Costa Rica officially opens for tourism August 1

What to expect during your visit to Costa Rica? New travel entry requirements and airport protocols.

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While in other parts of the world the coronavirus pandemic has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands, the Costa Rica government approach to the crisis may be paying off. Several renowned magazines have highlighted Costa Rica as a destination to consider once the Coronavirus crisis is over.
Health Minister, Daniel Salas, announced on June 26th, 2020 that the Central American country will open its borders to foreign tourists on August 1, 2020. Both international airports will resume operations, Juan Santamaría International Airport, near San José, and Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport in Liberia, Guanacaste.

The country will allow tourists from countries that have “controlled transmission” of coronavirus, said Minister Salas. As of today June 30th, the list of countries has not yet been decided.
“We will announce that with more detail in an appropriate moment. It will go hand-in-hand with what other countries, such as European ones, are managing”, stated Mr. Salas
In 2019, Costa Rica welcomed 3.1 million foreign visitors. More than 1.3 million tourists came from the United States, nearly 235,000 from Canada, and more than 500,000 people arrived from Europe.

NEW REQUIREMENTS
• Wearing face masks in public places (mandatory since June 27th )
• Travelers are expected to wear a mask on their flight and in the airport
• Thermal scans upon arrival and symptom checks
• Health declaration card to fill out prior to their trip

AIRPORT PROTOCOLS
• Everyone who enters the airport will be obligated to wear a face mask
• Only traveling passengers will be allowed to enter the airport, and they must pass a temperature check at the entrance.
• Disinfecting carpets will be installed at the airport entrances.
• Clear barriers will separate passengers from the ticket counters.
• Boarding will be conducted in small groups, from the back of the plane to the front.
• Markers will encourage proper distancing in all areas where agglomerations typically form, including at security and baggage claim.

ACTIVE CASES

Since its first reported case on March 6th, 2020, Costa Rica, a country of 5 million people, has 3,130 confirmed cases. 1,366 people have recovered so far, and there have been 15 deaths as of June 29th, 2020. See daily statistics. About half of the coronavirus cases are in the province of San José.

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Click on image for updated COVID-19 chart progression

Since May 1st, the country started to reopen its economy and lifting some COVID-19 restrictions as the number of active infections declined for more than 11 consecutive days.
On May 11th, the country defined the reopening measures by laying out a 4-phase plan that will be carried out between May and August.

Phase 1 (May 16 to May 31)
• National Parks at 50% capacity with previous purchase of tickets online.
• Beaches can open from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. during the week.
• Non-contact sports are fully permitted,
• Hotels of maximum 20 rooms can open at 50% capacity.
• Driving curfew also extended to 10 p.m. on weekdays

Phase 2 (June 1 to June 20)
• All hotels at 50% capacity.
• Restaurants, including on weekends, at 50% capacity.
• Museums at 50% capacity. (Prior ticket purchase is required.)
• Event halls with a maximum of 30 people or 50% capacity, whichever is smaller.
• Gyms and swim schools at 50% capacity (was previously 25%).
• Art academies without physical contact

Phase 3 (June 21 to July 11)
• Stores can open on weekends at 50% capacity
• Cinemas, theaters, and museums open during weekends at 50% capacity
• Places of worship may reopen with a maximum of 75 people.
• Bars may open Monday to Friday at 50% capacity.
• Sporting centers without physical contact may operate at 50% capacity

Phase 4 (July 12 to August 1)
• Places of worship capacity to a maximum of 100 people.
• Beach access hours will be extended

For more details about 4 phase reopening click here

TIPS FOR HEALTHY TRAVEL
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and all other communicable diseases such as flu, colds, etc., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all persons follow respiratory hygiene etiquette measures, including:
– Stay home and avoid travel when you are sick
– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
– If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
– Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean your hands
– Always wear socks when traveling, so if you need to remove your footwear for TSA screening you are not barefoot
– Place items from your pockets inside your carry-on bag before arriving at the TSA screening checkpoint to reduce your contact with surfaces and screening bins

FLIGHT OPERATIONS

Some of the major airline carriers have announced limited flights to the country in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here is the latest information for flights to/from Juan Santamaría International Airport. Click Here

Delta Airlines will resume operations from Atlanta on August 1st
United Airlines is continuing its Houston/SJO on August 1st
American Airlines will resume operations from Miami on August 5th
JetBlue will resume operations from Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale on August 1st
Spirit Airlines will resume operations from Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale on August 1st
Southwest has suspended flights to Costa Rica until 2021.
Air Canada will resume operations in September

BEST TRAVEL DESTINATION

As of today, and due to the low number of cases and fatalities, Costa Rica is positioning as one of the safest countries in the world to visit after the crisis. Multiple renowned international media such as Lonely Planet, The Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Matador Network, Canadian Traveler, Profession Voyages, Forbes, among others, have highlighted Costa Rica as a destination to consider once the Coronavirus crisis is over.
María Amalia Revelo, Minister of Tourism of Costa Rica stated: ‘Costa Rica has earned a decades-long reputation in the world as a favorite tourist destination, and this reputation must be taken care of as we plan how to reactivate our tourism sector to get it out of this unprecedented crisis’.
Costa Rica is the world leader in nature tourism and the second in adventure tourism, according to the World Economic Forum.

VACATION PLANNING FOR 2021?

Travelers nowadays are seeking for flexible travel policies in the occurrence of a possible second wave of COVID-19. They do not want to be penalized for a possible cancelation and at the same time want to take advantage of the lowest rates airlines and hotels are offering.

Even though the amount of tourism for 2020 is uncertain, the travel industry is optimistic for travel to resume in 2021 or even before during the holidays.

Costa Rica Dream Adventures (CRDA) understands that for travelers, it is no longer easy to decide on their next vacation, but today anticipating a dream trip could be highly beneficial. A 3 to 5-hour flight from the U.S. can take anxious vacationers to paradise and reconnect with nature, after months of uncertainty and stress.

The U.S. based Tour Operator that sells exclusively Costa Rica custom vacations, is offering NO CHANGE FEES on all their travel packages. Travelers can change their travel dates up to 30 days before departure.
Payment plans have also changed. Clients will have the option of submitting a deposit and pay the final balance due 35 days before departure. Monthly installment payment plans are also available.

All Costa Rica Dream Adventures Vacation Packages are fully customizable and 2021 rates are now available for future travel plans. CRDA has a second office in San Jose, Costa Rica that offers 24/7 in-country travel assistance. Travelers can feel safe to know there will be always someone to reach out for assistance.

Without a doubt, Costa Rica is a great destination to visit after the crisis. Find balance, reconnect with nature, relax on the beach, Costa Rica will welcome you with open arms and the warmth and kindness of our people.

We’re ready when you are!