The Costa Rican government will be temporarily closing it’s borders to tourists starting tomorrow, March 18. Anyone who is not a Costa Rican citizen or permanent resident will not be permitted to fly into Costa Rica.
While this move is very frustrating for travelers and local businesses who depend on tourism, it is a move to protect the population. Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica is a Blue Zone, meaning that many residents live over the age of 100. Also, people from around the globe move to Costa Rica to retire. Costa Rica is routinely voted one of the best places to retire by International Living. Since Coronavirus seems to be more deadly for older citizens, the Costa Rican government is making moves to protect them.
If you are in the country, you may have limited options for leaving after March 18th. The government will not stop anyone from leaving the country, however commercial flights will likely be infrequent or suspended. Obviously you can still leave on a boat or private jet or any mode of transportation you have available to you. But if you are not a permanent resident or citizen of Costa Rica, you will not be allowed to re-enter the country.
If you choose to stay in the country, be advised that every foreigner who enters the country has a 90 day tourist visa. It is just the date stamped on your passport. Normally, you would be fined for over-staying your 90 day visa.
Given the extraordinary circumstances, Costa Rica is extending the visa for all non-residents. Anyone that choses to stay in Costa Rica can stay until May 17. The government is believing or hoping by then that Costa Rica will be open for business again. This May 17th extension is for anyone who arrived after Dec. 17th. I guess this is Costa Rica’s way of saying that if you arrived before Dec. 17th, you’ve already broken the law and overstayed your visa, time to go, or prepare to pay a fine.
In addition to closing it’s doors to the outside world, it is also cracking the doors within the country. Movie theaters are recommended to only be open for half capacity and restaurants may be altering their services to be to go only, and some restaurants are temporality closing. Most public gatherings, film festivals, etc. have been cancelled.
Many Central American countries are closing their borders. Guatemala and Panama have already taken these measures.
If you are here on vacation and chose to stay in Costa Rica, feel free to message me with any questions about healthcare, travel, local laws, etc. I am happy to answer any questions and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll do my best to connect you with someone who does. You can message through social media links below.
If you choose to stay in Costa Rica, this is the best time of the year to be here. Mostly sunny days and moderate temperatures. This Medium article explains how the sun is good, not only to kill germs with UV rays, but to boost spirits and provide vitamin D. And fresh air is good for respiratory problems.
And in Costa Rica the farming community isn’t something that is hours of driving away, but it integrated into daily living. Costa Ricans are already more healthy and closely connected with living off the land than in US/Canada/Europe. More people living here already own chickens, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables grown by their neighbors.
If you are concerned about boosting your immune system, while you may not be able to find fancy things like Cold-Eeze zinc lozenges or elderberry syrups, most pharmacies have vitamin-C and Zinc tablets. And most grocery stores and farmer’s markets have fresh pineapple, dried hibiscus for tea, fresh coconuts/coconut water, oranges, moringa, limes, ginger and turmeric which are all great for boosting your immune system. And many people living here use herbs, Chinese medicine or make their own syrups for a cough.
If you have a cough, it is recommended to drink more hot drinks that cold, and more warm foods than cold.
A good resource for Covid-19 news in Costa Rica is the Ministry of Health.
And globally many people refer to the World Health Organization.