of most travelers until further notice.

The government has extended its state of emergency through October 30th. The nation also has a curfew imposed from 10pm through 5am (Monday to Friday.) In addition, a weekend curfew from 10pm Saturday until 5am Monday is mandated.

More information is available at the government’s website


Guyana’s borders are currently closed to most international travelers.

At the end of August, the government’s Ministry of Health of Guyana announced an extension of COVID-19 Emergency measures through September 30th.

As a part of these emergency measures, facial masks must be worn in all public spaces. Businesses, such as banks, fuel stations, grocery stores and similar operations are allowed to remain open only between 6am and 5pm each day.

Full details of these measures can be found here

More information is available at the Guyana Ministry of Health


Paraguay, closing its borders, has restricted international commercial flights into the country until further notice.

Paraguay’s government has ordered a daily curfew  from 8pm until 5am. Non-essential businesses are limited to operating between 10am until 7pm. A few essential businesses are exempted (essential services, emergency services and some restaurants) from the mandated curfew.

More information may be found at the Paraguayan Ministry of Health


Cliffs Overlooking Pacific Ocean Lima Peru

Lima, Peru

The president of Peru extended the country’s state of emergency for an additional 30 days, lasting now through September 30, 2020. Peru’s President Martín Vizcarra signed a supreme decree expanding the current quarantine measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

As a part of these measures, Peru continues to restrict entry to the country for international travelers.

The country currently has a curfew in place. A daily mandatory curfew exists from 10pm until 4am Monday to Saturday. The government has ordered an all-day quarantine on Sundays in many areas.

The Government of Peru maintains a site with more information


Suriname’s airports remain closed to international arriving visitors. The country is slow to release information on their efforts. As such, there is no news on when these travel restrictions might be lifted.

The nation maintains a website, COVID Suriname, but the management of the situation recently changed hands after this summer’s election.


Uruguayan borders are currently closed and international flights are limited to repatriation and humanitarian aid.

Essential services within Uruguay are open and mostly operating normally.  Even public transportation and hospitals are functioning at their normal capacities.  Even schools are conducting in-person classes; at least on a part-time basis.  Although not required by law, facial masks are strongly encouraged to be worn in public spaces. They are mandated for health professionals.

More information can be found at the Uruguay Minister of Health website


Venezuela has suspended all international travel until at least August 12.

That’s probably good news for many since Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has referred to those infected with COVID-19 as ‘bioterrorists.’ The military is encouraging Venezuelans report their neighbors and returning workers infected citing these people are “a bioterrorist who puts everyone’s health at risk.”

In this case, Venezuela is not at the top of my travel bucket-list.

How to Get to South America

A few airlines are providing service between North America and South America. SkyTeam partners Aeromexico and LATAM first come to mind, but there are many others. American is slowly expanding their routes as restrictions ease up.

Juicy Miles’ travel professionals can help you book award travel using your points or miles. They can also craft a personally designed Mileage Run for you around the program of your choice. With lots of potential destinations this year, deals may be the best offered in a decade.

South America Travel Restrictions – Final Thoughts

ReOpenings South America Travel Restrictions Coronavirus Countries Final Thoughts

South America is certainly get hit hard by the Coronavirus. The numbers are staggering for some of these nations. Many of these countries do not have the resources and infrastructure to address the pandemic as many more developed nations might.

Still, there are a few pockets where travel is allowed. Many South American countries seem to be taking the stance to simply close out their borders through the end of 2020. Self-isolation will prove who handles the Coronavirus well ‘on their own’ since further transmission cannot be blamed on foreign travelers. Hopefully these South America travel restrictions will lead to improved accessibility sooner, rather than later.

I have enjoyed my trips to Argentina, Chile and Peru. It’s unfortunate that these three nations are currently closed. Chile and Peru especially made great Mileage Run trips from North America.  But right now, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador (plus the Galapagos) are very doable.

If you know of any restrictions (either easing, lifted or even stricter) please let me know.

Spanish and Portuguese are the most widely spoken languages other than English in these countries.

As pointed out in most of these South America Coronavirus travel restrictions by country, travelers should visit government websites for updated information and more details.

Let me know, if you have any questions or need help with booking a vacation in the South America. I have extensive travel experience in this part of the world. Just a small reminder, I am also a travel agent.

So, are you ready to take a trip Deep South of the Border?

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