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COVID Update – Costa Rica to Welcome Back US Tourists! 

The Costa Rican government has just released details on its latest wave of border openings and the news is looking GOOD for US tourists! The country’s Tourism Minister announced that US tourists will be welcomed back to Costa Rica as of 1st September – however, restrictions do apply.

Read on to find out more!

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The world’s most beloved eco-tourism and adventure hub, Costa Rica is internationally praised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic

PHOTO TAGLINE: The world’s most beloved eco-tourism and adventure hub, Costa Rica is internationally praised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic

Adding to the ever-growing list of allowed tourists (namely citizens and residents of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Uruguay, and several Asian countries) Costa Rica is preparing to welcome back US tourists in September, as long as they are from 6 select States.

They are:

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Vermont

Tourists will be required to show their valid driver’s license to prove residency (or government-issued ID equivalent) and authorities will also need license-plate verification. According to the government, these measures are needed to ensure only genuine residents of States with (currently) the lowest COVID infection rate are allowed entry into the country.

*We’re currently waiting on a go-ahead to also be given to residents of Colorado, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania – we hope this will be announced shortly

All US tourists wishing to travel to Costa Rica will have to:

  • Fill in an online health form – you can select to view it in English from the drop-down menu on the top, RHS. The form is to be filled out no sooner than 48hr before traveling. You’ll get a QR code upon completion, which you are to show at the airport on arrival. You can also print out the confirmation


  • Present a negative COVID-19 test – the only accepted test is the RT-PCR test, taken no sooner than 48hr prior to traveling


  • Present COVID-specific travel health insurance – which covers all medical assistance should test positive for the virus whilst in the country. If you prefer to play it safe, you can purchase insurance directly from Costa Rica. The government has nominated a few agencies and pre-approved their policies, so you know you’ll be getting the right one)

Costa Rica, right now, is not placing any quarantine restrictions of tourists who satisfy the above-mentioned requirements and enter from approved countries/States.

Needless to say, we would love to announce a full reopening of Costa Rica to every resident of every country, as that would mean this COBID-19 nightmare would be well and truly behind us. But alas, we’ll take the small wins when we can get them and, right now, this is already amazing news.


costa rica


Plan Your Trip


Flights to Costa Rica are expected to increase, both in frequency and points of departure. New York is tipped to be the main springboard for Costa Rica flights and, on our end, we expect both the San Jose and Liberia International Airports to be fully operational. See the official San Jose Airport Website for details on expected incoming flights.

Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister said the 6 States in question have shown a “positive evolution of the pandemic” meaning they are making great strides forward and handling the current level of infection, keeping it at a manageable level. Given that US-based tourism is such a critical component of Costa Rica’s economy, it’s wonderful to see the authorities taking a logical approach: reopening the country but doing so slowly and safely.

According to the Health Ministry, the country has recorded just over 33,820 COVID-19 cases as of August 23.

See the Website of the Ministerio de Salud for daily COVID updates.

It is also important that you know what restrictions your place of residence has introduced for tourist returning from Costa Rica.

We expect more concrete details about these latest developments to be announced shortly. Usually, the government makes a general announcement and then follows with greater details after a few days.

We’ll endeavor to keep you informed as news comes in.


What’s life like in Costa Rica, right now?

This month, we’ve seen a reopening of outdoor restaurants and cafés, as well as beaches, in so-called yellow zones. Of course, we’re all required to wear masks in indoor public places, except eating establishments where social distancing restrictions are in place (but staff still must wear them.

By and large, everyone seems to be getting used to the new normal: whipping on the mask, dabbing hand disinfectant when going out and keeping distance. The latter is arguably the hardest part: Costa Ricans are warm and huggy people. Like all Latinos, not being able to hug and give a peck on the cheek when meeting is the most painful part of this whole messy ordeal for Ticos.

During the month of August, more and more businesses opened although we had a short hiatus of shut-downs in the middle of the month. This gave businesses a chance to reboot the country’s economy whilst taking a short pause, half-way through the month, in case health services needed to catch up. Daily infections did increase, as expected, but this latest easing of border restrictions means the increase is still under control.


Costa Rica adventures await!

The best news of all, however, is that outdoor tourist activities have also recommenced and here at Costa Rica Rios, we’ve been busy planning and booking our most popular Week of Adventure Package starting from September. We’re meticulously planning for our tours to comply with all the directives, ensuring our valued guests have the time of their life and still keep safe.

All the country’s most beloved areas are open for tourists and given the cap on daily visitors (down 50% from the usual) it means you can come and explore world-famous sites like Arenal, Manuel Antonio and Turrialba and experience an uncrowded, unblemished paradise.


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At the moment, we are only running private & bespoke adventure tours for couples and families travelling within their own social bubble. We recently blogged about the benefits of bespoke tours, especially in COVID-times. Creating your own social bubble means you can double up on the fun and leave the stresses of 2020 behind you, as you kayak, raft, zipline and mountain bike in our pristine, unspoiled Costa Rican backyard.

Remote adventure vacations are what we’re all about here, at Costa Rica Rios, and we think our usual adventure style will fit post-COVID tours to perfection. The country is chock-full of exquisite remote lodges for that romantic getaway you’ve been waiting all year for, and insanely thrilling wild rivers and mountains for those high-adrenaline sports you can’t wait to get back into.


costa rica


Even though we don’t really expect everything to get back to normal until 2021, this further reopening step and the welcoming of US tourists is a heaven-send for everyone involved in tourism here. Traditionally, September and October are low-tourist months in the country so the opening is indeed very well-timed. Turning the country into a free-for-all, like we’ve seen happening in Europe, will likely just prolong the lockdown-agony and no-one wants to see that happening.

With this tentative, staggered opening, we’re hoping Costa Rica will be ready to welcome bigger numbers, and deliver bigger adventures, by the time high-season starts in December.

Ready to start planning your return to travel-freedom in the most exhilarating country on earth?

You know what to do! Call us or use our live chat and let us help you plan your own private and bespoke adventure tour to the incredible, nature-filled adventure playground that is Costa Rica. Because if there’s ever been a year when we need a once-in-a-lifetime, totally unforgettable adventure vacation in Costa Rica, this is surely the one!


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