Costa Rica’s Tourism Boom: Breaking Records and Embracing Responsible Travel

Costa Rica Tourism is poised to shatter records in 2023, with an estimated 2.3 to 2.5 million tourists arriving by air, according to projections by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT).


Costa Rica Tourism

This historic number surpasses the 2,117,960 tourists of 2022 and even exceeds pre-pandemic levels seen in 2018 and 2019. As a vital part of Costa Rica’s economy, this surge in tourism signifies a robust rebound in international travel.

The remarkable growth is evident in the statistics for the first nine months of 2023. Between January and September, a total of 1,848,208 tourists entered the country by air, marking a significant 16.4% increase compared to the same period last year. In September alone, 111,696 visitors arrived through the two international airports, Juan Santamaría and Daniel Oduber. Traffic through Juan Santamaría, the country’s main gateway, grew by 9.6%, accommodating 86,140 passengers.

North America continues to dominate as the primary source of tourists, with Costa Rica welcoming 1.3 million visitors from the region between January and September—an impressive 18.2% increase from 2022. The United States remains the largest market, contributing 1,095,135 travelers, followed by Canada and Mexico.

Europe also exhibits notable growth this year, with 319,691 visitors arriving from the continent in the first three quarters—an increase of 4.9% compared to last year. France and Germany lead European countries with double-digit expansions of 11.3% and 13.7% respectively.

Minister of Tourism William Rodríguez hails these exceptional numbers as a testament to Costa Rica’s commitment to driving social progress across all regions of the country.

Underlining the significance of air travel, the ICT reveals that 90% of all tourists choose to fly to Costa Rica, emphasizing the pivotal role played by the two international airports. Notably, Juan Santamaría Airport has facilitated the arrival of 69% of visitors thus far in 2023.

While Costa Rica enjoys a surge in foreign visitors, Costa Ricans themselves are venturing abroad more than ever. From January to September, 881,760 Costa Ricans embarked on overseas travels—a remarkable 38% jump compared to 2022—with the United States and Mexico ranking as their top destinations.

Amidst this tourism boom, Epic Adventures Costa Rica—a tour operator in Manuel Antonio and Quepos—recognizes the importance of responsible tourism. As more tourists flock to Costa Rica, it becomes crucial to minimize negative environmental and community impacts while maximizing the benefits.

At Epic Adventures Costa Rica, we are committed to promoting responsible tourism in all aspects of our operations. We firmly believe that tourism can be a force for good when practiced sustainably and responsibly. Our efforts include reducing our carbon footprint, protecting wildlife, supporting local businesses and communities, educating our customers about responsible tourism, and encouraging them to make sustainable choices during their travels.

We understand that Costa Rica’s natural beauty, adventure activities, cultural richness, and culinary delights captivate tourists. However, it is equally important to preserve this beauty for future generations to enjoy. Responsible tourism not only benefits the environment and local communities but also enhances our customers’ experiences. By experiencing Costa Rica responsibly and sustainably, our customers can forge a deeper connection with nature and develop a profound appreciation for the country’s magnificent allure.

This tourism boom is creating valuable employment opportunities for Costa Ricans. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses, approximately 154,930 individuals were employed in tourism-related jobs during the first half of 2023—an enduring trend reflecting the sector’s consistent representation of around 7% of the total workforce over the past decade.

In conclusion, Costa Rica’s tourism industry is experiencing remarkable growth in 2023, breaking previous records and signaling a strong resurgence in international travel. As a tour operator in Manuel Antonio and Quepos, Epic Adventures Costa Rica recognizes the importance of responsible tourism amidst this boom and remains steadfast in promoting sustainable and responsible practices that minimize negative impacts on the environment and local communities while maximizing benefits for all stakeholders involved.



Times, T. (2023, October 26). Costa Rica projecting record number of tourists this year. The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.


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