Border Run: Mexico, the Destination of Choice

in #travel11 days ago

A perk people have long enjoyed about Central America was the ease of travel between Latin American countries. The distances are relatively short, bus routes were plentiful, roads improve regularly, and airfare was cheap. After covid, almost everything changed. In addition to the cancellation of bus routes, border closures, and lack of available flights, new and different entry requirements began to affect ease of movement between countries and even within countries well after the lockdowns ended.

One of the groups most critically affected by these changes has been the perpetual tourists, those people who live full-time in a country but never seek residency, choosing instead to cross an international border every 90 days to "re-set" their tourist visa. This is impossible in most developed nations because traveler movement is tracked with a database, by passport number and digital ID, and different rules apply regarding how long a visitor must remain outside the country before re-entering it. In developing countries, immigration is still monitored mostly by passport stamp. It was possible to cross a border into another Latin American country, receive a fresh outbound stamp on the passport, then turn right around and get "stamped back in." For example, last month I flew to Cancun in the morning, landed before lunch, walked from arrivals to departures at the Cancun airport, and flew right back home in time for dinner.

Before Covid, there were occasional pushes by different governments to control the movement of perpetual tourists, but those measures were halfhearted at best. Even visitors who only stay for an hour inside a country can infuse a lot of cash into the tourism sector. Airlines, taxis, and bus services certainly benefit, and so do vendors who sell their goods near the the borders. But then came the lockdowns, and now travel restrictions and entry requirements have made travel between countries difficult, if not downright impossible. This is especially true for people like me who, for whatever reason, cannot or will not get vaccinated. Previous vaccine reactions that required hospitalization indicate that I should not take a vaccine of any sort, and medical exemptions are not yet a thing here for travelers. Therefore Michel and I have initiated the process of applying for residency to limit our need to cross borders.

It could take up to two months to gather all the required documents for residency in Costa Rica and have them apostilled. Michel and I would both run out the clock on our tourist visas in that interim, so a "re-set" across a border was necessary. Last week, Michel flew to Mexico City for a few days to accomplish this. Mexico remains one of the last holdouts for requiring no vaccine and no PCR test for entry. This means less hassle and expense and allowed Michel to infuse some cash into the pockets of that economy. He stayed for four days, and while it wasn't technically a vacation, he made the best of it. Have a look at the pictures and video footage he brought back! Mexico City is a charming place, and I hope to visit there myself some day.

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Looks like a fun border run! Mexico has such a vibrant culture. Glad he made it there and back again safely, and y'all are good for a few more months.

"It took days for her to forgive me for leaving. Then, it took a few more days for her to forgive me for coming back."

awww..., poor Lollie! Maybe she knows what fun she missed in Mexico City and was pouting! 😂

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
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