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In a remarkable turn of events, as coronavirus cases continue to decline in most of the Caribbean, Costa Rica maybe the next country end most internal restrictions and returning to pre-pandemic normality. While it did not impose too strict restrictions on social life like other nations, it introduced a set of measures aimed at curbing the Omicron variant.
As the the public is wary after two years of managing the pandemic, and national governments seem more eager than ever to finding ways to live with the virus instead of eradicating it, visitors may soon find themselves in a Freer Costa Rica.
Most internal restrictions could end in the coming weeks
After bear the weight of the Omicron waveCosta Rica seems ready to defuse and allow more social freedoms once again, after President Carlos Alvarado confirmed the the current measures will probably be “removed” soon, including vehicle restriction. Although he didn’t offer a specific date, Mr. Alvarado mentioned that it could happen in the next weeks.
With the average number of daily new infections down of more than 2,400 in the previous 3 weeks, or only 42% of the peak, there is a even more likely that the current measures will be reversed. In light of recent data, the President inferred that the situation is “likely to improve”, which makes most current restrictions “unnecessary”.
Elaborating on his comments, Mr. Alvarado mentioned hospital capacity as one of “main factorsto be analyzed by experts at this stage. Throughout the pandemic, the situation in hospitals and intensive care unitsand if they are tense or nothas been taken into account by governments when assessing what measures should be taken.
On that note, Covid deaths in Costa Rica are also downalbeit slightly, and its vaccination rates rank among the highest in the Caribbean, with more than 84% of inhabitants vaccinated. Yet general units continue to be fully occupied, posing a challenge for post-pandemic realityas reported by Tico times.
When pressed for an answer on when exactly all restrictions would be lifted, the president said “the majority of health services the measures against Covid-19 will be lifted before the end of the government’s mandate.“The next Costa Rican election is due to culminate on April 3 with a presidential runoff, suggesting Covid mandates may not survive summer months.
What about health measures at the border?
While the road curfew will potentially be lifted, other measures are less likely to disappear also easy. As published by Tico Times, those monitoring the evolution of the pandemic in Costa Rica are strongly in favor of lifting restrictions “gradually”which means eliminating mandatory mask use and removing social distancing could mean taking one step too far now.
Likewise, Costa Rica unlikely to remove all existing Covid border measures, just like neighboring Mexico has done recently and even European countries like Norway and Slovenia. This means that, at least for now, American and Canadian tourists traveling to Costa Rica this winter must always meet the following requirements:
- Complete the digital health form within 72 hours of arrival, available here;
- Take out travel insurance that covers Covid 19 infection and treatment if not vaccinated.
As in Belize, unvaccinated tourists are advised to choose a government-listed insurance company. Politics must be valid for entire stay in Costa Rica and cover up to $50,000 for medical costs (including Covid infection) and $2,000 for quarantine costs, if the traveler tests positive. They must be able to present the insurance policy when crossing the border.
While vaccinated Americans are not required to present an insurance policy covering Covid at the border, we strongly recommend that all our readers, regardless of their vaccination status, take out insurance before travelling. In addition to protection against financial burden which comes with canceled flightsCovid travel insurance also covers mandatory quarantine fees and hospital stays while abroad.
When traveling overseas, especially during Covid, Americans are still advised to follow CDC guidelines for specific countries and keep up to date with travel ruleswhich can change in the very short term. Currently, Costa Rica is listed as a “Tier 4” destination by the CDC, and Americans should make sure they are vaccinated before traveling to avoid serious health risks.
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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions may change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes to travel conditions before travelling. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice