A few weeks ago I wrote about our upcoming trip to South and Central America here. This included stops in Peru, Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica. Originally we had flights to Brazil but ended up changing our plans due to yellow fever.
Well as one should, I review our flights every few weeks. Something I just now ran across was the entry requirements for certain countries. If I was coming from the US, this would not matter. But traveling from country to country, you have to confirm the entry requirements from where your flights is from. (Visa entry is still based upon your passport)
I first ran across the warning below from the CDC website which states that if you are traveling from a country where Yellow Fever is present to Costa Rica, they may not let you in with out vaccination record.
I then did some further research and found it doesn’t matter where you visited in those countries, it just matters the country itself. Both Peru and Ecuador are on the list for yellow fever. Even though I am transiting through Panama, they require 6-10 days before entry from one of those countries or the vaccination cards. According to Copa Airlines, the Costa Rica Consulate, and Tripadvisor, this is strictly enforced.
Now instead of visiting Costa Rica and using some Free Hyatt Certificates, we will be staying in Panama for a few more nights. We will stay a night in the city, and then head about 100KM west towards some of the beach towns. Fortunately we were all on a single award ticket from GPS-GYE-PTY-LIR. So we are just not going to use that last leg to Liberia Costa Rica. We used United miles for this leg and I called United for more information. They told me it would cost the same amount of miles to stop at PTY instead of continuing to LIR but would be a $125 per person change fare. The customer service rep even recommended not changing it and just stopping in PTY. I also called Copa Airlines to see what they would do with my bags since the flight is operated by Copa. The CSR confirmed I would be able to check my bags only to PTY if I wanted to.
Then you gotta love Southwest. I used them for our flight from LIR-OKC. So that amount spent on tickets just goes back into a voucher that I am sure I will be able to use over the next year. I was then able to find flights from PTY-OKC for our new date at 17.5k miles each in economy. I transferred points form my Chase account to my United account and booked 4 tickets.
Luckily we were still able to piece a pretty good itinerary together with very little extra cost. Just a lil bit of stress and frustration. I sure am glad I caught this 6 weeks before we left instead of at at the airport.
Now traveling from Peru to Ecuador you are also supposed to have a yellow fever vaccination card, as well as onto Panama. However in researching online and through different airlines websites, its not enforced. This has already been the second time i have had to rebook flights because of Yellow Fever. Here’s to hoping I am correct…