For reasons that defy logic, given the importance tourism has for Costa Rica, especially after the strains of Covid-19, many visitors stand for hours, shoulder to shoulder, just to enter the country at its main airport in San Jose. Many tourists miss their ground transfers, domestic flights, or are forced to travel via rental car at night after a long day of travel in an unfamiliar place.
Hardly the first impression Costa Rica would like for first time visitors.
Recently it was announced that immigration officials would no longer review digital health passes because they claim that the system, run by the Ministry of Health, is slow and is the reason for delays with the entrance process.
The reality that frequent travelers to San Jose are well aware of for some time, is that these long delays have been an issue well before Covid-19, especially during the peak travel season.
The vast majority of flights arrive in San Jose between noon and five p.m., a fact known to airlines, immigration officials and the Ministry of Tourism.
Instead of finding a solution to this issue, the reaction of all parties has been one of finger pointing or silence.
Travel business professionals are also frustrated by this issue. It is left to them to process refunds or receive complaints from their clients. Many feel that this could be alleviated by simply staffing enough immigration officials during peak travel times, as a first step, as opposed to the few officers currently on hand.
If you have had a an issue getting into Costa Rica, travel professionals suggest you contact the Ministry of Tourism via their Facebook page and share your experience and don’t forget about Travel Insurance.