Covid Costa Rica

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.

Pura Vida.


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14 thoughts on “Covid Costa Rica

  1. hey bev. great article. you mention people won’t be able to leave. see the quote below stating the opposite. just wanted to share 🙂 “Tourists who are in the country can leave Costa Rica in orderly fashion,” said Tourism Minister María Amalia Revelo. “Of course, we know airlines will reduce significantly the number of flights they offer to Costa Rica.”

  2. Are you sure people will not be able to leave CR after March 18? I read it was no incoming after March 18. Please verify. Thanks

    1. Thanks for your comment. I need to clarify my statement. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Yes, you can still leave Costa Rica after tomorrow. Costa Rica is not stopping anyone from leaving the country. There will still be private jets and boats coming and going. However if your mode of transportation is commercial airlines, their frequency of flights will substantially diminish based on lack of demand. The business model of airlines it to make money flying to and from a destination. Airlines have a minimum seat requirement that if enough seats aren’t sold, they cancel the flight. But it is possible that they could raise the ticket prices to cover the costs of all the empty seats, or fly smaller planes. Lots of potential variations, but if you were planning to leave Costa Rica on a regular commercial airplane it is best to do it sooner rather than later.

  3. I think you are mistaken on the point about NOT being able to leave. the borders are only closed for foreigners entering. Pretty sure if you can find a flight out, you are allowed to leave. Double check that statement.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Sorry, I didn’t realize how confusing it sounds the way I wrote it. I will update this to clarify. I was referring to commercial air travel. But you are right, people will still be able to leave the country by private jet or boat or any means they have. It is highly unlikely that airlines plan to fly empty planes to Costa Rica, as their business model is to make money flying to and from destinations. And people can go to Nicaragua, but Panama has closed it’s border. Again, thank you for your feedback.

    1. Based on what I’ve read it sounds like the Costa Rican gov plans to re-open the borders by then. However, if for some reason the border is still closed for tourists in May, I would think they will make concessions for that in terms of your visa stamp.

      To clarify, the Costa Rican government is not stopping anyone from leaving the country, you can leave at any time, it would just be the re-entry that would be a problem if there is still a travel ban. Also, I’m assuming you are referring to the Nicaragua border, the Panama border is only open for residents and citizens of Panama as of yesterday.

      1. Your article states permanent residents, what about temporary residents? Are you saying they will not be allowed entry?

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