Hello Jenn and Matt,
My daughter is graduating from college this coming December and plans to volunteer in Cartago, flying into SJO on January 19th, 2018 with a return flight on July 9th, 2018. She is planning on taking a bus to Panama and staying there for approximately 4 days prior to the required max stay in CR of 90 days. She will have proof of leaving Costa Rica prior to the 90 days on the bus and will also have her July return flight info. Any thoughts or suggestions if she will have problems entering Costa Rica? I have not been able to find a legitimate answer for this and some people I have spoken with claim CR Customs will not let her into the country. Thank you for any assistance you can offer me on this.
Yes, actually it is usually the airlines that will give you a hard time if your return ticket is outside the 90 day window. They might not let you on because they are following the CR immigration rules. Even the bus ticket to Panama might not be accepted anymore from what we have heard. It can really depend on who you get at the airline check in counter. When we moved down here 4+ years ago we had purchased plane tickets to Panama before the 90 days was up, and that was accepted- but not without some scrutiny. We’ve read that instead of the bus ticket out of CR, some people now recommend buying a refundable airline ticket back to your home country (dated before the 90 day visa limit) and then canceling it later. This would probably work since technically she could fly back if she needed to with that ticket. She WILL be able to use the July flight information to re-enter Costa Rica at the Panama border though (as long as that flight falls before the next 90 days). Hope this helps, these requirements are always changing. Best of luck.