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by SUSANN ROTTLOFF

Access to Rapid Covid Tests in the Riviera Maya

If you are thinking you may have to put your vacation to the sunny beaches of Mexico on hold because of COVID-19, think again!

Under the new rules of travel, a lot of countries including the USA, Canada and England, are requiring a negative COVID test to enter. The test must be taken no more than 72 hours before you’re due to fly to these countries, or the Airline can refuse to let you board. There are only two types of tests that are accepted, PCR or Antigen nasal swab. For anyone who has previously tested positive, you must show official documentation of recovery. Luckily, both of these tests and doctors who can provide this paperwork are readily available here in the Riviera Maya, in private labs, hospitals, some hotels and even Cancun Airport.

Free Antigen tests for hotel guests


In January, the head of the Riviera Maya Hotel Association (AHRM) announced that most major hotels will make free COVID-19 Antigen tests readily available for international guests. Of the 400 major hotels in the Riviera Maya, 80% will have these tests available to guests at no additional cost to their regular rate.



A few of the most popular resorts offering the free Antigen COVID-19 tests are:

  • Hotel Xcaret
    Grand Palladium
    Dreams Tulum
    Secrets Akumal
    Mahekal Beach Front Resort & Spa
    Dreams Puerto Aventuras
    Hard Rock Hotel Cancun & Riviera Maya
    Panama Jack Cancun & Riviera Maya

    It’s worth noting, however, that most of these hotels require a minimum stay of 3-4 nights to qualify for the free test.



    Private PCR and Antigen tests

    If you’d prefer to stay in a more boutique hotel or even an apartment during your stay in the Riviera Maya, you have plenty of choices when it comes to getting PCR and Antigen COVID tests.

    All hospitals, including Costa Med and Hospiten, and medical centres in the smaller towns like Akumal and Puerto Morelos, offer both tests. The cost of these tests can vary, with PCR costing around $2,500 - $3,000 pesos ($100 - $150 USD) and Antigen tests coming in around $1,000 pesos ($50 USD). Most hospitals offer PCR results within 48-hours and Antigen test results within 24-hours



    Private clinics and laboratories such as Biotekk, CEDEME and Centro Químico also carry out these tests and usually deliver your results quicker than the large hospitals. You can expect to receive your PCR results within 24-hours and your Antigen test results the same day. If you’re staying in Tulum, you can also find small mobile clinics that can carry out COVID-19 tests on both Av.Coba and in the hotel zone.



    The cheapest option when it comes to Antigen tests in the Riviera Maya is from the local Ahorro Pharmacy. Only a couple in Playa del Carmen and Cancun offer this service and is first come first served. However, the cost is only $350 pesos ($17 USD) and you get the results within 24-hours.



    Rapid Antigen tests at Cancun Airport.


    If you don’t have time to wait for a test, or you’re only staying in the Riviera Maya for a couple of days, Cancun Airport now offers on-site rapid Antigen tests. The mobile test units are located in each terminal and operate between the hours of 06:00 and 21:00. The Antigen test costs $290 pesos ($15 USD) and results are ready within 30-60 minutes. The PCR test costs $2,000 pesos ($100 USD) but results aren’t available for 24 to 48-hours. Taking a COVID-19 test at Cancun Airport should be used as a last resort as it’s first come, first served.

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