There aren’t all that many countries that Americans are allowed to visit right now. As I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, Costa Rica is one country that is welcoming tourists as of September 2020. However, the country is taking a different approach to what we’ve otherwise seen.
This is a very slow and phased tourism reopening, as there will only be five flights per week from the US to Costa Rica at first, which represents less than 5% of 2019 travel levels.
Costa Rica welcoming Americans from select states
As of September 1, 2020 (today), Costa Rica will only allow Americans who are residents of the following states and territories to visit (they’ll have to provide a driver’s license or other form of state ID to prove they’re from one of these places):
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Washington DC
Then as of September 15, 2020, Costa Rica will welcome Americans from the following three additional states:
Costa Rica’s tourism minister has made it clear that these states are being chosen based on having similar or lower coronavirus infection rates to what we’re seeing in Costa Rica. Based on that I don’t really understand why visitors from some states can only come as of September 15.
I expect the number of states from which Costa Rica welcomes visitors will increase over time. Similarly, if there’s a spike in cases, I imagine we could also see certain states removed from the list.
To my knowledge Costa Rica is the first country that only seems to be allowing Americans from certain states, which sure is interesting.
Costa Rica requiring PCR tests within 72 hours of travel
As a further precaution, visitors to Costa Rica will need to show proof of a negative PCR coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of travel to Costa Rica. There will be no option to get tested on arrival.
The requirement to get tested within 72 hours of travel is among the stricter policies we’re seeing, and in many places it can still be tough to get tested and get results in such a short timeframe.
Other requirements to visit Costa Rica
In addition to the state restrictions and PCR testing requirements, there are a couple more requirements for tourists:
- All people entering Costa Rica will have to complete a digital epidemiological form, known as a “Health Pass”
- Visitors will have to purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in the event of quarantine and medical expenses due to coronavirus; this can be purchased from either an international company or an insurance company in Costa Rica
Coronavirus in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has a population of about five million people, and has seen a total of nearly 40,000 coronavirus cases, and 418 coronavirus deaths.
While the country has had some cases going back as far as March, the situation has gotten significantly worse since July. As a matter of fact, the situation is the worst it has been in Costa Rica, and the country is now in some cases seeing over 1,000 new cases per day.
On the surface it’s an odd time to open borders to tourists, but then again, so many countries are struggling to find the right balance between restarting the economy and keeping people safe.
Costa Rica is now open to select American tourists. However, the country is only welcoming visitors from select US states, and a negative PCR test must be shown that was taken within 72 hours of travel.
As is the case with most countries that have reopened, don’t necessarily expect the timeline or current policies to stick. International travel regulations are constantly changing, and we’ve seen a countless number of countries adjust requirements, or backtrack on reopening altogether. There are lots of risks to international travel right now.
Anyone have Costa Rica on their radar for a trip at some point?