A picture of the author, Franco

Travel during COVID-19

A picture of the author, Franco

I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Sunday, January 3. It was an easier journey than I had originally expected. Truly, I was shocked by how swift everything went. Travel to each country comes with different requirements, make sure that before booking any flight, you research properly and ensure you meet those requirements. I wasn’t able to check-in for my flight online or at an electronic kiosk at the airport, I had to wait in line so that the flight attendant could ensure I was cleared to fly. I literally, had to be cleared, meaning a manger had to come over and approve my travel.

Here’s what you will need to know if you plan on travelling to the Paris of South America.

  • A negative COVID-19 test is required. You must be tested within 72 hours of departure.
  • Emergency travel medical insurance is a must. I went through Manulife, however, if you book through Air Canada, and your trip is under 21 days, you will receive complementary insurance from Manulife on behalf of Air Canada. You have to be an Aeroplan member, but signing up is easy.
  • Within 48 hours you must fill out the immigration forms provided by the Argentine government. Your airline will help you with this, but it’s a simple Google search as well.
  • Upon arrival, I didn’t have to, you will be asked to take yet another COVID-19 test. There is a cost to this.
  • You must quarantine for seven days upon arrival.
  • For some, I didn’t have to, a 9,000 pesos reciprocity fee is required at customs.
  • Upon arrival, I had three customs agents grill me. However, I answered well enough that they waived my reciprocity fee and the mandatory COVID test being conducted outside of the airport.

Now here’s what’s been interesting. Unlike Toronto, and all of Ontario actually, Argentina is not under a lockdown. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, shops, grocery stores, salons, malls, are all open.

It is a requirement that people wear their masks indoors, except at indoor dining establishments where they can take it off when at their table, or while working out at a gym. However, I have noticed, that unlike Toronto, people in Argentina are wearing their masks outdoors as well.

Social bubbles here, as we call them in Ontario, are limited to at least 20 people, unlike the six in Ontario. The parks are packed with runners, walkers, cylcists, rollerbladers like any other time of the year. In fact, other than the ubiquitous use of masks, you really wouldn’t know there was a pandemic.

The subte (subway) however is limited to only essential workers, so I have to walk everywhere, or I have to take an uber, or taxi. A small price to pay, to be fair.

Unfortunately, there is no travel to Uruguay, as the borders to that country are closed to neighbours.

Other than that, all is well. If you can follow all of these rules, there really isn’t anything that can stop you from enjoying yourself, or travelling during the pandemic, safely. As I enjoy spending time by myself, it really hasn’t been that challenging for me to keep my distance from other people. I wear my mask as required.

If I’ve missed anything, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write a comment. I’d be more than happy to answer.

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