Costa Rica wins Best Sustainable Stand at the Fitur Tourism Fair in Spain


  • The award criteria included reusing materials and following public health protocols to combat COVID-19.
  • The fair began on May 19 and finished on Sunday.

Friday, May 21, 2021. Madrid, Spain. Costa Rica received the Best Sustainable Stand award at the global tourism trade fair FITUR this Friday, which recognized the reuse of materials, the use of sustainable elements, energy savings, hiring local personnel and closely following public health protocols to combat COVID-19.

“Costa Rica has won the category because its stand is 100% reusable and sustainable, and also complies with all of the recommended requirements of social distancing and COVID-19 protocols,” said Silvia Bueno, the manager for Latin America at the FITUR trade fair.

“We welcome the news that Costa Rica has won the best sustainable stand award from the organizers of Fitur 2021, an award for which we are profoundly grateful,” said Gustavo J. Segura, Minister of Tourism. “This prize is a clear reflection of the values our destination embodies, based in sustainability and a steadfast commitment to the principles of decarbonization and respect for the environment, culture, sustainable food production and the application of COVID-19 public health protocols.”

The stand, measuring 200 square meters, is made from material used in prior trade fairs and directs visitors’ attention to QR codes, which are used in order to avoid providing printed information. This measure not only protects the environment, but also reflects the application of public health protocols.

“We have made an effort to show respect and commitment to these criteria by using material that is 90% reused from stands we had already made and were keeping in storage for the past year,” explained Elena Marín, Project Manager at CONEX, the company in charge of designing and preparing the stand. “Among the materials used was OSB, which is made from compacted wood. We have also worked on energy-saving measures, reduced plastic consumption by using cardboard in certain areas, and spared no effort in observing COVID health protocols.”

The stand is equipped with a handwashing station with acrylic signage for visitors. The stand complies with strict physical distancing measures, mask use, temperature monitoring and hand sanitizer dispensers, along with limits on occupancy.

Sixteen tourism sector companies from Costa Rica attended Fitur 2021, which is considered to be one of the world’s largest showcases and negotiation platforms for tourism professionals, with participants from over 165 countries and regions worldwide.

This is the first in-person tourism fair held globally since the pandemic began, and is being run with strict health protocols. The fair will continue until Sunday, May 23.

Juan Santamaría International Airport launches laboratory service for rapid COVID-19 testing


  • Passengers will receive results in approximately one hour, allowing them to fulfil entrance requirements in certain countries that require the test.
  • Laboratorios Echandi will be in charge of operating the service.

Beginning on May 14, the Juan Santamaría International Airport, under the administration of AERIS Costa Rica, will offer a rapid testing laboratory to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

The service is part of the airport operator’s efforts to ensure a safe travel experience and help passengers to comply with entry requirements to certain global destinations. The service also seeks to offer greater peace of mind while travelling, with results available in a very short timeframe.

“This laboratory service, which offers rapid COVID-19 testing, places us at the forefront of global air terminals,” said Rafael Mencía, Executive Director of AERIS. “As a company that seeks to facilitate travel, our priority is to preserve travelers’ health and minimize the possibility of infection, with a view to ensuring the well-being of passengers travelling to and from the country. With the backing of our parent company, Grupo CCR, we at AERIS Holding Costa Rica are constantly studying the best practices to improve the travel experience and acting in an agile manner to follow the public health requirements and meet the needs of the ongoing pandemic.”

The service will be operated jointly with experts from Laboratorios Echandi, who will perform the testing through a partnership with Morpho Travel Retail.

“This launch is a step towards the country’s economic reactivation, offering the opportunity to launch a vital service in Costa Rica’s main airport that follows the highest quality standards,” noted Federico Echandi, General Manager of Laboratorios Echandi. “Domestic and international travelers will now be able to take the COVID-19 test in a rapid, simple and safe manner without having to go to an external laboratory. It will be just one more step in the usual travel process.”

Echandi went on to note that international passengers will have the option of receiving the service in English, and all travelers can reserve their appointment using the website

What does the test consist of, and what should passengers know beforehand?

The diagnostic testing laboratory is situated in a space with an area of over 400 m², located 600 m northwest of the airport on the highway to San Antonio del Tejar. This allows the samples to be properly analyzed while also separating the flow of passengers and avoiding congestion in the airport’s main facilities.

A 24-hour service provides passengers with transportation that complies with the requirements of Law 7600. A parking area is also offered for passengers using rental vehicles or arriving with family members.

The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) hailed the announcement, highlighting the importance of passengers being able to rely on this service in the country’s main airport. “This effort by the Juan Santamaría International Airport to offer COVID-19 testing will improve the experience of tourists traveling through the airport,” said Gustavo Segura, Minister of Tourism. “These kinds of facilities, which are hard to find in Latin America, are an additional factor in favor of the destination under the current circumstances.”

About the testing. The maximum period required to take a sample and provide the result is one hour. Passengers are therefore recommended to schedule their appointment at the laboratory four hours before their flight is set to depart. Travelers must present their reservation with the airline as well as their passport.

The antigen test has a cost of $65 (plus sales tax) and the result will be delivered electronically or in a physical letter.

Other noteworthy characteristics of the service include:

  • The facility includes a queueing area, a room for those waiting for results had an isolation area for those who test positive.
  • Customer service staff are bilingual (Spanish and English).
  • Staff will be on hand to keep things running in an orderly fashion.
  • A security team will be in charge of taking care of equipment and materials.
  • Cleaning and disinfection teams will be in place to comply with the applicable standards.
  • The service will be available 24/7.
  • Appointments can be reserved using a QR code reader.

The rapid antigen test is currently recognized for entry to the United States and is a requirement in the Netherlands, with direct flights leaving from Juan Santamaría International Airport to both countries.

The Costa Rican Chamber of Healthcare, meanwhile, noted the importance of public-private partnerships as a mechanism to ensure greater and higher-quality access to healthcare for the country’s population. “This new service is part of a network of over 100 laboratories throughout the country that have been carrying out PCR and antigen tests for months in an inter-institutional effort to ensure safe, effective and reasonably priced access to COVID-19 testing for international passengers and domestic travelers,” said Massimo Manzi, Executive Director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Healthcare.

The laboratory facilities comply with all applicable regulations and have been approved by the Ministry of Health and the Association of Microbiologists of Costa Rica. The facilities also follow the protocols in place at the Juan Santamaría International Airport regarding handwashing, physical distancing, occupancy limits and obligatory mask usage.

Entry limits to national parks reduced to 50%, with the exception of Volcán Poás national park


Measure announced by public health authorities to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Public health measures at visitor centers will remain in force.
  • Measures will apply from May 13-31, inclusive.

The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC-MINAE), in accordance with the new emergency measures announced by the public health authorities to stop the spread of the third wave of COVID-19, has announced that tourist visits to various Protected Wildlife Areas (PWAs) will be reduced to 50% of capacity. The measures will be in place from May 13-31, and will not apply to Volcán Poás National Park.

Protected Wildlife Areas will continue to observe social distancing protocols and sanitation measures put in place by the Ministry of Health with the aim of ensuring a safe visiting experience for tourists.

We take this opportunity to reiterate that the protective measures for all employees and visitors to National Parks and Protected Wildlife Areas are in place to help stop the spread of the virus. Handwashing, social distancing and personal protective equipment are of paramount importance.

In addition to these measures, and given the mechanisms by which the virus spreads (droplets and contact), SINAC has strengthened the cleaning and disinfection processes for high-contact items, surfaces and equipment. It has also mandated the proper use of personal protective equipment and optimized the ventilation systems in public use areas, in compliance with public health conditions and the general guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health.

It is crucial that the public be aware of the importance of public health protocols to protect themselves and their families from this illness.

Rafael Gutierrez, Executive Director of SINAC, noted that “SINAC is complying with the prevention and mitigation measures, which include the capacity limits indicated by the Ministry of Health for visitors to the PWAs. In addition, strategies have been put in place including scheduling visits in various high-traffic parks by selling time-limited tickets over SINAC’s online Payment and Reservation System (SICORE), which helps avoid clustering of visitors by setting out specific start and end times for each visit.” 

“We must be respectful of the occupancy limits put in place by the public health authorities when entering conservation areas, as well as all of the protection categories that exist within these areas,” said Alberto Lopez, General Manager of the ICT. “The Costa Rican tourism model is famous throughout the world for its respect for biodiversity and sustainability. Every sustainable destination must be a safe destination, and respecting occupancy limits and public health protocols will allow us to engage in tourism in a responsible matter in these challenging times so that we can move forward and take care of one another.”

It should be noted that tickets bought on at park entrances may only be paid for using a credit or debit card. Certain National Parks allow online reservations at the following site:

SINAC reminds visitors of the measures that are being implemented in all Protective Wildlife Areas in the country.

  • Visible signage regarding issues of prevention, including social distancing of 1.8 m, not touching one’s face, and handwashing protocols.
  • Parking lot restrictions to ensure that only every other space is used.
  • Areas for visitors to disinfect their hands when entering and leaving PWAs.
  • Visitor centers where entry tickets can be purchased while staff and visitors observe the necessary social distancing and protection measures, with signage, hygiene and cleaning supplies, and barriers between staff and visitors to ensure distancing of at least 1.8 m.
  • Payment by credit card to avoid the use of cash.
  • Visitors who exhibit symptoms similar to those of the flu or COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter PWAs that are open to tourists.
  • During visits, staff will ensure that no clustering occurs at common meeting points and that visitors follow the relevant provisions of the Ministry of Health.
  • Cleaning and hygiene measures of public use areas will include cleaning the visitor centers, lookouts and elements of infrastructure in which visitors tend to congregate, as well as high-contact surfaces including guardrails, doorknobs, tables and handwashing stations.

The above measures are crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19. SINAC aims to provide a quality experience to all families who visit Protected Areas, and these public safety measures are in place so that staff, visitors, tourists and the community can prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our efforts will only be successful if everyone cooperates and commits to following these protocols.

In the case of Chirripó and Isla del Coco National Parks, the existing reservations for this period will be respected.

The Central Administration is coordinating with the Conservation Areas to ensure that they make the necessary changes in order to implement these measures, including changes to the SICORE platform by the Information Technology Department. Reservations made to date will be respected.

Attached is a list of the PWAs that are open with a reduced capacity (50%) due to the public health measures.

Safe and responsible Tourism in Protected Wildlife Areas


SINAC and ICT ask visitors to follow a series of recommendations for a safe visit.

  • Engaging in responsible and safe tourism in PWAs requires consistent action on the part of everyone involved.
  • SINAC and ICT have launched campaigns to promote respect for wildlife and visitor safety.
  • Use official websites to learn about the PWA that you will be visiting.
  • If travelling with a tour operator or guide, make sure that they have ICT certifications and/or the necessary operating permits.

The natural and cultural resources present in Costa Rica are one of the main attractions for domestic and international tourists. The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) is responsible for promoting visits to the protected wildlife areas (PWAs) that it administers. Tourism is one of the ecosystem services envisioned in the creation of the PWAs since it promotes sustainable development and is compatible with conservation goals.

Walking through protected areas is an excellent opportunity to see wild animals, observe their natural behavior, and learn about the role they play in the ecosystem and their interactions with other species.

The Management Plan of every PWA is the basis for all tourism-related activities within these areas. Each Management Plan sets out central management priorities and the zoning within the PWAs, as well as the strategies in a variety of fields including tourism, if consistent with the area’s management category.

Services and activities related to tourism are regulated by the Sustainable Tourism Plans in each PWA as well as the public use directives, among others. Trails, lookouts, parking areas, stores and visitor centers are just some of the facilities that SINAC offers tourists in order to facilitate their visits, and activities related to observing wildlife, learning about biodiversity, recreation and environmental education.

Rafael Gutierrez Rojas, the Executive Director of SINAC, noted that “responsible and safe tourism activities within the PWAs requires consistent action on the part of everyone involved: the government, private sector, academia, communities and tourists. One of the issues that has required significant effort in recent years, and which has become a challenge for SINAC, is the promotion of unauthorized activities and entries in PWAs by various groups of tourists.” Gutierrez continued, “there has been a tendency to enter high-risk areas, schedule visits outside of the hours of operation, enter through unofficial areas, and engage in harmful practices towards wildlife, among other issues.”

“As part of the new normal that is emerging due to the pandemic and its impacts, which includes the institutional efforts to gradually reopen the economy through tourism activities, we must not lose sight of the need to be responsible tourists when visiting conservation areas and to be aware of the categories of protection that apply to each one,” emphasized Alberto López, General Manager of the ICT. “Following public health measures, respecting instructions, and, most importantly, using companies and guides certified by the ICT and keeping in line with the established guidelines and zoning stipulations are of paramount importance. Now more than ever, we have to take care of one another in order to move Costa Rica forward as a safe and responsible tourist destination.”

SINAC, in partnership with other organizations, has launched campaigns to promote respect for wildlife and visitor safety. Two such initiatives are the Campaign for Responsible Tourism, implemented in partnership with the ICT, and the Stop Animal Selfies campaign. In addition, the organization has created guidelines to raise awareness of the issues and prepared a draft law to punish unauthorized activities.

Visitors are therefore reminded to keep the following information in mind in order to ensure a safe and responsible visit:

Before your visit:

  1. Look up information about the PWA that you will be visiting on the official website. This will include hours of operation, payment information, official entrances, weather and services offered.
  2. Learn about the facilities and services that nearby communities offer.
  3. Prepare for your visit: make sure you have essential items including proper clothing, enough water, and any medicine you will need.
  4. If you are travelling with a tour operator or guide, make sure that they have an ICT certification and/or the proper operating permits.

When you get to the PWA:    

  1. Make sure that you are entering at an official access point that is duly signposted and that you are following the official hours of operation.
  2. Follow public health protocols, including washing and sanitizing hands, maintaining a distance of 1.8 m between household bubbles, and using a mask in indoor facilities.
  3. Listen carefully to any information that park rangers provide you with and pay attention to any signage.

During your visit:

  1. Remain within the areas designated for visitors.
  2. Do not leave the trail and walk in silence in order to have positive interactions with the wildlife.
  3. Follow instructions given by park rangers.
  4. Always look around you, watch where you are walking and where you place your hands so that you are not surprised by a wild animal.
  5. Avoid any action that could affect the natural behavior of wild animals.
  6. If you encounter a wild animal, keep the following recommendations in mind:
  • Do not be alarmed. No wild animal will attack without a reason.
  • Observe the animal from a distance without getting into its space.
  • Do not try to touch it, trap it or handle it.
  • Do not try to feed wild animals.
  • When leaving the area, do not lose sight of the animal, especially in the case of poisonous snakes, crocodiles, big cats and animals that are taking care of their offspring.
  • To the extent possible, walk with someone else and do not leave your group.
  • If you find a wounded animal or one that seems to be ill, do not try to handle it. Let a park ranger know so that they can take it to a rescue center.

After your visit:

  1. Share your positive experience and promote responsible tourism.

Visit a local establishment to support the area’s economic development.

Costa Rica Convention Center acclaimed as one of the world’s best venues at the 2021 Eventex Awards


  • Convention Center received three major awards: gold in the “People’s Choice” category and bronze in the “Convention Center” and “Versatile Venue” categories.

May 13, 2021. The Costa Rica Convention Center (CRCC) continues to stand out for its quality services, operations and infrastructure. It most recently received three accolades in the 11th Eventex Awards, a global awards ceremony for events and experiential marketing from around the world.

The Convention Center won gold in the “People’s Choice” category for the second year in a row, thanks to voting from the public. It also received two bronze medals, one in the “Convention Center” category in recognition of the venue’s operations and diverse features, and one in the “Versatile Venue” category, highlighting the center’s adaptability.

These awards bring the total number of certifications, prizes and international awards that the Costa Rica Convention Center has received to 18 since opening its doors in August 2018. This is helped put Costa Rica on the map among global destinations for the Meeting Industry, which is currently waiting for public health restrictions to be lifted in order to hold a large number of events, ensuring that our country will be one of the first options in Latin America to be chosen for important events.

Álvaro Rojas, General Manager of the Costa Rica Convention Center, emphasized that these awards are the fruit of the hard work put in by the entire team, which has taken a leading role in the development of a number of initiatives at the Convention Center for several years.

“These awards are the result of the clear vision of the ICT and the private sector to diversify the tourism products on offer in Costa Rica, positioning it as one of the most important emerging destinations in the Meeting Industry worldwide,” said Rojas. “Meeting tourism represents over 20% of global tourism and attracts visitors who spend up to five times more than the average tourist. For us at Grupo Heroica, it is an honor and our responsibility to help ensure that the country increases its profile.”

Pride of the tourism sector

Gustavo Alvarado, Director of Tourism Management at the ICT, expressed his great pride in the awards the Convention Center received, which serve as an incentive and motivation to continue to position the Costa Rica Convention Center as one of the most outstanding venues in the region, as well as the most visible symbol of the country’s impressive offerings for meeting tourism, conferences and conventions.

“Having received these international awards is a validation of efforts going back to the opening of the Convention Center and a result of a marketing strategy to place Costa Rica in an increasingly competitive position in this market segment,” noted Alvarado. “In the current situation, this involves immense challenges and demands constant innovation and resilience with a view towards the future.”

In a statement from the Costa Rica Convention Bureau, the country’s private sector group focused on meeting tourism, its Director Tatiana Orozco added “we congratulate the ICT, Grupo Heroica and the Costa Rica Convention Center for these significant achievements, which provide a clear impetus to continue our efforts to grow and position ourselves in the meeting industry, a field that offers benefits that go beyond tourism, bringing innovation, knowledge, talent and best practices to the country, and much more.”

Awards with international prestige

The Eventex Awards are the world’s highest-profile award ceremony for events and experiential marketing, representing a symbol of excellence since they were founded in 2009. A total of 561 nominations were received for the 2021 awards from a total of 37 countries.

“Receiving on Eventex award is an incredible achievement for the Costa Rica Convention Center,” commented Ovanes Ovanessian, co-founder of the Eventex Awards. “Every award is fully based on merit and is a recognition of the company’s fantastic creativity, flexibility and focus on innovation.”

The goal of the awards is to celebrate creativity, innovation and efficiency throughout the industry. Every year, the competition highlights the best agencies, events and technology from the world of events.

For more information, please see:

La Cruz coastal tourism corridor seeks to harness its potential to attract European and cross-border tourism


  • Costa Rican Minister of Tourism Gustavo J. Segura and Anasha Campbell, Minister of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism, met with political and tourism industry leaders in the Guanacaste region.

Friday, April 23, 2021- The prospects of promoting La Cruz Canton and the surrounding tourism corridor as an attraction for domestic, cross-border and European tourism were among the topics discussed in a meeting attended by Tourism Minister Gustavo J. Segura on Thursday.

The meeting, which was held in the conference room of the Municipal Office of La Cruz, was also attended by Anasha Campbell, Minister of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism; Luis Alonso Alan, Mayor of La Cruz; Daguer Hernández, Deputy Director of the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreigners; and representatives of the Guanacaste Conservation Area, the La Cruz Chamber of Tourism Businesses, the La Cruz Chamber of Commercial and Tourism Development, and the Coastal Tourism Corridor.

“La Cruz is a border canton that offers impressive tourist attractions, ongoing tourism investments that have created hundreds of jobs in the community as well as opportunities for social progress through rural and community tourism initiatives that will soon be rolled out,” said Segura.

“With an increasing number of European tourists arriving in Costa Rica, tourism in this border community seeks to allow multi-country tours. This cross-border tourism corridor unites the attractions of our northern coast with those of the southern Pacific coast of Nicaragua.”

Anasha Campbell noted that tourism is linked to improved quality of life in local communities, while the industry has a role to play in ensuring immigration flows between the communities in order to support their development.

Manuel Alan, President of the La Cruz Chamber of Tourism, participated in the meeting, which he described as a positive development in the mission to attract more domestic and international visitors to the region while continuing to comply with the current public health measures.

“La Cruz has over 40 different attractions, offering history, geography, sport fishing and heritage in the canton of the petroglyphs. We have enough to keep a tourist entertained for a two-week visit,” said Alan.

In addition to this roundtable, Segura held private meetings with investors and representatives from the La Cruz Chamber of Tourism and with tourism business leaders from coastal communities from Cuajiniquil.

La Cruz Coastal Tourism Corridor

The La Cruz Coastal Tourism Corridor (CTC) was implemented in 2019 with the aim of attracting domestic and international tourists.

It is comprised of the Santa Elena Peninsula, Bahía Salinas and the coastal communities of El Jobo, Puerto Soley, Cuajiniquil and La Cruz.

From La Cruz to Cuajiniquil, the region offers rural farm tourism, birdwatching, whale and dolphin tours, diving, snorkeling, tours with local fishermen, visits to the Isla Bolaños Wildlife Refuge, and geological features, as La Cruz is one of the few places on earth where visitors can see layers of the earth’s crust emerging from the sea.

The beaches of La Cruz are considered one of the top global destinations for kitesurfing, while visitors can also enjoy local cuisine, with seafood and local specialties such as hand-made tortillas, gallina achiotada or arroz de maíz.

La Cruz has been declared the canton of petroglyphs as it is has some of the most abundant archaeological findings of anywhere in the country. The region is also rich in marine wildlife thanks to the cool waters, which provide a refuge for marine species. It is easy to spot whales, turtles, sharks, manta rays and many other ocean species in the area.

Isla Bolaños, an island in Bahía Soley, is part of the Guanacaste Conservation Area and a Marine Bird Sanctuary. Visits to the island are possible through licensed tour operators.

For more information on local attractions and the tourist attractions in this and other regions of the country, please and Remember, when you go to visit tourist attractions, follow all health protocols and act responsibly.

Costa Rica leads among international destinations in travel outlook


  • Gradual and responsible reopening to tourism are the main reasons to choose our country.
  • Vaccinated individuals, couples, families and digital nomads are the main profile of travelers who choose Costa Rica as their preferred destination.
  • Tourists show a preference for nature and open spaces.

April 20, 2021 According to 150 tourism professionals surveyed in Spain, Costa Rica is one of the top 5 global destinations with the best travel outlook this summer, occupying the top spot in the Americas.

This is the main finding from the Spring 2019/Covid-19 issue of the 1st Study on Perceptions of Safe Destinations, published by The Blueroom Project in Spain.

Costa Rica ranked fourth in the global ranking of international destinations, with a score of 71%, as well as taking the top spot for travel destinations in the Americas.

One of the main findings of the survey, carried out on March 15-30, 2021, was that the destinations that have opened to tourism while also demonstrating competent management of the pandemic will be the most likely to receive tourists in the upcoming summer season.

“One of the commitments and challenges that the ICT has undertaken in the current environment is to maintain a solid presence of the Essential Costa Rica brand in our priority tourist-sending markets (the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands). This study shows that we have achieved our goal,” said Gustavo J. Segura, the Minister of Tourism.

Segura noted the importance of continuing to adhere to public health protocols in order to safeguard the ongoing reactivation of the tourism industry.

Results of the study 

According to the survey, the factors that influenced the selection of destinations were COVID-19 safety (86%) and flexible offers (64%).

Nature and open spaces were another important factor behind choosing a destination (63% of survey respondents), while connectivity and accessibility was mentioned by 27% of the experts. The tourism professionals surveyed also mentioned image and reputation as an important factor (21%) as well as sustainability (7%).

According to Segura, the country’s promotional efforts are focused on the strengths of the destination, including the ability to visit year-round, the variety of outdoor activities without crowds, and the sustainable and secure approach that complies with the strict biosafety protocols implemented by all tourism subsectors.

“We have continued to follow these strategies to demonstrate that our country is a sanctuary of sustainability, a destination that allows visitors to experience life’s essential values,” said Segura.


1.       Maldives 81.38%
2.       United Arab Emirates 80.69%
3.       Seychelles 74.78%
4.       Costa Rica 71.03%
5.       Japan 66.90%
6.       Mauritius 66.21%
7.       Greece 62.76%
8.       Qatar 56.55%
9.       Portugal 56.55%
10.   Dominican Republic 53.10%

March sees highest visitor numbers since borders reopened


  • A total of 89,263 tourists entered the country from all ports of entry, the largest number since borders were closed for a five-month period last year at the beginning of the pandemic.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021. With 89,263 international arrivals, March was the busiest month for tourist arrivals to Costa Rica since the gradual reopening of borders that began last August.

This is the first time that tourist arrivals from all ports of entry have reached this level since March 2020, when the COVID-19 health crisis began and borders were closed for nearly five months.

According to information from the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreigners analyzed by the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), 66,505 international arrivals (74.5% of the total) were from North America, of whom 62,370 came from the United States, 2,706 from Mexico and 1,429 from Canada.

In addition, 14,183 tourists arrived from Europe, 3,382 from Central America, 3,881 from South America and 284 from the Caribbean.

“These numbers are very uplifting given the global situation and the difficulties that the tourism sector is facing in its recovery,” said Gustavo J. Segura, the Minister of Tourism. “In order to keep these numbers where they are and ensure that they grow, it is vitally important that we commit to following public health protocols. That is how we protect the progress made in the reactivation of the tourism industry and the country.”

In January 2021, 62,200 tourists arrived from all ports of entry, while that number was 55,252 in February. In the year’s first quarter, there were a total of 206,715 arrivals.

Air arrivals represented the lion’s share of entries to Costa Rica, with 88,391 of the 89,263 arrivals recorded in March.

Juan Santamaría International Airport received 62,017 international arrivals, while Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, in Guanacaste, welcomed 26,374 tourists. These figures were the highest since March 2020 in both airports.

KLM to reactivate flights to Costa Rica beginning June 29


  • Airline will restart its routes to San José and Guanacaste with three weekly flights.

Monday, April 19, 2021- With three weekly flights beginning June 29, KLM will restart its routes to Costa Rica on its usual Amsterdam-San José-Liberia-Amsterdam route, which it will fly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

“We are delighted to celebrate KLM’s return,” said Gustavo J. Segura, Minister of Tourism. “The company is putting its faith in Costa Rica, increasing the number of seats in the coming months and promoting the arrival of Europeans, whose average stays in the country are as high as 18 days.” Segura added that the June start date for flights coincides with the beginning of the European summer. By that point, more Europeans will be vaccinated against COVID-19 and ready to travel internationally to a destination like Costa Rica that has strong public health measures in place.

For the province of Guanacaste, the news brings hope of new tourism sector jobs.

“We are overjoyed that the Dutch airline KLM has confirmed that they will restart their operations in Guanacaste beginning in June,” said Cesar Jaramillo, General Manager of CORIPORT, the administrator of the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport. “This news is a major boost to our growth projections for the second half of the year.”

“By working alongside governmental institutions, we have made a concerted effort to attract more European tourists, who contribute to the growth of the destination and the reactivation of the country’s economy. Guanacaste’s airport is prepared to receive a larger volume of travel while continuing to comply with public health protocols and the Protejámonos (let’s protect each other) initiative by Vinci Airports to serve our visitors and employees and keep them safe,” Jaramillo continued.

Meanwhile, Rafael Mencía, Executive Director of AERIS, the administrator of the Juan Santamaría International Airport, noted that KLM’s decision to extend its operations to the airport is the result of efforts by the Costa Rican Tourism Board with support from AERIS as an airport manager.

“We are constantly following the public health requirements that are so crucial in these times,” said Mencía. “These efforts seek to continue attracting visitors going to and from important cities such as Amsterdam, strengthening our connections to the Netherlands, which is the fifth-largest tourist-sending market for Costa Rica.”

Beginning on June 29, KLM will fly to Costa Rica on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving at Juan Santamaría International Airport at 1:05 p.m. and leaving for Liberia at 2:45 p.m. From Liberia, it will head back to the Netherlands at 4:40 p.m. 

Although the flights already appear on the airline’s booking system, the final authorization from the Costa Rican Civil Aviation authorities is still outstanding, though it is expected in the coming days.

Frontier to return to Costa Rica in July with direct flights from Miami and Orlando


April 15, 2021– The low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines announced plans today to return to Costa Rica. Its direct flights from Miami and Orlando to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) will begin in July 2021 with two weekly departures on each route.

“We are thrilled to return to Costa Rica with direct flights from San José to Miami and Orlando beginning in July,” said Daniel Shurz, Senior Vice President, Commercial of Frontier Airlines. “Frontier Airlines focuses on offering affordable rates and friendly service. We hope to welcome locals and visitors alike on board in Florida and show them the marvelous natural beauty of Costa Rica, its enchanting beaches and limitless activities.”

“Frontier’s return to Costa Rica, with the inauguration of the new routes from Miami and Orlando to San José is an encouraging development because these are two key markets: attracting international tourists to our country as well as serving local tourism demand, since the state of Florida is a favorite destination among Costa Ricans,” said Gustavo J. Segura, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism.

New routes to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO): 

Miami (MIA) July 2, 2021 2x weekly
Orlando (MCO) July 1, 2021 2x weekly

The frequencies and schedules are subject to change; those interested should check for the most up-to-date schedules.

Frontier doesn’t only offer its customers low airfare, but also the possibility of customizing their travel to their needs and budget. For example, passengers can purchase à la carte options or a low-price package called WORKS. This package includes a refundable ticket, a carry-on bag, a checked bag, seat selection, zero change fees and priority boarding.

Frontier requires all passengers and crew to wear a mask for the entire trip. In addition, everyone flying with Frontier has to complete a health check before flying in which they confirm that:

  • Neither they nor anyone in their family have shown Covid-related symptoms in the last 14 days.
  • They will wash/disinfect their hands before boarding the flight.
  • They understand and acknowledge the airline mask policy and the pre-boarding temperature control policies.

“We applaud the boost to the second half of the year with the presence of a new airline in Costa Rica and the Juan Santamaría International Airport,” said Rafael Mencía, the Executive Director of AERIS Costa Rica. “The arrival of Frontier is a testament to the process of market reactivation and the effective coordination that AERIS has been undertaking along with the Costa Rican Tourism Board to support the sector.”

“Frontier’s routes to and from Miami and Orlando expand the opportunities for Costa Ricans and tourists to have new experiences and visit destinations of interest. With this new partner, Juan Santamaría Airport will continue to build the network of airlines that connect Costa Rica with the world,” Mencía continued.

For more information, see

Última Modificación: 23/06/2024.
Instituto Costarricense de Turismo