Disclaimer: Please consider that the information in this blog was correct at the time of writing. In the brave new world of coronavirus, restrictions and regulations can change in a nanosecond and what was true a day ago may not be true right now. Also remember that just because you may not have to quarantine in some of the countries mentioned on the list, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be subject to quarantine or PCR tests in your home country.
I encourage you to double-check information from the following sources:
Official tourist boards and government websites of the country you are travelling to
The gov.uk website followed by the country name. Even if you’re not from the UK, the website provides the latest, up-to-date advice about entry restrictions in different countries.
Your own government may be publishing similar information
It is also worth checking websites like restrictions.info and covidcontrols.co which can also provide additional information and the latest updates.
Be sure to check this against official government websites and tourism boards of the countries you are visiting
Be wary of getting all your info from Facebook travel groups – sometimes I see inaccurate or fear-mongering information coming from some members.
Turkey is a stunning country. I spent six weeks there in September of this year and it was easily one of the best adventures I’ve had so far. No coronavirus test, entry restrictions or quarantine requirements were in place.
Despite spending so much time there, it was still not enough to really take in the beauty and depth of the country. One of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Turkey is Cappadocia. Cappadocia is famous for its fairy chimneys, open air museums, and memorable hot air balloon rides.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what fairy chimneys and open air museums are. The Cappadocian fairy chimneys are the cone shaped rock formations that dominate the landscape in the region. Many of these conical structures had caves and ancient churches carved into them 60 million years ago. The caves themselves were created by the erosion of soft layers of lava and ash from Mount Erciyes (Argeus), Mount Hasan and Mount Güllü, while human settlement in the region stretches back to the paleolithic era.
There are so many legends and folklore surrounding the fairy chimneys and one of the most prominent ones is that the caves were once inhabited by fairies – hence the name.
Cappadocia is also famous for the Goreme Open Air Museum, which has been a member of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984. This monastic complex is a rock settlement area located 2 km east of Göreme town. It is one of the top attractions in the region and is composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, with a church at the centre of all of them.
But Cappadocia isn’t the only gorgeous place to visit in Turkey. Other gems include Olympos, Ephesus, Fethiye, Kabak, Pamukkale and of course the magnificent Istanbul.
And those are just the places I’ve been to. The truth is, Turkey is full of precious coastal towns and gorgeous cities, so you can’t go far wrong wherever you end up.
At the time of writing, no Covid test was required to enter Turkey. Health screening is in place, which includes temperature checks. Anyone displaying symptoms of Covid-19, may be asked to take a Covid test.
Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, located slightly south of the equator. It is a nature-lovers paradise, with an overwhelming variety of natural landscapes, from the Serengeti, to the enigmatic Kilimanjaro and the spice islands of Zanzibar.
The first thing I noticed throughout my journey in Tanzania was how green it was. You can’t go anywhere in the country without bearing witness to the palm trees, coconut trees, spice farms and banana trees that line the roads and dot the landscape.
Most people come to Tanzania to climb the snow capped peaks of Kilimanjaro or to rest in the mystical atoll of Zanzibar.
Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single, free-standing mountain in the world. Climbers are rewarded with views of the lush rainforest, the rare flora species of Dendrosenecio and Kilimanjaro’s 10,000 year old shrinking glaciers, which experts predict will disappear completely in the next 50-70 years.
But if you don’t fancy clambering a 5,895 metre mountain, then there are plenty of other jaw-dropping activities to keep you busy.
I recommend heading over to Zanzibar – a beach lovers paradise. Whether you want to spend your days basking under the sun, or you want to take a spice tour through the old town, your options are endless.
Paje beach was my favourite haunt in Zanzibar. I spent many of the nights dancing the night away at their full moon parties, walking barefoot along the white sand beaches, swimming or exploring some of the nearby caves and rainforests.
If you fancy a bit of wildlife, you can spend your days snorkelling and visiting the creatures of the sea, take a boat tour in any of the islands that make up Zanzibar, or take a hike through some of the local wildlife parks.
And in the unlikely event you get bored of all that, then why not head over to one of the many savannahs and game reserves where you can bear witness to the annual wildlife migrations, or spot one of the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo.).
Some of the most famous places to spot wildlife in the country include the Selous Game Reserve, Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park and the vast plains of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to name but a few.
Serengeti and Ngorongoro are the most popular tour destinations because they contain the highest and most diverse concentration of wildlife. In these parks, you’re more likely to spot one or more of the Big 5, although this does also mean that you’ll come across quite a few other tourist vehicles all vying to see the same sights.
Ngorongoro in particular is breathtakingly beautiful with misty rainforests, red sand roads and spectacular views of the crater lake.
Tanzania currently requires no Covid tests or quarantine to enter, although temperature screening is in place. This only applies to those who travel by area. Curiously, some international travellers who arrive via one of the land borders in Tanzania have been asked to produce a Covid-19 negative test. So while you shouldn’t need a test to enter via airplane, be sure to double check what the requirements are when arriving by car, bus, etc.
Costa Rica has recently removed the requirement to have a Covid-19 test before entering the country, giving visitors the chance to enjoy its magnificent landscapes.
This rugged, rainforested Central American country is known for its picture-perfect beaches, misty volcanic peaks, and mighty waterfalls.
It is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet, boasting nearly six per cent of the world’s biodiversity, ecosystems and wildlife species.
Costa Rica is blessed with two different coastlines, namely, the Pacific coast and the Caribbean coast.
You’ll have a fabulous time wherever you go in Costa Rica, but which coast you’ll choose to visit, depends on how much money or time you have available and what sort of adventure you’d like to have.
While both coasts have something to offer, they are not the same in terms of adventure, activities, and even weather. Most travel blogs will advise you to go to either one or the other, depending on the writer’s preferences.
In this blog, I take a different approach and list some of the unique features of each to help you make up your own mind.
While this region is blessed with plenty of white sand beaches and rainforests, it is a little less developed than its Pacific neighbour.
However, it has a wild, raw beauty that has been influenced by indigenous peoples and West Indian immigrants.
In this region, you can see the nesting turtles of the tropical rainforest of Tortuguero, raft the Río Pacuare or dive the reefs off Manzanillo.
It is also home to the coastal towns of Limon, the gold sand beaches of Puerto Viejo, the coral reefs of Cahuita National Park and of course, the abundant supply of flavourful Caribbean restaurants and Afro-Caribbean cultural festivals.
While many of the hotels you’ll find in this area may not be as flashy and well built as the ones you’ll find on the Pacific Coast, the unique cultural influences of the Caribbean makes this region well worth a visit.
It is also worth noting that the entire Caribbean Coast is less-frequented than the Pacific Coast, making it ideal for the kind of off-grid adventures that intrepid backpackers dream about.
The truth is that regardless of which coast you land on, Costa Rica is a paradise for nature-lovers, hikers, beach loungers, city dwellers and scuba divers alike.
If having all of the creature comforts is important to you, then the Pacific coast is probably your best option.
Here you’ll find a wide range of accommodations, with everything from rainforest treehouses, private vacation rentals, rustic coastal lodges and everything in between.
The main regions in the Pacific coast include: the province of Guanacaste, Nicoya Peninsula, Central Pacific, South Pacific and the Osa Peninsula.
These regions are as diverse as they are spectacular. For example, the Central Region is flanked by about a dozen small mountain ranges, wildlife refuges, waterfalls and beaches, while the Osa Peninsula is a premier rainforest destination. Most of these destinations are also great for snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing and fishing.
On the Pacific Coast you’ll find a greater number of hotels with mod cons such as swimming pools, fully functioning WiFi, air con and full service staff.
If I were to touch the surface of the hidden and not-so-hidden gems you can find in this region, then this article would be 100 pages long. Just know that you’ll have an unforgettable adventure wherever you go.
No PCR test or quarantine is required but travellers will need to fill out a digital HEALTH PASS form and purchase insurance covering their accommodations in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19 illness.
Most insurance companies now include cover for Covid 19 but check that your insurance company will cover you for the destination you are travelling to. Some insurance companies will even cover you for destinations that the government advises you against going. But be sure to check this with your provider first.
Brazil is the birthplace of adventures. Whether you intend to go canoeing through the Amazon rainforest, kayak along the thundering waterfalls of the Iguazu falls, clamber up the Pico de Neblina, or pass out on the beaches of Santos Beach and Praia de Rosa, the country has it all.
It is the fifth largest country in the world that occupies half of the landmass of South America. It encompasses a wide range of tropical and subtropical landscapes, including wetlands, savannas, plateaus, and low mountains. It is also home to most of the Amazon River basin, which has the world’s largest river system and the most-extensive virgin rainforest.
Here you can take full advantage of powdery white-sand beaches, verdant rainforests, and otherworldly landscapes of cascading waterfalls and legendary rock formations.
São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte are the 3 largest cities and also the most heavily populated parts of Brazil. All are worth visiting, but the city that really takes the spotlight is Rio, a seaside city in Brazil famed for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Sugarloaf mountain and its iconic 38 metre Christ the Redeemer statue.
The central region of Brazil is home to the largest wetlands in the world, lush tropical coastlines and an enormous plateau of savanna and rock escarpments that dominate the landscape.
Entry to Brazil by non-resident foreign nationals by air is permitted. However, there are restrictions on non-resident foreign nationals entering by land or sea. No PCR test or mask is required.
Covid-19 has drastically changed the nature of travel in little under a year. The world has gone from being the most open it’s ever been, to being the most closed it has ever been as panicked governments close their borders and put severe limitations on their entry requirements.
When you combine that with the ongoing lockdowns and social distancing policies, you could be forgiven for thinking that travel is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
But that’s not the case. At least for the moment, there are still a small handful of countries that you can visit without too many limitations.
The caveat is that this could all change at a moment’s notice. And while none of the above destinations currently require PCR tests, or quarantines, this may not apply to your local airlines or government. So be sure to check your local guidelines also.
But if you do make it to one of these magnificent destinations, then you will be richly rewarded with the breathtaking natural wonders, white sand beaches, azure oceans and iconic cultural landmarks that all of these countries offer.
And the fact that you won’t have to worry about getting an expensive PCR test or fritter away half of your holiday in some dingy quarantine camp on top of any local restrictions from your own country, is an added bonus.