On November 1, 2020 Costa Rica will extend their tourism reopening to include visitors from ALL U.S. states.
Since Costa Rica officially reopened for tourism on August 1, only residents select states have been granted entry, but that will come to an end in less than a month. Starting on November 1, tourists from all over the United States, regardless of which state they live in, will be permitted to travel to Costa Rica.
US citizens and residents make up the largest group of tourists that regularly visit Costa Rica (almost half of all international arrivals!), so the country was very eager to create a plan that would safely allow the return of more American tourists.
PCR testing combined with health screening and mandatory travel insurance has created the opportunity for Costa Rica to successfully restart their devastated tourism industry.
The timeline of Costa Rica’s reopening has been staggered to slowly include more states that were permitted entry.
- August 1: Costa Rica reopened for visitors from Canada, the EU, and other select countries, but not the USA.
- September 1: Residents of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont were allowed entry
- September 15: Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, Massachusetts, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania were added to the list
- October 1: Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Wyoming, California, and Ohio were added
- October 15: Residents of Florida, Georgia and Texas will be added to the approved list
- November 1: All US residents will be permitted entry
However, visiting from the United States is not as easy as it used to be before the pandemic.
American tourists have been used to simply grabbing their passport and jumping on a plane to Costa Rica, but now there are many procedures that must be completed before travelling.
PCR testing is now a mandatory requirement for entering Costa Rica from the United States. All passengers must provide proof of a negative PCR test that was taken no longer than 72 hours before departing on the flight to Costa Rica.
Many US residents have expressed how difficult it is to get test results within 72 hours of departing, with some travelers having to cancel their trips altogether. Some airlines are seeing this as an opportunity and are stepping in to help.
UPDATE OCTOBER 22: Great news! As of October 26, PCR testing is NO LONGER REQUIRED for tourists entering Costa Rica
American Airlines has announced a pre-flight Covid-19 PCR testing program for passengers travelling to Costa Rica from either the Dallas airport (DFW) or the Miami airport (MIA). The program from Dallas airport will launch on October 15, with Miami’s launch date happening sometime in November.
In a press release, American Airlines stated:
“Starting Oct. 15, customers traveling from DFW to Costa Rica will have access to the airline’s preflight COVID-19 testing program, in partnership with LetsGetChecked, CareNow and DFW Airport. Customers will be responsible for testing costs.
American will offer three options for preflight testing to customers with flights from DFW to Costa Rica:
→ At-home test from LetsGetChecked, observed by a medical professional via virtual visit, with results expected in 48 hours on average.
→ In-person testing at a CareNow urgent care location.
→ Onsite rapid testing, administered by CareNow, at DFW.”
Even if not flying with American Airlines out of those two hubs, many US residents can contact local clinics and testing sites to perform the required PCR test.
Other Entry Requirements
American tourists will also have to fulfill a few other entry requirements before traveling to Costa Rica, like filling out an online health declaration form, and obtaining the proper travel health insurance.
We have all the steps outlined in our “Costa Rica: Covid-19 Entry Requirements” guide
What’s Open in Costa Rica?
As of October 1, most businesses have reopened, but at 50% capacity. Tourists will find most hotels, resorts, restaurants, and shops open, but perhaps with limited hours and capacities. Of course, things like nightclubs and large gatherings are still prohibited.
As of September 9, masks are required in all public places and on public transit.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories
Originally published Oct 6, 2020