Updated on September 24, 2020:
What countries exactly can visit Costa Rica at this time? Here is a complete list updated as of September 24, 2020.
At the end of July the Tourism Minister announced the countries who can visit Costa Rica as tourists after August 1. At the time, he said Canada, the UK, and the European Union. That was quickly expanded to include all Schengen Zone countries.
Since then, in a couple of updates, the government has expanded the original list to include some Asian, Australasian, and South American countries (okay, one South American country), and, crucially, residents of some US states.
Costa Rica flight info update Sept 16. @AirCanada, @airfrance, @Avianca, @British_Airways, @flyedelweiss, and @JetBlue have all either introduced or changed their restart dates: https://t.co/cztwt6BULc
— CentralAmericaLiving (@VidaAmerica) September 16, 2020
Below is a complete country-by-country list of all the nations whose citizens can visit Costa Rica as of September 24, 2020. We’ve also included countries and US states eligible to enter Costa Rica from October 1.
People from “non-approved” countries can also enter Costa Rica, provided they’ve been residing for at least 14 days in an “approved” country beforehand. As we’ve said before, however, this is easier said than done, dependent on if the approved country allows your country in or not in the first place. Scroll down for more info on this “loophole”.
Canadian tourists have been able to visit Costa Rica since August 1, although since then, there have been no direct flights into Costa Rica from Canada. Air Canada starts flying to/from Costa Rica in November. The other Canadian airline, WestJet, has not yet announced its resumption date. Canadians who travel to Costa Rica will have to quarantine for 14 days when they get back home.
Tourists from the US states of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming (plus the District of Columbia) can now visit Costa Rica. This will expand to include residents of California and Ohio from October 1. Visitors from these states will need to show photo ID (driver’s license or state ID) to prove they live in that state. Expect more states to be added over the coming weeks. American Airlines, United, and Spirit have all resumed some form of operations into Costa Rica from the US.
Tourists from Mexico will be eligible to enter Costa Rica from October 1. Pre-COVID, Aeromexico and Volaris operated regular flights between various Mexican cities and San Jose. Aeromexico has committed to one flight in early October so far, and that should increase now Mexicans can enter Costa Rica.
Jamaican tourists will be eligible to enter Costa Rica from October 1. There are no direct flights between Jamaica and Costa Rica. Travelers will need to pass through the US or Panama City to get between these countries.
Uruguayan tourists have been able to visit Costa Rica since August 13. There are no direct flight from Uruguay to Costa Rica, although Copa are starting operations again throughout their Latin American network. The outside-the-box-thinking Uruguayan can fly to Europe and come in that way.
Tourists from the UK have been able to visit Costa Rica since August 1. British Airways resumes operations to Costa Rica on November 1. UK citizens can also reach Costa Rica through European Union and Schengen routes. UK citizens returning home from Costa Rica will need to quarantine for 14 days.
Citizens of the above countries are all EU citizens have been able to visit Costa Rica since August 1. They can fly to Costa Rica from any EU city with direct flights. Whether or not they have to quarantine upon arrival back home depends on the individual country.
Citizens of the above countries were omitted in the original August announcement but the ICT later confirmed they were welcome to visit Costa Rica. These countries are not in the EU, but part of the Schengen Area. This guarantees freedom of movement throughout the EU. If you’re coming from any of these countries you can fly from any EU city. Check to see if you need to quarantine upon arrival back home.
Citizens of the above countries have been able to enter Costa Rica as tourists since August 13. There are no direct flights to Costa Rica from any of these nations. Citizens of Japan and Thailand can pass through the EU or United States.
Aussies and Kiwis are welcome into Costa Rica as tourists since August 13. Both countries are allowed into the EU and the UK, so that’s going to be their best bet for now, for actually getting to Costa Rica. They can also now pass through the United States.
There is a way that anyone NOT from the above list of countries can also enter Costa Rica, but it’s cumbersome and not at all ideal.
Technically, a citizen of a “non-allowed country” – for example, a US citizen – could enter Costa Rica after August 1 if they had spent the previous two weeks in an “allowed country”. For example, an American citizen could not go to Canada and catch a flight to Costa Rica. They could, if they wished, go to Canada, spend two weeks there, get their COVID-19 test 48 hours or less before arrival, and then come to Costa Rica.
That is perfectly possible, according to Costa Rica’s Miami Consulate.
The problem is, that the US (or whatever country) citizen would need to be allowed to visit that country in the first place, which in the case of Canada, for example, they are not. But, yes, if a citizen of a non-allowed country spends at least two weeks in an “allowed” country, they can enter Costa Rica. This is good news for anyone of any nationality living in an “allowed” country. It’s also good news for residents of Costa Rica trying to get back.
But not-so-good news for people looking to circumvent Costa Rica’s entry rules by popping to an “allowed” country for the sole purpose of getting on a flight.
US citizens from eligible states can pass through non-eligible states to get to Costa Rica, as long as their layover is less than 48 hours and as long as they don’t leave the airport. So, for example, if you’re from Ohio (eligible from Oct 1), you can pass through Houston to get to Costa Rica.
Another thing to check is whether your country actually recommends travel to Costa Rica or not.
If your country does not recommend travel to Costa Rica, this might affect the validity of any travel insurance you purchase. This insurance is a requisite for entering Costa Rica. Please double check your country’s official position on traveling to Costa Rica beforehand, and verify if your travel insurance will be valid or not.
For example, at this time, Costa Rica is not on the EU list of “safe countries” to visit or receive visitors from.
We will update this list of countries as and when the situation changes. We hope we can add more countries able to visit Costa Rica as tourists very soon.
James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.