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United Airlines expanding routes to Costa Rica during U.S. summer

United Airlines is preparing a significant expansion into Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean during the upcoming U.S. summer.

According to The Points Guy, the Chicago-based airline is adding “flights to nearly every destination it serves in Mexico, as well as some in the Caribbean and Central America.”

“One of the bright spots in the region is Costa Rica, where United [is] adding 112 flights, including extending the season for some routes, such as Denver (DEN) to San José (SJO),” Zach Griff of The Points Guy notes.

The Costa Rica route increases for June 2021 are as follows:

  • Denver to Liberia, Guanacaste (LIR): From 1x to 3x weekly.
  • Denver to the San José area (SJO): Schedule extended through the summer.
  • New York City (EWR) to LIR: From 2x to 3x weekly.
  • Chicago (ORD) to SJO: Schedule extended through the summer.

None of these routes are new for United Airlines. Rather, the carrier is increasing the frequency of some routes and extending the duration of seasonal service.

“Industry experts are predicting a massive pent-up demand for travel, especially from leisure and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) traffic,” The Points Guy says. “United’s latest move is seemingly reacting to the news that the first major wave of mid-pandemic travel might be on the horizon.”

Costa Rica fully reopened its air borders to tourists on November 1, 2020. It requires that visitors purchase travel health insurance. Tourists do not need to quarantine on arrival or bring proof of a negative coronavirus test.

Costa Rica coronavirus entry requirements

Here are are the requirements to fly into Costa Rica on a commercial flight as a tourist during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Fill out the electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS form, available at This should be completed in the 48 hours before boarding for Costa Rica. It generates a QR code that you must show upon arrival; some airlines ask for it at check-in.
  • Purchase Traveler’s Medical Insurance: This can be either from an international company, or purchased through the National Insurance Institute (INS) or Sagicor of Costa Rica, covering the duration of your stay in Costa Rica.

INS and Sagicor policies are pre-approved and guaranteed to be accepted by Costa Rican authorities. However, many visitors choose international policies, because they are often cheaper.

Tourists who opt to purchase an international policy must bring a letter demonstrating:

  • Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with COVID-19 while in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000 USD.
  • Minimum coverage of $2,000 USD for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic.
  • Validity of the policy throughout the planned stay in Costa Rica.

In addition to the coronavirus-related measures, tourists must also meet Costa Rica’s general visa requirements; visitors must have a valid passport and proof of intent to exit the country (an outbound ticket) within 90 days.

The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) lists all the current entry requirements for tourists on its website. Click here for the official page.

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