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Covid-19 Updates: The situation is changing fast for Costa Rica as are the requirements for visitors. For updates specific to the South Caribbean please check below. For updates applicable to all of Costa Rica we recommend checking the latest info on the The Tico Times.
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The Tico Times has published a very useful and complete summary of what are the entry and insurance requirements and what you should expect when you get here.
The Costa Rica government has extended the closure of the land borders to non-essential travel through the end of March. So tourist travel from Panama to Costa Rica will continue to be impossible. And another extension is very possible.
El gobierno ha anunciado que la frontera quedará cerrado hasta el fin de marzo. Entonces viajes turísticos de Panamá a Costa Rica siguen imposible. Y hay una buen posibilidad de otra extensión de la fecha.
Some medical labs in Costa Rica are now offering rapid antigen Covid tests. These tests meet the entry requirements for some countries but not others. At this time they are accepted for entry to the USA and UK but not for Canada for example.
For example, the antigen test at Clinica Biblica costs 30,000 colones (about $50), and the hospital is promising results within two hours. At this time it is not known if anyone is administering these tests on the Caribbean Coast.
Panama has reopened its land border to tourists. So does that mean we can travel from Puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro now?
Unfortunately Costa Rica has not done the same so that means one could theoretically travel to Panama but not return to Costa Rica. It also means that the transportation providers such as Caribe Shuttle who provide shuttle service cannot operate yet either so even if one wanted to do the trip one way (and say fly back to one's home country from Panama) the usual transport options would not be available.
Panamá ha reabierto la frontera a touristas de Costa Rica. Pero Costa Rica no ha hecho el mismo entonces se puede viajar solo una dirección. También los operadores de transporte turistico no pueden opera sin la frontera abierta en ambas direcciones.
Uber has announced they have begun operating in Limón Province. While they haven't announced details presumably this includes Puerto Viejo and area.
A quick check of the app today indicates no available cars yet except in Limón center. However pricing is live for Puerto Viejo destinations and at least for now is significantly cheaper than the taxis have been charging. But whether any drivers will offer rides at those prices is yet to be seen.
Caribe Shuttle has restarted their shuttle service between the Caribbean Coast and Arenal. Bookings can be made on the shuttle page.
The US has announced they will require a negative Covid test within 72 hours before boarding a plane back to the USA, joining many other countries with this policy. Good thing we've found you can get now get tested in the South Caribbean so there's no need to return to San José days early.
Laboratorio Bioclinic will now perform this test. The cost is 80,000 colones + tax and the results will be available in 48 hours. You must make an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org or whatsapp +506 8950 9101.
Canada is the latest country to require visitors to require a negative PCR test before returning to Canada. But how does one get such a test while on vacation?
Unfortunately our inquiries with local medical providers have indicated that testing is not available in the South Caribbean zone. Several people recommended Clínica Biblia in San José which provides results in 24 hours at a cost of 53000 colones. Make an appointment before you go.
With the land borders still closed to tourists is there any way to travel between Puerto Viejo and Bocas del Toro? The short answer is no.
Both land and sea crossings (which were never commercially available anyway) are closed to tourism. Residents can cross to their country of residence but are subject to quarantine requirements. The linked Tico Times article has details. Tourists may not cross at all. And flights from San José and Limón to Bocas have not yet resumed either. So, short of flying to Panama City, this popular route remains closed. When we hear otherwise we'll let you know.
La Casa del Mango in Cahuita invites you to come and celebrate Xmas with a special offer of 350$ per night tax incl (minimum 3 nights). This offer is valid between December 22nd and December 27th. This beach house is located less than 1 minute from playa Negra, can accommodate up to 8 persons with full kitchen to prepare a great Christmas dinner. It is the perfect place for those who want to relax with friends or family for Xmas, enjoy the pool or the hammock but also those who want to surf or enjoy a day at the beach. Pura Vida y Felíz Navidad!
As of October 26, a negative Covid test will no longer be required. And flights will be permitted from all countries effective Nov 1. Travel insurance matching Costa Rica's requirements and a health questionnaire continue to be required. The remaining scenarios where a quarantine is required will also be eliminated from Oct 26.
Talamanca NO está sujeta a restricciones adicionales.
The confusion began when the mayor of Limón city announced closures of beaches but this does not affect Cahuita, Puerto Viejo or any of the Caribe Sur.
The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) released a short video highlighting the entry requirements for visitors from the United States. The requirements generally are applicable for tourists from other permitted countries as well.
China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Uruguay are among the additions. Most countries in Europe, UK and Canada remain on the list while the United States remains on the unsafe list.
As Costa Rica opened for incoming tourist arrivals on August 2, a number of details have started to become clear on what are the requirements if you'd like to visit. Approved countries, test and insurance requirements. This article is for tourists, not returning residents or citizens, who have always been allowed back have different requirements.
1. Tourists must arrive on a flight from an approved country. This list currently includes the European Union and the Schengen Zone, the UK and Canada. It does NOT include the United States. The first arriving flights are from Spain and Germany, Canadian flights have not restarted yet. Flights from the US from American and United continue to operate but are for returning residents and to repatriate Americans still in the country, tourists may not arrive on these flights.
2. Tourists must have documents proving a negative Coronavirus test within 48 hours of departure and complete a health questionnaire prior to boarding
3. Tourists must have valid insurance covering Coronavirus with specific benefits covered. There is coverage from the National Insurance Institute (INS) which qualifies. Other policies may qualify but the traveler would need to prove they meet the requirements.
4. Restrictions remain in place on activities and what you can do while here depending on what alert level the zone you are visiting is in. Check with your travel agent and/or hotel for restrictions applicable.
Conde Nast Traveler visita a Caribe Sur y hay muchos fotos hermosos y información util. Conde Nast Traveler magazine visits the Puerto Viejo and Cahuita and there are beautiful pics and lots of useful info!
The vlogger "Living Abroad in Costa Rica" has been doing some great videos about what it's like to live here as a black or brown person so take a look and subscribe if you're curious.
International flights will be allowed from countries that have controlled the spread of the coronavirus
Costa Rica ha anunciado que la frontera va a reabrir para turistas extranjeras a partir de 2 de augusto. A partir de esa fecha el país permitirá vuelos de países que han controlado la propagación del coronavirus.
Update: the official decree specified Aug 2 not Aug 1 as was written in the earlier version of this post.
MEPE has introduced a new bus schedule serving the Caribbean starting June 10 between Limón and Puerto Viejo and between Limón and Manzanillo. This temporary schedule is a step back towards the full normal schedule.
Caribe Shuttle starts up again on their most popular route: San José to Puerto Viejo. And they are offering a special price of $20. New enhanced safety protocols to keep you safe will be in place.
Caribe Shuttle vuelve a trabajar con su ruta más popular: San José a Puerto Viejo. Para celebrar la reapertura y para ayudar a estimular la economía local, ofrecen su ruta más popular entre Puerto Viejo Limón y San José con un precio reducido de solo $ 20. También estan implementando nuevas medidas de seguridad e higiene para asegurarnos de que los pasajeros se mantengan cómodos y protegidos.
Puerto Viejo, Limón -> San José 6:00 am
San José -> Puerto Viejo, Limón 2:00 pm
Making the most of a pandemic, this Spanish-English couple decided to get married during their much lengthened trip to the Caribbean Coast.
Work is slated to begin on June 21 in Puerto Viejo for what will be Costa Rica's most modern water treatment system in the country. The tertiary treatment plant will cover waste from 4,000 residents plus many tourist establishments. The work is expected to take 12 months.
Costa Rica has reopened 15 more protected wildlife areas including Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and Tortuguero National Park effective June 1.
The border closure has been extended until June 30. Only citizens and legal residents are able to enter Costa Rica until then (and it may be extended). However for those already in Costa Rica, many more restrictions will be easing on June 1. All hotels, restaurants and many more businesses will be allowed to open, generally at 50% capacity. Meanwhile at the border with Nicaragua, a line of trucks stretches 22 km due to the restrictions.
The Guardian covers Puerto Viejo during lockdown and how people are coping with the crisis and helping out those in need.
The health ministry has announced a detailed timeline for reopening. The first restrictions will be eased as of this Friday May 15.
Costa Rica reported just 4 new cases today and 17 recoveries. Which means like all of the last 21 days the number of active cases has decreased.
The government has extended the border closure until June 15. Only citizens and legal residents may enter the country until at least that date.
The first case in a resident of the canton of Talamanca has been diagnosed. The case showed up in the daily statistics per canton released by the ministry of health on May 5. However local sources are reporting that the case assigned to Talamanca was a Nicaraguan truck driver who was identified while in Talamanca while crossing from Panama.
Delta has announced resumption of select international routes during May including flights starting May 17 Atlanta to San José. The border is closed to non-residents until May 15 so if that doesn't change things will start to get back to normal soon.
Costa Rica has been very successful in their measures to control Covid-19 with only 681 confirmed cases and the actual number of active cases falling for the last week with more recoveries than new cases. Talamanca is so far one of the few cantons in Costa Rica with no cases at all, thanks to the great efforts of the local community and no doubt a little luck. That doesn't however mean things are going back to normal just yet. The borders are closed until at least May 15 to new arrivals. Please keep Puerto Viejo and area in mind for rebooking your holiday and we hope to welcome you back soon!
New bus schedules have been published effective today. We've included the most important schedules here. Confused about what's still running? You can now ask MEPE via WhatsApp +506 7285 2592.
Nuevos horarios de bus a parte de hoy y podría preguntar MEPE por WhatsApp si tiene preguntas. Podría ver los horarios de las rutas mas importante aqui.