The Costa Rican Hotel Chamber warned that criminal groups are scamming tourists by offering them fake Covid-19 tests and results.
“We have had reports of cases where these people take advantage of the misinformation and ignorance of tourists, offering them false tests and results,” said Javier Pacheco, president of the Hotel Chamber, told La Republica.
Many of Costa Rica’s largest tourism markets, including the United States, require a negative Covid-19 test for entry.
Costa Rican authorities have apprehended 400 passengers on suspicion that they presented falsified coronavirus test results when trying to leave the country, according to an August 30 report from the Public Security Ministry (MSP).
The vast majority of the apprehensions (362) were at Juan Santamaría International Airport near San José. The remaining 38 occurred at Guanacaste International Airport in Liberia.
Travelers who present falsified documents can be referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for charges; in many cases they are allowed to leave the country after paying a fine and taking the corresponding Covid-19 test.
“We must say that there are also cases in which the tourist, to avoid going to a laboratory or saving a little money, prefers to go to the illegal market to buy a test and a false result and presenting it at the time of his departure from the country,” Pacheco added.
The Tourism Board (ICT) maintains a list of hundreds of approved laboratories that offer Covid-19 tests in Costa Rica. Both international airports also offer on-site testing, with antigen test results guaranteed within an hour.