Costa Rica will allow the entry of flights from Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, and Nicaragua as of October 15th, under the same entry measures as tourists from other countries.
Also, the country will extend the beach access hours adjusting to coincide with the vehicle restriction: from 5 am to 10 pm during the week and from 5 am to 8 pm on weekends.
This was announced by the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, during the daily press conference at the Presidential House. According to him, the Central American market would be important for the reactivation of the sector.
“Only last year (2019) there were 145 thousand international arrivals of residents from Central America, mainly Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama,” said the Minister.
“These travelers are strategically important for Costa Rica because they represent the majority of businesses, conferences, and conventions travelers. Very often these people come to do their business and extend their stay to visit places with tourist attractions,” he added.
Also, Panama and El Salvador operate flight connection centers for various airlines, which would facilitate the arrival of tourists from other authorized countries, according to Segura.
On average, Central American tourists who enter through the Juan Santamaría airport stay 8 nights in the country, while those who enter through the Daniel Oduber airport stay 7 nights.
“For Costa Rican companies that have a presence in other countries in the Central American region and Panama, this measure will allow them to resume face-to-face care of their business affairs,” said the Minister of Tourism.
So far, tourists from 47 countries can enter the country. Mexico and Uruguay are the only Latin American countries that can enter.
Hours of beaches
With the extension of hours on beaches, the government will seek to reactivate tourism in coastal areas, Segura said. Until now, access to the beaches was only until 2:30 pm, now it will be extended until 10 pm.
“The Ministry of Health has verified that, in general, there has been a good behavior by those who visit the beaches and have not become a source of contagion,” said the Minister.
“This decision must continue to be accompanied by strict respect for health prevention protocols. Most importantly, this adds hope to the revival of jobs in the coastal cantons. Many of the companies are mostly small and medium-sized,” said the Minister.
On this, the tourism chambers of Quepos, Guanacaste, Caribbean, Puntarenas, OSA, and Golfito signed a written commitment to enforcing sanitary measures in coastal tourism businesses.
Currently, the contagion rate of COVID-19 in Costa Rica has a downward trend, according to the University of Costa Rica (UCR), but this could change quickly. For this reason, the health authorities asked to comply to the maximum with preventive measures.