CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION

Updates, Testimonials & FAQ’s

We’re so pleased to announce

Travel is Back!

November 2020: Our First Customers Since March Depart on Their Trips to Ecuador & Galapagos and Costa Rica!

We are so thrilled to announce that we have successfully sent our first customers since March away on their trips to Ecuador and Galapagos and Costa Rica respectively. Peter and Minara embarked on an epic journey through Ecuador ending with an eight day luxury photo cruise whilst Stephanie travelled Costa Rica from coast to coast. They were among the very first British tourists to visit Ecuador, Galapagos and Costa Rica since March, giving them a unique opportunity to experience these destinations with hardly any other tourists around. Here is what Peter and Minara thought of their trip in their own words:

“The trip covered Quito to Guayaquil and then a week in the Galapagos. It was simply wonderful. I have been around the world a bit – 74 countries – but this was exceptional. The arrangements went perfectly and the warmth with which we were greeted was quite touching. The hotels were top class. The hacienda at Cotopaxi was incredible. The boat was luxurious. Even the wild life all appeared and posed faultlessly. Go now!”

Peter Shirley, November 2020

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MORE GOOD NEWS: CHILE IS NOW ON THE UK’S TRAVEL CORRIDOR LIST

We have received the fantastic news that Chile has been put on the UK’s travel corridor list. This means there is no longer FCO advice against travel to Chile and you do not have to quarantine for 14 days on your return. More information in the country status section below.

Here in the UK there is still FCO advice against travel to our other destinations in Latin America and a mandatory quarantine for 14 days when arriving back to the UK. However, as demonstrated by our wonderful customers that have travelled this month, if you are able to obtain travel insurance to provide you with adequate cover, and if you are willing to observe the quarantine when arriving back from your trip, then it is still completely possible to travel.

There are some additional hoops to jump through with regard to entry requirements, but if you are willing then your reward will be getting to see these destinations with hardly any other tourists around! Not to mention you will be contributing to the many people involved in your booking that depend on tourism for their livelihoods.

A big thank you to all our customers who are either willing to travel in November and December or have chosen to re-book their trips. By doing so you have not only helped us, but all our local partners and many of the local people and communities in Latin America who depend on tourism.

As things stand, we will be reviewing all upcoming tours due to depart from December onward according to the UK government guidelines as they are updated. We will contact each customer at the appropriate time to discuss the different options available.

We are a relatively small, but very well established family run company that has been going for over 12 years. As many of you will know we also operate The China Travel Company and The Trans-Siberian Travel Company.

We would like to reassure all our customers that we are financially secure. We offer the gold standard of consumer protection through our ATOL license, ABTA membership and additional IPP insurance. This means all monies paid to us are 100% protected.

Many of you are now starting to contact us about your 2021 and 2022 travel plans, and we are gladly taking bookings.

Book with a tour operator you can trust.

Testimonials

Since the borders began to close in March 2020 we have been hard at work firstly assisting customers that were currently traveling to return home safely, and then to re-schedule all of our upcoming departures.

This has been a challenging year for the travel industry, but many tour operators and airlines have not been following the law on refunds. We have always put our customers first and we were delighted to receive this review as an appreciation of our personal service.

“We have had to call off our proposed holiday to Peru and the Galapagos due to the Coronavirus. We had paid a significant deposit and were caught in the position of, do we pay the remainder or lose the deposit.

This dilemma was thankfully removed by John and The Latin America Travel Company. They suggested we did not pay the remainder and subsequently repaid all the deposit. Legally they did not have to do this. Other companies have not acted in this way. They have taken away all the worry.

John and the company have handled this with outstanding ethics and real integrity.

I would recommend them for how they have dealt with us but I would also point out that the reason we went with them was that the price was the same as others but John’s knowledge and his recommendations were excellent and the flow of the itinerary, hotels, boats etc were far superior to the other companies we approached.

I will post again when we eventually get to Peru and the Galapagos – hopefully 2021.”

Russ H, June 2020.

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Country by country

COVID Status

Argentina

– Argentina is now beginning to open up. They are coming out of lockdown and some international flights are now arriving, but tourists are not yet allowed to enter. On 1st December domestic tourism will resume and visitors from neighbouring countries (Chile, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay) will be allowed to enter. These visitors can only arrive by plane to Buenos Aires as land and ferry borders remain closed. Visitors must present a negative PCR test for covid19 taken within 72 hours of their flight. They must also hold adequate insurance to cover hospitalization and isolation due to covid. As long as these conditions are met there will be no quarantine required on arrival. LATAM airlines will no longer be operating domestic flights in Argentina, leaving Aerolineas Argentinas as the only operator of domestic flights. Infection rates are stable or going down across the country. Buenos Aires has the vast majority of cases with the virus either not present or barely present in many other areas of the country.

Brazil

– Since 29th July borders have re-opened and international air travel into Brazil has resumed. There is no quarantine on arrival for international tourists. The only requirement for entry is proof of health insurance that covers covid treatment. The main cities of Rio, São Paulo, Recife, Fortaleza and Manaus are in advance stages of reopening. Most hotels are now open. Regional flights have started operating at greater frequency.

Chile

Chile has been placed on the UK government’s travel corridor list. This means there is no longer FCO advice against travel to Chile for UK citizens and you DO NOT have to quarantine for 14 days when you return to the UK. The Chilean border is due to open on 23rd November. The airport in Santiago will be the only entry point, all land and sea borders will remain closed. In order to enter Chile you will need to present a negative PCR test result for covid19 taken within 72 hours of your flight to Chile. As long as you can present this at the border there will be no quarantine required. You will also need adequate travel insurance with covid specific cover, plus you will need to fill out a health questionnaire on arrival. Please keep in mind that for UK citizens all non-essential international travel is banned until the current lockdown ends on 2nd December. Chile currently holds the record for the highest amount of COVID tests and the lowest cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Latin America. Rates of infection have been falling the most rapidly in Chile and continue to trend downward.

Costa Rica

– Costa Rica’s borders are now open to UK and EU tourists and there will be no mandatory quarantine on arrival, however you will need to present a certificate showing a negative result for a covid test taken within 72 hours of your flight departure time. Tourists must also complete a health questionnaire and have adequate insurance during their stay that includes cover for possible covid19 related expenses. The only way to obtain this is to purchase local insurance, which we can assist you with. The cost is about USD $10 per person per day. Costa Rica has so far been highly effective in managing the pandemic and is one of the least affected destinations in Latin America. Beaches and hotels are now open. International flights have resumed from Europe and the United States.

Ecuador

– Ecuador borders are now open and international flights are now arriving. All arrivals to Ecuador must present a negative PCR covid test taken within the last 10 days. A further test is required to enter Galapagos and can be obtained in Ecuador. We can assist with this and the test will be taken at your hotel, then the result emailed to you. Over 90% of the confirmed cases in Ecuador are confined to the two major cities. There are very few cases in most other areas of the country and in some regions there are zero cases.

Galapagos

– Galapagos currently with under 10 active cases with Isabela Island covid free. Only 3% of the Galapagos is inhabited, the remaining 97% is protected national park. Galapagos has re-opened to international tourists with new safety protocols for flights and cruises in place. There will be no quarantine for arrivals to Galapagos, but every arrival will have to present a negative covid test certificate taken within 96 hours before arrival. This test will be taken on Ecuador mainland.

Peru

– On 1st November Peru opened it’s borders to most of Latin America and some US states as part of a phased re-opening. A negative PCR COVID test taken within 72 hours of the flight to Peru will be required for entry. A new customs app launched by the government will allow for contact free arrivals. Visits to Machu Picchu will be limited to 675 people a day compared to 5000 a day previously! Group sizes will be no more than 8 people and they will be staggered throughout the day. The most affected regions are northern Peru and the outer districts of Lima. The Andes region (where you will find Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca) has only seen a relatively small number of cases.

Peace of Mind

Flexibility with Booking Conditions

We’d like to emphasize that our approach to the coronavirus situation from the beginning has been to give our customers as much flexibility as possible.

As a smaller, independent company, we will always work with all our customers to find the best solution. We’d like to reassure you that should there be any future outbreaks or any other factors that prevent you from traveling, you will always be able to change or cancel your booking.

How safe is it to travel

During COVID?

We are all, understandably, worried about the safety of travelling during the coronavirus. However, as we have better understood the virus over the last six months, it is clear that travel is much safer than you might have thought! According to research carried out by the US Department of Defense, the risk of contracting the virus on an aircraft is “virtually non-existent” and “comparable to the risk of being struck by lightning” as long as you are wearing a mask and complying with the other safety measures put in place.

Here are some links to articles that explain this research in more detail.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/risk-covid-19-exposure-planes-virtually-nonexistent-masked/story?id=73616599

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-risk-of-exposure-on-passenger-jet-very-low-according-to-us-study-12105228

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/airplanes-ventilation-study-covid-19/index.html

Most airports are now also only allowing passengers into the terminal building along with many other measures designed to keep passengers safe. Most of the destinations we sell now also require that you present a negative PCR test result for COVID on arrival. Quicker, more effective tests are also being bought in at airports around the world, further adding to peace of mind for travellers.

WTTC Safe Travels Protocols

The World Travel and Tourism Council alongside governments, health experts and other official industry bodies have launched the SafeTravels protocols in order to maintain a global standard of health and hygiene across a range of sectors including tour operators, cruise, aviation, hospitality and more.

These protocols take into account all the latest advice from the World Health Organization as well as other leading public health bodies. Their aim is to ensure all staff and travellers are safe in the context of covid19.

Over 1200 travel and tourism businesses have earned the certification. We are pleased to report that all of our partners have been awarded the badge. Please ask your consultant for any further details.

WTTC SafeTravels Stamp

Taking bookings for 2021

Start Planning Your Trip!

The advantage with our tours is that they are all tailor made. This means we can skip the cities and take you straight to remote, rural settings. We can include private guides, self drives and as much or as little as you need. Get in touch to start planning your epic comeback trip for 2021!

All trips are operated by HeadsEast Ltd, UK Company registration number 6717612
© Copyright 2008-19 HeadsEast Ltd

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