List of Countries Filipinos Can Travel To in Central America Plus Travel Tips

playa blanca

Face it, when you have a Filipino passport it can be quite challenging to travel outside Southeast Asia. Before you know it, you can faced with mountains of paperwork for one mulit-colored (e.g. Japan) or drab (Australia) visa sticker in your passport. It’s also quite hard to travel in United States or South America when friends announce last minute a surprise trip to Cancun, Mexico or Dominican Republic and you can’t go there because (surprise!) you need a visa.

This is what happened to me when some of my friends here in the US were thinking about a trip to the Caribbean. Can’t blame them. The frigid wintry mix up north were pushing people to flock for the warm sultry tropics in the hundreds.

So I’ve done some research and here are some places Filipinos can escape to in Central America without going back to our countries.

Visa Free

Costa Rica                120 days Visitor’s Permit issued upon arrival (free of charge)

Dominica                   30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge)

Haiti                           30 days Nicaragua 30 days

Saint Lucia               60 days Visitor’s Permit issued upon arrival (free of charge)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines          30 days visa issued upon arrival (free of charge)

Turks and Caicos Islands                           30 days

Travel Tip: You can start your journey in Nicaragua and cross the border to Costa Rica and then to Panama City (see below) and if you have time, sail a boat to Colombia (where Filipinos can get in without a visa). There are cheap flights leaving from either Miami airport or Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Visa Upon Arrival/Easy Visa Application in Another Central American Country

Panama: Can get visa in the airport in Panama City

Cuba: (unconfirmed) I’ve always dreamed of going to Cuba someday. You can get the tourist card/visa in any Cuban Consul outside the US. But from what I’ve read, it’s easier to just get the tourist card from the airline servicing you to Cuba upon check-in. Airlines are: Copa, Cubana Aviation and Avianca. You can call and check. Tip: It’s easier to call them in an English speaking country as if you  call them in the Caribbean, the staff might not speak English (I’ve tried). You cannot easily get a Cuban visa in the US because of the embargo. There are charter flights from Miami and Tampa but you have to join a tour group just to fly in them.

Another way is to apply for a tourist card to Cuba in any travel agency in the Caribbean. There are travel agencies in Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama City. I haven’t checked but I’m sure other Caribbean islands have them as well. It would cost a little bit more than applying for them in the airline but at least you can get them before you leave. Also, I’ve read some Cuban consuls in Europe or Australia might charge more and will ask for a lot of paperwork (bank statements, proof of employment, etc) whereas the travel agencies would only require a passport good for 6 months and your plane tickets to Cuba so call and check ahead for requirements. It’s important you get a return flight as they might not let you depart without one or it would also be hard to get an exit visa once you’re in Cuba. There is no MAYBE in Cuba.

Travel Tip: An affordable jumping off point to Cuba for Filipinos would be either Costa Rica, Panama or Colombia. All these countries offer relatively the same price for Cuba. If you would like to see more sights, go to Colombia as there’s more to explore there than Panama and Costa Rica. Don’t go to Haiti as the Cuban flight would just loop over to either Jamaica or Panama City and you would just pay more and spend 5 hours on the plane even though Haiti is just right across Cuba.

For more info on which other countries Filipinos can travel to without a visa: Visit Wikipedia Visa Requirements for Filipino Citizens

Image Credit: Retire Young, Lib map


11 thoughts on “List of Countries Filipinos Can Travel To in Central America Plus Travel Tips

  1. erin says:

    As i’ve read, costa rica give 30 days only. Iam a first timer traveller. And my first country is costa rica. I will go there next month. I dont have any visa stamp in my passport. Do you think i will have some problem on that?

  2. Anne says:

    I’m currently in Costa Rica and I thought I’d share a couple of updates:
    1) Technically, Filipino passport holders get a 30 day visa upon entry but you can get up to 90 days if you request it (which is what I did and was granted);
    2) Filipino passport holders are required to obtain visas prior to entering both Nicaragua and Panama. Panama’s requirements are a bit more stringent from what I’ve researched, but I haven’t actually tried applying.
    Hope that helps!

    • Kate says:

      Hi Anne! Great to hear from you and all this great info. Sorry, this is late. I was on the road in Turkey. What is it like living in Costa Rica these days?

      I had read somewhere that if you have a legal US visa, you can go to Panama without one. Is that true?

  3. Marilou says:

    Hi I have a Philippine passport and I have already stamp of my passport. I’m flying to Nicaragua from Philippines. Do I need a transit visa to the others country when I layover there?

  4. Francis says:

    Hi am filipino planing to visit miami but no visa planning to go thru costa rica. Do i need transit visa to go to costa rica from Philippines.

  5. carren says:

    hi, I am Filipino, I have a newly renewed passport. I and my Fiance will arrive in Manila this coming August 23. we are planning to visit Costa Rica and Ecuador. is it true that two country is very free for the Philippine passport holder? what are the things do I need to present?
    do I need to get a transit visa especially if i will get a connecting flight?

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