Flying from Miami to Managua during the COVID Pandemic on AVIANCA

It’s October 2020. Oh the stress… let me begin with, I was VERY stressed about traveling to Nicaragua. My friend had already been bumped twice and I was not happy with the idea of being stuck in Miami longer than necessary!

I live in Nicaragua but had to deal with some paper work in Miami. After trying to deal with it online and via phone, it was clear…this had to be done in person. I had no choice but to fly and take care of something I had planned to do in June. It is now October, and now, the documents would expire in less than 2 weeks. Thankful to report, all is good and I was able to take care of the paper work in 2 days. Thank goodness! Now, it is time to shop and get ready for the trip back… oh the dreaded nasal COVID TEST.

As of the time of my travel, Avianca was the only commercial airline flying to and from Nicaragua. There are strict rules about the need of a COVID TEST to be taken within 72 hours of your departure from Miami as well as handing in the negative results to the airline 36 hours before departure time, the exact deadline was provided by AVINCA via email. There have been lots of rumors of rules changing and information not being given so let me explain my personal experience.

Avianca line at what is an otherwise empty airport in Miami on Oct 10th, 2020.

This is how it all worked for me:

  1. My flight was at 3:55pm on Oct 10.
  2. I took my test at 7:30am on Oct 08 – Details of location and cost can be found below.
  3. Received my results at 4am online on Oct 9th
  4. Emailed Avianca at 5am on Oct 9th with results. (I am a bit OCD and emailed the results 3 times from 3 emails – they ask for lots of details to be added in the email – Details can be found below).
  5. I email the Nicaraguan Officials with my results – but the email bounced so I won’t share those details.
  6. Received confirmation via email from Avianca that they had received my email at 9am on Oct 09.
  7. All through the day on Oct 9th, I waited for notification that all was good to travel – never received notification. I called…couldn’t get through to anyone. So I braced myself, hoped for the best and carried on as if all was good.
  8. Arrived at the airport on Oct 10th at 1pm. There was a massively long line for Avianca at what was an otherwise empty airport.
  9. Remember, you must bring printed version of your test results! I did not but thankfully my awesome sister found a place to print them out while I waiting in line.
  10. There was an airline lady at the beginning of the Avianca line. She allowed only confirmed passengers into the line. The lady checked a long list… BOOM, ‘yes you are on the list’ she says, please go ahead and get in the line but make sure your bag is smaller or you’ll be charged $180 for that oversized bag. Argh…the joys of shopping and traveling!

COVID Test Location and Cost

BioCollections INC. located at: 5735 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami FL. 33137

The test that was approved for me is called: SARS-COV-2 by RNA (RT-PCR) Detection – COST $75

One of the attendants taking care of customers in their cars as they get ready for their COVID test at BioCollections in Miami.

COVID Test Procedure

At the Biocollections location, it is all very simple and you never leave your car. The testing schedule changed while I was in Miami so always check in with them before heading over there. I had originally planned to get my test done after 5pm on Oct 7th (because my flight left 71 hours later). But had to wait till Oct 8th, early in the morning instead due tot he change in their schedule. They were now testing only between 7am and 2pm.

When I arrived at the address, there was already a 3 block long line of cars. They have a couple of people on each block providing instructions for each step of the process.

Couldn’t believe how long the line was for this COVID Test… but, these guys at BioCollections have a system set and it goes rather quickly.

Beginning at the back of the line, I am on Block #3. Here, a man approaches the car and provides you with a document that lists instructions. These instructions say you can fill out the online registration and pay online or wait for someone to help you on block #2. I decided to do the online documents, I had time. To fill this out, you will need your flight info: reservation code and your passport information.

Once I arrived on Block #2, a second young man stood outside my car and checked my paperwork with the online version, verified my payment had gone through and then gave me a document that he put on my dashboard. He said ‘give this to the person who administers the test on the next block.’ Again very simple.

Block #1 – there were small tents you had to drive under to get tested. At each tent there is a person in full PPE. One waves me over to her as she is changing her gloves and I approach the white tent in my car. She asks for the paperwork on my dashboard, and then attached a small sticker to the paper. She begins to explain, ‘you must keep this paper to track your test online.’ I acknowledge this and then she pulls the long Q-tip from a test tube and says ‘ok, are you ready?’ I look at her blankly and say ‘here we go!’ She approached the car and asks me to sit looking forward. She slowly and carefully inserts the long Q-tip in my left nostril and I hold on to my steering wheel. It is definitely not comfortable and stings a tad, but not a big deal. I guess I made quite the face as I held on the to the steering wheel cause she giggled as she pulled the LONG Q-tip out and said… ALL DONE! I let out a big sigh of relief and just like that I was done and drove away!

COVID Test Results and AVIANCA

As per instructions provided via email from Avianca. Your email to AVIANCA with your test results must include:

  1. PDF version of negative test results (test then within 72 hours of travel and with more than 36 hours to departure) to: (As of October 2020)
  2. Expiration date of Passport used to enter Nicaragua
  3. Nationality
  4. Flight Date, Time and Flight Code
  5. Full name as it appears on the Passport
Test results downloaded from BioCollections in Miami, Florida. This is what I sent to Avianca with additional info they request and then printed it out for MINSA upon arrival.

The one thing I noticed is, the Email should be sent from the email that made the reservation. My husband and I sent the email from various emails. The only one that received a reply from AVIANCA was the one used to make the reservation in the first place.

View as we descend to Managua Nicaragua! Happy to be back – home sweet home 🥰

For more info on flying from Managua to Miami and the details you may find helpful, please click here!

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