Starting Monday, May 18, twelve national parks will reopen, but limited to operating at 50% capacity, and under new dynamics to prevent the spread of covid-19, and as part of the gradual reactivation of economic activities.
The reopening of parks will be done simultaneously with hotels of not more than 20 rooms adjacent to natural attractions, as part of the roadmap announced the previous week by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) to reactivate the activity nationwide.
The Minister of Tourism, María Amalia Revelo, announced that, unlike previous internal tourism campaigns, when the private sector offered promotional packages, the ICT will now contribute with raffles, activations and prizes aimed at reducing prices.
The parks that will open from the 18th are:
- Irazú Volcano National Park
- Poás Volcano National Park.
- Guayabo national monument.
- Braulio Carrillo National Park.
- Carara National Park (you can cross the beach but NOT stay on it).
- Corcovado National Park (you can cross the beach but NOT stay on it).
- Manuel Antonio National Park (you can cross the beach but NOT stay on it).
- Cahuita National Park (you can cross the beach but NOT stay on it).
- Arenal Volcano National Park.
- Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park.
- Tapantí National Park (Massif of Death).
- Los Quetzales National Park.
Also opening on Monday the 18th is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, privately owned but, being a site of major tourist attraction, it was included among the openings.
Starting June 1, another 16 national parks will open, including those with beaches.
Outside of 28 national parks, Costa Rica is home to other visitation points for scientific and tourist reasons, including 58 wildlife refuges, 32 protected areas, 15 swampy wetlands, eleven forest reserves, and eight biological reserves.
The reopening, however, comes with new sanitary rules and strict protocols reconciled between the Minae, ICT and Health, among them are:
- The purchase of tickets to enter the parks will be made mainly with debit or credit card on site. No cash.
- As not all the parks are capable of offering a prior reservation service, Rodríguez clarified that each one will have social distancing measures between visitors when buying tickets on the site.
- Some of the common areas will be kept closed to avoid crowds and protect the physical distance between hikers.
- In all parks, for example, it will be prohibited to use common areas such as ranchos, lunch areas, depopulated forest areas, camping areas; as well as viewpoints and trails that imply a long stay.
- Visitor centers, souvenir shops, coffee shops and showrooms will remain closed.
- In the case of parks with beaches, visitors can move through the beach. Under no circumstances will visitors be able to extend their stay on the beach to sunbathe, eat, sleep or any other activity that implies being in the sand.
- Parking areas will have one parking space between vehicles.
Authorities asked the population to be vigilant in the next few days to announcements and additional details planned by each of these parks.