By Jennifer LaCharite
After lockdowns, border closures, and restrictions dominated much of the last two years, people are getting eager to travel abroad once again.
Whether it’s the confidence gained by the vaccine or “quarantine fatigue”, travelers seem to have decided enough is enough and are taking those international trips again. According to data around travel trends 2021 gathered by TripAdvisor at the beginning of the year, nearly half of people booking a trip we’re planning to travel out of country in the last half of 2021. And thanks to the growth of remote work opportunities, more people than ever have the chance to take that extended vacation they’ve always wanted.
Like 2020, travelers this year are still prioritizing hygiene and outdoor activities, meaning Covid safety is still on everyone’s mind. That’s why visits to Cost Rica became a popular decision in 2021; it has consistently taken the recommended pandemic protocols seriously and boasts some of the best outdoor experiences in the world! In fact, TripAdvisor gave Costa Rica two spots on this years’ Top 25 Experiences in the World. An ATV Tour around the beaches and mountains of Tamarindo, Brasilito, and Flamingo took the number 20 spot, while a trip to visit the national park of Manuel Antonio got the 25th spot.
Explore the Outdoors
When you plan to visit Costa Rica, you can’t help but be taken in by all the images of lush nature you see online. That’s because Costa Rica truly offers everything you could possibly want in an outdoor adventure destination in a small space. While Costa Rica only accounts for 0.03 percent of the earth’s surface (51.100 km2), it contains more than 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity. If you want to slough off two years of staying indoors, this is the place to do it! With beaches, jungles, and volcanos, all within close proximity, you’re spoiled for choice when you visit Costa Rica.
At Iguana Surf, we’re partial to surfing, but if you’re visiting from October to March, you could have the chance to witness a rare and wonderful experience. The arribada is when large numbers of sea turtles, sometimes hundreds at once, come to shore to nest and lay their eggs. These tours take place mostly at night and early morning hours. Guides will take you to Playa Minas, one of the most important nesting sites in Costa Rica, with infrared lights in hand. Bring your camera, because this is considered by many to be one of the most special, ancient, and beautiful natural events to witness. Click HERE to book a Tamarindo Turtle Tour.
Soar through the canopy of the tropical forest over rivers and canyons where you will see all the jungle creatures you’ve been imagining – monkeys, iguanas, and parrots! You and your group will start at the top of the mountain where you can see 360-degree views of the ocean and surrounding forest, then you’ll zigzag from massive tree to tree on ten lines, the longest of which is an incredible 1,100 feet! You can make a full day of it and learn more about Costa Rican culture by staying for a barbecue dinner. You can even add an ATV ride to the top of the mountain for a full-day adventure experience. Click HERE to learn more about this Canopy Tour.
A jungle adventure tour beneath an active volcano is the perfect cure for your pandemic boredom! Tamarindo’s closest active volcano is Rincon de la Viejo. In fact, Rincon had a small eruption in July of this year. You can do all the exciting outdoor adventures you’ve been craving here from ziplining, rock climbing, and rappelling, to white water rafting. After all this time stuck indoors, you will relish being fully immersed in nature with a mineral-rich mud bath and dip in the natural volcanic hot springs. This is a fun and unique experience that truly captures the essence of natural Costa Rica! Book this Adventure Combo Here.
The safety protocols are consistent within the town of Tamarindo where Iguana Surf operates as with most of Costa Rica. Businesses must regularly disinfect and provide handwashing stations or sanitizer to customers. People must wear masks indoors and practice social distancing. While you can sit in a restaurant without your mask, most restaurants are outdoors anyways, with just a roof above you and a view to the beach in front of you.
Currently, there is a curfew in place for businesses of 9 p.m. but this is subject to review every few weeks and may have changed by the time you arrive. Driving restrictions apply to local drivers, however, rental vehicles do not have to follow these restrictions and these drivers are encouraged to carry their rental agreements with them while driving.
If you do not have the vaccine, you will have to get travel insurance before arriving in Costa Rica. The insurance must cover $50,000 in medical expenses should you get Covid during your trip. It must also cover $2,000 lodging expenses should you need to stay longer to quarantine in case of infection. Costa Rica no longer requires a negative test to enter the country.
For those concerned about vaccination numbers, Costa Rica’s vaccination rate is well above the global average. Nearly 4.9 million vaccines have been administered in Costa Rica, comprising 3.14 million first doses and 1.73 million second doses, with one-third of the population being fully inoculated.
One of the travel trends that has definitely opened up thanks to the pandemic is remote work. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 25 to 30 percent of the workforce will work from home for several days a week by the end of the year. Another study found that 16 percent of workers are already fully remote. This work from anywhere lifestyle has prompted many people to take extended vacations around the world.
There are already thousands of people working remotely for their employers in North America and Europe in Costa Rica so the infrastructure is already here. High-speed internet packages are available from private companies and co-working spaces are available, including at least two in Tamarindo – Sand and Surf Co-working and In the Shade. Alternatively, most restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops offer free Wifi to customers and many digital nomads can be seen taking advantage of this, especially in popular destinations like Tamarindo.
The government of Costa Rica is making it easier than ever for remote workers. They have just implemented a digital nomad law that allows workers to apply for a temporary residency, which allows them to stay in Costa Rica for one year. This means remote workers won’t have to leave the country after three months as a typical visitor visa allows. While the government is still ironing out all the details, those who apply must make at least $3,000 USD per month to be eligible. Those who are accepted into this new immigration category are exempt from paying income tax and will have the opportunity to reapply for an additional year.
Also, there is in-home COVID testing that offers PCR & Antigen tests that you need before your return home. They offer quick results and are very professional!
Travel trends in 2021 focus on safety, being immersed in nature, and having the experience to remember. You can easily do it all in Costa Rica. What are you waiting for?!