The State Department lowered the travel alert advisory level for Costa Rica from a level 4 —which means “do not visit” – to a level 3, which means “reconsider travel”.In Latin America, the United States gives a level 4 to almost the entire region. The rest of the Central American countries were also lowered to level 3, with the exception of Panama, which remains at 4.
For the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, “it is a positive news at a crucial moment.” This is because during the next few months the “high season” of tourism is coming.
“November 1st marks the date on which Costa Rica reopens air borders to 100% of the residents and citizens of the United States. That country is the main tourist market for Costa Rica,” Segura said.
In August, the United States raised the alert level for travel to Costa Rica, in part due to the COVID-19 health emergency but also justified by the threat of violent crimes.
“While minor crimes are the predominant threat to tourists in Costa Rica, violent crimes, including armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault, occur in Costa Rica,” the State Department said at the time.
The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began negotiations with the United States Embassy to lower the alert level, “taking into account the management of the Pandemic, the country’s health system, and the protocols that have been established”.
COVID alert remains high
Despite the State Department lowering its alert level, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) maintains the maximum alert level for COVID-19 in Costa Rica and recommends avoiding “all non-essential travel.”
“The risk of COVID-19 is high in Costa Rica. If you get sick in Costa Rica and require medical attention, resources may be limited,”says the current alert for tourists traveling to the country, by the CDC.
The Ministry of Planning estimates that the reopening to the entire US would generate 80 thousand jobs and $ 1.5 billion by 2021, a sum corresponding to 2.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.