Costa Rica COVID

Current Travel Restrictions

The Costa Rica coronavirus situation is an ever-evolving issue (as it is everywhere at this point).

However, Costa Rica is open for travel. You are now welcome to visit for a Pura Vida filled vacation.

The government just approved eliminating all COVID related entry restrictions starting on April 1st. 

Yeay!!!

Here is all the latest….

Last Updated April 4th, 2022

COVID at a Glance

Book Travel Insurance

We suggest Trawick International because they will cover you for COVID-related issues in Costa Rica.

You can find out more about their plans here

Book a COVID Test in Costa Rica

– Check this list of testing centers from the Costa Rica tourism department

– Ask at your hotel. They might provide testing

– Purchase a self-test before traveling. The Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag test is the only test I can find as of now that is approved for re-entry into the United States

(note: make sure you purchase the test that says with Ag-card. The one we linked to is the correct test)

Costa Rica Emergency Number

If you get COVID while visiting Costa Rica you can call 1322. There are operators standing by who speak both English and Spanish. They will assess your situation and tell you how to move forward.

If you have an emergency situation you can call 911. 

Latest Costa Rica Covid Statistics

New Cases: 831 new cases in the past 24 hours

Deaths: 8 deaths in the past 24 hours

Fully Vaccinated: 78% of the population is fully vaccinated

Boosted: 36% of the population has received their booster

as of April 1st 2022

 

Costa Rica Entry Requirements

Costa Rica is now open to air travel to and from all countries. 

Private flights from the US and yachts are also allowed to enter.

Cruises to Limon and Puntarenas have also resumed

Land borders are now open from Nicaragua and Panama.

costa rica

Entry Rules

– Vaccination or travel insurance is no longer required to enter Costa Rica. 

All visitors regardless of vaccination status are now able to freely enter the country. 

Keep in mind that all normal regulations apply when entering Costa Rica.

You can read all about these regulations, but the main one to remember is that you need to show proof you will be leaving Costa Rica within 90 days of arrival.

In other words, you will have to show the customs officer that you have a round-trip flight.

Note: You DO NOT need to quarantine once entering Costa Rica. You also no longer need to prove that you have had a negative Coronavirus test within 24 hours of traveling. However, if you have the option of getting a test before traveling, it doesn’t hurt to do so.

 

Flying to Costa Rica

When flying to Costa Rica you may experience longer than usual lines at Customs when you enter the country.

I suggest walking as quickly as possible once you get off the plane to the border control area. 

When you speak with a border control officer they will likely ask about your travel plans and where you are staying for your first evening. You need to tell them the name of your hotel.

Keep in mind that you will need to wear a face mask while on the plane and in the airport. 

 

Crossing Land Borders

If you are coming from Nicaragua or Panama across land borders you might also experience delays at the border control.

I suggest starting your day as early as possible to beat the crowds.

fortuna waterfall

In Country Restrictions

As of now, most things in the country have reopened at 100% capacity. 

Keep in mind that face masks are required in most businesses and must be worn at restaurants except for when you are sitting at a table.

Driving Restrictions

There are have been off-and-on driving regulations from within Costa Rica as a measure to slow the spread of COVID-19.

I think these restrictions are probably permanently eliminated for the foreseeable future. 

However, with a rental car you are exempt from any restrictions that may arise. 

Note: We suggest renting your car from our favorite rental car company, Adobe. They are an amazing local company that has been doing a great job to ensure all cars are sanitized and all safety measures are taken.

We have a 10% discount for you plus other great perks if you opt to rent with Adobe.

What to Do if You Get Covid

If you test positive while in Costa Rica from a test administered at a Costa Rican test center your results will be passed on to the government.

Within one or two days you will receive a Sanitary Order from the government. 

This sanitary order is a legally binding document and basically states that you are required to quarantine for 7 to 10 days and if you are caught in public you will be hit with a hefty fine that can be over $3,000. 

If you do not receive a sanitary order you can call 1322. There are operators standing by who speak both English and Spanish. 

 

Where Can I Quarantine?

You can choose where you quarantine. Personally, I suggest picking a nice place on VRBO with a private pool that is semi-close to the center of whatever town you are in (to easily have things delivered). 

Don’t forget, if you have travel insurance that covers your extended stay if you get COVID  they will reimburse you for your hotel costs. With Trawick (the company we suggest) they will cover up to $2,000 in accommodation costs.

 

How Can I get Groceries?

Some grocery stores offer delivery, but not that many.

Instead, your best bet is to ask at your hotel and see if they can help you get groceries in some way.

Another option is to depend on restaurant delivery. A lot of restaurants are now offering low-cost or even free delivery services.

In San Jose and Alajuela, you can download the Uber Eats app for food delivery. They even have grocery stores on there.

 

How Can I Be Approved to Fly Home?

After you complete your quarantine according to the sanitary order you should receive an email that states you are able to fly again.

This should be enough for you to easily be able to board a plane back home.

If you have questions it is best to call your airline.

pool costa rica

Plan Your Trip with Free Cancellation

Now more than ever it is crucial that you book your trip with the possibility of cancellation. Our tips are:

Book travel insurance that covers you in the case that you get COVID before or during your trip.

– Book hotels with good cancellation policies. We like reserving on Booking.com because they typically have good policies (you need to check each listing individually).

– Book transportation with free cancellation. We suggest Adobe for your rental car needs. You can cancel with them for free at any point in time. Book through us and get a 10% discount plus other perks.

– If you would like to pre-plan activities we suggest Viator. Each listing has a specific cancellation policy, but a lot offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before the activity. 

Travel Insurance Info

Travel insurance is actually fairly affordable and now more than ever I think it is a good idea to purchase it.

You are likely paying a lot of money for your trip to paradise and I would hate for you to lose a ton of money if your plans have to suddenly change due to illness.

Also, if you need to quarantine in Costa Rica for an unplanned week, the hotel costs can add up fast.

Having travel insurance that will cover you for this is super important.

As I mentioned above, I highly suggest Trawick International. You can read about their Costa Rica plans here.  

sunset tamarindo
samara beach

Leaving Costa Rica

The United States, Canada, and some European countries are requiring that all people entering these countries need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before flying back home.

This restriction in the US applies to everyone over the age of two years old including citizens and residents.

This restriction also applies to people who are already fully vaccinated.

The United States now requires a negative test within one day before flying back into the country. This is worded as “one day” rather than 24 hours. This means that if you have a flight from Costa Rica at 3pm on a Friday, it is fine to get a test at 10am on Thursday because it is still one day before.

You can read all about the US entry requirements on the CDC site.

Note: If you are not from one of the other countries I listed above, check your own home country’s restrictions. They may also have certain requirements.

All airlines will ask to see your negative test results before letting you board a plane.

Where to Get Tested

As of now, the best option seems to be to get tested at one of the many Lab Echandi locations throughout the country.

They have testing centers at the San Jose International Airport as well as Liberia International Airport. Online it says that you need to pre-schedule your test but at Lab Enchandi we actually saw plenty of people just walking in and having no problem getting an appointment.

An antigen test costs about $65 and results will be delivered the same day.

A PCR test costs $99 and will be delivered in 24 hours.

To enter the United States you only need an antigen test.

The Costa Rica Institute of Tourism has put out a full list of testing centers so you can find one near where you are staying.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask at your hotel about testing. A lot of places are now offering free or discounted tests to all guests who need them to return home.

Another option is bringing a self-test with you that is approved for entry into your country. 

If flying to the US, the one option I have found is the Abbott’s BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag At-Home Test. This test includes a virtual visit component. 

 

The Testing Experience

Thomas and I recently went through the whole testing thing at Lab Enchandi before flying. We opted to get a PCR test because we were flying to Europe and it was required at that time.

We prebooked our test online the day before we wanted to be tested.

When we arrived at Lab Enchandi we gave the attendant our confirmation number and were directed to fill in a form with info about our flight.

We then talked to another employee who entered our info and then we received our nasal swab.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve had probably about 15 COVID tests at this point, and this one was by far the worst. She swabbed so far up that it made me feel really faint. I also couldn’t stop sneezing after for about an hour. It wasn’t fun, but at least it got done.

I received my test results by email about six hours later (keep in mind that antigen results should come within an hour, but I had the PCR test which takes 24 hours). But, Thomas never got his results. He called the lab the next day and they were able to look up his results and email them to him right away.

We then showed our results when checking in for our flight without any issue.

 

Uploading Your Results to Your Airline

About 24 hours before your flight you should be able to check-in online. During the online check-in process, there should be a section to add your negative covid test results.

If not, you may just need to show your negative test at the airport. In our experience it has been fine to show our negative test results on our phones. 

Frequently Asked Questions

For the first time since the pandemic began, I am updating this to say, “Yes! Come visit!”

If you feel comfortable traveling right now, I think Costa Rica is a good option for you.

However, if you haven’t been vaccinated yet or feel that you are at high risk for bad COVID-19 symptoms, it is probably best to hold off on traveling right now.

Also, not to be a downer, but please keep in mind that just because you feel comfortable traveling, doesn’t mean that COVID-19 is gone.

The United States recently added Costa Rica to its list of places that you should not travel to right now due to COVID. I understand this is a precaution, but I can’t say I agree with this assessment.

Costa Rica is welcoming tourists back with open arms (or maybe I should say “open elbow bumps”). But, for everyone living in Costa Rica, safety is important.

If you booked your trip a long time ago and are hesitant about visiting, I suggest contacting any hotels, transportation, activities etc. that you have booked and check-in with their cancellation policies.

Most companies have been very lenient, but we also don’t want you to miss the deadline for canceling any plans and not getting your money back.

If a company is not willing to reimburse you, ask about delaying your plans instead.

I obviously think Costa Rica is a great country to visit and I trust the president and government to do what they can to keep everyone safe, but I think the decision to travel to Costa Rica right now needs to be on a case to case basis.

We suggest canceling your trip if you are at high risk and are concerned in any capacity regarding your health. Costa Rica does have many great hospitals, but if you feel that you are a high-risk person for COVID-19 you will likely feel more comfortable being near a healthcare system that you are familiar with.

Again, this obviously needs to be a personal decision, but I want you to feel safe and stay healthy.

In all honesty, we think you will feel extremely safe here as far as COVID.

In the past year we have spent extensive time on the east coast of the US, Germany, and Denmark  due to having family in the US & Europe. 

Out of all the places we have been, we definitely feel the most safe in Costa Rica.

People here are taking the virus very seriously. It is very rare to see someone not wearing a mask and almost every establishment will ask that you wash your hands and disinfect them before entering.  

Even though vaccinations are no longer required, if you are vaccinated bring a copy of your vaccination proof anyway. It is always good to have just in case.

For your own personal protection, you should bring disposable medical grade masks and hand sanitizer.

Renting a car is your best socially distanced transportation option. 

We suggest renting with Adobe. They are our go-to car rental company in Costa Rica.

They have also given us a 10% discount to pass on to you

If you don’t feel comfortable driving you could opt for a private shuttle. 

Adobe has a shuttle company with experienced drivers who will take great care of you. 

You can find out more about shuttles here

Costa Rica is actually the perfect social distancing destination because almost everything you will be doing will be outside.

Our two favorite fun socially distanced activities are hiking and hanging out on the beach. 

There are plenty of options all over the country to do both of these things!

3 Responses

  1. Great to see Costa Rica is open but I was hopeful you would be able to answer a question for me?
    My Fiance is from the Philippines and I’m from the United States we planned on being married in the Philippines but due to the travel restrictions in that country we thought it might be an excellent idea to relax for 60 days in Costa Rica. Would that be allowed to take place lawfully and what would the cost be for a small wedding in your opinion.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Robbie,
      Unfortunately getting married in Costa Rica isn’t the easiest. You will have to hire a lawyer to sort out all the legal stuff for you. Usually, people get married in their home country (which I see isnt an option for you) and then just have a celebratory wedding in CR.
      We did the whole thing of getting married legally in Costa Rica and that was with knowing some really amazing local lawyers who took care of everything. But even then, we dealt with issues of a misprint on our marriage certificate and having to go to multiple government offices to deal with it.
      Basically, its not worth it in my opinion.
      But, just visiting for 60 days could be amazing! 🙂
      Let me know if you have more questions!
      -Sarah

  2. Thanks for the update and best wishes to you and your family! I’m definitely looking forward to visiting CR (and staying longer to make up for lost beach time 🙂 ). Not sure of the exact date – I obviously don’t want to be bring any unwelcome germs with me! But hopefully early 2021!

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