If you’re looking for the latest Costa Rica border information, then look no further as you’ve come to the right place. If a late spring break or early summer holiday to Central America sounds appealing, there is good news for our yoga community and our surfing friends, for those who have been looking forward to visiting the warm Nicaraguan lands. The land border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua was reopened on April 5th 2021 for the first time in over a year! This “first phase opening” allows movement across both sides of the border, subject to health and security measures, of course.
Here are some important things to note with this latest Costa Rica border information:
What Was It Like Before COVID?
Pre-pandemic, it was estimated that around 3000 people were passing through the border each day at the Peñas Blancas crossing with Nicaragua. After Costa Rica closed their borders in March 2020, only those holding Costa Rican residency or citizenship could enter the country by land. That has now changed with the latest reopening of land borders shared with Nicaragua and Panama. This aims to boost tourism while still maintaining strict security protocols.
Who Can Enter Costa Rica From Nicaragua?
Currently, Costa Rica is allowing tourists who do not require a visa, to enter. This link shows the full list of countries permitted – at the moment Groups 1 and 2 will be admitted entry. These include the US, Canada, Japan and many European Countries. Citizens from these countries will be entitled to stay for the full 90 days visa-free, as long as they meet the health, safety and migration guidelines provided by the Costa Rican government. For Nicaraguan citizens who require a visa however, the Costa Rica consulates in Managua and Chinandega are expected to open shortly.
What Do I Need to Enter Costa Rica by Land From Nicaragua?
1) For those eligible to enter Costa Rica, a valid passport is, as always, the first step. The following Covid-19 entry requirements are the next, equally important steps to follow whether you’re arriving by air or land.
2) Fill out the Health Pass Form no more than 48 hours before entering Costa Rica. You’ll be sent a QR code that you must present upon entry.
3) Purchase and present valid health insurance that covers you during your stay in Costa Rica. This insurance can be local or international but must cover a minimum of $50 000 USD for medical expenses (including Covid-19 cover) and $2000 USD for lodging or quarantine expenses. Companies like Sagicor offer policies that have been pre-approved by the Costa Rica Ministry of Tourism. Due to Covid, the Costa Rican authorities may only provide you with a visa for the number of days of insurance purchased. For example, if you purchase insurance for 30 days, you may only be given a 30 day visa, not the standard 90 days.
4) All foreigners must present a return ticket home or proof of a ticket out of the country. Costa Rica does not require a negative PCR Covid test in order to enter and has scrapped the previously requested quarantine of 14 days for those entering by land.
What Do I Need to Enter Nicaragua?
Regardless of whether you’re entering by land or air, from Costa Rica or from the United States, Nicaragua requires all visitors to present:
– A valid passport
– A negative PCR COVID Test, performed no more than 72 hours before entering Nicaragua Along with entry via the land borders, there are currently 2 airlines flying into Managua’s Augusto Sandino International Airport Avianca and Copa Airlines.
Can I Do a “Border Run” From Nicaragua?
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was common for many foreigners living in Nicaragua to cross the border and return immediately, thus renewing their 90 day tourist visa. With the required PCR test to enter Nicaragua needing to be done within 72 hours of entry, this now becomes difficult and you’d need to spend at least a couple of days in Costa Rica in order to receive your PCR test results and re-enter Nicaragua. Even though Costa Rica has a migratory extension policy for those who are stuck in the country and need to extend their visas, with the reopening of the Nicaraguan land border, a “border run” from Costa Rica now seems entirely possible, assuming of course that you meet all current conditions of entry into Nicaragua (See above).
Can I Visit Costa Rica and Nicaragua on the Same Trip?
Absolutely! Depending on your visa and assuming you can fulfill all COVID requirements for entry (Costa Rica – Health Pass and Insurance; Nicaragua – negative PCR test), some of Central America’s most beautiful destinations await! You could fly into and/or out of Managua, Liberia or San Jose, all of which have COVID testing facilities, if negative tests are required when you return home. For those looking for a tropical, multi-country trip, this opens up exciting new possibilities for travel, in a world that is largely still closed off.
See You on the Costa Esmeralda!
Up here on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast, there’s been a steady trickle of tourists who are relishing the uncrowded beaches, unspoiled nature and seasonal delights (mangos and avocados, anyone?). Nicaragua’s tourism hotspots of Granada, San Juan Del Sur, Ometepe and Leon are open for business and as the world continues adapting to the COVID 19 pandemic, the reopening of the Costa Rican land border this week is a hopeful step towards a brighter future.