Covid-19 & Weddings in Costa Rica
Hello there, we hope you’re healthy and happy while we all deal with the effects of the crazy pandemic. We put together this page for you to know the actions, precautions, and how we are dealing with Covid-19 as photographers and the wedding industry in general, as you know our industry got hit by Covid-19 very bad and non of this was expected for any of us. Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns, even if you just need to chat because you’re feeling overwhelmed about the situation we are here to help in as much as we can and make your trip an incredible memory.
Precautions we are taking.
We have been taking care of our selves since mid-March 2020 when this started. We basically had to cut all our social life to the minimum. We began scheduling sessions, elopements, and micro-weddings by the end of August 2020 and since then we have been doing weddings and elopements in a more regular basis.
To keep us and the ones around us healthy we are fully vaccinated and always trying to keep enough distance, we are constantly moving, we use facemask in close spaces and wash hands as often as we can. Of course, we miss hugs, kisses, and handshakes, but for now, we are giving friendly waves. You can check a bit more about our safety measures at weddings over here.
How to keep a safe trip and wedding.
There are a few things we all can do to have a safetier celebration during this pandemic while you are visiting Costa Rica:
- Luckly this country it’s full of beautiful outdoor areas so that is the number one choise you can do, choose outdoor celebrations instead of indoor.
- Once you are here you can choose outdoor activities as well, we have plenty of those, we are sure you will find one that fits your needs.
- Another thing you can encourage to do it’s to take a rapid Covid test or an antigen test before you come to CR, this will give you higher chances that the people it’s traveling healthy and won’t develop synthoms while they are in CR.
- If for any reason a guest it’s not feeling well (with Covid synthoms) gently ask this person to don’t attend the wedding celebration, we know this is heart breaking specially in an event like this, but to keep your other guests and staff safe it’s better that way.
- Tell your wedding planner or coordinator to place fans on areas where people will be too close, for example dinner tables and the dance floor, keeping the air flowing it’s key to avoid infections.
- Lastly, we know that getting vaccinated it’s totally a personal choise and we totally respect everyones will, but because you and your guests are traveling abroad we recommend to get fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks before traveling, just to keep an extra layer of proteccion.
Postponement & Cancelations.
This is the part nobody was expecting the last couple of years, but if your wedding date it’s directly affected* by Covid-19, we are happy to offer our couples two options:
- The first one (this is the industry standard around the world) is to move the wedding date with all money paid going towards a new date without any extra fees, we are also offering this to any couples thinking of, but maybe a little worried about booking their wedding now for next year. If you would like to book us now but are worried that you may have to change the date (let’s cross our fingers that it’s not going to happen), we would be happy to offer the ability to change the date, without penalties, to another date we are free (up to six months). In the situation where we cannot find a date that works for both of us, we will outsource the shooting to another, equally wonderful, photographer and we’ll still be editing and delivering the photos so you will have the assurance of the style, quality, and product you booked.
- The second option we give is to use the retainer fee as a couple session, family session, or post-wedding session whenever you feel it’s safe to travel to Costa Rica until the end of 2022.
* A wedding it’s considered to be directly affected when the celebration of the event it’s forbiden by a government regulation, if the wedding it’s postpone/canceled based on personal choise it’s not considered as “directly affected”.
Please note that if you deside to cancel the wedding because of a reason other than a government regulation that forbids the celebration of the event, all retainers made are non-refundable as per the contract (this is an industry-standard around the world), the reason of this it’s basically because our service is date-exclusive and once a couple books us, we turn down any other couple or potential work wanting for the reserved date. As much as we wish to refund you, we are not a big company like Amazon, an airline, or a big hotel/resort that can do it and won’t be really affected by the situation, with small businesses like ours and most of the ones involved in the wedding industry every cancelation is very difficult and potentially devastating, we rely on this income to live and to put food on our table. However, we do understand this hard situation and that is why if you don’t cancel the event and the wedding it’s directly affected by a Covid-19 regulation your retainer will not be lost and you will be able to use it towards the new date or can be used as a couple session whenever you feel it’s safe to travel to Costa Rica.
What happens if we get sick?
In the unlikely event that we get sick or if we think we might get in touch with someone that is sick and are unable to attend a wedding, we will send a capable and wonderful photographer that we trust to cover your wedding. We will edit their photos to keep a similar look edit-wise. We have always had emergency plans set in place for illness or injury and these plans will not change. We are grateful to be friends with an amazing network of photographers in Costa Rica so you can be sure you will get a great job no matter what.
Will Covid-19 change the way we work through the shoot?
Not really, we are very lucky that in our service and by the way we work we can easily keep at least 2mts (6 feet) distance in almost every situation, we are also taking precautions by wearing a facemask when need it, using disposable gloves if we touch your personal items and always having hand sanitizer with us, but the workflow itself doesn’t change, so our final work is not affected by this. Now, if one of the guests, you, or we have any symptoms of Covid-19 you must bring that subject up in advance of the shoot, and we will do the same, so we can figure out a way to deal with this, safety comes first and these have to be our rule all the time to keep everybody safe and happy. These conversations may be awkward but they are vitally important.
Is it safe to travel to Costa Rica?
Most of the Covid-19 cases and “hot spots” in Costa Rica are in some locations of the metropolitan area where it’s very populated, but we are very lucky that tourist areas like Guanacaste, South Pacific, Monteverde, and the South Caribbean among many others the Covid-19 are pretty low and under control. Also, most tourist attractions are open to the public with safety measures. Flights from Canada, the USA, UK, and the European Union are already coming as normal to the airports in San José and Liberia (Guanacaste). You can be sure that all the industry is taking this pretty seriously and everybody is taking all precautions, even so, it’s always good to take care of yourself by having all precautions announced by the governments like wear a facemask on public places, washing your hands often, don’t touch your face unless your hands are clean, also try to avoid handshakes, kisses or very close personal contact especially with unknown people, and things that at this point are the “new norm”.
Where to get info about Covid-19 and in Costa Rica.
Most of the newspapers and press over here are in Spanish, but Tico Times is a good and reliable source in English, you can find Covid-19 info over here: https://www.ticotimes.net
You can also check the official Costa Rica Tourism Board information website by clicking here: https://www.visitcostarica.com/en/costa-rica/planning-your-trip/
Where to get a COVID-19 test in Costa Rica?
Depending on your location you will have different options in order to get your PCR test (nasal swab), Costa Rica has a robust network of public clinics (Ebais) and regional public hospitals all around the country along with this places you will find the main hospitals located in the most populated cities like San José, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Liberia, Nicoya, Limon, Puntarenas, Ciudad Quesada, Limon and others. If for any reason you are feeling sick, you can go to one of this public hospitals to perform your PCR test (if it’s an small clinic, please click over here and call before you go that they are currently offering the service), along with this public options you can visit some private hospitals and labs, if you are in the GAM area, most of this private labs and hospitals are spread all around, you can find their different locations by clicking on the link, some of them like Labin, Hospital Clinica Biblica and Echandi are offering a drive-through service as well. The turnaround time for PCR tests depends on your lab, but it can vary from 24h up to 72h, the cost vary as well from $80 up to almost $200. For other locations here is a list of some places within the most visited areas:
San José & Metropolican Area (Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia)
Hospital Clinica Biblica
Hospital Metropolitano (San José)
Hospital La Catolica
Laboratorio San José
Beachside Clinic (Huacas – Near Tamarindo, Avellanas, Playa Grande, Flamingo, Potrero)
Hospital Metropolitano (Huacas – Near Tamarindo, Avellanas, Playa Grande, Flamingo, Potrero)
Coco Medical & Dental Center (Coco Beach)
Clinica Monte de la Cruz (Nicoya)
Nosara Medical Center (Nosara, Samara, Carrillo, Barrigona)
Medklined Bioanalisis (Nosara, Samara, Carrillo, Barrigona)
Lifeguard Costa Rica (Santa Teresa, Mal Pais, Playa del Carmen, Montezuma)
Clinica MMI (Jacó)
MediRed Costa Rica ( Quepos & Manuel Antonio )
Hospital Metropolitano (Quepos)
La Fortuna & Ciudad Quesada
Unimed Healthsystem (La Fortuna)
Laboratorios Echandi (Ciudad Quesada)
Grupo Medico Santa Teresa (Limon)
Laboratorio Bioclinic ( Puerto Viejo )
Where can I get health insurance that covers my trip?
One of the requirements to visit Costa Rica during this pandemic is to have health insurance that covers you in case you get sick ( knock on wood it’s not going to happen), it can be an international company or a domestic company, among the options you have we recommend:
Besides the health insurance, you will need to fill an online form no more than 48h before your flight, this form can be found here:
This round-up from Brides.com covers a lot of the technical problems couples might be facing like reducing guest lists and how to collect everyone’s email addresses for updates.
Junebug’s guide offers step-by-step tips on how to get the rescheduling ball rolling for if you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.
Here’s a great guide from The Knot about how to reschedule your wedding.
Junebug’s ultimate guide on planning a micro-wedding.
Ruffled blog guide for postponing destination weddings.