Fully Vaccinated Travelers Exempt from Negative Covid19 Test!

Great news for US student groups! As of Monday May 24, 2021, incoming continental US travelers are no longer required to show proof of a negative PRC Covid test upon entering San Juan if they are fully vaccinated. The Governor of Puerto Rico issued a new executive order On May 20th, 2021.

The Governor also lifted the yearlong curfew that was in place since March 2020. Before traveling to the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, travelers must fill out a Travel Declaration Form and present a QR code to exit the airport. Fully vaccinated travelers must upload their FDA-approved vaccination record card on the declaration form.

Those who are not fully vaccinated are required to show proof of a negative PCR Covid test within 72 hours of arrival. This is being strictly enforced. Failure to comply will result in a $300 fine. All travelers are still required to wear masks indoors and in all public spaces. Beaches are fully open. Businesses and restaurants are operating at 50% capacity.

We at Vamonos are excited to welcome student groups to our now fully open friendly island. We urge tour operators to consider offering Puerto Rico to new or previously booked groups not able to travel in 2021 or 2022 to other Latin American or European destinations.

As of May 1st, 2021, Vamonos is operating student groups and expects hundreds of travelers in June 2021. For more information and travel guidelines, visit Puerto Rico’s Department of Health Travel Safe page.

Feel free to contact us should you have any questions about Puerto Rico.


Travel Insurance – A Must in A Covid19 World

Are you planning to travel this year? We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance to protect yourself and your investment. It’s important to have coverage for unforeseen circumstances such as missed or canceled flights, lost luggage, even illness and quarantine. Travel insurance protects you from additional expense and loss. Some countries like Costa Rica even require it for entry now.

Today, travel insurance is more important than ever. With Covid19 not completely behind us yet, there is always the small chance that you might have to quarantine in your destination and/or need medical care.

Our partner, RoamRight, has created an upgrade that covers you if you should need to quarantine and seek medical care while on your trip. Just purchase a Pro Plus Plan and add the Platinum Upgrade and you will be covered for up to $75,000 in medical expenses and $2,000 for quarantine lodging and expenses. If you are traveling to Costa Rica, the Platinum Upgrade will satisfy Costa Rica’s travel insurance requirements for entry.

Insurance is like an umbrella, if you have it, you probably won’t need it, but if you leave home without it, you may wish you had considered it.

 


Martinique Named World’s Top Emerging Destination for 2021

TripAdvisor has just named Martinique the #1 emerging travel destination for 2021 and it was the only Caribbean island to place in the top ten.  Right now, Martinique is only open to members of the EU, but once the vaccine becomes wide spread, you can bet that it will become the top travel hot spot.

We offer a number of itineraries for Martinique. If you are interested in planning a student trip to Martinique, give us a call. We would love to show you around this beautiful island.

Read the full article on the Travel World News website


1.11.21 Update on Covid Restrictions by Destination

Puerto Rico

  • Travelers are permitted from all 50 states
  • Commercial flights are running to and from the US
  • Negative Covid test is required within 72 hours of arrival
  • Passengers are screened upon arrival at the airport
  • Masks must be worn indoors and in all public spaces.
  • Curfews are still in place but now begin at 11 pm.
  • Restrictions are in place for most businesses and bars are still closed.
  • Beaches and recreation areas are now open with 10-foot social distancing requirements and no alcohol is permitted.
  • External tourism has not yet resumed
  • CDC has issued a level 4 travel warning

Costa Rica

  • Permitting travelers from all 50 states
  • Commercial Flights are running to and from the U.S.
  • No Covid test is required
  • Must have travel insurance with at least $50,000 in medical coverage and $2000 in coverage for extended lodging expenses and a certificate from the insurance company as proof.
  • Must fill out the HealthPass certification online
  • Masks must be worn indoors and in all public spaces. No masks with vents allowed.
  • Passengers are screened at the airport
  • CDC has issued a level 4 travel warning and the state department has issued a level 3

Panama

  • Permitting travelers from all 50 states
  • Commercial Flights have resumed to and from the US
  • Negative Covid test is required within 48 hours of departure
  • Passengers are screened at the airport
  • Masks must be worn indoors and in all public spaces
  • Curfews are in effect
  • Travel restrictions exist in some provinces
  • The CDC has issued a level 4 travel warning for Panama and the State Department has issued a level 3 travel warning
  • Gatherings of up to 7 family members are permitted

For more information on travel restrictions within certain provinces and curfew times, please see Panama’s embassy website.

Spain

  • Spain is not open for tourism at this time.
  • The CDC has issued a level 4 travel warning for Covid and the State department has issued a level 3 due to civil unrest in certain areas.

Argentina

  • Only accepting travelers from certain neighboring South American Countries. No US travelers permitted.

Martinique

  • No US visitors are allowed to enter at this time.

Miami

  • There are no travel restrictions for the state of Florida. All businesses, parks, and beaches are open at full capacity. Miami requires masks to be worn in public places and social distancing is in effect

San Antonio

  • Texas currently has no travel or quarantine restrictions for US travelers. Masks must be worn in public places and social distancing is in effect. No groups of larger than 10 are allowed to gather.

Philadelphia

  • Not conducive to group travel at this time. Most restaurants, museums, and other tourist attractions are closed.

Covid Updates By Destination

Puerto Rico

  • Travelers are permitted from all 50 states
  • Commercial flights are running to and from the US
  • Negative Covid test is required within 72 hours of arrival
  • Passengers are screened upon arrival at the airport
  • Masks must be worn indoors and in all public spaces.
  • Curfews are in place
  • Restrictions are in place for most businesses and beaches
  • External tourism has not yet resumed
  • CDC has issued a level 4 travel warning

Costa Rica

  • Permitting travelers from all 50 states
  • Commercial Flights are running to and from the U.S.
  • No Covid test is required
  • Must have travel insurance with at least $50,000 in medical coverage and $2000 in coverage for extended lodging expenses and a certificate from the insurance company as proof.
  • Must fill out the HealthPass certification online
  • Masks must be worn indoors and in all public spaces. No masks with vents allowed.
  • Passengers are screened at the airport
  • CDC has issued a level 4 travel warning and the state department has issued a level 3

Panama

  • Permitting travelers from all 50 states
  • Commercial Flights have resumed to and from the US
  • Negative Covid test is required within 48 hours of departure
  • Passengers are screened at the airport
  • Masks must be worn indoors and in all public spaces
  • Curfews are in effect
  • Travel restrictions exist in some provinces
  • The CDC has issued a level 4 travel warning for Panama and the State Department has issued a level 3 travel warning
  • Gatherings of up to 7 family members are permitted

Spain

  • Spain is not open for tourism at this time.
  • The CDC has issued a level 4 travel warning for Covid and the State department has issued a level 3 due to civil unrest in certain areas.

Argentina

  • Only accepting travelers from certain neighboring South American Countries. No US travelers permitted.

Martinique

  • No US visitors are allowed to enter at this time.

Miami

  • There are no travel restrictions for the state of Florida. All businesses, parks, and beaches are open at full capacity. Miami requires masks to be worn in public places and social distancing is in effect

San Antonio

  • Texas currently has no travel or quarantine restrictions for US travelers. Masks must be worn in public places and social distancing is in effect. No groups of larger than 10 are allowed to gather.

Philadelphia

  • Not conducive to group travel at this time. Most restaurants, museums, and other tourist attractions are closed.

Cancel for Any Reason… Or Not!

Back in early April, all travel insurance companies pulled their cancel for any reason* option from the market as the pandemic was shutting down travel.  Our partner, RoamRight, also pulled their cancel for any reason upgrade as well. You will no longer be able to purchase the cancel for any reason upgrade for the Pro or Pro Plus insurance plans.

Starting in December, they have created a new insurance plan called Cancelflex. This new plan has all the same benefits as the Pro Plus Plan. However, it will reimburse at 60% instead of the old upgrade rate of 75%. The plan must be purchased within 21 days of your enrollment deposit. Cancelflex will not be available to any groups that booked in 2020 and rescheduled and will not be available for any new groups that travel before June 1, 2021. We realize that the 15% decrease in this benefit may be disappointing. Due to these changes, we are actively looking out for the best insurance options for our groups.

RoamRight is also rolling out a new upgrade for those who will be traveling to Costa Rica. Costa Rica has new requirements for travelers that include travel insurance with a medical benefit of $50,000 minimum and at least $2,000 in coverage for lodging in case of quarantine in the country. To assist those travelers that would be traveling to Costa Rica, RoamRight has created a new Platinum Upgrade that can be added to any Pro Plus or Cancelflex insurance plan. Platinum can be added to any traveler’s existing Pro Plus plan as well, regardless of whether you are rescheduling from 2020 or if you are a new group. It is also available for any group traveling before June 1, 2021. If you purchased a Pro Plan, and would like to get the Platinum Upgrade, you will need to cancel your existing Pro Plan and Purchase a Pro Plus Plan with the upgrade. Please contact us for assistance and we would be glad to help you with this.

*Cancel for any reason is an upgrade offered  by most travel insurance companies. When purchased as an upgrade to a travel insurance policy, it gives the traveler the option to cancel their trip, even if their reason for cancellation is not one given as a covered reason in their policy, and still allows for a refund of up to 75% of their trip payments.


The Effects of Global Warming in Panamá

What is Global Warming?

Global warming occurs when the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere increases over time due to increased levels of carbon dioxide, methane and other pollutants.

As the sun radiates its heat on the earth, the earth reflects the heat back into the atmosphere where it gets trapped by the carbon dioxide and other pollutants. This trapping of heat is what raises the planet’s average temperatures over time.

This increase in temperature causes the polar ice caps to melt a little more each year, which in turn makes the oceans more acidic. The ph increase adversely affects ocean life. There are fewer fish in the world’s oceans now than there were just decades ago. The increase in the earth’s temperatures also makes it more difficult to grow crops. Crops need specific conditions to grow including a preferred range of temperature. All of this affects the world’s food supply, but it doesn’t stop there. Global warming also causes climate changes. Areas that were once drier are now seeing an increase in yearly rainfall while other areas are now seeing a decrease. Warmer seasons are lasting longer. Severe weather like massive hurricanes and El Niño/ La Niña are becoming stronger over time.

Effects on The San Blas Islands in Panamá

n the last several years, many detrimental effects have been observed in the idyllic Panamanian San Blas Islands. The ocean levels have been rising at an alarming rate. As the levels rise, more and more of the 365 San Blas Islands, off the northern coast of mainland Panamá, have begun to sink into the ocean. San Blas is home to 2000 members of the Kuna Yala people. They have lived on these islands for centuries, planting banana and coconut trees and fishing in the oceans. Not only are their homes sinking, but their food supply is diminishing. Bananas, coconuts, and other crops are becoming more difficult to grow due to changing weather patterns. Their fishermen are catching fewer and fewer fish because the increasing ph of the ocean is killing many species. Many of the islands’ communities are relocating to other islands or to the mainland. The decision to move an entire community to the main land is not made lightly as it could also affect their traditions and way of life.

Here’s a Vamonos interview with “Mr. Eulogio,” Kuna Yala community leader, on the effects of global warming on his island:

Effects on the Panamá Canal

Global warming isn’t just affecting the Kuna Yala. It is also affecting the main land as well. Changes in the rainy season have meant less water in the Gatún Lake. This body of water supplies fresh water to the homes of more than half the country as well as to the canal locks. When there isn’t enough water to fully supply the locks, the canal authorities have to impose weight restrictions on cargo ships which means that larger ships with heavier cargo are unable to pass through. Fewer ships passing through means less revenue for Panamá. To counter this problem, Panamá has a couple of options, but neither are good. Their first option is to recycle water from one lock by using it in another. However, doing this repeatedly raises the salinity of Gatún lake over time. The second option would be to add water from the ocean to fill the locks when needed. Unfortunately, this too raises the salinity of Gatún Lake. Both of these options would render the water from the lake unusable for the many residents who depend on it.

To read more about global warming and its effects on Panamá, click on the links below.

Effects of Global Warming Climate Change Poses New Threat to Panama Canal Climate Change, COVID-19 Pandemic Threaten Future Of Panama Canal Rising Sea Drives Panama Islanders to Mainland Climate Change in Panama


TSA Response to Covid

In response to Covid, the TSA has made a temporary change to its 3-1-1 rule. They are allowing travelers to carry one oversized liquid hand sanitizer bottle up to 12 ounces through their checkpoint. All other liquids, gels, and aerosols are still subject to TSA regulations. The TSA also recommends that you give yourself extra time to get through the security check. Covid has affected staffing and operations in many airports.

For more information and latest covid related press releases visit: https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus/news



San Bas Panama

Plastic in Our Oceans affects the Caribbean and Panama

At first glance, this picture of a beautiful, serene beach on the San Blas Islands of Panama looks pristine, but in reality, it is hiding a dirty secret, millions of small broken shards of plastic mixed in with its sand.

We live in a disposable plastic world. We eat out of plastic, drink out of plastic and just about everything around us has some plastic in it. It fills our world’s landfills, lakes, streams, and oceans and unlike organic waste, it doesn’t break down. You can’t burn it like paper without releasing toxic fumes into the air. The only way to deal with plastic is to recycle it. Unfortunately, many countries don’t have an effective waste management system and that plastic doesn’t get recycled. It may not even make it to a landfill. Many people often discard their trash improperly because they just don’t see why proper disposal is important. Often it ends up in the ocean where it washes up on the shores of countries like Panama and its neighbors, the San Blas Islands.
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