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American Tourists allowed entry to Costa Rica. Sort of....

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In the latest news from Gustavo Segura, Costa Rica's Tourism Minister announced Wednesday that as of September 1, the country will allow flights from six US States.

The details are still coming but by September 1st residents of New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ), New Hampshire (NH), Maine (ME), Vermont (VT), and Connecticut (CT) will be able to enter Costa Rica again on commercial flights and require a Driver's Licence to prove they reside in the State.

They also must provide the same paperwork required of EU and Canadian travelers including:

  • Confirmed return flight documents
  • Digital Epidemiological form.
  • Negative PCR test taken 48 hours before the flight.
  • Mandatory travel insurance that covers hospitalization and extended accommodations.

It appears that if you do not have a Drivers Licence from one of the six approved States, you will not be allowed to fly. Four weekly flights have been authorized to fly to Costa Rica from Laguardia, JFK and Newark Airports. Private charter flights and yachts from these locations are also authorized to enter Costa Rica.

According to Gustavo Segura, who holds an Economics Degree from the University of Costa Rica and an MBA from INCAE Business School, the epidemiological data in these places are favorable according to a study done by the Costa Rican authorities. Who these medical authorities are and what study or metrics they are using has not yet been revealed.

What we do know is that the 6 US States now allowed entry are among the States with the highest mortality rate in the country. NJ, NY, MA and CT had the highest number of deaths per million of all US states. NH was 27th, ME 45th, VT 47th. N, NY and CT accounted for 30% of the deaths from covid 19 in the US.

New York Sate is currently ranked number 8th for active cases and number 4 for total cases.

He also added that the States of Colorado, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, are under constant analysis and monitoring and are being considered to be added to the list of States allowed entry. Colorado ranks 51st in the number of tests given per million residents, and is 28th in total number of cases in the US.

France, Spain and Germany just yesterday were in the top 5 of European countries for the number of new cases, out of 48 countries, and in the top 20 worldwide. Residents of those countries are allowed entry into Costa Rica.

Spain just reported 3715 coronavirus infections, the highest number of cases since June, Germany today confirmed 1707 new cases in the past 24 hours, the highest daily toll since April. Italy reported 845 new cases in the last 24 hours, the highest daily increase since May and has seen a steady increase in infections over the past month.

Norway just imposed a 10 day quarantine on all people arriving from Britain, Austria, Greece and Ireland due to the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in those countries. These same countries are allowed entry to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is currently ranked 25th of all countries in the number of active cases, whereas Canada is 60th in the world.

So which measurement are the "Health Authorities" using to guide them in deciding who is granted permission to obtain the necessary documentation to meet the requirements that may allow them to vacation in Costa Rica?

It may not matter. According to the Costa Rica Embassy website tourists must provide a Covid-19 negative test. The only test that is accepted is the real-time polymerase chain reaction test known as a PCR-RT test. Rapid test results, serological tests or immunity tests will not be accepted. The PCR-RT test is required for all travelers older than 12.

A recent survey on waiting times for the waiting times for Covid-19 tests across the US published earlier this month showed the average wait time for results were 4.1 days with 10% of the tests taking 10 days or more. Average wait times for Covid PCR testing is 3 days for residents of 5 of the 6 states Costa Rica is allowing entry. NJ had an average wait time of 2 days.

Most people planning a vacation like to book a flight and hotel well in advance of their trip, then 48 hours prior to taking the flight, they must obtain a negative result on a PCR test 48 hours before flying. Considering they may not get the results in time, or worse, it comes back positive, there goes the vacation. It's a gamble most will be unlikely to take.

That said, it is good news for those Americans in the approved States who own vacation homes or have family here and plan to return to Costa Rica.