Nepal Reopens to Pre-approved Adventure-seeking Mountaineers

Travelers need to test negative for COVID-19 as well has have proof of a hotel reservation.

Nepal has reopened to adventurous mountaineers looking to scale the country's awe-inspiring Himalayan peaks — but with some changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For now, tourism will mostly be limited to those looking to trek the staggering mountains in an effort to control who is coming in, The Associated Press reported. Anyone looking to climb in Nepal — home to some of the most impressive peaks in the world, including Mount Everest —must obtain a visa in advance, arrive with a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours, and already have a hotel booking in order to quarantine for at least seven days in the country, according to the Nepal Tourism Board.

Travelers will also have to have insurance that would cover at least $5,000 per person in case they contract COVID-19.

Himalayan Mount Everest
The Himalayan Mount Everest and other mounts ranges are pictured from Namche Bazar in the Everest region, some 140 kms northeast of Kathmandu. PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty

While tourists have to quarantine for a week, they will also be required to take a second coronavirus test on their fifth day there at their own expense.

"We are not opening the country for all visitors and only mountaineers and trekkers who have taken prior permit will be allowed to come to Nepal," Rudra Singh Tamang, the director general of Nepal's Department of Tourism, told the AP. "We are opening to a sector of visitors who we know we can handle and manage."

In addition to the mountaineers, any guides, porters, cooks, or helpers supporting them must take a COVID-19 test and prove they haven't been in an area with infections in the past two weeks, the wire service reported.

"We are trying to revive the tourism industry that was badly hit by the pandemic, but we are not taking any [chances] or any risks," Tamang added.

In total, Nepal, which lifted its nationwide lockdown in July, has reported 176,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including more than 37,000 that are currently active, according to the Government of Nepal.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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