While the news of Costa Rica’s cruise ship ban was a real bummer, it was hard to get too upset, since most of Costa Rica’s biggest travel companies had already pulled their ships from the country anyway: Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. But then, this week, it looked like that might change, as Costa Rica’s new Tourism Minister, Eduardo Brau, announced that nine cruise lines have signed on to return to the country.
Aside from its natural beauty, the country of Costa Rica has a great deal to offer prospective vacationers: sun, beaches, activities, and food. However, the latter is among the country’s most important contributions to the travel industry.Costa Rica has always been a popular destination for those who enjoy cruising. Visitors will soon be able to enjoy the country’s wildlife, beaches and jungles again. Costa Rica will reopen its doors to cruise ships in September, but subject to strict sanitary regulations.
To date, nine cruise lines have added Costa Rican ports to their itineraries, which is a big step for Costa Rica’s tourism industry and the revitalization of local economies in coastal communities.
Costa Rica becomes a member as of 1. September 2022 will be open to cruise tourism. The country hopes to boost its weakened tourism sector, which has seen a sharp drop in visitors over the past 18 months. The opening up to tourists will boost tourism and create jobs for thousands of people traditionally employed in this sector in places such as Limón, Puntarenas, Caldera, Quepos and Golfito.
Gustavo J. Segura, Minister for Tourism
The ports of Limón, Puntarenas, Caldera, Quepos and Golfito would benefit from the recovery of this tourist activity. Each passenger spends an average of $137 per day, which has a significant effect on revitalizing local economies in coastal communities.
Limon cruise port (Photo: Solarisys / Shutterstock.com)
To date, nine cruise lines have added Costa Rica to their itineraries; the companies and ships that will visit Costa Rica include Windstar, Lindblad, Sea Cloud, Seabourn Quest, Celebrity Millennium, Carnival Pride, Crown Princess, Diamond Princess and Seven Seas Mariner. Five ships will call at Limon, while others will call at ports on the Pacific side of the country.
Costa Rica has always been a popular destination for cruise lines. During the 2019-2020 season, 239,566 guests visited cruise ships; 113 cruise ships visited Pacific ports and 84 ships visited Caribbean ports.
Opening the country to cruise passengers is one thing, making it safe is another. Costa Rica was one of the first countries to close its ports in 2019; however, the country opened its doors to land-based tourism earlier this year.
In June, nearly 120,000 arrivals were recorded at the country’s airports. However, for cruise ships, passengers must be fully vaccinated prior to arrival.
The country has informed the incoming cruise line that 100% of the crew on board must be fully vaccinated and 95% of all guests on board. A full vaccination allows visitors to enjoy the country on their own, rather than being trapped in a bubble during their visit.
Puntarenas Cruise Port (Photo courtesy of: NJF)
Guests must also complete a medical claim form 72 hours prior to arrival. The first cruise ship expected in the country is from Windstar Cruises and is scheduled to arrive on the 2nd. September is coming; the country will focus on small luxury ships first before the arrival of larger ships.
Also read : Top 10 Eastern Caribbean cruise ports you need to visit
Gustavo J. Segura, Minister for Tourism
In the first phase of this renewal, most cruise ships will be luxurious and carry fewer passengers, such as the Lindbland (National Geographic Expeditions). The first cruise ship to arrive at 2. September arrives in Golfito, the Windstar line with about 150 passengers on board.
With more ships calling at the port almost daily and more cruise ports opening, cruise tourism should be back to normal by the end of the year, and with Costa Rica’s borders open to cruise ships, guests will be able to see amazing things again.
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