Costa Rica’s airports in September received 46,804 tourists from the United States, representing 93.3% of the amount registered for the same month in 2019, according to Tourism Board data.
In total, Costa Rica in September 2021 welcomed 77,599 visitors at its airports, representing a 30% drop compared to the last pre-pandemic September.
September’s numbers are also a decrease compared to August 2021 (114,227 air arrivals), which itself was 32,688 fewer people than in July 2021. These drops correspond to Costa Rica’s usual tourism low season, which spans from August through mid-November.
“The United States is the spearhead of our recovery and also Europe, whose recovery has been slower, shows a noticeable improvement with the total arrival of 14,748 people the previous month, representing almost 70% of the entry of tourists from the old continent of what was received prior to the pandemic,” said Gustavo Segura, Tourism Minister.
The Tourism Board (ICT) anticipates an increase in U.S. visitors over the final months of 2021 as a number of airlines increase or inaugurate routes during the high season. Some of the new flights:
- American Airlines from Chicago to the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) and Guanacaste Airport (LIR).
- American Airlines from Austin, Texas, to Guanacaste Airport.
- Frontier Airlines from Orlando, Florida, to Guanacaste Airport.
Guanacaste Airport in September handled 17,162 visitors, 92% of pre-pandemic levels. SJO, meanwhile, handled 60,435 travelers, 65% compared to 2019.
Through September 2021, Costa Rica has received 878,574 tourists, of which 836,190 arrived by air.
Nine airlines offer direct connections between Costa Rica and the United States: Delta, United, Alaska, American, JetBlue, Spirit, Sun Country (seasonally), Frontier and Southwest. All U.S.-based carriers that served Costa Rica before the pandemic have resumed service.
In addition, Avianca announced new flights between Costa Rica and the United States and a route to Cancún that will begin later this year.
Tourism is one of Costa Rica’s principal economic drivers. Before the pandemic, it contributed to 8.2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and created 9% of the nation’s jobs, according to the ICT.
Costa Rica has eliminated most Covid-19 entry requirements for vaccinated travelers. Click here to see Costa Rica’s entry requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic.