It was only a matter of time – the world can’t be shut down forever. Luckily, the solution to ending travel restrictions has arrived. And it’s called getting vaccinated.
Now that most vaccines are revealing to be even more efficient than tested, the world can start charting its path towards the “new normal”. Slowly but surely, quarantine and travel restrictions will become a thing of the past for those vaccinated.
While it’s true that much of the world won’t have access to vaccines for awhile, many safe countries are still open for business. Much like the US, they typically require PCR testing within 72 hours of travel.
This beautiful Mediterranean country will soon provide both options, so you can get the best of both worlds. They’ve largely stayed ahead of COVID-19, quickly implementing clever methods to combat its spread. And it worked, even against the more transmissible UK variant.
It’s Cyprus, located deep in the Mediterranean on the continental divide between Europe, Asia, and Africa. And it should be at the top of your list of destinations for 2021.
Cyprus: Ahead of the Curve
From the start, Cyprus has taken the pandemic seriously – but most importantly, intelligently.
Last summer, Cyprus came up with an innovative “Flight Pass” system. They categorized countries based on risk and enabled easy upload of the required PCR test results. Each time the cases started to rise, the government implemented new restrictions. And they worked.
Unlike nearly every other European country, Cyprus only had one significant wave. After strict lockdowns, it’s well on its way down. Now that we are seeing the end of the tunnel, they’ve jumped on the vaccine train, with over 69,000 doses arriving just next month.
According to TravelDailyMedia, Cyprus will allow vaccinated travelers to enter starting in March. No quarantine or COVID test required.
A Perfect Mediterranean Escape
I spent a couple weeks in Cyprus in late November and it absolutely mesmerized me. Perfect sunny warm winter weather, gorgeous seawater with visibility up to 40 meters/120 feet, lovely people, and ridiculously beautiful scenery.
Cost of living is cheap, it’s easy to get around, and it’s safe. When I was there in November, I saw tourists from the US, the UK, Serbia, and Germany – all in very small numbers, of course.
Where to Go in Cyprus – What’s Even Open?
The towns of Larnaca and Ayia Napa, though not bustling and busy, offer plenty of outdoor seaside entertainment and dining.
Our personal favorite was Liquid Cafe in Ayia Napa. They offer some of the best food we’ve ever had (no exaggeration) and even better prices. The variety of selection is impressive, and no matter what you get, they nail it each time.
At the time, restaurants were still open, and we chose to always eat outside. The weather is perfect anyways – no need to eat in a giant plastic bubble. Larnaca in particular has an endless selection of restaurants, including the world-famous Edem’s Yard, known mostly for its delicious breakfast.
These days, local restrictions are always in flux. Dining tends to be restricted to take-out and delivery most of the time. It just depends on where the cases are at the time.
The Mind-Blowing Mediterranean Nature
If you’re into hiking, the National Forest Park of Machairas offers breathtaking views of the rugged, dry landscape and access to adorable little towns. Mount Olympus, the highest mountain of Cyprus at 6,400 ft of elevation, is another great option. You can even go skiing there! And there’s the Paphos forest with its awesome views of the north coast, wild native sheep, and migratory birds.
The entire coast of Cyprus boasts fantastic swimming. For example, you have Lara Beach on the west coast – locally known as the turtle beach. Then there’s the rocky beach of Petra tou Romiou near Limassol, the “birthplace” of Aphrodite. And to the east, you can find Makronissos and Nissi Beach in Ayia Napa.
The diving and snorkeling In Cyprus are spectacular. Not only do the rocks and caves provide fascinating eye-candy, the shipwrecks provide so much to explore. For example, the MS Zenobia is located just off the coast in Larnaca.
You could spend months in Cyprus and never be bored. Just get vaccinated and head over!