(QCOSTARICA) Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado; and the ministers of Health, Daniel Salas; and Public Safety, Michael Soto, issued an Executive Decree this Wednesday to allow tourists who want to travel to Costa Rica to use an insurance policy for COVID-19 issued abroad, that covers hospitalization and lodging, in case of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 during their stay in the country.
As announced by Casa Presidencial Wednesday tonight, the executive decree has already been published in the Official Gazette and is currently in force.
Wednesday’s decree reforms the executive decree of July 31, 2020, which established as a requirement to travel to Costa Rica to have travel insurance offered by one of the insurers authorized by the General Superintendence of Insurance (Sugese).
With the reform, the rule now states that those tourists with current insurance with international coverage that covers medical expenses generated by the COVID-19 disease will be allowed to enter, covering medical expenses equivalent to the costs of hospitalization and minimum coverage of 14 days for lodging expenses.
In the event that the insurance with international coverage does not meet any of these requirements, the foreign person must purchase local travel insurance, which currently is only offered by the State insurer, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS), whose high cost (from US$275 to US$965 dollars) unleashed a wave of criticism from the tourist industry and potential foreign tourists, who on social media and letters to the Q said they considered the policy “taking of advantage of tourists” would look to other destinations.
The decree also indicates that it will be the function of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) to verify compliance with the minimum conditions of tourist’s international insurance coverage.
The ICT said the insurance policy purchased abroad should be for at least US$50,000 dollars for medical expenses and US$2,000 for lodging.
With this decree, ends the quarrel between the tourism sector and the Government over the issue of insurance for tourists.
Costa Rica, on August 1, reopened its air borders to allow the arrival of international tourists who are required, in addition to the insurance, a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of travel, and fill out the online epidemiological form (Health Pass).
Costa Ricans and residents do not need the insurance coverage or COVID-19 test to enter the country.
At the moment, tourists arriving in Costa Rica can only do so from on commercial or private flights from Canada, the European Union (EU), or the United Kingdom (UK).
Citizens or residents from countries other than Canada, the EU (Schengen visa countries) or the UK can enter Costa Rica provided they have spent at least 14 days in one of the foregoing countries, and have the insurance and coronavirus test.
For example, a U.S. citizen can travel to one of the authorized countries, prove a minimum 14-day stay (passport stamps) and then travel to Costa Rica.
The list of authorized countries will be reviewed by the Ministry of Health every two weeks, and countries may be added or removed depending on the behavior of the pandemic in those places.