Central America is Reopening! Dates and Protocols for You to Know

Discussion in 'Offshore Fishing Reports' started by Central America Fishing, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Central America Fishing

    Central America Fishing Active Member

    I've been waiting a long time to be able to say that! After shutting borders completely in mid-March, Central America is ready to open its borders to international visitors again. Traveling in the next couple of months may still not be like the old 'normal', but at least we are allowed to travel and fish again!

    With the peak billfish season being Nov-Apr and the peak tuna season in Panama being March-July, this reopening comes just in time for cooped up anglers and local operators who badly need tourists to come back and revive the sport fishing tourism industry again.

    Below are the reopening dates and the entry requirements that we know of at this time.

    *A friendly reminder that we didn't up these rules and it is far from a perfect system, but it is at least a start to get tourism moving again.*

    Costa Rica

    Costa Rica was the first to reopen to international tourists as of August 1st allowing visitors from the UK, Europe, and Canada. Noticeably, the USA was NOT on the list of accepted countries due to the state of the outbreak. Considering that 1.3 million of the 3.1 million visitors in 2019 were Americans, that caused quite an uproar among the tourism industry that has been so badly struggling the past five months.

    The government looked this over and decided that as of September 1st they would allow residents from New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia.

    On September 15th they are adding Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Massachusetts.

    ** On October 1st they will add California to that last. **

    The idea from the start was to always have a gradual reopening, so they plan to review this list every 15 days and add more states that have the virus under control. They explained it as they are looking at each state as it's own country, so allowing citizens from certain states was acceptable while other states simply aren't worth the risk. According to Gustavo Segura, Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, a state’s new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over recent weeks is the most important consideration for allowing tourists from that state.

    They are also basing residency on your drivers license, so a major loophole in this thought process is those of you who have a drivers license from one state but actually live in another. As I said, it's not perfect, but it is at least a start.

    In addition to having a photo ID from one of the accepted countries and a drivers license from one of the accepted US states, visitors must also abide by the following protocols:

    All people entering Costa Rica must complete the digital epidemiological form. This is known as the “Health Pass” or “Pase de Salud.”

    Tourists must obtain a negative PCR-RT coronavirus test. The sample for this test must have been taken at most 72 hours before the flight to Costa Rica.

    Tourists must purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19. This policy can be international or purchased from Costa Rican insurers.

    Tourists from the United States must demonstrate, via their driver’s license or State ID, that they live in one of the authorized states.


    Panama announced that they will finally open borders for tourism on October 17th. The details as to their entry requirements are not 100% clear yet, but a negative PCR test will be required. Copa Air, which has nonstops from LAX to Panama, begins flying again this week.


    Guatemala will be opening it's international airport on September 17th. The details as to their entry requirements are not 100% clear yet, but a negative PCR test will be required.
    HungryJack and lite-liner like this.
  2. lite-liner

    lite-liner troll enforcement Staff Member

    thanks for the update!

  3. Courtland

    Courtland Site Sponsor

    Probably would be just as interested in what measures are in place for the establishments in those countries. Pretty sure I heard there were a few cases outside of the US...
  4. HungryJack

    HungryJack Member

    Yeah, good luck on getting test results back in 3 days.

    Realistically, you need them back in 48 hours to be ready for
    your flight.