Saturday 8 May 2021

Americans can after all arrive in Costa Rica starting August 1, but they really, really have to want to

Rules for the entry of international tourists from non-authorized countries differ from those of authorized countries (Canada, EU and UK) legal residents of Costa Rica

(Rico’s TICO BULL) As I’ve expressed it before, “everything simple made difficult” is the Costa Rican Way of things. Especially when it comes to central government and its agencies; one day one says one thing, a few days later another says something else or explains what the one said that really meant this, not that, or the other.

Ready to receive travelers at the Juan Santamaria international airport in San Jose, Costa Rica

Today, July 29, we are facing, once again, one of those “Costa Rican Way” moments. But this one doesn’t just affect the we here in paradise, who are used to this, almost, but the outside world that who knows what they think of us.

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Last week, the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, announced that starting August 1 the San Jose and Liberia airports will be open to international tourists, but only from Canada, the EU, and UK.

A day earlier, the Aeris Holdings, the manager of the San Jose (SJO) airport, though not a government agency, rather a private company operating under concession, said the airport was ready to receive Americans (U.S. citizens).

I got a lot of flack on social networks for my post, “San Jose Airport ready to receive tourists from the US, Canada and Europe“, including several emails, demanding I delete the post. Only if they had taken the time to read the actual post. Oh well.

On Tuesday, the same minister of Tourism that last week announced that Americans were not welcome, said, well they and others from non-authorized countries, now can enter Costa Rica, but under different rules from those of authorized countries.

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ONE: Foreigners (tourist and not resident or citizen of authorized countries) must have stayed a minimum of 14 days and not have had any symptoms of the coronavirus in one of the authorized countries: Canada; the UK: England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; and the European Union (Schengen area countries): Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

No stopovers, layovers, hey nice to see you, I’m out of here. You really have to go there with the intention to stay for the min of 14 days.

But this requirement is not so easy for Americans:

  • Until July 31 the EU does not allow entry to Americans. That could change on the next review expected on August 1.
  • Canada does not allow American tourists, but it will allow Americans who are traveling for a purpose other than tourism.
  • Canada has a 14-day quarantine for all entries. Besides, Air Canada and WestJet (for now) don’t have plans to fly to Costa Rica until mid-September. Lots of time to quarantine.

TWO: Foreigners (does not apply to legal foreigner residents of Costa Rica) are required to provide a PCR COVID-19 test and have a negative result 48 hours before coming.

THREE: Foreigners (does not apply to legal foreigner residents of Costa Rica*) are required to purchase travel insurance from the State insurer. They can have other insurance, great, but still need to buy the INS policy. The example of cost is US$280 for a 30-year-old passenger who will visit Costa Rica for two weeks. The cost will vary according to the passenger’s health conditions (their age, for example) and days of stay, among other things. You can bet that the expected 90 days for visitors will no longer be, most likely the length of stay will be tied to the insurance purchased and return date.

That is, I don’t believe you can get away with buying a 7 days insurance policy when your return date is 30 or 60 days away.

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That is all for now. Stay tuned to this bat channel for any changes.

Thank you for listening.

Stay at home. Stay healthy. Stay safe.


1. Having a house, a business, family, or just spend a lot of time in Costa Rica does not make you a foreigner resident, unless you hold legal residency in Costa Rica, you are still a tourist.

2. I am using the example of an American tourist, but the new rule applies to all tourists from a non-authorized country

3. I am assuming the traveler qualifies with all the regular rules of travel and immigration, ie passport in good order and has their travel out of the country.


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We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"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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