If you live in the USA and diving among hammerhead sharks in the waters off Costa Rica’s Cocos Island has been on your bucket list, you can do that now, provided you live in certain U.S. states.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica as well as the Costa Rican Embassy in the USA, as of September 1st, 2020, U.S. citizen tourists who are residents of the states of New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia may enter Costa Rica on limited flights departing from the USA.
As of September 15th, residents of Colorado, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania will also be able to enter Costa Rica on limited flights departing from the USA.
(UPDATE: The Costa Rican Tourism Ministry today announced that as of September 15th, residents of Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, and Rhode Island will also be allowed to travel there. California residents will be able to travel to Costa Rica beginning October 1st.)
To do so, however, you’ll have to jump through several bureaucratic hoops: You’l have to complete a digital epidemiological health pass, obtain a negative PCR-RT coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of your departure from the USA, and purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19.
You’ll also need to show — via a valid driver’s license or State ID card — that you live in one of those authorized states. No other forms of documentation establishing residency in these states will be accepted. Accompanying minors won’t need to have a driver’s license or State ID card.
The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) has an English-language website detailing these entry requirements, which you can view here.
U.S. tourists from the list of authorized states can enter Costa Rica via a flight with a layover in a non-authorized state or country. For example, if you’re a Colorado resident, you’ll be able to fly from Denver to Houston to Costa Rica, as long as you don’t exit the airport in Houston.
As for other countries, these are the authorized ones, according to the Costa Rican Tourism Board:
THE EUROPEAN UNION, SCHENGEN ZONE, AND THE UNITED KINGDOM: for flights from the European Union, the Schengen Zone, and the United Kingdom; for citizens and residents of the European Union, the Schengen Zone, and the United Kingdom.
CANADA: for flights from Canada; for citizens and residents of Canada and for citizens and residents of the European Union, the Schengen Zone, and the United Kingdom in transit.
SOUTH AMERICA: for flights from Uruguay; for citizens and residents of Uruguay.
ASIA: for flights from Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China; for citizens and residents of Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China.
OCEANIA: for flights from Australia and New Zealand; for citizens and residents of Australia and New Zealand.
BIG, BIG NOTE: Be aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is nowhere near over, and that travel conditions could change at any time.