Costa Rica Tour operators are encouraging customers to re-book, instead of canceling their vacations. However, there is no reliable answer on when foreign visitors will be able to return. Airline schedules and last travel information released by the Costa Rica government appear optimistic, given the lack of a clear exit strategy.
Foreign Visitors Banned in Costa Rica
On March 18, the President of Costa Rica prohibited the entry of non-resident foreigners into the national territory. The measure effectively shut down the tourism business in Costa Rica, and is keeping with the government’s offical policy to suppress economic activity to extent necessary to contain the spread of the pandemic. Metrics published by the government predict that economic activity will increase as the virus ceases to spread. However, the government has not indicated a date or probable time frame when the recovery would occur.
Absent an order to extend the travel ban, foreign visitors are allowed to return to Costa Rica, starting on April 13th.
Schedule for Airlines to Resume Travel to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)
On March 20th, AERIS the company which manages SJO Airport, published a list of when 27 airlines plan to resume service to SJO. To date the list remains verifiably accurate.
For example, it is possible to purchase a flight on the website of Spirit Airlines for travel to SJO from Atlanta and New York on April 16th. American Airlines is now selling tickets for $72, one way from Miami to SJO for travel starting on May 7th. Delta airlines is selling tickets for May 2 ($146), and the schedule is open on Southwest Airlines, starting June 6th.
Level 4 Worldwide Travel Alert
On March 31st, the United States Embassy in Costa Rica issued a Level 4 Travel Alert for Costa Rica. The alert warns United States citizens not to travel to Costa Rica, and for those present to leave the country immediately. The warning reflects an alert issued by the U.S. Department of State against travel worldwide. There is no expiration date, or advice as to when the travel alert could end.