Central America Reopening! Dates & Protocols You Need to Know

Casa Vieja Lodge
May 7, 2014
29
26
San Jose, Costa Rica
www.centralamericafishing.com
Name
Chris
Boat
The best lodges, boats, captains, and guides in Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, & Belize
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

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

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.

Belize

Belize is opening it's international airport on October 1st. There will be flights from United, American, and Delta.

Pre-travel process
All visitors to Belize must download the Belize Health app on their mobile phone. This will help authorities manage your movement in Belize and provide timely communication to you. (The app is still in development)

After you receive your hotel confirmation, you will then register your travel on the Belize Health app. You will then be provided with a unique QR code ID which you will need on arrival in Belize.

Testing
Visitors are also highly encouraged to take a PCR test (not an antibody test) within 72 hours of your original travel departure to Belize which will fast track your entry into the country. A certified negative result will put you on the fast track arrival lane at the airport.

You will be able to upload your test results via the app. An official email or correspondence from the testing facility will be acceptable. We recommend bringing as much documentation as possible. It is still possible that you will be selected for testing at the airport when you arrive.

If you don't have a certified test prior to arrival, you will be required to take a rapid test at your own expense when you arrive at the airport. The cost of the rapid test will be $50 USD. You may also bring your own rapid test kit to be administered by health officials at the airport in Belize.

Anyone that tests positive on arrival, will be required by law to enter a 14-day quarantine at an approved quarantine hotel at your own expense, irrespective of your existing hotel booking or other accommodation.

Arrival
Upon arrival at the airport, we will have enhanced health screening, temperature checks, and verification of your unique ID from health app.

The Ministry of Health has established a testing area at the international airport just outside of Terminal 2. The clinic can accommodate 12 passengers at a time for testing, and is air conditioned with restroom facilities.

During your stay, you must adhere to all health and safety protocols in Belize including social distancing, and wearing of masks in public. You will be required to check in daily via the Belize Health App.
 
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bayougt

EL CAPITAN
Nov 16, 2011
92
34
Blue Bayou Lodge, Iztapa, Guatemala
Name
Capt Chris Starrs
Boat
Sails Tactic & Sails Pitch- 35 Bertram & Carolina Classic
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

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

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.

Belize

Belize is opening it's international airport on October 1st. There will be flights from United, American, and Delta.

Pre-travel process
All visitors to Belize must download the Belize Health app on their mobile phone. This will help authorities manage your movement in Belize and provide timely communication to you. (The app is still in development)

After you receive your hotel confirmation, you will then register your travel on the Belize Health app. You will then be provided with a unique QR code ID which you will need on arrival in Belize.

Testing
Visitors are also highly encouraged to take a PCR test (not an antibody test) within 72 hours of your original travel departure to Belize which will fast track your entry into the country. A certified negative result will put you on the fast track arrival lane at the airport.

You will be able to upload your test results via the app. An official email or correspondence from the testing facility will be acceptable. We recommend bringing as much documentation as possible. It is still possible that you will be selected for testing at the airport when you arrive.

If you don't have a certified test prior to arrival, you will be required to take a rapid test at your own expense when you arrive at the airport. The cost of the rapid test will be $50 USD. You may also bring your own rapid test kit to be administered by health officials at the airport in Belize.

Anyone that tests positive on arrival, will be required by law to enter a 14-day quarantine at an approved quarantine hotel at your own expense, irrespective of your existing hotel booking or other accommodation.

Arrival
Upon arrival at the airport, we will have enhanced health screening, temperature checks, and verification of your unique ID from health app.

The Ministry of Health has established a testing area at the international airport just outside of Terminal 2. The clinic can accommodate 12 passengers at a time for testing, and is air conditioned with restroom facilities.

During your stay, you must adhere to all health and safety protocols in Belize including social distancing, and wearing of masks in public. You will be required to check in daily via the Belize Health App.
Guatemala was pretty easy. It was the 18th it opened. I came in from Detroit via Houston. No quarantine! As long as you have a negative PCR test. I had a test older than 72 hrs and they didn't seem to care. Very tough to get one of those test turned around in 72hrs unless you do the home test. Fishing is great, all I got!

Capt Chris Starrs
 
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