Sunday 26 September 2021

All you need to know about Costa Rica’s reopening of airports to tourists

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(QCOSTARICA) Starting tomorrow, Saturday, August 1, the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) will be able to receive tourists from Canada, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK).

Those who enter through this terminal must comply with a sanitary protocol created jointly between the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) and the airport manager, Aeris (a private company) to contain the spread of contagion due to COVID-19.

The reopening of the air terminal will – initially – allow 5 weekly flights.

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On Thursday, July 30, the European Union Council update the list of countries authorized for passenger flights and transfers. Costa Rica is not on the list.

Although, most of the Spanish language media is reporting that, while Costa Rica can receive flights from the EU, flights are not authorized from our country.

However, that is not the case, the fact that Costa Rica is excluded from the authorized list, it only means that Costa Rican nationals are not authorized to enter the EU: European Union citizens and their family members, long-term EU residents and their family members, travelers with an essential function or need, can fly from the San Jose airport to Schengen area country.

In the coming days. Spain and Germany are the only two options. Direct flights between Costa Rica and Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands countries are expected to resume in the coming months. Find the COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map here for information on travel requirements around the world.

At the San Jose airport

  • The use of a facemask or shield is mandatory throughout the airport.
  • Disinfecting mats have been installed at the entrances to the terminal.
  • Hand washing stations have been installed at key points.
  • Sanitizing stations can be found in all common areas of the airport.
  • The frequency of cleaning and disinfection in high traffic areas (service counters, door handles, armrests, handrails, water sources, elevators, etc.) has been increased.
  • There will be a constant cleaning and disinfection of luggage trays and trolleys in terminals, pay stations in parking lots, internal buses, self-check kiosks, toilets and baby changers.

What should you consider when entering the country?

  • Tourists entering Costa Rica from destinations such as Canada, the United Kingdom and the EU must have a PCR test and a negative result 48 hours before the trip.
  • Acquire travel insurance that covers quarantine accommodation and medical expenses for acute illness. This insurance can only be purchased by the State insurer INS. The cost varies depending on the length of stay (maximum 52 weeks), age and health factors.
  • The airlines must inform passengers, with final destination Costa Rica and prior to arrival in the country, that they must complete the form known as the Health Pass, as well as the mandatory use of masks during their passage through the terminal.
  • Body temperature measurements will be carried out on all passengers and must pass through disinfecting mats.
  • Once the immigration process is complete, signs are available to distance the travel bubbles around the baggage carousels until continuing with the Customs and the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE) processes.

On leaving the country?

  • The airlines will provide online checking facilities to make processes more efficient.
  • Arrival time at the airport at least 3 hours before departure time or 4 hours for long-haul flights.
  • Only passengers will be allowed to enter the departures hall of the international terminal.
  • The use of masks is mandatory.
  • Temperature measurements, with thermal cameras, will be made at the access bridges to the departures hall.
  • once the passenger enters the departures hall, they will carry out the airline check-in process at self-check kiosks or at the passenger service counters. If the passenger carried out his process online (and does not have checked luggage), they will go directly to the Immigration process.
  • At boarding gates the use of the seats will be limited; In case of travel bubbles, they can use all the seats.
  • The airline will establish procedures to organize the boarding process of small groups (10 passengers), starting with passengers at the rear of the plane. Passengers waiting to board should do so sitting in the boarding room.


  • Product tastings or samples will not be allowed in the commercial establishments inside the terminal.
  • Line areas will be demarcated with distances of 1.8 meters between each person.
  • The use of contactless cards will be promoted to make the corresponding payments.
  • The common areas must be at 50% of their capacity, respecting distancing.

Land and sea borders remain restricted to foreigners

While the air borders in San Jose and at the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia, Guanacaste, are authorized to receive foreigners, such is not the case at the land and sea borders.

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At the land borders with Nicaragua and Panama and sea borders, the regulation since March allows only the entry of Costa Rican nationals and legal residents of Costa Rica (if they did not leave after March 24).


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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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