Some would say that summertime isn’t the best time to visit Costa Rica, and they’re not exactly wrong. Late summer happens to be the height of the rainy season in this gorgeously lush Caribbean country, so waiting until the beginning of the dry season may seem like the most logical option. What’s more, Costa Rica is currently suffering from an upsurge in COVID-19 cases; the Center for Disease Control has issued a Level 4 warning for the country, and is currently discouraging Americans from travelling there unless absolutely necessary.
However, there’s hope yet for a summer getaway this year. With the release of vaccines that will ideally stop the spread of the virus, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that things could start looking up in the next several months. With that in mind, there are still plenty of reasons to plan for a trip this summer, even if COVID hasn’t totally receded into the background by then.
Social distancing has become the norm in the past year thanks to COVID, with private establishments and public spaces all instituting new protocols that limit maximum capacity and keep people at least six feet apart at all times. Naturally, Costa Rica has implemented similar guidelines as well: for January 4-17, 2021, national parks must limit capacity to 50 percent, bars and casinos to 25 percent, and beaches will only be open from 5:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
But even in spite of these lowered capacities, you’ll be happy to know that less people travel to Costa Rica in the summer anyway because of the rain and increased humidity. This means that from a social distancing standpoint, summer is the optimal time to travel to Costa Rica.
One expected post-COVID travel trend is an increasing interest in rural destinations. Search data shows that almost 90 percent of all travel searches from last year are for trips to rural areas. Fortunately, Costa Rica has been investing in rural ecotourism development for over 50 years, making it a prime travel spot in a post-COVID world.
But these spacious areas offer more than increased opportunities for solitude and social distancing; travelers will be able to get an authentic, community-oriented approach to learning more about the country, complete with cultural traditions, small artisanal mementos, and more individualized attention. After a year of literally keeping everyone at arm’s length, this opportunity for increased intimacy is all too appealing.
With 45 percent of travelers citing enhanced cleaning as one of their top deciding factors for travel in the coming year, tourist hot spots like Costa Rica are likely to take note. For travelers, this means increased industry standards for cleanliness across the board, as they won’t flock to any place who doesn’t take hygiene seriously in a world that’s still emerging from a pivotal pandemic.