Travel Briefs

The underground passageways and corridors, or hypogeum, of Rome’s Colosseum opened to the public for the first time in the modern era on June 26 after a lengthy restoration. Entry to the hypogeum is included with an “Underground and Arena Full Experience” ticket (€22, near $26). Tickets can be purchased at

In 2015, a portion of the underground known as the Beehive, where elevators took gladiators and animals up to the arena floor, was opened to the public (Oct. ’17, pg. 69).


At press time, most countries in the world allowing US travelers to enter required that passengers each present a negative COVID-19 test regardless of vaccination status. Likewise, US travelers must present a test when returning to the US. With the website TestforTravel (, travelers can search for their nearest testing center in cities across the globe.

When searching for testing centers by city, each search result includes a map pinpointing the testing center plus information on what kinds of tests are available and how long it takes to get test results....


The Centers for Disease Control approved a Caribbean cruise scheduled to leave from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 26 with Celebrity Cruises (888/751-7804,, making it the first paid cruise to depart from the US since March 2020. Other lines had previously been approved for test cruises, ones without paying passengers.

In order to skip the testing phase, Celebrity guaranteed that at least 95% of the crew and passengers would be vaccinated for COVID-19.

A Ryanair flight from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania, was diverted by a fighter jet to Minsk, Belarus, on May 23 so that Belarusian authorities could arrest a dissident journalist and his girlfriend who were on board. Air authorities in Belarus told the pilots that a bomb threat had been made against the aircraft.

In response, air authorities across Europe asked their nations’ airlines to avoid Belarus airspace. Many airlines and countries canceled all flights to and from Belarus, and some countries, including neighboring Poland, banned Belarus’ national airline,...


In northern Iceland in winter, visitors can take a snowmobile tour on frozen Lake Mývatn with Nonni Travel (Brekkygata 5, Akureyri, Iceland; phone +354 461 1841, Guests at base camp will receive snowmobile lessons and safety instructions (no previous experience necessary), then follow the guide onto the lake for a leisurely paced 1-hour tour.

Tour members meet 20 minutes before start time at the Mývatn Visitors Centre (Hraunvegur 8, Mývatn; phone +354 464 4460), whence they will be transferred to the starting point. Each driver must present a valid driver’s...


As of press time, The following countries had opened or waived testing and/or quarantining requirements for vaccinated travelers. (A person is not considered vaccinated until two weeks after their final injection.)

• The Bahamas began waiving any testing requirements for vaccinated travelers, including the rapid antigen tests required for interisland travel, on May 1.

• Israel was scheduled to open on May 23 to a limited number of vaccinated travelers who are members of tour groups. Travelers must also present a negative PCR COVID-19 test before boarding a plane to...


In Far North Queensland, Australia, in March, the Tip at Cape York (called Pajinka by the Aborigines who live there) was closed by the Traditional Owners, Gudang/Yahaykenu Aboriginal Corporation, due to visitor misbehavior and vandalism.

Pajinka is the country’s northernmost continental point of land. A week after the closure, on March 25, the chairman of the corporation agreed to a deal that would reopen Cape York to visitors, but each would be charged a fee of AUD10 (near $8).

Traditional Owners at another site, Kakadu National Park, have also threatened to close...


As COVID-19 vaccines continue to prove effective, countries are opening their borders to vaccinated travelers.

• Iceland opened to vaccinated travelers on March 18. Each visitor must provide proof of completing a vaccine course of one of the EU-approved vaccines, which include the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines approved in the US, and undergoing PCR testing or quarantine will not be necessary.

• Greece is scheduled to open its borders to tourists on May 14. Those entering the country must provide proof of vaccination, presence of antibodies or a...