Questions and Concerns About Traveling to Costa Rica Amidst Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bodhi Surf + Yoga / Surf + Yoga Camp Blog / Questions and Concerns About Traveling to Costa Rica Amidst Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Like everyone else on the planet, we at Bodhi Surf + Yoga are deeply concerned about the implications of this pandemic and mindful of how it is affecting real people, all over the world, in a variety of different ways. We are monitoring the situation and taking it very seriously. We closed in mid-March and opened in a limited capacity in early August, only once we had studied and enacted the protocols set forth by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health.

To address any concerns by our future guests, we have created this post which discusses the situation here in Costa Rica, our area, and at Bodhi Surf + Yoga specifically. We are continuously updating it as the situation changes and evolves.

WAYS TO HELP BODHI SURF + YOGA

Coronavirus Cases in Costa Rica: October 15, 2020 Update

There have been 93,152 cumulative cases of Covid-19 (with 1159 deaths and 57,731 recoveries). At present, there are 34,262 active cases in the country. With this data, Costa Rica has had 22.7 Covid-19-related deaths per 100,000 people.

How Costa Rica is handling the Covid-19 Crisis

Being in a position of leadership right now is not a job to be envied; with one difficult decision after another to be made, and finding a balance between the physical health, system functionality, and economic well-being is critical. All things considered, here at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, we maintain that the Costa Rican government has displayed competency and strong leadership. Perhaps not every decision made by the Costa Rican government has been popular or even the best. Yet thus far, Costa Rica has been spared huge spikes in cases, healthcare system failure, and economic crisis.

Strict precautionary measures were put in place early to promote social distancing, reduce transmission, and “flatten the curve”. By law, Costa Rican citizens, residents, and visitors alike must take the precautionary measures suggested by most global health authorities, such as wearing masks in public places and maintaining distance between one another.

Concerned about traveling because of the coronavirus?

If you’re thinking about traveling in the future, Covid is undoubtedly on your mind. You may be wondering, when will it be a good time to travel again? This is a very personal decision, and one that you should make based on what you’re comfortable with. This is an evolving situation, and the hope is that this imposed period of slowness and stillness does the trick in slowing and managing the transmission rate. We recommend following the situation as it changes, and  always choosing sources wisely — government agencies, trusted news outlets, etc.

We have a blog post that discusses travel in the Covid era if you are interested in our take on the matter, as well as a FAQs blog for traveling to Costa Rica (and Bodhi Surf + Yoga in general).

The pristine Marino Ballena National Park

Thinking about visiting Costa Rica?

Before you think of visiting Costa Rica, we recommend you make sure that your place of residency is one that the Costa Rican government is allowing travelers to enter its country from.

On March 16, 2020 and following the global example, the Costa Rican government declared a state of emergency. The airports opened again on August 1, 2020 to a limited number of countries deemed to have the situation under control, and once precautionary measures had been enacted in-country. On November 1, 2020, residents of all of North America (including all of the U.S. states). will be allowed to enter as well. Land borders remain closed.

The government here has taken the situation very seriously, acting swiftly and sweepingly to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in Costa Rica in order to protect its residents. There are a number of conditions that travelers to Costa Rica must meet.

There are specific requirements established for travelers, and they are all covered in our  FAQs: Visiting Bodhi Surf + Yoga During Covid-19 blog. 

Here is the video with the new protocols for entering Costa Rica via the Juan Santamaria International Airport, which is slowly but surely reopening to the world.

What makes Costa Rica a good option for future travel?

Costa Rica is an amazing place to visit for so many reasons, even amidst Covid. For those concerned about the quality of health care in this country, as International Living reports, “By almost any standard, Costa Rica has some of the best healthcare in Latin America.” At Bodhi Surf + Yoga, our collective experience has been the same. Costa Rica is a very clean country at the best of times, and with these extra precautions in place, it’s safe to assume it’s never been cleaner! Just as an example, in much of the country (including our area!), there is potable water which drastically cuts down on the amount of people who get sick.

To read more about how Costa Rica has positioned itself as an ideal place to visit in the Covid era, you can read this blog post.

Why visit the Costa Ballena area (Ojochal, Bahia Ballena, Uvita, Dominical) in the Covid era

Our area remains beautiful and tranquil through this scary situation and we feel very fortunate to call it home. The population density is low enough that it rarely feels crowded. Spending time in the Costa Ballena area is conducive to health and wellbeing for both our bodies and minds, which is more important than ever. Being immersed in the beautiful natural setting here gives both respite and invigoration.

Another nice thing about our location is that while it’s still quite remote, we do have access to many modern conveniences such as good quality healthcare. We are located a mere 25-minute drive away from the Hospital Thomas Casas Casajús of Ciudad Cortés that serves a large portion of the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica. We are also approximately three hours away from several major hospitals in the country’s capital, San Jose, where: “Private healthcare is also available, which is affordable and high quality,” according to International Living.

As reported by Business Matters magazine: “The authorities of the Central American country have allocated significant resources to the construction of hospitals and health centers, equipped with high-tech equipment, and training medical personnel, which have achieved worldwide recognition. ‘An index developed by Fetscherin & Stephano in 2019 placed Costa Rica in the 6th position among the top 30 medical tourism destinations worldwide. In the region were Panama (20), Brazil (16), Jamaica (17) and Colombia (19). The Dominican Republic (22) and Mexico (28) were located behind.’”

Actions being taken in Bahia Ballena

Our hometown, Bahia Ballena, has been very proactive during the Covid pandemic. In mid-July business started to review and implement the ministry of health and Costa Rica Tourism board COVID protocols. We have worked together to develop a best practices guide, create a checklist, and have even started to self-organize and certify that protocols were being followed.

Our local community foundation, Fundación SOMOS is currently working on a proposal for funding to help train and certify restaurants, hotels, tour operators as Clean & Safe to Visit. Fundación SOMOS, the Uvita town council, business leaders, and park officials collaborated to make our local Marino Ballena National Park a fun, safe, and enjoyable place for everyone to visit. This has included adding wash stations, social distancing protocols, and limited capacity for visitors for each entrance to the park.

Why visit Bodhi Surf + Yoga in the Covid era

Bodhi Surf + Yoga is committed to providing a safe, responsible, and unique vacation experience for guests. We hold ourselves to the highest of standards, and in August 2020 were declared a 2020 Travel Choice Award winner by Tripadvisor. Earlier, in April 2020, we achieved B Corporation recertification and increased our impact assessment score in all areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. We are proud to share that as a responsible company we have earned “Best for the World” honor in 2017, 2018, and 2019 and look forward to achieving it again.

Being a responsible company, we have consulted multiple sources when developing our on-site Covid protocols:

  • The Costa Rica Tourism Institute
  • Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health
  • Airbnb protocols with CDC guidance from experts in the fields of sanitization and medicine, such as Ecolab and Dr. Vivek Murthy, Former US Surgeon General
  • TripAdvisor
  • Clean & Safe to Visit

We believe in being transparent with our future guests about the reality of the situation in order to help them decide if visiting us is a good fit!

We believe that, despite the changes that this pandemic will impose on the travel industry as a whole, travel itself will not go away. Moreover, we believe that the vacation experience that we offer here at Bodhi Surf + Yoga is not just appropriate for the moment, but also beneficial for guests who are interested in being pioneers of travel in the Covid era.

  • Small groups (10 guests max/week, but the realistic average is actually 5 guests/week)
  • Plenty of space: our lodge is spaciously distributed on just under an acre of land
  • Socially distanced activities in a natural setting
  • Healing properties of nature combined with learning, laughter, and fun

Surf and yoga camp Covid policy

What protocols you can expect during your stay at the Bodhi Surf + Yoga Lodge

We have a total commitment to safety and cleanliness. Here is a bit of what you can expect from us at the Bodhi Surf + Yoga Lodge in the Covid era:

  • Face masks required for staff in public areas
  • Hand sanitizer available to guests & staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Staff required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
  • Contactless check-in and check-out
  • 24-hour minimum vacancy between guests

We also implement the five-step cleaning process:

  1. Preparing equipment and getting the space ready for cleaning
  2. Cleaning each surface by removing dust and debris
  3. Sanitizing all high-touch areas, appliances, and electronics
  4. Checking that the space has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized
  5. Resetting the room for the next guest and restocking supplies

Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s updated cancellation policy in the face of Covid

Bodhi Surf + Yoga recognizes these extraordinary circumstances by implementing a flexible cancelation policy: if any of our guests (those who have booked or will book) need to cancel due to the Covid situation, we will honor a 100% credit, valid through one year from the time of your reservation.

You can see our full payment and cancellation policy here.

Where can I find official, up-to-date information on the situation of COVID-19 in Costa Rica?

You can stay informed at the following links:

We will continue to update this blog post as more information becomes available.

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About the author

Adrianne

Adrianne is the fun-and-food-loving socialite of Bodhi Surf + Yoga. If she's not whipping up a feast for Bodhi Surf + Yoga guests, she's probably busy writing for the Bodhi blog or keeping people up-to-date on the goings on via social media!