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Vacationing with Filipina girlfriend during covid


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stuckoutside

So, my girlfriend and I were in a bind a little while ago due to the covid entry restrictions in the Philippines. I can't get in and that makes it hard to be together. There are probably more than a few guys with a a similar situation. You can't enter her country, but you may be able to take her on a vactation elsewhere.

Only a few countries are both open for tourism during covid and open for visa-free entry with a passport from the Philippines. The ones that I considered were:

Armenia
Brazil
Colombia
Costa Rica* (CR normally allows a Philippines passport to enter visa-free and has re-opened, but it is not clear whether they have re-opened for all passports)
Peru
Ecuador
Bolivia
Maldives
Kazakhstan (electrionic visa required)

Armenia and Kazakhstan are wild cards. If anyone actually goes there, I'd love to hear about it. Armenia requires a 14-day quarantine that you can escape with a negative covid test taken when you arrive. I don't know what Kazakhstan requires. Honestly, I have no idea what either of these countries is actually like.

The Maldives is said to be expensive and alcohol is not allowed on local islands (resort islands only).

The key to the South American options is the flight from Cebu to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Qatar Airways flies via Qatar (no visa needed for plane transfer) at a cost of about US$2200/round trip. Add $100 for a PCR test at the airport. Flight changes are flexible, but airlines sometimes change their minds, so YMMV.

Once you are in Brazil, you can go anywhere in South America for reasonable prices. Practically everywhere requires a negative covid PCR test for entry, but the airline requires the same to get on the plane, so that's basically covered.

The cost of living in Brazil is about 50% higher than in Cebu. Very few people speak English (1% maybe?), but you can get by with Spanish more or less.

The cost of living in Bogota might be 25% higher than in Cebu; the rest of Colombia (except Cartagena) costs about the same. Colombia is a fairly modern country with good infrastructure in the cities. The cities have been safe for a while now; I don't know what happens in the countryside. A few people speak English, but 95% speak only Spanish.

I haven't actually been to Peru or Bolivia, but hear that they are cheap. Ecuador probably costs about the same as Cebu.

Just some info for those who have been wondering...

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Dafey
9 hours ago, stuckoutside said:

The key to the South American options is the flight from Cebu to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

I understand your eagerness to see your love...but are you aware that Brazil has a higher rate of covid infection than the US? Also, consider medical services in some of the areas where you are going. It may be wiser to postpone another 6 months and see if the vaccine progress helps the travel situation.

Just being the devil's advocate here.

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smokey
On 1/29/2021 at 7:51 AM, Dafey said:

I understand your eagerness to see your love...but are you aware that Brazil has a higher rate of covid infection than the US? Also, consider medical services in some of the areas where you are going. It may be wiser to postpone another 6 months and see if the vaccine progress helps the travel situation.

Just being the devil's advocate here.

When two thing occur time is a factor   and 6 months is like 5 years     1st ur closer to 70 then 60       2nd ur equipment is rusty 

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stuckoutside

Perhaps, but Brazil's situation isn't uniformly bad.

Its horrible in the rainforest cities (no support from the government) and probably pretty bad in the favelas (very poor urban areas where everyone lives on top of everyone else). People who live in cities with decent housing and are fortunate enough not to have to travel by crowded bus are doing ok.

Anyway, we ended up visiting Colombia, which is just down the street and a better kettle of fish all around.

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GwapoGuy
On 1/29/2021 at 9:02 PM, stuckoutside said:

Anyway, we ended up visiting Colombia, which is just down the street and a better kettle of fish all around.

Did your gf have any problems getting out or back into the Philippines?

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stuckoutside

No problems getting out - not time to return yet but starting the planning.

I'm officially un-recommending Brazil except as a place to transit through. They've grown their own covid variant and other countries are starting to wall them off. Colombia is much better and is just down the street (so to speak).

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stuckoutside
On 2/21/2021 at 12:56 AM, GwapoGuy said:

Did your gf have any problems getting out or back into the Philippines?

No problems returning -- some flights were canceled, but everything is refundable these days, so the new vs. old flights are a wash.

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GwapoGuy
On 4/17/2021 at 4:56 PM, stuckoutside said:

No problems returning -- some flights were canceled, but everything is refundable these days, so the new vs. old flights are a wash.

Still haven't pulled the trigger but I'm leaning towards Maldives. After they get all their citizens vaccinated, they are offering to vaccinate tourists.

Already received two jabs but it would be ideal for my filipina to kill two birds in one trip.

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stuckoutside

How is the Maldives doing in terms of vaccine supply? "After they get all their citizens vaccinated" could mean a lot of things.

We're considering Indonesia for the next trip. I hear that you can enter with a business visa that costs $500 per person. Balance that against shorter, cheaper flights.

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GwapoGuy

From my information, Maldives would be ready to offer vaccine to tourists next month. Flights from Cebu are reasonable with only one short layover in Doha. But the latest developments are not good. First the U.S. state department does not recommend travel to Maldives since last week when they elevated it to level 4. A couple days ago a bomb nearly killed the former Maldives president. Looking at Greece na as it's opened to tourists with restrictions that are not so demanding.

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BossHog
11 minutes ago, GwapoGuy said:

First the U.S. state department does not recommend travel to Maldives since last week when they elevated it to level 4.

Greece is now at level 4 too. So is the Philippines. To be fair they recently elevated like half the world's countries to the same level and it's more covid-related than anything else.

 

14 minutes ago, GwapoGuy said:

A couple days ago a bomb nearly killed the former Maldives president

But yeah those Maldivians sure are a bit bomb happy, aren't they? The resorts are super insulated from internal strife though.

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stuckoutside

@GwapoGuy Wouldn't Greece require a Schengen visa for the Filipina?

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Mikko Lavega
On 4/18/2021 at 4:56 AM, stuckoutside said:

No problems returning -- some flights were canceled, but everything is refundable these days, so the new vs. old flights are a wash.

but it's so hard to contact the airlines for refund :(

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HeyMike
3 hours ago, Mikko Lavega said:

but it's so hard to contact the airlines for refund :(

 

I have always booked my flights to/from the Philippines online. Anytime they canceled a flight, they would send an email with links to either re-book or for a refund. This has happened 5 times with me with 3 airlines. It is the waiting for the refund that kills me.  

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