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Costa Rica Land Borders Will Remain Closed to Tourists

Although Costa Rica plans to reopen San Jose and Liberia airports for commercial flights on August 1, the land borders with Panama and Nicaragua will remain closed.

While introducing new ICT head Gustavo Segura, Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado said Costa Rica won’t be opening its borders with Panama and Nicaragua to international tourists anytime soon.

During the swearing-in on Wednesday, he said the current August 1 reopening schedule does not include land borders at this time.

This jibes with another, related announcement today, where the Department of Immigration said that tourists still in Costa Rica wouldn’t need to renew their visas until November 18.                                    

Most foreigners in Costa Rica on a tourist visa renew by crossing into Nicaragua or Panama and returning. Since Costa Rica closed its borders in March, these visas runs haven’t been possible.

Technically-speaking, both land borders and airports are still open in Costa Rica.

Costa Rican citizens and residents can still enter the country by land. Merchandise still enters and leaves Costa Rica by land from its neighboring countries.

Even SJO Airport, contrary to popular opinion, is not closed. Humanitarian (rescue/repatriation) flights still come and go. Cargo flights still operate. Liberia Airport in Guanacaste will also allow some rescue/repatriation flights this month.

The borders and airports are only closed to foreign visitors/tourists and residents who left early on in the pandemic.

As August 1 approaches, Cosa Rica’s Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) reported that they’d received two high-flow thermal cameras from China. The donations, from the Costa Rican-Chinese Friendship Association, will take the temperature of all passengers entering the country.

This article was adapted into English from the original CRHoy piece by Pablo Rojas published on July 8, 2020. It’s not a direct translation.

James Dyde is the editor of He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.

James Dyde

James Dyde

James Dyde is a British immigrant to Costa Rica and the editor of this website. He has lived in Central America since 2000 and retains a deep love for the region. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.