Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
A Bus Ticket Will Not Satisfy Immigration at Juan Santamaria.
Beware expats. The article that appeared this past Wednesday entitled “Another tale of tourists having trouble at airport” is not accurate. It indicates that a bus ticket for passage outside of the country will satisfy the immigration authorities. Well recently I and another passenger on the same flight from Atlanta, found out otherwise. We had our bus tickets, but the immigration people said that was not good enough. They indicated if I arrived by air I needed to have an air ticket out of the country! This was a new one on me, in the 10 years I’ve been regularly entering and exiting the county, never violating the 90 day visa limit.
So, I was read my rights, opted to immediately buy an exit ticket rather than be deported, was escorted to a ticket counter where I paid for a ticket to Panamá and then was escorted back to immigration to get my visa. The woman traveler on the same flight was not so lucky. I don’t think she had a credit card or means to purchase a ticket, which as I understood from the options I was given, meant that she was going to be placed on the next return flight to Atlanta on the airline which allowed her to board ‘illegally’.
At the very least, do NOT count on a bus ticket to satisfy immigration. Be prepared with an exit air ticket, or at least the means to purchase a ticket should you get intercepted by the immigration folks. Otherwise you risk having a very bad day in the land of pura vida, or at least at Juan Santamaría airport.