Earlier this month, I traveled to Baja Sur, Mexico for a scouting trip. I flew Southwest Airlines non-stop from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Los Cabos International Airport (SJD). This was the first time I’ve traveled to a destination involving flights since my last trip to Mexico in February. Even though a negative Covid-19 test isn’t required for entry to Mexico, I opted to take a PCR swab test a few days prior to departure just for comfort of mind.
The RTD AB bus to the airport is operating at reduced seating capacity so I opted to drive to the airport and park. The only parking lots open at this time are Garage Parking, Short-term Parking, the West Economy parking lot and the 61standPeña lot.Shuttle parking lots, including Pikes Peak and Mt. Elbert, East Economy, and Valet Parking in east and west garages are currently closed.
Southwest Airlines does not allow online passport verification so I had to have my passport checked prior to going through Security even though I checked in online the day before. That process was fast and so was TSA Pre-check. My flight was at 9:15 am on a Tuesday morning so I’m not sure how long lines are at different times of day or days of week, but security overall had far fewer people than I’m used to seeing.
Southwest Airlines still blocks middle seats for all flights. I spoke to an airline rep before boarding and she told me the flight typically held 140+ passengers. With middle seats blocked, the flight was full to current capacity at 90+ passengers. Boarding was still done by position, but in groups of 20. It was easy to maintain a six-foot distance between myself and other passengers at the gate and on the jetway. Once on the plane, six-foot distancing isn’t possible but getting to an open seat was faster than on any other flight I can remember. I’ve been wearing a mask in public since March so it wasn’t an issue to keep mine on from the time I entered DEN Airport and when I exited SJD Airport, about six hours.
The entry process to Mexico required completion of a Covid-19 form in addition to the standard Immigration and Customs forms. It’s possible to complete the Covid-19 form online via a link on Southwest’s website. I opted to wait until arrival to SJD to make sure the process was easy for anyone that missed the new form requirement prior to travel. Forms were readily available on arrival and airport attendants checked to make sure you had yours completed before entering the Immigration line. It took less than 10 minutes to get through Immigration, the fastest I’ve ever experienced at SJD Airport by far. I opted not to check luggage so it took another 10 minutes or so to clear Customs. Once outside the airport, the experience was the same as past trips with reps from transfer, taxi and car rental companies waiting outside.
Fourteen Mexican states are currently designated “yellow” under the federal stoplight system (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Guanajuato, Michoacan, Morelos, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Sonora, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Tabasco and Veracruz). Under yellow, all work activities are permitted. Public space may open on a regular basis, while enclosed public spaces can open with reduced capacity. All activities should be carried out with basic prevention measures. People at higher risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms should continue to take extra precautions.
Once in Mexico, it was easy to enjoy the natural wonders that Baja Sur offers in abundance. The few restaurants I visited all had mask requirements and plenty of hand sanitizer available. Temperature checks were required prior to entry. Temperature check and hand sanitizer stations were at the entrance to every grocery store I visited, too.
The best part of the trip was the complete lack of crowds offering an exclusive experience throughout my 10-day stay.
I had to complete another Covid-19 form at the SJD Airport on my day of departure. The flight home was only about half full so check in and the security screening process were swift there, as well. Social distancing protocols and hand sanitizing stations were evident throughout SJD Airport. Getting through passport verification and security were just as rapid as in Denver and my return was seamless. I was able to deplane, walk to Immigration, pass through the Global Entry line and out of the airport in less than 15 minutes, far easier and faster than most international arrivals back to the US I’ve experienced.