Foreign Tourists No Longer Stay in San José, They Just Want Beach and Mountains

    Tortuguero, Guanacaste, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio and volcanoes are essential points that tourists are preferring

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    Changes have been noted in the type of visitor who arrives in the country, with couples or people traveling alone being more frequent. Just as the pandemic changed many economic sectors around the world, tourism in Costa Rica also underwent a series of changes. One of them is that visitors are inclined to go to the beach and the mountains, but they are not interested in staying in the Metropolitan Area.

    Tourism businessman Francisco Mirabelli was emphatic in pointing out that tourists are having a preference for visiting Guanacaste, the Arenal area in Fortuna de San Carlos, Tortuguero, Monteverde, beaches in Manuel Antonio, Cahuita or Manzanillo.

    “Also, there is a strong presence of tourism in the Turrialba volcano, now that it has been reopened, in the Poás, Irazú and Rincón de la Vieja areas. But we have received many complaints from tourism entrepreneurs in San José, where the drop in visitation has definitely been significant,” said the businessman.

    Many of those companies that before the pandemic were carrying debts or had mismanagement fell to the point of closure. Those who emerged afloat begin to feel the recovery of the sector.

    Traveling safely

    But tourists who visit the country have also changed their behavior, Mirabelli said, they are more careful, they travel safely, they like to travel in small groups, even in bubbles, and they are concerned that the spaces they visit comply with biosecurity measures.

    The Minister of Tourism, William Rodríguez, indicated that before the most usual thing was to see complete families, but at the moment there is a greater concentration of couples or single people, which necessarily implies a change in marketing strategies (marketing).


    Tourists are looking for ecotourism, adventure, beach, mountain and other attractions, and are even staying much longer. The country’s strong tourist offer has meant that the average stay is around 14 days, a high figure that is only surpassed by New Zealand and Australia, which have 17 and 16 days of stay.

    “In general terms, the tourist losses that we have had correspond mainly to business travelers and people who traveled by land from other Central American countries and the boom is in those who visit us for vacations,” Rodríguez commented.

    As for the markets from which the country receives the largest number of tourists, North America stands out, concentrating 71%, taking into account that the United States covers 61%. Followed by Europe that sends 19.2% of visitors, South America 4.4%, Central America with 3.7% and the Caribbean 0.3%.

    Revenge tourism

    “Today we have a visit that is quite marked by revenge tourism, people who are tired of being locked up, have the income and are enjoying themselves. We have great opportunities to promote the sector with digital nomads, with health tourism, gastronomy and the cruise industry, which we hope will be strongly strengthened with visitors from Asia”, concluded Rubén Acon, president of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur).

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