Costa Rica is open to all international travelers without requiring a PCR test as of October 2020. This article describes current entry requirements for entering Costa Rica during the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as some of the current protocols setup in the country to protect your health. We will keep this up to date as the situation evolves.

Last updated December 3, 2021

International travelers are authorized to enter Costa Rica’s three international airports: Juan Santamaría International Airport, Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport, and Tobías Bolaños Airport.  As of November 1, 2020 Costa Rica has allowed all countries in the world to enter by air, as long as they meet the country’s visa and COVID-19 entry requirements.* 

*For the most up to date information, please also refer to this link: https://www.visitcostarica.com/en/costa-rica/planning-your-trip/entry-requirements

IMPORTANT NOTICES:

  • Vaccination required to enter businesses: Starting December 1, businesses such as hotels, restaurants can choose to operate at 100% capacity and require full vaccination to enter, or operate at 50% capacity and not require vaccination.  Starting January 8, 2022, the vaccine passport will go fully into effect.  At this point, you will need to be vaccinated to enter all businesses (essential businesses like grocery store, pharmacies are exempt). 
  • Starting August 1st, 2021 all tourists who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and inoculated with Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson can enter the country without a travel policy. The last dose of the vaccine must have been applied at least 14 days before arrival in Costa Rica.  See more details below. 
  • Starting January 26th, 2021 travelers returning to the US or Canada will have to present a negative COVID-19 test result.  Our local specialists can help you organize this test.  See details below. 
  • As of October 26, 2020, all local and foreign passengers who enter Costa Rica by air are not required to present an RT-PCR diagnostic test with a negative result.

 

Requirements to enter Costa Rica:

A) Complete the digital form called HEALTH PASS.  This is available at https://salud.go.cr. The form should be completed no more than 48 hrs before your boarding time.  You should also complete the form for every traveler, including minors.

B) As of August 1, 2021, all tourists who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and inoculated with Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson can enter the country without a travel policy. The last dose of the vaccine must have been applied at least 14 days before arrival in Costa Rica.

Vaccinated tourists must attach the vaccination certificate to the Health Pass. As proof, vaccination certificates and vaccination cards that contain at least the following information will be accepted:

1. Name of the person who received the vaccine

2. Date of each dose

3. Pharmaceutical house

In the case of U.S. travelers, the "COVID-19 vaccination record card" will be accepted.

Tourists not vaccinated, with incomplete vaccination or vaccinated with a serum other than those admitted by the Costa Rican authorities, must purchase mandatory travel insurance that covers lodging in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19 disease as detailed below.

The health insurance can be purchased in your home country or purchased in Costa Rica.  Your best option is to purchase the health insurance in your home country, however, if you are not clear which to purchase, or just pressed for there, the Costa Rican government has also identified two Costa Rican insurers that can provide the required coverage.  

For international insurance policies, tourists must request a certificate from their insurance company, issued in English or Spanish, verifying at least the following three conditions. (This certificate must be uploaded when filling out the electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS):

    1. Effectiveness of the policy during the visit to Costa Rica.
    2. Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with the pandemic COVID-19 virus while in Costa Rica, for at least USD $50,000 (fifty thousand United States Dollars).
    3. Includes minimum coverage of USD $2,000 for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic.

Note: Passengers who fail to comply with these requirements may not enter the country.

Upon landing in Costa Rica, travelers must wear face protection and comply with the strict protocols of the air terminal with regard to physical distancing, disinfection of carpets, and taking temperature readings, and must follow any other sanitary instructions.

To view a video with important U.S. entry information, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAc-cbzOhxM 

 

Health Protocols while in the country

In mid-October, the Costa Rican government announced that it will start requiring proof of Covid vaccination to enter certain businesses. From December 1-January 7 (the transition period),  hotels, restaurants can either choose to operate at 100% capacity and require full vaccination to enter, or operate at 50% capacity and not require vaccination. 

Starting on January 8, the vaccine passport is supposed to go fully into effect. At this point, you’ll need to be vaccinated to enter all non-essential business, such as hotels and restaurants.  Essential businesses, such as grocery store and pharmacies are exempt. 

The vaccine requirement only applies to people ages 12 and up. Children under 12 are exempt. 

Regarding unvaccinated tourists, the Costa Rica Tourism Board has said that tourists who are not fully vaccinated will be able to enter the country and stay with family, friends, or in their own homes. However, they will not be able to enter businesses that require full vaccination. 

While in Costa Rica, it is important to know that masks are required in all public indoor venues.  This includes wearing masks in all transportations (shuttle or private transfers) and in locations such as supermarkets, pharmacies and the public areas of your hotel. 

Also, many locations take your temperature and ask you to sanitize your hands each time you enter.

These protocols are implemented to help you and the staff stay healthy.  Please follow the directions of the local staff to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Costa Rica.

 

Travelers Returning to the United States

Starting January 26th, all travelers returning from international travel will need to show a negative COVID-19 test. The test must be taken within 1 day of their flight to the US departs and need to provide written documentation of the lab test results (paper or electronic).  

Our recommendation at kimkim is to pre-purchase your home COVID test kits before you travel, and bring them with you to Costa Rica.  This is a fast and relatively cheap way of doing the return to US testing. 

However, if you prefer to use a lab in destination, our specialists in Costa Rica have been proactive in finding appropriate labs throughout the country to be able to do the test in a timely fashion.  Tests have turn-around times of 4hrs (available at the San Jose International Airport), and costs between $60 - $100 depending on the location and the speed of the test.

To find the best options for your trip, please work with your local specialist.  They will review your itinerary and find the best time, and most convenient location for the test. 

Yenyi
Written by Yenyi Fu, updated Dec 3, 2021