Hoping to attract more visitors and strengthen their ties, The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Panama are due to launch a brand new tourism route that will make it easier for American travelers to visit all three highly popular destinations.
The countries, which have chosen to maintain open borders in light of the recent Omicron spike, albeit with varying degrees of restrictions, hope a new so-called “tourist circuit” will prove attractive to visitors keen on exploring the region further.
The New Tourist Circuit And What It Could Mean For Americans Visiting The Three Countries
Although not much is yet known about the endeavor, Pablo Javier Pérez Campos, Ambassador of Panama to the Dominican Republic (DR), recently disclosed that an agreement was reached last December at the Summit Alliance for Development in Democracy, held in Puerto Plata.
According to Campos, the three nations will develop a “circuit” between them, in order to provide visitors from the United States, Canada and all around the world a “unique experience” when traveling the region.
American travelers, who have recently been once again facing more stringent testing requirements at European borders, and have turned to the Caribbean and Latin America for sunny getaways, will surely welcome the news.
Elaborating on the topic, Campos highlighted the “tourism potential” of The DR, Costa Rica and Panama, and stressed that deeper regional integration will improve the quality of life of the local population.
The new strategy is also sure to benefit vacationers, with Campos hoping that “a person who comes from another continent or other regions can visit the three countries and learn about the ecological diversity that Costa Rica offers, the supply of the logistics and shopping hub, the beaches that Panama also offers, and the excellent and beautiful beaches that the DR has (…)”
Does This Mean A More Relaxed Approach At The Borders Or Simply New Routes?
As previously stated, we still do not know yet what a “tourist circuit” between The DR, Costa Rica and Panama will mean for visitors in the short-term.
Whether this means the opening of new state-funded sailing routes, strengthening of cross-country public transportation, relaxation of visa regimes or even a free movement zone, its nature is still up for speculation.
Interviewed by National Awakening, Campos reasserted all three nations are “dialoguing reciprocally” and “exchanging ideas”, with the aim of facilitating travel in the zone so visitors “can go to the three nations and share their experiences”.
When Will It Be Implemented?
As Campos has only just raised the topic, no official announcements have been made by The DR, Costa Rica or Panama’s tourism representatives.
Additionally, no implementation date has been set yet, meaning it is still difficult to assess when the “tourist circuit” could come into force, whether in 2022 already or in upcoming years.
Currently, all three nations involved are battling a surge in Covid infections, driven mostly by the new Omicron variant.
What Are The Current Rules For Entering The DR, Costa Rica And Panama From The U.S.?
The Dominican Republic
U.S. passport holders are allowed to travel to The DR with few Covid-related restrictions. They do not need to present a vaccination card, negative PCR or rapid antigen test upon entry, but may be selected for a quick, aleatory breath test when landing.
Being fully vaccinated for no less than 3 weeks, or presenting a negative PCR taken within 72 hours of arrival normally exempts travelers from the random test.
All international tourists are permitted to enter Costa Rica by air, land and sea, with no vaccination status, nor pre-departure testing being relevant to border authorities.
Unvaccinated travelers must still provide proof of a medical insurance policy covering any Covid-related medical treatment or quarantine expenses while in Costa Rica.
Normally, Americans visitors do not need a visa for short-term visits to Costa Rica, with direct flights serving the Central American destination from several U.S. cities.
Visitors should keep in mind that Costa Rica has lunched an internal vaccine passport in order to visit public venues such as restaurants.
Vaccinated arrivals to Panama must present a digital or physical full Covid certificate, indicating they received all required doses of an approved vaccine by the WHO, FDA or EMA at least 14 days before travel. They are exempt from any further testing and quarantine requirements.
On the other hand, unvaccinated visitors are required to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken at most 72 hours prior to traveling, or, if unable to produce it, be tested on arrival at their own expense.
When arriving from a high-risk country, even in possession of a negative Covid test, the unvaccinated are required to quarantine for 72 hours and then be tested again at the end of this period. The quarantine is extended to a further 10 days when tests return positive.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com