Airport departure tax to rise in July

June 12, 2016

Travelers leaving Costa Rica by air will have to pay an extra $2 in taxes starting in July, bringing the total cost of the airport departure tax to $31.

A new decree published in the official newspaper La Gaceta on May 25 approved the new tax, which will provide additional funds for the National Animal Health Service (SENASA).

The tax hike was approved as part of changes in tariffs for services SENASA provides to the country’s airports, such as inspections, luggage spraying and issuing of sanitary permits.

SENASA interim director Alexis Sandí reported Friday that 90 percent of the agency’s annual budget is spent on salaries, leaving only 10 percent for operating costs and other expenses. He said the agency expects the new tax to provide some $4.5 million a year for operating expenses, and for improving laboratories and inspections conducted at airports.

The new decree, signed by President Luis Guillermo Solís and Agriculture Minister Luis Felipe Arauz, states that the new tariffs apply starting 15 days after publication in La Gaceta, but SENASA has up to 60 days to put measures in place for charging the new tax.

Last year, visitors made 1.9 million trips to Costa Rica via air and Ticos made more than 600,000 trips abroad via air, according to data from the Costa Rican Tourism Board.

According to information collected at embassies, consulates and airlines, Costa Rica currently has the cheapest airport departure tax in Central America, while Panama has the most expensive at $50.

When Costa Rica’s new tax goes into effect, Guatemala will have the cheapest airport tax in the region. See the full list:

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