Thursday 23 September 2021

Is travel to Costa Rica based on citizenship or destination?

The government has so far not been clear on this

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Rico’s Tico Bull – On Thursday, at the daily noon presser, the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, announced that international air travel will be allowed starting August 1, 2020.

Strange to see no airplanes at the gates of the San Jose (SJO) airport

In typical, Costa Rica fashion, when a date is announced, it is in effect at 11:59 pm on the day. Thus, for all practical purposes, as confirmed by Civil Aviation, air travel will resume on August 2, with the arrival of Lufthansa from Frankfurt, Germany.

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The measures for the reopening of air travel to Costa Rica will be as follows:

  • For now, only commercial flights from the following destinations are allowed: Canada, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK)
  • For the start, there will be only up to five flights per week allowed from those destinations.
  • The United States is excluded from the list of flights allowed into the country until further notice. The main reason for excluding the United States, for now, is the 4 million confirmed cases and 144,00 deaths as of today, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
  • The Tourism Board (ICT) along with the Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the situation to gradually open to other destinations.
  • International travelers will be required (as in mandatory) to provide a negative result COVID-19 test 48 hours prior to travel to Costa Rica,  complete the epidemiology form prior to arrival, and Travel Insurance in case the traveler is infected by COVID to cover medical costs to deal with the infection and or quarantine and travel costs.
  • On arrival at the airport, passengers must wear a mask, will pass through a sanitizing mat, have their temperature taken automatically by camera and maintain social distancing in the immigration control line. The SJO airport has produced a video explaining this process.

All good so far. Pretty straight forward. Get tested, have insurance, follow the protocols and enjoy Costa Rica.

In the announcement, the government said the measures are applicable to ‘commercial’ flights and ‘destinations’. The government did not mention if people from the countries excluded, as the U.S., can travel through the countries that are permitted.

focusing on the two takeaways: ‘commercial flights’ and ‘from destinations’, does that mean that U.S. citizens can travel to Costa Rica boarding a flight from one of the allowed destinations?

What of private flights?

This is a developing story. I have sent emails to Casa Presidencial and the ICT (Tourism Board) for clarity on this.

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I don’t expect a prompt reply, if at all. But I think this a point that has to be made clear the sooner the better, before August 1 and not in typical Costa Rican fashion, deal with it if and when the situation arises.

What is your opinion? Send me an email or reply to my Twitter or the Q’s official Facebook page.


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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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