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You Can Travel to Costa Rica—if You’re From These 20 U.S. States

By Michelle Baran

Sep 17, 2020

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With a negative COVID-19 test result, U.S. travelers from  20 U.S. states can head to Costa Rica.

Photo by Cris Young/Shutterstock

With a negative COVID-19 test result, U.S. travelers from 20 U.S. states can head to Costa Rica.

Travelers who are from the selected states and who present a negative coronavirus test can fly to Costa Rica.

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On September 1, Costa Rica began allowing international travelers from the United States to fly into the country as long as they are residents of one of the following eight states: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Virgina, plus the District of Columbia. Starting September 15, travelers from Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Wyoming were able to join them. As of October 1, Californians can head to Costa Rica, too.

The authorized states “have an epidemiological condition [with] similar or lower levels of contagion to those of Costa Rica,” Costa Rica’s tourism minister Gustavo Segura said at a press conference on August 19.

Costa Rica was the first country to determine entry ability based on U.S. state residency.

After closing its borders to international travelers on March 18 (other than to those who submitted to a 14-day quarantine order) to control the spread of coronavirus, the Central American country began welcoming international travelers back on August 1.

As of August 19, citizens and residents from these regions and countries could enter Costa Rica: the European Union, the Schengen Zone, the United Kingdom; Canada; Uruguay; Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, China; and New Zealand.

Starting in September, residents from the U.S. states listed above were welcomed back to Costa Rica—they must provide a driver’s license or a state I.D. as proof that they live in one of the authorized states.

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There is a possible exception for travelers coming from countries or states that have not yet been approved for entry—and that’s for those who arrive by private flight. Passengers intending to take a private jet to Costa Rica will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will still need to follow the procedures below. There is also an exception for those arriving by private yacht, which will be allowed as of September 1. Passengers on private yachts will have to quarantine if they don’t have proof of a negative COVID-19 test—the quarantine will subtract any number of days they have been at sea and will begin from the last port departure date that was recorded in the yacht’s log.

Travelers to Costa Rica must provide a negative COVID-19 test result

U.S. travelers from 20 states can go chase waterfalls in Costa Rica.

Before flying to Costa Rica, visitors will need to fill out an epidemiological ​health​ form online. All visitors (with the exception of minors traveling with their families) will also need to get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic test (also known as the nasal swab test) and furnish evidence of a negative COVID-19 result that was procured within 72 hours prior to arrival in Costa Rica.

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International arrivals will also be required to show proof of international health insurance coverage, either from their own provider or that they purchased in Costa Rica (local insurance policies authorized for travelers are available through the National Insurance Institute​ and through insurance company Sagicor). For international insurance policies, tourists must provide verification that their insurance company will cover them in Costa Rica; will cover at least $50,000 in medical expenses in the event they contract COVID-19 while in Costa Rica; and will cover a minimum of $2,000 in lodging expenses for any issues related to the pandemic (such as the need to quarantine).

Commercial flights are operating into and out of Costa Rica’s three international airports: Juan Santamaría International Airport outside of the capital San José, Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport in Liberia, and Tobías Bolaños Airport in San José. Starting on September 13, United Airlines added daily flights from Houston, Texas, to Juan Santamaría International Airport, and three flights a week from Houston to Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport. United plans to add flights from Newark International Airport to Juan Santamaría International Airport and to Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport in October as well as flights from Colorado. American Airlines is adding flights to Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport from Miami and from Dallas, Texas. Delta plans to fly to Costa Rica from Atlanta, Georgia, as well.

 

“We are taking very gradual and carefully analyzed steps in the direction of the revitalization of tourism,” stated Segura.

Prior to the pandemic, approximately 12 percent of Costa Rica’s employment was dependent on tourism—600,000 Costa Ricans rely on the industry for their livelihood.

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In Costa Rica, travelers must wear masks at the airport and comply with local health regulations, including practicing physical distancing. As of August 31, hotels in Costa Rica are allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity, with the exception of public areas, which will be required to limit capacity to 50 percent. For up-to-date information and guidelines regarding COVID-19, travelers can visit the Ministry of Health’s website.

During the pause in tourism arrivals, Costa Rica tourism officials focused on training the workforce on new coronavirus-friendly health and sanitation guidelines and protocols. Costa Rica was recently recognized by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) through its “Safe Travels” stamp for its commitment to updated health and safety measures.

This story originally appeared on August 21, 2020, and has been updated to reflect current information.

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