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Costa Rica tourism: What states might be allowed next? [updated]

September 26, 2020

Since September 1, Costa Rica has welcomed tourists from a growing number of U.S. states.

According to Gustavo Segura, Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, a state’s new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over recent weeks is the most important consideration for allowing tourists from that state.

That explains why states like Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York were among the first ones authorized. They have the lowest new cases per 100,000 residents over the last weeks, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

“For us, it doesn’t matter how many cases New York had in June,” Segura told The Tico Times. “What interests us is seeing how the pandemic is evolving over the last two weeks.”

What states might be allowed next? Let’s use the data to make an educated guess.

Which U.S. states are allowed now?

As of October 1, Costa Rica will allow U.S. tourists from 20 of the 50 U.S. states (plus one district):

  • Currently authorized: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia (and Washington, D.C.), Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Wyoming.
  • Authorized as of Oct. 1, 2020: California, Ohio.

Segura says Costa Rica is constantly analyzing the coronavirus situation in the U.S. and elsewhere, and more authorized locations will be added every two weeks.

Click here for the requirements for arriving U.S. tourists.

Which U.S. states could come next?

Here are states that Costa Rica could authorize next, based solely on their current handling of the pandemic:

  • Hawaii: 49 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • West Virginia: 71 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Delaware: 74 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Louisiana: 82 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Alaska: 83 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Florida: 85 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.

For comparison, here are states that Costa Rica has already authorized for tourists:

  • Vermont: 4 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • New York: 29 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • California: 61 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Colorado: 73 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.

At 116 new cases per 100,000 people, Wyoming is the state that ranks worst by this metric but whose residents are still allowed to visit Costa Rica.

Costa Rica does consider other factors in addition to new cases per 100,000, but Segura says that is the most important metric used.

What states might not be welcomed soon?

Using the same data, here are states from which Costa Rica might not welcome residents until the pandemic situation has improved:

  • North and South Dakota: 348 and 280 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week, respectively.
  • Wisconsin: 243 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Utah: 211 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Oklahoma: 201 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Iowa: 196 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Arkansas: 194 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Missouri: 177 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.
  • Texas: 166 new cases per 100,000 people over the last week.

Of course, Costa Rica could tweak its criteria for authorizing a state. When allowing residents of Mexico and California, for example, Segura has highlighted the importance of those markets for tourism.

What about Costa Rica itself?

Costa Rica has added 8,442 new cases over the last seven days, which calculates to 169 new cases per 100,000 people, as calculated by The New York Times.

That figure is similar to that of Texas, Missouri and Alabama, and is part of the reason why the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s increase in cases and its limited hospital capacity are the reasons why it hopes to limit the amount of coronavirus cases imported by tourists.

Segura says none of Costa Rica’s known coronavirus cases correspond to international tourists.

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