Travel

Every Country Open to Vaccinated Travelers-and Why You Should Go

Iceland, Belize, and more are open-so long as you're vaxxed.

Conor Rees/Unsplash
Conor Rees/Unsplash
Conor Rees/Unsplash

Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. As of April 2021, official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk, though safety precautions are still required. Should you need to travel, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC’s latest guidance as well as local requirements/protocols/restrictions for both your destination and home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

After more than a year with little-to-no travel, we can practically hear our suitcases calling out our names, begging us to dust them off and take them on a trip ride. (Soon, sweet suitcases! Soon.) Luckily, with vaccinations going like hotcakes and Covid-19’s grip on the US beginning to wane, we’re starting to see more and more countries open their doors to tourists-so long as they’ve gotten their shots.

You can also head to places like Mexico and the Caribbean so long as you test negative for Covid right before the trip, or quarantine on arrival. But considering we’re all soooooo close to being fully vaxxed, the CDC recommends waiting until you’ve gotten all your necessary shots to book a flight.

For those of you who have received both doses and are looking to travel: Welcome back! Here’s every country open to vaccinated travelers-plus what’s actually open, and why they’re each worth a visit.

Keep in mind that the situation is changing all the time; we’ll keep this updated on the regular, but it’s a good idea to thoroughly research travel restrictions and closures before you hit the road.

 Peter Griffith/Getty Images
Peter Griffith/Getty Images
Peter Griffith/Getty Images

Anguilla   

As of April 22, 2021, all incoming travel to Anguilla is on hold due to a small coronavirus cluster, but here’s what will apply once travel is back.

Who can go? Anguilla’s protocols are hefty-but hey, better safe than sorry. Along with providing proof of vaccination, all travelers must: (a) apply for entry, (b) provide a negative test result before arrival, (c) test again after landing, and (d) quarantine upon arrival. More info here.

What’s open? The island has designated property “bubbles” that visitors can traverse freely. For example, the Meads Bay Bubble gives you access to nine properties, several restaurants, and the span of beach between Frangipani Beach Resort and Carimar Beach Club. Full list of openings here.

Why should I go?  Just 35 square miles and 15,000 people strong, there’s a reason so many celebrities decide to spend their off days here. The quiet island is home to some of the world’s best beaches, bomb Caribbean food, and opportunities to explore caves filled with rock carvings, ancient places of worship, archeological dig sites, and more.

 Frank Fell/robertharding/Getty Images
Frank Fell/robertharding/Getty Images
Frank Fell/robertharding/Getty Images

Barbados   

Who can go? Fully-vaxxed travelers must also test negative for Covid within three days of travel, test again upon arrival, and quarantine until you receive your test result. More info here.

What’s open? Restaurants are open for in-person dining, bars and boats can operate at 50% capacity, and beaches and parks are all open with a 7pm curfew. Go forth and sunbathe.

Why should I go? Everyone should visit Barbados at least once to give thanks to the island for blessing us with Rihanna. Go spelunking in Harrison’s Cave to spot stalagmites and underground waterfalls; stroll by boats and vendors in Bridgetown; and devour mahi-mahi (specifically at Oistins), macaroni pie, conch, black cake, and rum to your heart’s content.

 Douglas Klug/Getty Images
Douglas Klug/Getty Images
Douglas Klug/Getty Images

Belize

Who can go? All travelers are welcome to visit Belize so long as they test negative for Covid within 96 hours of travel. Vaccinated travelers must provide proof indicating a final dose received at least two weeks prior to travel. More info here.

What’s open? Although they can move freely around the island, visitors are encouraged to stick to the Tourism Safe Corridor, where you’ll find Gold Standard hotels, tour operators, and transportation companies. There’s also a 10pm curfew islandwide.

Why should I go? If you’re looking to squeeze as much nature as possible into a trip, Belize can make that happen. The Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest on earth, is home to more than 500 marine life species. When you’re not staring out across the ocean-though it’s hard to tear your gaze away from spectacles like The Great Blue Hole-turn towards the country’s interior, where dense jungles conceal ancient Mayan ruins.

Sergii Gulenok/Unsplash
Sergii Gulenok/Unsplash
Sergii Gulenok/Unsplash

Croatia

Who can go? Americans must complete an entry form and provide either proof of receiving a final dose at least two weeks prior to travel, or proof of recovery from Covid within the past 180 days. More info here.

What’s open? Hotels are open, as are restaurants, cafes, and bars with outdoor seating, all national parks, beaches, and tourist sites like Plitvice and Dubrovnik Old Town. You can’t buy booze past 11pm. Get full deets here.

Why should I go? If you-like about 13 million other people-spent most of the 2010s watching Game of Thrones, you’ll likely recognize Dubrovnik, Croatia’s capital, as King’s Landing. But beyond what is now arguably one of the most iconic old towns in the world, Croatia boasts a wealth of history, Balkan culture, and seaside bliss in towns like Split and Hvar Town. Plus, the country’s national park game goes wild. One look at Plitvice Lakes will have you booking a trip in seconds.

 Ascent/PKS Media Inc./Getty Images
Ascent/PKS Media Inc./Getty Images
Ascent/PKS Media Inc./Getty Images

Cyprus   

Who can go? Starting in May, Cyprus will reopen to vaccinated travelers. You’ll need to fill out a Cyprus Flight Pass and provide proof of full vaccination. More info here.

What’s open? Restaurants with outdoor seating, museums, galleries, and archaeological sites are open, while bars and clubs remain closed. Unfortunately, beaches-arguably one of Cyprus’s main draws-and natural trails are only open for exercise. There’s also an island-wide curfew in effect after 11pm. Find a full list of openings here.

Why should I go? Tucked between Greece and Turkey, Cyprus brings the best of the Mediterranean to one island. Once part of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, Cyprus’s history reaches back as far as 1100 BC, meaning there’s no shortage of ancient sites (like Kourion and Salamis) worth checking out.  Even the gods love it here: Aphrodite’s Rock and Beach is said to be the goddess’s birthplace.

Maridav/Shutterstock
Maridav/Shutterstock
Maridav/Shutterstock

Ecuador   

Who can go? As of March 2021, travelers can enter Ecuador with either proof of vaccination or proof of recovery from Covid-19. To visit the Galapagos, you must have a safe travel document (salvoconducto), as well as a negative test taken within 96 hours prior to travel (even if you are vaccinated). More info here.

What’s open? Restaurants, parks, and other public spaces are open in Quito-but the current coronavirus situation in the capital has left many hospitals overwhelmed. All national parks and reserves are open for business.

Why should I go? About a six-hour flight from New York, Ecuador is an underrated and inexpensive nature escape, and the jumping-off point for the Galapagos Islands. Hit Cotopaxi National Park for glimpses of the (highly active) Cotopaxi volcano, hike the Andes, or visit Papallacta Springs outside of Quito for a geothermal soak. Added bonus: the country uses the dollar.

Mike Swigunski/Unsplash
Mike Swigunski/Unsplash
Mike Swigunski/Unsplash

Republic of Georgia   

Who can go? To visit Georgia, vaccinated travelers will need to provide proof that they’ve received both doses and fill out a travel authorization form. More info here.

What’s open? A 5pm curfew (yes, really) is still in effect, so you’ll have to wake up early to explore. As of April 2021, museums, gyms, theatres, markets, indoor restaurants (and live music in restaurants!) are back in action. Check for more openings here.

Why should I go? Georgia straddles the border between Europe and Asia. Between the Black Sea and the Caucasus mountains, you can go from a beach vacation to a ski break in a matter of hours. It’s one of the oldest wine making countries in the world. The food rocks (have you seen khachapuri!?). And best of all, it’s super inexpensive.

Israel Ferrera/Unsplash
Israel Ferrera/Unsplash
Israel Ferrera/Unsplash

Greece  

Who can go? As of April 19, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers can visit Greece without quarantining, so long as they provide proof that they’ve completed vaccination at least 14 days prior to travel and fill out a Passenger Location Form. More info here.

What’s open? Bars, restaurants, cafes, and many shops are still closed, but to-go options are available (hello, beach picnics!). Outdoor archaeological sites like the Acropolis and the Parthenon have reopened to visitors. A 7pm weekday, 9pm weekend curfew is in effect nationwide.

Why should I go? Once we’ve gotten our shots, we’re not going to walk, but run to Lindsay Lohan’s club in Mykonos. (Just kidding. Kind of.) The birthplace of democracy, a hotbed of ancient history, and-with crystal blue water, idyllic islands, and seaside towns-a trip that’s very easy on the eyes. Go live your best Mamma Mia life.

reisetopia/Unsplash
reisetopia/Unsplash
reisetopia/Unsplash

Guatemala   

Who can go? You’ll need to provide proof of full vaccination completed at least two weeks prior to travel, or proof of recovery from Covid-19 within three months of arrival. You’ll also need to fill out a health pass. More info here.

What’s open? Things are open but not necessarily business as usual. Attractions like Semuc Champey and Tikal are open to visitors. In places like Guatemala City and Antigua, most public spaces-including parks, lakes, beaches, markets, and more-are operating at limited capacity and close between 6-8pm. All food must be taken to-go.

Why should I go? Not only are the cities beautiful-we’re sure you’ve seen Antigua’s Santa Catalina arch framing Volcán de Agua-but across the country, ancient manmade structures and nature blend seamlessly together. Visit the Mayan ruins at Tikal, bask in the waterfalls and limestone structures at Semuc Champey, get a glimpse of paradise at Lake Atitlán, and take a dip in the Caribbean-all in a country that’s about the size of Tennessee.

Koushik Chowdavarapu/Unsplash
Koushik Chowdavarapu/Unsplash
Koushik Chowdavarapu/Unsplash

Iceland 

What should I know first? Travelers must provide proof of full vaccination or proof of recovery from Covid-19. More info here.

What’s open? The Blue Lagoon recently reopened at limited capacity, and business closures, including in Reykjavik, fluctuate. But considering most of Iceland’s most popular attractions are outdoors and HUGE, your trip can pretty much go off without a hitch.

Why should I go? Colossal waterfalls, jet black beaches, and glacier lagoons surrounded by frost-bitten mountains-the whole joint looks like it was made up by J.R.R. Tolkein. And again, given Iceland’s wide-open spaces, anyone feeling antsy about crowds post-pandemic will be nice and comfy here.

 Valerie Khalil/Unsplash
Valerie Khalil/Unsplash
Valerie Khalil/Unsplash

Lebanon

Who can go? You must provide proof of full vaccination more than 15 days prior to travel, take a $50 Covid test upon arrival, and download the “covidlebtrack” app. More info here.

What’s open? Restaurants, cafes, and more are operating at 50% capacity with a 9pm curfew. Many of Beirut’s main attractions-the National Museum of Beirut, the Sursock Museum, and the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque-are open to visitors, as are archaeological sites around the country. Stay up to date here.

Why should I go? Between coronavirus and the warehouse explosion that rocked the Port of Beirut last August, Lebanon is still in damage control mode. But the country has a long history of resiliency and a multicultural, uber-hospitable population that loves fun. Along with its capital Beirut, explore Lebanon’s archaeological sites at the Roman ruins at Baalbek, the ruins of Tyre, and Byblos, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on Earth.

Ender Vatan/Unsplash
Ender Vatan/Unsplash
Ender Vatan/Unsplash

Montenegro

Who can go? If you can provide proof that you’ve received your final dose at least seven days prior to travel, you can enter Montenegro. More info here.

What’s open? Stores, restaurants, and bars are open but operating with curfews and restrictions. (Hotels are exempt!) Public transport, ski resorts, museums, theaters, galleries, and national parks are all open and ready for your enjoyment, but nightclubs remain closed. Full info here.

Why should I go? Just as balmy and ancient as its more popular peers, Montenegro has the same seaside beauty of the Italian coast and the Game-of-Thrones-esque ancient towns you love about Croatia, plus an interior boasting wild forests, mountains, and national parks.

soft_light/Shutterstock
soft_light/Shutterstock
soft_light/Shutterstock

Nepal

Who can go? You’ll need proof of full vaccination (or proof of having recovered within the last 90 days before travel); a negative test result upon arrival; plus a slew of other entry documents, like proof of accommodation and travel insurance. More info here.

What’s open? The Nepalese government reopened Mount Everest and seven other mountain trails to tourists earlier this year. Since, nearly 400 climbers have been granted licenses to scale the world’s tallest peak, face masks and hand sani in tow. In Kathmandu, the capital city, hotels, restaurants, and businesses have reopened.

Why should I go? Nepal is the place for adventurous travelers. When you’re not devouring dal bhat or momos, visiting Kathmandu’s thousand-year-old temples and six UNESCO World Heritage sites will keep you busy. But the real draw lies outside the city, where you’ll find miles (and miles, and miles) of treks through the Himalayas-including the world’s most famous mountain expedition. (Bonus: if you’re an astrology nerd, have we got news for you.)

Fokke Baarssen/Shutterstock
Fokke Baarssen/Shutterstock
Fokke Baarssen/Shutterstock

Seychelles   

Who can go? Vaccinated travelers must prove that at least two weeks have passed since their final shot, fill out a travel form, and test negative upon arrival. More info here.

What’s open? Restaurants, spas, swimming pools, and other public facilities remain closed. But if you plan to spend your time lounging on the shores-highly likely-you’re good to go: All beaches are open to the public and as freakishly perfect as ever.

Why should I go? If you can get past the price tag and the 24+ hours it takes to get there, the Seychelles are essentially the definition of paradise. Every island looks like a Windows desktop background. And the seafood! You will not regret it.

Tiana Attride contributed to the reporting of this article.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.