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NEWSFLASH: Costa Rica to Welcome ALL US residents from November 1! 

Fantastic news out of our idyllic shores this week: Costa Rica will reopen its borders to tourism for ALL US States (as well as Canada and Mexico) from the 1st of November. The news comes after the country was the first in the world to welcome US tourists based on their residency.

The first wave of Costa Rica border openings for US citizens occurred back in September, when the government announced it would welcome residents of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. More US States have been added to the list in the last month and we’re ecstatic to know that the country will open up to the whole of the US as of next month.


Moreover, there will be an in-between allowance added, with residents of Georgia, Florida and Texas allowed in as of mid-October.


As was the case with the previous openings, some conditions do apply. All US tourists must:


  • All travelers must have tested negative in a COVID-19 PCR test up to 72 hours maximum prior to flight departure time from the country of origin
  • Hold travel health insurance with COVID-specific clause for extended medical & living expenses
  • Fill in a Health Certificate before entering the country


You can buy COVID-specific insurance once you arrive in Costa Rica but most tourists choose to purchase a policy beforehand, through their travel agent, to save time upon arrival.


Costa Rica Reopens Completely to US tourism: Why The Sudden Change?

Costa Rica has handled the COVID-19 pandemic remarkably well, implementing harsh restrictions from the get-go. This has helped the country keep an impressively low record of infections and deaths. This was also the reason why Costa Rica has taken such a unique approach to its border reopening: yes, the country relies heavily on US tourism, in particular, but it also wanted to find a balance between keeping the economy churning and keeping COVID infections within acceptable (and handleable) limits.


The idea behind the staggered reopening was to ‘watch what happened’ and, since borders were first opened to the outside world in August, no ‘external’ infections have ever been detected. This means that no foreign tourist has brought the virus with them into Costa Rica, which is amazing news!


What is the COVID Situation in Costa Rica, Right Now?

As with most other countries around the world, second-wave infections have been increasing in Costa Rica. However, numbers remain manageable. As of right now, just over half the ICU beds and almost 30% of moderate-care beds are being used to treat COVID patients in the country, and the health system has never been stretched to capacity at any time during the pandemic.


What Does the Reopening Mean for Costa Rican Tourism?

Although US tourists do make up a huge chunk of the tourism income in Costa Rica, the restrictions in flight numbers and world-wide travel bans mean the country will still only receive about 50% of the usual high-tourist-season crowds.


High-season in Costa Rica usually starts in December (until about April), coinciding with dry season and international holiday periods.


What if You Want to Visit Before November 1?

Residents of the following US States can visit before November 1. However, they will need to show proof of residency upon entry:


As of October 1: New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, Rhode Island, California, and Ohio


As of October 15: As mentioned above, Texas, Georgia and Florida residents allowed


As of November 1: ALL US citizens



  • If you’re from an allowed State but can only fly to Costa Rica via a non-allowed State right now, you can still enter the country, provided your layover lasts no more than 18 hours.


  • US citizens who hold Costa Rican residency are allowed back into the country, no matter the State or country they’re coming from. If the origin is in an allowed country/State, or you have spent the last 14 days there, then you won’t have to quarantine. However, if you’re flying in from a currently unallowed State/country, then you will have to self-quarantine for 14 days.


Confused? You’re not the only one! There seems to have been a lot of confusion at airports all over the world in regards to Costa Rica’s allowances. Read this insightful Tico Times article for a detailed breakdown of the rules, at time of writing.


At Costa Rica Rios, we are eagerly awaiting the start of tourist season and are thrilled to know that we can welcome back all US tourists, as well as citizens from a myriad of other countries.


Ready for the adventure vacation of a lifetime?


Make 2020 the year you adventure in Costa Rica and you’ll remember it for all the right reasons!


Contact us to know more.

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