Starting this week, visitors to Costa Rica will no longer have to present a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the country - something that was required of travelers since Costa Rica began to gradually open its borders in August.

Travelers visiting Costa Rica will no longer have to present a negative PCR COVID-19 upon arrival. However, under enhanced border controls, visitors will need to complete an online health form and purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses. Travelers presenting symptoms related to the coronavirus are asked to postpone their trip until they are in good health.

The measure comes less than a week before Costa Rica opens its borders to all international travelers on November 1. Costa Rica began a staggered reopening of its tourism industry on August 1 with travelers from countries that have "controlled the spread of the coronavirus" allowed to enter first, which included visitors from Canada, New Zealand, Japan, the UK, and countries within the EU among others. The US, which accounted for 45% of all international visitors to Costa Rica last year, was not initially included in the list.

At first only residents from low-risk US states had been permitted to travel to and vacation in Costa Rica in September and October. But this month the tourism board announced that residents and citizens from all states will be free to enter from November 1. The relaxed border restrictions come as Costa Rica enters its high season, which runs from November until May 2021, with the country aiming to generate 80,000 jobs by 2021.

La Fortuna waterfall, Costa Rica
La Fortuna waterfall, Costa Rica ©Pavel Tvrdy/Shutterstock

As the Central American country begins to throw its doors open wide, the Costa Rica Tourism Board says its hopeful that the growth in tourism will have a knock-on effect on other industries. "A tourist visiting the country activates a series of productive chains, such as agriculture, fishing, commerce, transport, tourism guides, hotels, restaurants, operators, artisans – and in looking that, we must focus to continue with the reactivation, safeguarding sanitary measures against COVID-19,” said tourism minister Gustavo Seugra.

Two girls pedal down the main road of Tortuguero
Two girls pedal down the main road of Tortuguero ©Bailey Johnson/Lonely Planet

Hotels are operating at 100% capacity, while restaurants and bars are operating at 50% capacity. Masks are required in all public spaces and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

This article was first published on August 20, and updated on October 27, 2020.

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This article was first published August 2020 and updated October 2020

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