Measure announced by public health authorities to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Public health measures at visitor centers will remain in force.
- Measures will apply from May 13-31, inclusive.
The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC-MINAE), in accordance with the new emergency measures announced by the public health authorities to stop the spread of the third wave of COVID-19, has announced that tourist visits to various Protected Wildlife Areas (PWAs) will be reduced to 50% of capacity. The measures will be in place from May 13-31, and will not apply to Volcán Poás National Park.
Protected Wildlife Areas will continue to observe social distancing protocols and sanitation measures put in place by the Ministry of Health with the aim of ensuring a safe visiting experience for tourists.
We take this opportunity to reiterate that the protective measures for all employees and visitors to National Parks and Protected Wildlife Areas are in place to help stop the spread of the virus. Handwashing, social distancing and personal protective equipment are of paramount importance.
In addition to these measures, and given the mechanisms by which the virus spreads (droplets and contact), SINAC has strengthened the cleaning and disinfection processes for high-contact items, surfaces and equipment. It has also mandated the proper use of personal protective equipment and optimized the ventilation systems in public use areas, in compliance with public health conditions and the general guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health.
It is crucial that the public be aware of the importance of public health protocols to protect themselves and their families from this illness.
Rafael Gutierrez, Executive Director of SINAC, noted that “SINAC is complying with the prevention and mitigation measures, which include the capacity limits indicated by the Ministry of Health for visitors to the PWAs. In addition, strategies have been put in place including scheduling visits in various high-traffic parks by selling time-limited tickets over SINAC’s online Payment and Reservation System (SICORE), which helps avoid clustering of visitors by setting out specific start and end times for each visit.”
“We must be respectful of the occupancy limits put in place by the public health authorities when entering conservation areas, as well as all of the protection categories that exist within these areas,” said Alberto Lopez, General Manager of the ICT. “The Costa Rican tourism model is famous throughout the world for its respect for biodiversity and sustainability. Every sustainable destination must be a safe destination, and respecting occupancy limits and public health protocols will allow us to engage in tourism in a responsible matter in these challenging times so that we can move forward and take care of one another.”
It should be noted that tickets bought on at park entrances may only be paid for using a credit or debit card. Certain National Parks allow online reservations at the following site: https://serviciosenlinea.sinac.go.cr/
SINAC reminds visitors of the measures that are being implemented in all Protective Wildlife Areas in the country.
- Visible signage regarding issues of prevention, including social distancing of 1.8 m, not touching one’s face, and handwashing protocols.
- Parking lot restrictions to ensure that only every other space is used.
- Areas for visitors to disinfect their hands when entering and leaving PWAs.
- Visitor centers where entry tickets can be purchased while staff and visitors observe the necessary social distancing and protection measures, with signage, hygiene and cleaning supplies, and barriers between staff and visitors to ensure distancing of at least 1.8 m.
- Payment by credit card to avoid the use of cash.
- Visitors who exhibit symptoms similar to those of the flu or COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter PWAs that are open to tourists.
- During visits, staff will ensure that no clustering occurs at common meeting points and that visitors follow the relevant provisions of the Ministry of Health.
- Cleaning and hygiene measures of public use areas will include cleaning the visitor centers, lookouts and elements of infrastructure in which visitors tend to congregate, as well as high-contact surfaces including guardrails, doorknobs, tables and handwashing stations.
The above measures are crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19. SINAC aims to provide a quality experience to all families who visit Protected Areas, and these public safety measures are in place so that staff, visitors, tourists and the community can prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our efforts will only be successful if everyone cooperates and commits to following these protocols.
In the case of Chirripó and Isla del Coco National Parks, the existing reservations for this period will be respected.
The Central Administration is coordinating with the Conservation Areas to ensure that they make the necessary changes in order to implement these measures, including changes to the SICORE platform by the Information Technology Department. Reservations made to date will be respected.
Attached is a list of the PWAs that are open with a reduced capacity (50%) due to the public health measures.