Experience pura vida - Costa Rica is open

Costa Rica is one of the world’s great destinations – it has so much to offer, from volcanoes to rainforest, wildlife to snorkeling, whitewater rafting to zip lining, and the finest eco-luxury accommodation to relax in.

Like many parts of the world, Costa Rica closed its borders to visitors, but the good news is that it is now open for travellers from the UK and EU, Canada, as well as US residents in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Furthermore, beginning Sept. 15, Americans with valid state IDs for Colorado, Massachusetts or Pennsylvania will also be permitted to enter under the new rules.

Costa Rica appears to be the first destination allowing Americans to visit based on their home state, and the tourism board says the list of authorised regions is being “revised periodically.”

All visitors, regardless of their home country or state, will be required to have a negative coronavirus test result acquired within 72 hours before their flight. Travellers will also need to have proof of medical insurance and fill out a health form online, according to a statement by the Costa Rica Tourism Board.

Costa Rica is coming to the end of its rainy season, so it is green and lush, and the time is perfect to get in before the crowds flock back.

Here’s what awaits you, including ways to make your time in Costa Rica fulfilling and meaningful:

1. A submarine journey with a marine biologist;
2. Breathtaking private flights over volcanoes;

3. Engaging cultural immersion;
4. Search for a dolphin super-pod and swim with thousands of them;
5. Collect scientific data on hammerhead sharks – measure, tag, and document vital shark data; and
6. Prepare meals for and feed monkeys, parrots, and other wildlife at a rescue center

Here are some of my favourite eco-luxury lodges for you to enjoy:

  • Kasiiya – on the Papagayo Gulf, can be booked on an exclusive basis (re-opening 15 Dec)
  • El Silencio – with on-site rappelling and zip lining
  • Tabacon – complete with hot springs and views of perfect cone-shaped Arenal volcano (reopening 13 Nov)
  • Arenas del Mar – on the beach, and near wildlife-rich Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Pacuare Lodge – raft in and out of these amazing property deep in the jungle
  • Lapa Rios – on the remote Osa peninsula with stunning dolphin and whale watching

If you want to flop on the beach, explore the jungle or get your heart racing on a zip line, Costa Rica has it for you!

Christopher Hill is Founder and CEO at Hands Up Holidays. Hands Up Holidays is an award-winning travel company specialising in tailor-made luxury family trips that combine sightseeing with hands-on service projects.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (22)

  1. Carolyn says:

    From what my friends were saying I thought that Costa Rica was going to be one of the trendy travel destinations for 2020. Now as we all know travel wasn’t going to be big in 2020.

    Most people are really cautious about travel at the moment but the reasons why Costa Rica was such a draw in the first place are still there. If 2021 is anything like normal I expect Costa Rica will be up there as one of the travel stars.

    • You are right Carolyn, but keep in mind that for Americans, Costa Rica was already hugely popular, so once travel returns to normality, expect to be there with plenty of other travellers!

  2. Gerald says:

    Using my rudimentary Spanish I guessed that pura vida meant something like “pure life” but I thought that I ought to look it up to check. Good to learn a new word or phrase every now and again, keeps the old grey matter ticking over.

  3. Janet Gordon says:

    Hard to believe that the frog in the picture is real. The colours are so unnaturally vivid.

  4. Julia says:

    Never really thought much about Costa Rica as a destination for our travels. My husband’s a lot more adventurous than me so I can imagine him flying through the rain-forest on a zip line. We’re both interested in wildlife so that would be good especially as we really enjoy bird-watching. Costa Rica is a bit further than we usually travel but it looks as if it may well be worth some extra hours in the air.

  5. Diana Presley says:

    Visiting Costa Rica and whale-watching both feature on my travel bucket list. Though until I read this I never knew you could do whale-watching off the Costa Rica coast. I could get two big ticks from one trip.

  6. Katie Danes says:

    Swimming with dolphins has got to be on the bucket list of millions of people. I’d love to go in one of those super pods. That would be a good reason to get a decent waterproof camera. I also have a huge soft spot for monkeys, so getting up close in their own environment would be amazing.

    While there’s still a lot of frustration over the UK not allowing airport testing, I think it’s very sensible that Costa Rica are requiring negative coronavirus test results and proof of medical insurance. Although I’m probably not going to travel just yet, the next time I do I’d definitely prefer somewhere like this, where it’s all open spaces and nature.

  7. Gideon Fernando says:

    I really hope they will open the border for non-US citizens. I feel somehow left out of all the border openings. However, personally, I am not yet ready to travel that long a distance. I am still wary of getting on planes even as I have friends and family who already took a plane to go home to their hometowns. I am dreading this pandemic as it changed the world significantly. I would love to visit Costa Rica and try the submarine journey with a marine biologist. It is always fascinating to know what kind of life thers is underwater. And it’s good to hear that people are slowly able to travel again.

  8. L. Lawrence says:

    I’m happy to see Costa Rica open their doors for visitors in these times. The travel industry is getting back on its feet and little by little we can see the recovery of all the other businesses that were halted because of the pandemic. I also sensed that Costa Rica will soon become a very famous tourist destination because of the variety of activities to choose from and it is also very near to United States. Submarine journeys, I’m kind of scared as I do not know how to swim, is something new for me. As are flights over volcanoes, my fear of heights kick in. I hope that in the very near future, Costa Rica can open their doors to other countries so that most people can experience what they have to offer.

    • Yes, the variety of things to do is staggering. Fear not, you don’t have to do the submarine journeys or fly over volcanoes. Costa Rica is open to many nationalities!
      Costa Rica currently allows the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cypriot Republic, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, , Mexico, The Netherland, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Principality of Liechtenstein, Principality of Monaco, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, Uruguay, Vatican State.

  9. María Andrea Mora says:

    Costa Rica is one of my favorite places in the world. It has a lot of entertainment and activities for those of us who are nature lovers. Personally I have a destination in Costa Rica that won my heart and I hope that one day you will get the opportunity to visit it. Puerto Viejo in the province of Limón is easily the perfect Caribbean destination, there is surfing, free tours from one beach to another (you can walk several only) the place mixes the culture and lifestyle of Costa Ricans and Jamaicans, it is unforgettable!

  10. Kristina says:

    Costa Rica must be one of the best touristic destinations in the world. Hands down

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