Recently reading through the various Facebook groups I noticed that there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding traveling into and out of Canada. Many Canadians are wanting to come to take care of business or tend to their homes here in PV, but don't know the current state of travel restrictions, or what it would even be like.
My friend and Colleague Martin Louw, from Coldwell Banker La Costa Real Estate here in Puerto Vallarta recently needed to travel to Canada for business, I had a chance to interview him and ask a few questions about his experience.
PVTourist: Martin, thanks for taking a few minutes to describe you air travel experience, I understand you recently travelled back and forth between Puerto Vallarta and Canada, can you tell us when you went and where in Canada did you fly to?
Martin: I left PV on the 6 June for a Flight to Vancouver BC.
PVTourist: Did you need to have any specific reason for traveling into Canada, to see family for example?
Martin: Actually no, Canadians are always welcome to come home, no questions or reasons need to be given. However, yo protect Canadians from the outbreak of COVID-19, the Prime Minister has implemented travel restrictions that limit travel to Canada. Until further notice, most foreign nationals cannot travel to Canada, even if they have a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization.
PVTourist: I take it you had to stop in the USA first?
Martin: Yes, I had an overnight in Dallas.
PVTourist: Did the authorities in PV ask you any specific questions or did you have to follow any special procedures?
Martin: The Airport in PV was a Breeze as always. They did take my temperature and asked me some questions about my health, but it was quick.
PVTourist: What was the flight like, busy? I assume everyone wore masks.
Martin: From the time I entered the airport, everyone was wearing their masks and social distancing was a priority. The flight was under half capacity and passengers where spaced accordingly. The flight itself was short. Very comfortable. AA was great! No food or beverages served in economy, but business and first class are same as they used to be; full service.
PVTourist: When you got to Dallas, were there any special procedures, did you have a layover?
Martin: I was a bit concerned about laying over in Dallas, especially with my spouse and large cat in tow. We reserved an airport hotel with free transfers to and from the airport that was pet friendly. Every aspect of the stopover in Dallas was nice. We had dinner at the YardHouse which was close by. Everyone was wearing masks, but sadly there was a curfew of 9pm due to the riots. The next morning, we had a wake-up call, and an airport shuttle scheduled. Everything was very easy; airport was not too busy at all. When we arrived in Vancouver, we were issued with a 14-day mandatory quarantine order and we had to give a plan of quarantine. Although we still had to travel 200kms and 2 ferries to get to our destination.
PVTourist: Tell us a little bit about what it is like in Canada right now, are restaurants and businesses open?
Martin: I travelled to a secluded area in British Columbia called the Sunshine Coast where I have spent a decade before arriving in PV. We stayed in Powell River. Besides wearing a mandatory mask at Walmart, there was nobody wearing a mask. The town seemed unfazed by the pandemic. This is a popular spot in the summer months and many tourists arrived daily, the ferry boats had delays almost every day. People were enjoying the great outdoors. It even seemed seemed busier than previous years. Most Bars in town where closed and only specific restaurants where open and many only for Take away. Hundreds of camp sites have been full all summer along the lakes and oceanfront campgrounds in Powell River.
PVTourist: Let’s hear about your return flights, any complications or special procedures on your way out of Canada?
Martin: This was a little different. There is passport control for the USA in Vancouver Airport, so essentially you travel to USA before you fly. USA border customs and immigration where easy. It was quiet so I asked the USA immigration a few questions about current times. We spoke for a good 15 mins. It has been quiet for Canadian travelers. I think most people think the borders are closed when its only land borders that are closed. They asked the normal questions. The border is open to essential and non-essential travel. If you choose to go on vacation, it's entirely up to you. I arrived in Dallas and took the same Airport Shuttle to the same hotel as it was easy and very affordable.
PVTourist: Upon leaving the US to catch your flight into Mexico, any special procedures?
Martin: This was one aspect of the trip that was new. When I arrived at the Dallas Airport to catch my flight to Mexico, I checked my bags and they issued me with a boarding pass. I proceeded to security where they first take a picture of you using a biometric machine and collects facial recognition, temp etc. I was told I no longer need to produce my ID or boarding passes and it could be put away, as I will board the plane by facial recognition. I am not sure how I feel about that, but it seemed very seamless.
PVTourist: How was the entry process into Mexico?
Martin: I arrived with 2 flights coming in. You must fill out a form indicating you are healthy and have no symptoms. I used the Mexican Residents line at immigration, where I was welcomed home. Made me feel good.
PVTourist: To be fair, there are many Canadians that are reluctant to go to Mexico because of health care insurance.
Martin: Correct, there are, however; many private insurance companies that offer health care insurance that includes COVID for short term travelers and it's quite reasonable. There is also the issue that Canadians will have to face a mandatory 2-week quarantine upon return, so a long weekend in PV is probably not on the agenda. I think we are talking mostly about the regular snowbirds here.
PVTourist: Thanks for your time in sharing your story, welcome home!
Martin: Not at all, glad to be back.
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