Costa Rican authorities held a Tuesday evening press conference as a response to the Level 2 travel advisory from the U.S. State Department.
The advisory warns visitors to Costa Rica should “exercise increased caution” due to crime, a label the Central American government “categorically rejected.”
Below is a statement from Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister, Manuel Ventura Robles, regarding the change:
Costa Rica and the United States of America maintain close and solid relations of friendship and cooperation based on mutual respect and a long tradition of values shared by democracy, human rights and freedom.
At the same time, more than 1.2 million U.S. citizens visit us every year to — in an environment of peace, tranquility and security — enjoy our natural beauties, the warm welcome by Costa Ricans and the human well-being of Costa Rica.
We are sure that U.S. tourists will continue to arrive in Costa Rica and will be able to tell other visitors of their country about our hospitality and our peace, of our beauties — as famous artists, celebrities and other important personalities often do.
On this occasion, we express the energetic protest by the Government of Costa Rica over the decision to change the level in recommendations to U.S. tourists when visiting our country.
As a Government, we also hope to overcome this situation promptly and continue to deepen our relations between two sister nations to whom friendship and respect unites.
Over the first 11 months of 2019, more than half of the 2.8 million tourists who visited Costa Rica came from North America. Of those, nearly 1.2 million hailed from the United States.
According to the U.S. State Department, approximately 120,000 U.S. citizens reside in Costa Rica. In addition, the organization says, Costa Rica is the top Latin American destination for U.S. study abroad programs.