Travelling during Covid-19 restrictions: Costa Rica
It's cold. It's grey. And most of Europe is in lockdown with not much to do. And we've all been cautious, we've all been couch potatoes for most of 2020.
We're scrolling through an endless sea of negative anxiety-inducing news without any glimpses of a brighter future ahead.
But when we're tapping through Instagram stories, looks like there's a parallel Universe with some life out there, and it's happening under palm trees, with many degrees and lots of sunshine.
At least we have internet, right?
Can we even travel? There's so much hassle that it feels too risky, too complicated, too expensive and is it even worth?
This map makes you want to cry, but we want to keep this post on the positive side. Mexico is not restrictive (We have a friend there atm, and trying to get some infos from there).
And although Costa Rica is on the partially Restrictive list it still means NO PCR test!
If you already did one, you know that it is not only an extra cost but also painful and annoying to organize.
When it comes to Covid-19 - tests, quarantine etc
All you need to enter Costa Rica is a QR code on your phone which you present while staying in line with your passport to get the stamp.
You get the QR code automatically after you fill out online on salud.go.cr a super simple form - shouldn't take more than 3 minutes.
Might seem scary...
Validity of the effective policy during the visit in Costa Rica.
Guarantee of coverage for medical expenses in cases of pandemic disease COVID 19 in Costa Rica, for at least USD $50,000 (fifty thousand dollars of the United States of America).
Minimum coverage of USD $2,000 for extended lodging expenses due to quarantine
You can only fill it out 48h before your flight, but this is the step that scares everyone, so once you understand this, you can move further with your flight search.
They offer you their insurances, but choose international and Revolut will rescue you. They offer insurance, and have various Covid covering options since March 2020.
If you have any of these plans: Standard Pay-per-Day users, Premium or Metal, you're covered.
To make an idea, Metal is the most expensive, is 14 Euros per month. That's like nothing, right?!
And Revolut is the best option when it comes to paying internationally. No more expensive currency exchanges and bank fees.
Oh, with Metal you can also trade unlimited! But that's another story.
If you already have Revolut I salute you and travel safe, Costa Rica awaits you.
If you don't, this travel insurance is your best reason, plus the really good deals on exchange fees. It's like exchanging money at FX rates, without any hassle! You get your card for free in your inbox in less than a week, and it will become your best friend. We've been using it since 2017 all over the world, and it made our lives easier. More on this soon.
When it comes to flights
This one is a bit tricky because of all the restrictions. It became less easy for Europeans since KLM decided to get closer to bankruptcy and cancel most of the long-haul flights.
Life saviour - KIWI app for finding flights.
Kiwi was already the best app when it comes to filtering options, and they proved themselves once again. They added a special filter, to exclude countries you can't fly into.
USA, for example is a no no for Europeans, we're not allowed to enter, not even to transit.
And I'll save you another long search - Panama requires a test even for transit. So you can search for flights that don't have a stop-over.
Ideally would be to find direct ones - Lufthansa/Edelweiss/Swissair/AirFrance
KLM used to fly direct from Amsterdam to SJO - San Jose Costa Rica, unfortunately they also introduced PCR test even for transit in the Netherlands, but now most probably they won't fly anymore.
There's a positive side in this complicated story - companies are flexible, you will be able to change flights at no cost or little cost (like 50 euros per flight) if you decide to stay longer or come back sooner than planned.
What restrictions are there in Costa Rica?
Before sorting out the flights, and getting the travel insurance, you should know about the restrictions there. Here's a good and bad news - depending on where you go, there are different rules and these rules also change, but we're getting used to that, right?
In San Jose everybody wears a mask even on the streets, but they have restaurants open with limited capacity, some until 10 PM.
On the beach - it depends on the local police. There are laws and variations to it on closing beaches. Some close it after 2:30PM - in Jaco a police car goes on the beach and makes everyone leave. In other areas it's only after 5 PM, or no closing at all. There is police, you can see them almost everywhere, but feels like routine.
Explore Samara or Manuel Antonio!
Chose your accommodation wisely, and try to have everything there - some jungle vibes, a pool, an internal restaurant, and it can be heaven on earth.
Monteverde area - some restaurants and bars are open until 9-10 PM
The best resource for Costa Rica is this blog - Two Weeks in Costa Rica, they have updates on the most important things like where you can get PCR tests.
Let us know if you chose to ditch the winter and get yourself a vacation, or if you will try the digital nomad lifestyle from Costa Rica for a while. Apparently Costa Rica wants to issue digital nomad visas, the bill is advancing in Congress. More updates here.
Hope it works out and stay healthy!