One of the main connection points between Costa Rica and the United States is the state of Florida. However, that state is still outside the authorized allowed for American tourists to enter Costa Rica.
The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rica’s Tourism Board – has progressively authorized the arrival of US residents. which for October 1, totals 21 destinations.
But Florida is not. Nor is Texas. Why not?
Gustavo Segura, Minister of Tourism and President of the ICT, explained that to decide on reopening, they take into account numerous factors of the pandemic reality caused by COVID-19 for each destination.
He added that it is irresponsible to give dates and zones about future authorizations.
For example, as of September 25, the state of Florida registered 695,887 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 13,915 deaths associated to the virus.
Yet, California’s confirmed cases and deaths is higher, 804,177 and 15,539, respectively, yet is a state that the Minister on Thursday reconfirmed is authorized starting October 1.
According to Rt.live, Florida’s Effective Reproduction Rate · Rt, the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person, is 0.96; California’s Rt is 0.94.
Both are lower than Costa Rica’s 1.05. If the Rt is above 1.0, COVID-19 will spread quickly.
“We are very clear about the importance of the US as the main originating market and it also has a particularity: it is a union of 50 states that, for the most part, are country-sized. The analysis is very constant. The pandemic situation there evolves very quickly, for better or for worse (…) It is not responsible to give dates, nor is it responsible to give certainties. The analysis is constant and has to do with factors that we do not control,” Segura explained.
“The markets of origin are experiencing their own pandemic reality and need to regain the confidence to travel,” the minister added.
The United States is the primary market for visitors to Costa Rica. Last year, in 2019, a total of 3.14 million tourists visited Costa Rica, an increase of around 4.1% in comparison to 2018, with more than half (53%) of international arrivals by air from the United States.
According to the ICT, U.S. tourists, in 2019, on average stayed in the country for 12.6 nights.
Currently, residents of New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, Rhode Island, California, and Ohio (the latter two as of October 1) and District of Columbia (DC) are authorized to enter Costa Rica.
American tourists to enter Costa Rica must reside in out of the foregoing states, arriving on commercial or private flights, with their driver’s license or State ID that certifies them as residents of the authorized state.
Costa Rica is also allowing stopovers or transfers through non-authorized US states or countries. For example, a resident of New York can fly to Costa Rica by way of Miami, as long as they do not leave the airport.
A commercial flight is one that transports foreign tourists and should not be confused with repatriation (or humanitarian) flights that have taken place during the course of the COVID-19 health emergency.
The repatriation flights, carried out by different airlines to or from different destinations, allowed Costa Ricans to return to the country or for foreigners who were in Costa Rica to return to their places of origin. There are even Costa Ricans who have been able to leave the country for the US in this type of transfer.
U.S. tourist requirements to enter Costa Rica by air or sea:
- Complete the digital form called Health Pass.
- Must come from any of the authorized countries or US states.
- Must provide a state driver’s license or State ID that certifies them as residents of the authorized state.
- Must demonstrate that they have national or international travel insurance that covers accommodation and medical expenses generated by the COVID-19 disease. In the event that group insurance (family group) is presented, the coverage must be sufficient to cover the accommodation and medical expenses generated by the COVID-19 disease to each of the persons covered.
- Must present a document that proves that a COVID-19 RT-PCR test had been carried out within 72 hours prior to the departure of the flight to Costa Rica, with a negative result. This document must be submitted in Spanish or English.