If your plans to travel to Costa Rica have been put on hold due to the coronavirus, you’re not alone. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Latin America, Costa Rica is currently dealing with a second wave of COVID-19. The country has a four-phase re-opening plan and is currently in Phase III. Phase III involves expanding hours for public areas and businesses, while increasing personal protective standards.
Costa Rica is partially closed to reduce the spread of the virus both inside its borders and in other countries. The government is focused on reviving some tourism, so on August 1st, some international travel will be permitted. Visitors from countries that have controlled the virus within their borders will be allowed to enter Costa Rica. No list of countries has been released yet, however.
Currently, only Costa Rican residents who departed the country prior to March 24th, minors who are children of Costa Rican citizens, and diplomats are permitted to enter the country. Anyone who enters the country must take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and quarantine for 14 days.
Exit restrictions are dependent on the rules of the country you are returning to. Be aware that if you leave Costa Rica, you will not be able to return until travel restrictions have been lifted. Tourists who arrived prior to December 17th, 2019 have had their visas extended until November 18th, 2020.
As of July 12th, 2020, Costa Rica has 6,845 cases of the coronavirus. Though cases have increased dramatically, Costa Rica is moving ahead with its reopening plan.
Phase III began on June 27th. The Costa Rican government has expanded hours for many public locations to increase morale. To allow for more activity, masks are now required in many public places.
All visitors must be masked at the following locations:
Movie theatres and cinemas
Health care centers, nursing homes, and rehab centers
At restaurants, employees must be masked, but diners do not need to wear masks.
Beaches will now be open from 5am to 9:30am on weekdays and weekends. Currently, 27 national parks are open at 50% capacity. Museums, cinemas, and theatres can operate at 50% capacity, using pre-purchased tickets. Stores, no-contact sports, and socially distanced art events may operate at 50% capacity. Originally, bars were to be open during the week, but this part of Phase III has been delayed.
Churches are limited to 75 attendees, with singing prohibited.
Until July 19th, only 20% of license plates may drive each day during the week for essential services, restricted by license number, and only 50% of license plates may drive on the weekends, between the hours of 5am to 5pm.
After July 19th, essential workers or individuals with emergencies may drive between 5am and 10pm Monday to Friday and 5am to 7pm on weekends.
The Costa Rican government has made small changes to their reopening plan and slightly delayed some openings. Areas under alerta naranja, Orange Alert, will function under their own, canton-specific rules.
A date has not yet been set for Phase IV to begin, but locals are hopeful that transmission rates will drop, allowing the government to set a date.
If you have plans to vacation in Costa Rica, you will most likely need to reschedule your trip for another time. For the most up-to-date information on Costa Rica’s COVID-19 reopening plan, refer to the U.S. Embassy of Costa Rica’s website.