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COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Contingency Planning

Update September 12, 2020

by Alejandro Zúñiga, Tico Times


Costa Rica on Thursday announced that residents of eight more U.S. states will be welcomed as tourists.

As of September 15, residents of the following states will be allowed to visit Costa Rica: Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan and Rhode Island.


On October 1, California will be added to the authorized list.


Here is the complete list of authorized U.S. states:

          As of September 1: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, or Virginia (and Washington, D.C.)

          As of September 15: Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan and Rhode Island.

          As of October 1: California.


According to Gustavo Segura, Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, the country evaluates a state’s new coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks as the primary deciding factor into whether to allow its residents.


No COVID-19 cases correspond to international tourists, Segura said. The country first opened its borders for international flights on August 1.


Update August 27, 2020

Costa Rica expands list of authorized states for U.S. tourists, relaxes COVID test requirement

by Alejandro Zúñiga, Tico Times


Costa Rica has expanded the list of U.S. states from which it will welcome tourists in September, Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura announced Thursday. At the same time, Costa Rica will relax some of the requirements for arriving visitors.


Starting September 1, Costa Rica will allow tourists from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. These two states and the capital are added to the following, previously announced states: New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut.  As of September 15, the list will be further expanded with Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Colorado.


“All of these states have an epidemiological condition similar or better than Costa Rica,” Segura said. “The reopening for international tourism continues to be very gradual.”

More leeway for arriving tourists

Tourists visiting Costa Rica still need to present the results of a negative PCR coronavirus test. However, starting in September, the sample for the test can be taken up to 72 hours before the flight — 24 hours longer than currently allowed. To prove their state of residency, U.S. tourists will be allowed to use a State ID card or their driver’s license. This requirement is waived for minors traveling with a parent.


Finally, starting next month, visitors can arrive via a flight with a layover in a non-authorized location. For instance, a Colorado resident could fly from Denver to Houston to Costa Rica, as long as she doesn’t leave the airport in Texas.

Update August 19, 2020

From TicoTimes- Costa Rica will welcome tourists from select U.S. states starting in September, the Tourism Board announced Wednesday.

Residents of the following states will be permitted to enter Costa Rica as tourists: New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut.

This will represent five flights per week — less than 5% of pre-pandemic volume — with airlines offering limited routes to Juan Santamaría International Airport near San José and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport near Liberia, Guanacaste.

“We are taking very gradual and carefully analyzed steps in the direction of the revitalization of tourism that is very necessary for the protection of the social progress that Costa Rica has achieved through this industry,” said Gustavo Segura, Tourism Minister.

Costa Rica’s requirements for entry for U.S. tourists:

All people entering Costa Rica must complete the digital epidemiological form. This is known as the “Health Pass” or “Pase de Salud.” Click here for a link to the form.

Tourists must obtain a negative PCR-RT coronavirus test. The sample for this test must have been taken at most 48 hours before the flight to Costa Rica.

Tourists must purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19. This policy can be international or purchased from Costa Rican insurers.

Tourists from the United States must demonstrate, via their driver’s license, that they live in one of the authorized states.

Two Costa Rican companies sell pre-approved travel insurance plans: The National Insurance Institute (INS) and Sagicor. Tourists opting for a foreign policy must demonstrate proof (in English or Spanish) that their policy:

Is valid throughout the planned visit to Costa Rica.

Covers medical expenses in cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000 (fifty thousand United States dollars).

Includes a minimum coverage of $2,000 for expenses of extended lodging due to the pandemic.

Update August 18, 2020

Costa Rica has expanded the list of approved countries for tourist entries to 44 countries.  At the moment, the U.S. is not approved.  We are watching for these updates.  When the U.S. is approved, the following protocols will be in effect:

Tourists must meet the following requirements in order to enter Costa Rica:

They must come via air directly from one of the 44 authorized countries, and must have remained in an authorized country for 14 days before the flight to Costa Rica. They must purchase a valid travel insurance plan, either through a Costa Rican insurer or foreign provider. (Note: Many of these insurance providers require the policy be purchased 30 days prior to arrival.)

They must provide proof of a negative PCR-RT coronavirus test from a sample taken within 48 hours of the flight.

Update July 23, 2020

Costa Rica will open its borders to foreign tourists from the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada starting August 1, 2020.

Costa Rica also announced measures to which tourists must adhere if they visit the country.

     1     Tourists must complete and present an epidemiological form.

     2     Tourists must present proof of a negative coronavirus test received within 48 hours of their arrival to Costa Rica.

     3     Tourists must acquire travel insurance that covers medical care or an unexpected extended hotel stay.

     4     Tourists must follow all airport and local health protocols.


No word on opening dates for U.S. visitors.

Update July 9, 2020

The border will remain closed until August 1, 2020.

Update June 15, 2020

The AirPort in San Jose is preparing for reopening, which is scheduled for June 30, 2020.  Here is the TicoTimes article.


Update June 3, 2020

Costa Rica has extended its entry restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic until June 30.


Update May 12, 2020

Costa Rica’s borders remain closed to foreign tourists until June 15, 2020.


Parks are re-opening slowly as the new case count has dropped. The following national parks will open Saturday, May 16 for locals:

          Irazú Volcano National Park

          Poás Volcano National Park

          Guayabo National Monument

          Braulio Carrillo National Park

          Carara National Park

          Corcovado National Park

          Manuel Antonio National Park

          Cahuita National Park

          Arenal Volcano National Park

          Rincón de la Vieja National Park

          Los Quetzales National Park

          Tapantí National Park

In addition, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has been authorized to reopen. While Monteverde is a private reserve, it’s a “site of strong tourist visitation,” SINAC said, and critical to the local economy.

Update 4.28.20

The curve has turned.Costa Rica reports 705 cases, 16 are currently hospitalized and six fatalities.  The number of new cases reported began dropping on April 10.   The border remains closed to tourists until May 15. President Alvarado said authorities will “keep monitoring” the progression of the coronavirus pandemic and will announce new changes on May 11. “We know there is a need to economically reactivate the country,” President Alvarado said.

Update: 4.15.20

Costa Rica reports 626 cases, 16 hospitalized and four fatalities.  The number of new cases reported began dropping on April 10.  The borders remain closed until the end of April.

The country's quick action to implement travel and vehicle restrictions, closing off all public areas and most nonessential businesses will allow Costa Rica to come out of this faster than most other destinations.  Tourism is the number one industry in Costa Rica and its citizens and government understand the importance of being responsible now so tourists can safely return as soon as possible.  Costa Rica's low-density population, warm weather, safe and responsible tour operators and resorts are all reasons why we will emerge from this crisis as the premier Tropical destination for tourism


We hope the country will reopen its borders on May 1st, and that we will start seeing regularly scheduled flights by mid-June or earlier.  Of course, Costa Rica tourism is subject to the recovery in the U.S so we need to see how the situation unfolds.  Costa Rica will be safe and ready to receive travelers immediately when things start to normalize.   

Update: 4.6.20

Costa Rica has declared a State of Emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Carlos Alvarado announced 3.16.20.

The country will shut down its borders to foreigners and non-residents starting 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. The restriction applies to the country’s ports of entry via land, air or sea.  Starting on 3.19.20, citizens and residents who arrive in Costa Rica will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine, President Alvarado said.


Costa Rica has extended its entry restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic until April 30.


Costa Rica has 467 confirmed cases of COVID-19, two elderly adults have died. The number of new cases reported started decreasing on 4.10.20.


The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica is gauging interest from U.S. citizens who may require a repatriation flight home.  Most airlines have suspended service to Costa Rica, and Delta Airlines’ last confirmed flight until May 2 is 3.31.20. The U.S. Embassy has been told that flight is full.  The U.S. Embassy is working with airlines to gauge demand for either additional commercial flights or U.S. government-organized flights if no commercial flights are available,” it said in an alert to citizens.  If you are a U.S. citizen interested in being added to a list for any potential U.S. government-organized flight, the Embassy asks that you use this link to an on-line form.




If you have already booked your dates (with a reservation agreement we have sent to you (signed or unsigned by you):

If these travel restrictions force you to postpone or reschedule your tip, here are the relevant policies and best practices on how to prepare:


Here is our Covid-19 policy.  

CANCELLATIONS/RESCHEDULES -

Reschedules: If your arrival date is March 18, 2020 to April 18, 2020, we will gladly reschedule your stay at no charge (new dates are subject to availability). We will gladly reschedule your stay at no charge if you change your original reservation six months or more before your arrival date (new dates are subject to availability). The fee to reschedule is $700 if you change dates between six months & 75 days prior to arrival. Reschedules made fewer than 75 days prior to occupancy are subject to a non-refundable fee of $1700. We urge you to choose travel insurance that will reimburse these expenses!


Cancellations: No refunds are provided for trips offered through charities.


(Note: We will waive any rescheduling fees that are NOT reimbursed via the insurance policy.  To be eligible for the waiver, you agree to purchase the policy, submit your claim with a note from your physician noting your travel was medically restricted and file any appeals using the recommended language below.)

  

(Note: We recommend trip interruption insurance policies that will reimburse your rescheduling or cancellation costs, e.g. flight, lodging and tour rescheduling costs. Nationwide has one).  This is only available to purchase 30 or more days prior to your arrival.   To learn more, send us an email.


AIG TravelGuard offers a competing program.


Note: I have spoken at length with an insurance attorney experienced with insurance claims.  He reviewed the Nationwide policy and reports that the company should reimburse policy holders for expenses incurred for trip cancellation under their policy. He suggests the following language be used when you submit the claim.  You should attach proof of expenses that equal the amount covered/claimed.  It is also advisable that you obtain a letter from your physician dated prior to your scheduled departure date restricting you from travel for "medically imposed restrictions as certified by a Physician at the time of Loss preventing Your continued participation in the Trip."


In the event they deny your claim (as some insurance companies do as a routine matter), he has drafted an appeal letter, which you are welcome to use if needed.  Once you have arranged for the insurance coverage, contact us and we'll help you choose alternate dates.


Note: In order to keep your reservation "alive" (and allow you to reschedule), all outstanding invoices must be paid in full.


If you have a charity-issued certificate and have NOT booked your trip with us:

We will work with you to extend the validity date beyond its published expiration date.  We have established a list of certificate holders who want to extend their validity dates.  Please email us and let us know that you want to be added to that list.  When the dust settles we will contact you to reschedule your trip. Note: We will extend your certificate's validity date by an additional 100 days due to the COVID closure.

(Note: If you don't inform us we cannot ensure a future date is available.)