Since Costa Rica closed their borders mid March, Tamarindo went from a booming surf town gearing up for the unprecedented “Semana Santa” busiest week of the year to a ghost town in the course of a few days. These Covid times have certainly offset everyone’s plans and been a time of reflection and rebirth for everyone. We’ve taken the down time to beefed up our YouTube Channel, remodeled the Pueblo Dorado with an awesome communal kitchen, and put our Online Store on our website with some killer products.
As many know, Costa Rica’s largest industry is tourism. If you’ve ever been here and seen the miles of breathtaking beaches, the perfectly groomed waves, the picturesque volcanoes, the lush green cloud forests, the exotic fauna, etc, you understand why tourism comprises 8.2% of Costa Rica’s GDP.
Today, Sept 1st, 2020 marks a landmark day that Costa Rica will start the gradual re-opening to the United States. Why is the United States important for Costa Rica’s economy? In 2019 more than 1.3 million tourists came to Costa Rica from the United States, more than any other country by far. In fact, 53% of international arrivals by air were from the United States according to the Costa Rica Tourism Board. On average, U.S. tourists stay in the Costa Rica for 12.6 nights, spending $172 per day per person. Citing data from the Costa Rica Tourism Board, 74% passengers arriving at Liberia International Airport (the closest airport to Tamarindo) in 2019 came from the United States. Aside from the USA, 44 countries, including the United Kingdom, the European Union and Canada are also on the approved list for entry.
- As of September 1: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, or Virginia (and Washington, D.C.)
- As of September 15: Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan and Rhode Island.
- As of October 1: California and Ohio
While this is encouraging news, it will not be an open door policy with the same quantity of flights as before. The Costa Rica government has stated that a gradual re-opening is key to controlling the spread of COVID.
Here’s what you’ll need in addition to your plane ticket to enter Costa Rica.
- All people entering Costa Rica must complete the digital epidemiological form. This is known as the “Health Pass” or “Pase de Salud.” Click here for a link to the form.
- Tourists must obtain a negative PCR coronavirus test. The sample for this test must have been taken at most 72 hours before the flight to Costa Rica.
- Tourists must purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19. This policy can be international or purchased from Costa Rican insurers.
- Tourists from the United States must demonstrate, via their driver’s license or State ID, that they live in one of the authorized states.
What is Costa Rica like during these COVID times? What’s open? What’s Closed?
Most common tourist attractions are allowed to operate normally. This includes all open-air activities, such as hiking, ziplining, horseback riding, snorkeling, etc.
Costa Rica’s beaches are open every day from 5 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Most national parks are open. Hotels and other forms of accommodation can operate at 100% capacity. Restaurants can operate at up to 50% capacity.
All essential services, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, health clinics, etc. are operating normally.
Bars and nightclubs can’t operate, but restaurants that serve alcohol can. Casinos remain closed.
Mass-gathering events in general remain suspended, though there are exceptions for religious gatherings (and some others) that maintain proper physical distancing.
You must wear a mask when inside any public establishment. Exceptions include: While eating at a restaurant and while in your own residence/hotel room. Infants and people with certain disabilities are also exempted. If you do not have a mask, you may be denied entry into an establishment.
If you’re looking to start planning your trip, please contact us at 1-888-318-7873 and we’ll start planning.