Photo Credit: Courtesy of @brokeandabroadlife
Inside What It’s Like Working Remotely In Mexico After Its Reopening
Our current reality is that travel as we know it will never be the same. Whether it’s 6 months or two years from now, this global pandemic has permanently affected the way we travel.
As a traveler at heart and someone who technically does so for work, I decided to travel to the Quintana Roo area of Mexico after the borders were opened.
Mexico is currently open to American travelers as of July 1. There are no major entry requirements, but many airlines will require a medical form to be done prior to boarding. Hotels also conduct temperature checks upon arrival, and a health questionnaire.
Before I jump into the experience, I would like to preface this by saying that I voluntarily got tested for COVID prior to my trip and I knew that if my results were positive, I would postpone everything. Luckily, my test came back negative.
If you are sick, have the potential to be sick, or honestly don’t know, please do not travel.
Flying from Charlotte to Cancun
The scariest part, which was assumed prior to going, was flying. As someone based in Charlotte, my main carrier is American Airlines. I was up-to-date on their latest flying policies and knew that there was a chance that the flight would be booked to capacity. The airline sent constant notifications and alerts letting me know that the flight would be pretty full, and reminded me that I had the option to change my flight.
Each passenger was mandated to wear a face covering for the duration of the flight, and thankfully everyone complied. I traveled with my own Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer and thoroughly cleaned my seat and most of my row. The airline also provided snack bags with a bottle of water and sanitizing gel.
The flight was completely full, but again, this was expected based on the airline announcing they would end their social distancing measures a few weeks before my scheduled trip.
Arriving in Cancun
Once I arrived in Cancun, things were pretty smooth. Everyone in the airport, especially staff, had on face coverings or shields. You could also see people constantly cleaning and sanitizing touchpoint areas throughout the airport.
The only checks that are done when you arrive are temperature scans, which were done by a thermal camera. You are also required to keep your mask on while in the airport as well.
Hotels and tourist areas in Quintana Roo
You are encouraged to download the resort’s app prior to arrival, as it allows you to request things for your room as well as order food and stock your minibar without having to make contact with anyone.
At check-in, a bellboy disinfects your luggage and you are asked to step on a disinfectant mat to clean your shoes. A person was also waiting at the door with hand sanitizer. Every staff person that I saw or encountered, including landscapers, was wearing a mask or face shield.
In your room, there is a small package containing extra masks and antibacterial cleaning wipes for your convenience. As of now, hotels in the state of Quintana Roo (this includes Tulum, Cancun, Riviera Maya, and Playa del Carmen) are only allowed to book at 30% capacity. Hotels must also pass a SAFE cleaning protocol implemented by the government which is a list of cleaning and safety measures that they must adhere to in order to remain open. It is not required that people staying on the property wear masks while at the resort, but all staff members are.
I spent most of my stay working my “9-5” from the comfort of my room balcony and barely had any contact with the few people staying at the resort. I had an amazing ocean view and was able to order food when needed from my personal device. The wifi was pretty fast and I never had connectivity issues. The balcony had outlets so I was able to work without a hitch.
After work, I did venture to try the restaurants on the property for dinner. I was able to make reservations prior to arriving and I was seated away from other parties at the recommended distance of 6-feet or more.
Many of the hotel’s excursions were not available due to safety guidelines. But, I was okay with that seeing as though I would be working for most of my stay.
In the second half of my trip, I was able to try out the Hard Rock Riviera Maya. This is a family-friendly resort just down the road from Unico and there were mostly only families there. Similar to UNICO 20˚87˚, when I arrived a bellboy cleaned and disinfected my luggage and someone met me with hand sanitizer as soon as I stepped out of the taxi.
There was a thermal temperature scanner set up at the door as well as mats to disinfect your shoes.
I was escorted to my room, however, at this particular resort, the staff was unable to enter your room for any reason once you were checked in. There was a seal on the door letting you know that the room had been sanitized. If you needed anything for your room, you had to meet the staff person at the door and physically take the items off of a cart or tray yourself.
For room service and even in resort restaurants, there were QR codes that you could scan with your phone. The menu would instantly pop up on your phone so that you wouldn’t need a physical menu when ordering.
I was able to catch the room sanitizing process in person, and there is a person in a hazmat suit who goes into the room with a spray machine which I assume contained some type of disinfectant. Your towels and washcloths were sealed in plastic wrap as well.
I personally went through and sprayed down sheets and touch areas with my personal can of Lysol spray as well.
Since I was staying over the weekend, I was able to do a little exploring without having to worry about work during the day. I headed to downtown Tulum for a bit since it was one place I had never really seen.
I mostly walked around looking for murals and street art and had lunch at a little taco spot. Sanitizer was provided and there was signage in English and Spanish on social distancing measures. Most restaurants in the area are open-air so you are not closed in at all.
Locals all wore masks, but of course most tourists did not.
On my second free day, I decided to visit one of the cenotes in the Riviera Maya area. A cenote is a natural pool that is formed when the roof of an underground cavern collapses.
There weren’t many sanitizing rules once at the cenote but it was very easy to keep your distance from other people not in your party since the pools are spaced out.
At Hard Rock, all resort activities were moved to outdoor spaces and chairs were set up to allow families to distance from others they did not know. In the restaurants, you were greeted with hand sanitizer as well as the sanitizing mats for shoes. Parties and families were spaced out pretty good as well.
Overall, I would say that I enjoyed the change of scenery while working remotely for a few days. I appreciated the cleaning and safety measures that were taken by the resorts and everyone in Mexico as a whole.
Again, if you are sick, experiencing symptoms, or do not know if you could be positive, please do not travel and put others at risk. I know you may miss traveling and it seems like this pandemic will never end, but one day it will.