Disclaimer: The travel rules and official government instructions are changing rapidly during the pandemic times and this article might NOT be up to date within a matter of hours. Therefore, you should always double-check the information with local authorities or your embassy in a given destination. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel during pandemic.
Costa Rica started reopening its borders on the 1st of August, starting with few European Countries and also gradually reopening to U.S. From NOV 1, all states will be allowed to enter.
Costa Rica Reopening – Latest Updates
Who can travel to Costa Rica during a pandemic?
At the moment Costa Rica is opened to these countries:
EU countries, Schengen Zone, and the UK
US Citizens from 20 states, (full list below) – All states from NOV 1
Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, China,
Australia and New Zealand.
What are the current requirements to enter Costa Rica?
All visitors entering Costa Rica need to show a proof of a PCR Covid test (taken max 72hours before departure), fill out a health online form, and show travel insurance that covers covid. (we recommend Safety Wing).
Travelers from these US states will need to proof their residency by providing Driving License!
As of October 12th, Costa Rica has 87,439 confirmed COVID cases and 1,076 deaths caused by Coronavirus. That being said, the situation is not stable yet and new cases are growing but the government has decided to start gradually reopening for tourism, as Costa Rica’s economy is very dependent on tourism.
Nevertheless, the country’s reopening doesn’t mean everything is back to normal.
As with other locations, guidelines and restrictions are in place to minimize further flare-ups of the coronavirus.
Costa Rica Reopening For Tourists from Europe
As of August 1, tourists on flights from Frankfurt, Germany, and Madrid, Spain were added to the list of passengers allowed to enter the country via its three international airports. This includes the main one in San Jose. The European Union, the United Kingdom, and Canada were added a day later. A maximum of five flights a week is allowed from these areas.
In order to enter the country, these passengers are required to present an official negative COVID-19 report taken within 48 hours.They also need to fill out a digital epidemiological form available online and translated into several languages.
Furthermore, tourists must purchase insurance through the country’s national insurance company (INS). It needs to cover accommodations if a tourist is struck by coronavirus. Should this happen, the insurance will handle quarantine quarters and, if needed, hospitalization.
A date when U.S. tourists can visit Costa Rica has not been determined. However, U.S. citizens who entered the country after December 19, 2019 were granted a stay extension until the middle of November.
If a tourist from the U.S. wants to visit Costa Rica, they need to fly into Canada, complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine, and test negative. Then, they must follow all the other requirements for entry into Costa Rica. Note that the Canadian and U.S. governments have an agreement at this time to keep the border between their countries closed, so this possible solution might not be feasible.
Like other locations across the globe, Costa Rica has a face mask/shield policy. They are mandatory in all public spaces that aren’t private homes or restaurants. For the latter, staff is required to wear face coverings.
As of September 7th, Costa Rica has 46,920 confirmed COVID cases and 478 deaths caused by Coronavirus.
Costa Rica experienced low numbers of COVID-19 cases between the end of March and the middle of June. Unfortunately, these began to increase around the start of summer and peaked at 931 active cases as of July 31. Since then, numbers have fluctuated.
As of August 1, over 18,000 cases were reported across the entire country with approximately 160 deaths. Infected individuals have been asked to quarantine in their homes or in specialized medical facilities.
As of this writing, the metropolitan area around the capital city, San Jose, is still under an Orange Alert. This means daytime driving during the week is permitted by the license plate number from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Essential services remain open at 50 percent capacity. Food services are also open. Open hours for San Jose museums and other tourist sites differ by location. In addition, beaches within an Orange zone are only open from 5 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Other areas of Costa Rica are in Phase Three of reopening. In these locations, public transportation has resumed and beaches are open from 5 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day. Bars and nightclubs remained closed to citizens and tourists.
Costa Rica After COVID
Costa Rica hopes to be fully operational once COVID numbers across the globe are small enough to completely reopen. Especially since the time between fall and spring is prime travel season. Hopefully, the U.S. is added to the countries that are able to visit.
When it occurs, some restrictions may still be in place. For instance, wearing a mask and social distancing.
Also, because bars and nightclubs are hotbeds of coronavirus due to ventilation systems, they might remain closed or only accept 50 percent of capacity.
How To Plan a Trip to Costa Rica?
Though everything is up in the air, it doesn’t mean preparation for a Costa Rica trip should be delayed. Visitors want to keep track of numbers and phased openings to determine the best places to visit in the country.
For instance, while flights come in to the airport in San Jose, it might be better to avoid the city as it is behind the rest of the country in openings. In fact, travelers might consider landing at the country’s other two international airports to completely avoid the city.
Review the country’s Ministry of Health website for current information on phased openings and focus attention on the yellow zones. This is generally the location for most of the country’s eco-friendly attractions. For instance, walking tours of the Monteverde Cloud Forest still occur but accept smaller groups.
Another location that will be a prime place to visit are the country’s beaches. Those in yellow zones are now open for most of the day, as are any other outdoor areas. This means visitors can enjoy the area as long as they follow Costa Rica’s rules.
The Costa Rican motto is Pura vida — Pure life. Despite the frustrations encountered since the early spring, its citizens and tourist areas are ready to welcome Tourists when the border reopens. Take advantage of this time to prepare a trip that encompasses the beauty and ecological wonders the country provides.