State Dept Travel Advisory - Level 2

Costa Rica Stuck at Level 2

Costa Rica Travel Advisory under review by US State Department

costa rican train to small village

Costa Rican authorities are hoping the US Department of State will soon upgrade this very popular Central America paradise to a cherished rating.

But, according to a summary of the January 21, 2020 meeting with US Secretary of State Micheal R. Pompeo, Costa Rica shouldn’t expect a quick return to a Level 1 Travel Advisory rating.

Previously, on January 13, 2020, the U.S. State Department decreased the Republic of Costa Rica rating to Level 2 status, saying visitors should “exercise increased caution” due to crime.

The US State Department says a Level 2 Travel Advisory is “a recommendation given to travelers seeking prevention and that they are attentive to their surroundings during their stay abroad.”

However, reporting by the Tico Times on January 3rd indicates the Level 2 rating may be outdated, and Costa Rica is heading in the right direction.

For the 2nd consecutive year, Costa Rica has reduced the number of reported homicides.

The Judicial Investigation Police recorded 560 homicides during 2019. That figure is significantly below the homicide total for 2018 (585), which itself marked a reduction from 2017 (603).

Furthermore, Costa Rica reaffirmed its partnerships with the United States-run International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Office.

During the meeting on January 21st with Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, Foreign Minister Manuel Ventura, and Minister for Public Security Michael Soto, Secretary Pompeo discussed joint efforts to combat transnational crime and strengthen regional security.

These changes appear to be very positive and should enhance tourism, especially from the USA.

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Historically, Costa Rica has generally enjoyed greater peace than other Central American nations. 

Costa Rica receives more than 3 million tourists each year, with about 40 percent (1.2 million) originating from the USA.

When Secretary Pompeo was asked about upgrading Costa Rica’s rating, he is reported to have said the State Department would review the assessment “as quickly as we can.”

Costa Rica is located on an isthmus with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Nicaragua to its north and Panama to its south and is home to over 4 million residents.

From a health risk perspective, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued various Travel Alerts for Costa Rica in 2020.

On January 3, 2020, the CDC included Costa Rica in the CDC’s measles and dengue virus travel alerts.

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