Costa Rica has announced that it will be reopening its tourist industry to select countries in August, and while not allowed through the doors just yet, the Central American country has said Canadians can expect to be added to the list soon enough.
A longtime destination for tourists and adventurers looking to explore the rich culture and incredibly diverse environment — the country contains about 5% of the world’s animal species — the nation relies heavily on tourism, which made a total contribution of 13.11% to the nation’s GDP, according to Statista.
As of August 1, the country says it will be allowing those departing from select European Union countries to visit. Travellers boarding in Frankfurt, Germany, and Madrid, Spain, will be allowed to enter through Juan Santamaría International Airport first.
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Tourists have been barred from entering the country since March 18.
“Travel originating in the UK and Canada is also authorized in the coming months,” the country said.
Visitors will be required to meet a series of requirements before entering Costa Rica, including passing a COVID-19 screening within 48 hours of travel, completion of official paperwork being made available in multiple languages, and the purchase of travel insurance that covers both medical expenses and accommodation in case of quarantine.
“The recovery of the sector will be carried out with the utmost prudence and in accordance with strict sanitary protocols, always with the supreme conviction of ensuring the health and life of people,” said President Carlos Alvarado in a Spanish press release.
After landing in the country, travellers will be required to carry facial protection and comply with airport protocols, physically distance from others, and follow any other sanitary instructions.
This is by no means a return to normal for the tourism industry in the country.
“This first stage of opening to international flights includes less than 1% of the volume of flights the country received before the COVID-19 pandemic (552 weekly),” said Health Minister Daniel Salas in the release.
From August 1, visiting hours at beaches located in areas on “yellow alert” will be extended from 5 am to 2:30 pm to allow for surfing.
On August 1, tours with outdoor activities will be allowed. This means hiking, trekking, canopy, cable cars, raft rides, water recreation, and aerial recreation will all be able to reopen with restrictions.
No firm date has been set for when the country will open to Canadians, and Ottawa continues to maintain a travel advisory for the region. Besides the ongoing ban on non-essential global travel in place since March, the Government of Canada advises a high degree of caution when travelling to Costa Rica due to crime.