In a move aimed at boosting its tourism sector and extending a warm welcome to international visitors, the Costa Rican government has officially lengthened the maximum stay period for foreign tourists visiting on tourist visas.
The extension, effective from September 2023, now grants tourists the privilege of staying in this tropical paradise for a full 180 days, doubling the previous limit of 90 days.
This progressive decision applies to passport holders from visa-exempt countries, which encompass prominent nations such as the United States, Canada, and the majority of European countries.
Strategic Decisions with Tourism Experts
The decision to extend the maximum stay period was carefully considered in partnership with the National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR). CANATUR has long advocated for this change, asserting that the previous 90-day limit did not allow visitors sufficient time to explore the many facets of Costa Rica.
Jorge Gamboa, a representative of CANATUR, pointed out, “The National Chamber of Tourism believes that the previous residency and stay terms were too brief to encourage extensive tourist spending and activity.”
Economic Boost and Enhanced Attraction
This extension is more than just an act of hospitality. It is poised to inject new life into Costa Rica’s vital tourism industry.
As tourists can now stay for six months, instead of three, they are expected to contribute more significantly to the country’s economy by patronizing hotels, restaurants, tour operators, transportation services, and other local businesses.
Additionally, this policy change will make Costa Rica an even more attractive destination for leisure tourists, offering them more time to discover the country’s natural beauty, including stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and awe-inspiring volcanoes.
With an additional six months, tourists can fully embrace the renowned “pura vida” lifestyle.
Welcoming Digital Nomads
In addition to conventional tourists, the 180-day stay period makes Costa Rica an attractive proposition for digital nomads and remote workers looking for an extended stay in a tropical paradise.
Prior to this change, digital nomads were limited to a 90-day stay, after which they needed a visa. Now, they can enjoy up to six months in the country under a tourist visa before considering other visa options.
The government’s vision behind this change is to position Costa Rica as a prime destination for location-independent professionals who can contribute to the economy through their long-term stays.
However, some experts question whether a 180-day stay is adequate to entice digital nomads to become permanent residents.