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Fully Vaccinated? What You Should Know Before Planning to Join a Surfing Holiday

by Cris Puscas

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Will you be fully vaccinated soon? Or have you taken your COVID-19 vaccination and are looking to travel sometime in the near future?

As vaccines are being rolled out across the world, it brings the promise of a return to our pre-pandemic life, or, at the very least, something close to it.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that while these shots do come with some protection against the virus, some regulations, such as lifting the mandated use of masks, may not be happening as soon as we’d hoped.

You’re probably wondering, under these circumstances, how to best plan and pack for a vacation – say for a much-awaited surfing camp?

In this article, we’re sharing useful information that may just help you plan your surfing trip with an added peace of mind. You’ll find insights on:

  • How COVID-19 vaccines work;
  • The types of vacations that are “safer” to take;
  • The entry requirements for the top surfing destinations favored by our customers.


What Should a Vaccinated Traveler Keep in Mind?

From what we’ve gathered from authoritative sources, all of the available COVID-19 vaccines are quite effective at reducing the risk of serious symptoms or death from contracting the virus. (source)

However, you can still get infected, and there’s not enough data yet available regarding transmission.

The good news is that recent studies have shown the vaccines likely reduce virus transmission to other people in addition to protecting the person who received the shot. (source: Reuters ; Forbes

Should you choose to travel sometime soon, it’s highly advisable to continue to take health & safety precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and maintaining the practice of physical distancing.

While it’s not mandatory, you should also consider getting tested 3 to 5 days after arrival and self-isolate for 7 days, even though you are fully vaccinated. We are still unsure as to how much protection the vaccines offer against the new variants of the virus (and the strains continue to emerge), so, it’s always better to be safe.

In short, being fully vaccinated does give you more ‘freedom’ and peace of mind when it comes to travel but it’s in you & your fellow travelers’ best interest to maintain precautions when traveling.

Not only is it crucial for us to ‘adhere’ to local rules but also to keep personal consideration and precaution for the sake of your and others’ health and safety.


What Type of Travel Is Recommended for a Surfing Holiday?

Even if you are fully vaccinated, these days, the type of travel you choose to take matters more than ever.

Domestic travel has been returning slowly but steadily starting last summer. With the rollout of vaccines, countries that are likely to reach herd immunity faster may be a ‘safer’ choice for locals and non-locals alike.

Many travelers are now choosing destinations that are off-the-beaten-path and away from condensed cities. Thankfully, there are a lot of surfing destinations that offer the perfect setting not only away from the hustle & bustle of cities, but also to be fully immersed in nature.

Also, it is easy to combine other outdoor activities such as yoga, diving, or kayaking, with surfing.

»Read more: The Best Off-the-Grid Surf Spots You Need to Check Out

a guy arranging surf boards on a car

To get to your travel destination, road trips are recommended as non-public transportation is ‘safer’ than using public transportation. In fact, according to the CDC, fully vaccinated travelers who go on a road trip and are moderately careful at the destination, would have a relatively ‘safe trip’.  

Another way to lower risk is to choose to visit a country that is waiving restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. At the time this article was written, only a handful of countries have gone this route, but, as summer approaches and the vaccine passports are likely to become a reality, more and more countries would consider this option to open for travel.

Many travelers are eager for this to happen, too. According to a survey by The Points Guy & YouGov, 49% of Americans would prefer to visit a destination requiring COVID-19 vaccination. (source)

Lastly, should you choose to travel internationally, it’s better to focus on visiting one country, rather than opting for a multi-country itinerary. Now is the perfect time to focus on slowing down, taking longer to explore a country, immerse in its culture and traditions, and discover local gems.

»Read more: Traveling Safely - Your Guide to Surf Camps in the COVID-19 Era


What a Vaccinated Traveler Should Expect When Planning a Surfing Holiday in Top Destinations?

While countries across the globe are starting to slowly ease restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers, we strongly advise those who decide to travel to seek out local resources before they take any decision to book a surfing camp.

Currently, there are no standard recommendations across the countries and the information constantly changes.

That said, across the world, “vaccine passports” are likely to be used as a standard way to prove a traveler’s COVID-19 status. The European Union has already presented the outline for the so-called “digital green pass” that would include the vaccine certificates, negative tests certificates, and medical certificates (that prove the holder has the antibodies).

It’s also important to keep in mind that while the entry requirements into a certain country might not include showing a negative test, the airline might require one to board the plane. Do your due diligence and check the requirements ahead of time so that you can plan accordingly.

Disclosure: Please be aware that the information below is valid at the time this article was published and changes in travel requirements & restrictions can occur at any time.





surfing in portugal

With the exception of European Area nationals, passengers are not allowed to enter mainland Portugal.

Those who may enter, are required to complete an electronic Passenger Locator Form (except if you are flying into the Azores or Madeira), to be presented upon boarding.

Passengers flying into the Azores should complete the Questionnaire for Risk Assessment and Early Detection prior to boarding. Whereas those flying into Madeira should register their travel here.

All passengers transiting or arriving in Portugal must have a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test, taken at most 72 hours before departure.

Since February 18, Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is operating a corridor for travelers that have recovered from COVID in the past 90 days or can show proof they have been vaccinated by presenting an immunization certificate.

This has to be in English and must include the name, date of birth, type of vaccine, and the date(s) when it was administered. There’s no need to also show a test result.

»Read more details from official resources



surfing in Lanzarote, Spain

Photo credit: Lanzasurf

Starting on June 7, Spain allows vaccinated travelers from all over the world to enter the country (including EU, UK, and US citizens).

Passengers from certain countries are required to quarantine. From May 1, 2021, travelers from India must remain in quarantine for 10 days after their arrival in Spain (or for the duration of the stay if it’s shorter than that). They may test out of quarantine on day 7.

All passengers must complete the FCS Health Control Form.

»Read more details from official resources





a group of surfers in morocco

Before traveling to and from Morocco, check with the airline and the public institutions (i.e. embassy, consulates) about specific measures required.

Passengers originating from or with a past travel history from 26 countries (including the United Kingdom) are not allowed entry into Morocco until at least May 21, 2021.

Travelers who are not residents and who do not need a visa to enter Morocco (including United States citizens), are authorized entry based on either an invitation from a Moroccan company or a confirmed reservation of a hotel and tourist establishment (including Riad).

Starting from September 30, 2020, all passengers 11 years old and older arriving into Morocco must present a negative COVID-19 test taken no longer than 72 hours before boarding.

All passengers must complete a passenger health form, print it, and sign it, to be presented upon arrival in Morocco.

»Read more details from official resources


Asia & Oceania


Sri Lanka

surfing in sri lanka

Photo credit: Surfers Paradise Weligama

The paradise island of Sri Lanka is open for travelers from all over the world.

All travelers should carry a negative test report in English, taken within 96 hours before arrival, and should submit a Health Declaration Form.

Upon arrival, all travelers (12 years or older) should undergo an RT-PCR COVID-19 test.

No minimum days is required for the stay; however, tourists must stay at a certified ‘Safe & Secure’ Level 1 hotel for up to 13 nights/14 days of their stay. This is waved if the traveler is fully vaccinated.

Vaccinated travelers should carry the original certificate card, together with a certified copy of English language translation if the certificate/card is not in English or if relevant data are not indicated in English in a non - English certificate/card) or a verifiable evidence of vaccination.

Tourists may visit approved tourist sites under the safety of a bio-bubble.

If the travelers undergo quarantine, another test is taken at the end of the period.

»Read more details from official sources.



getting ready to surf in indonesia


Visitors are not permitted to enter Indonesia, except for the following categories:

  • Holders of visa and stay permits issued according to the New Normal law, which is implemented since Sep 29, 2020;
  • Travelers permitted under the travel corridor arrangement (TCA) bilateral agreement scheme: United Arab Emirates (UAE), the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore;
  • Foreign nationals due to special discretion and provided with written permission from relevant ministries/government institutions.

All travelers permitted entry need to provide a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test, taken no longer than 72h prior to departure. Upon arrival, they need to take another test. After 5 days in isolation/quarantine, a new test is required.

An electronic health awareness card must be presented upon arrival.

After the mandatory 5 days isolation, all international travelers are encouraged to undertake self-isolation at their respective residence up until a total of 14 days after arrival.

Please be advised that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia has temporarily suspended visa applications.

The government, however, is working on a plan to open Bali for foreign tourists by July. (source) Whereas the closest province to Singapore, the Riau Islands, plan to start reopening tourist spots in Nongsa on Batam and Lagoi on Bintan on April 21. (source)

»Read more details from official sources.



surfing in Australia

Photo credit: Soul Surf School

Passengers are not allowed to enter Australia, except for:

  • Nationals of Australia and their immediate family;
  • Permanent residents of Australia and their immediate family;
  • Nationals of New Zealand residing in Australia and their immediate family;
  • Passengers arriving from New Zealand (if they’ve been in New Zealand for the past 14 days);
  • Passengers that have a visa and have been granted an exemption.

Passengers could be subject to presenting a Travel Declaration Form.  

Travelers may be subject to 14 days quarantine. However, as of April 18, 2021, quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand has commenced (provided the traveler has been in New Zealand for 14 days prior to arrival in Australia). (source)

Passengers traveling to Australia must be tested for COVID-19 72 hours or less prior to the scheduled flight departure, and display evidence of a negative test result at the time of check-in. Passengers arriving on a green safe travel zone (Australia-New Zealand) flight are exempt from pre-departure testing requirements.

Passengers that have a medical certificate with a positive RT-PCR COVID-19 test and a medical discharge issued at least 4 weeks before departure proving the passenger has recovered do not need to submit a negative test result.

»Read more from official sources.


New Zealand

surfing in new zealand

Photo credit: Surf N Stay New Zealand

Entry to New Zealand from all countries remains strictly controlled.

Nationals and permanent residents of New Zealand and their families are allowed entry. Nationals or permanent residents of Australia that reside in New Zealand, passengers arriving from Australia, Cook Island, or Niue only if they’ve been in New Zealand, Australia, Cook Island, or Niue in the past 14 days, and passengers with a visa that have been granted an exemption are also allowed entry.

Passengers must submit a request to travel to New Zealand. If approved, they must enter isolation or quarantine. This does not apply to passengers from safe zones (Australia, Cook Island, or Niue), as well citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand and their families.

A negative COVID-19 test result is required for most travelers to New Zealand.  It must be taken within 72 hours of their first scheduled international flight. (source)

Travel from India is suspended as of April 11, 2021.

»Read more from official sources.


The Americas


Costa Rica

getting ready to surf in costa rica

Photo credit: Selina

Travelers from countries around the world can travel to Costa Rica by air, as long as they meet the visa and COVID-19 entry requirements.

There’s no requirement to take any test before or after arrival, or quarantine upon arrival.

However, all travelers should complete the digital health form. And it’s mandatory for them to purchase travel insurance, covering the accommodations in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19 illness.

If the traveler purchases international insurance, a certification in Spanish or English should be issued and should include the validity, a minimum coverage of US$2,000 for accommodation expenses, and a guarantee of coverage for medical expenses.

Kindly note that visitors must abide by the re-entry rules of their country of origin (including the need to show negative tests upon boarding return flights).

»Read more details here.



surfing in mexico

Photo credit: Oasis Surf & Spanish School

Mexico is open for travelers and there’s no need to provide a negative test or quarantine upon arrival.

All travelers should fill in the “Questionnaire of identification of risk factors in travelers”.

The inbound land borders with the USA are open for “essential travel” only and does not prevent US citizens to return home. This will be in effect until at least May 21, 2020.

US citizens can fly into Mexico without any restrictions. However, please be advised that a negative COVID-19 test, taken at most 3 days before departure, is mandatory to board the flight back to the USA.

Alternatively, documentation of recovery from the COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days, is required.

»Read about the COVID-19 restriction and control measures in Mexico here.


United States

surfing in Hawaii, USA

Photo credit: Go Nuts Hawaii

With specific exceptions, travelers from the following countries / areas are not permitted entry in the USA: China, Iran, European Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa.

All travelers who may enter, including US citizens returning from abroad and those transiting through the US, must have a medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 viral antigen, NAAT, RT-LAMP, RT-PCR, or TMA test result. The test must have been taken at most 3 days before departure.

Alternatively, if the passenger has a medical certificate with a positive coronavirus test result issued at most 90 days before departure and has been cleared to travel, they don’t need to provide a negative test result.

All passengers must complete a disclosure and attestation form before departure. Those arriving into Massachusetts, must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form, whereas those arriving in New York State, must complete the New York State Travel Health Form.

»Read more information from official resources.


Looking forward to going on a surf holiday once more? You can do so on a budget! Check out our selection of affordable surf trips & camps and choose the one that best fits your needs.

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