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Costa Rica Travel Insurance – The Best Options

kayak panama

Costa Rica is a paradise vacation destination, but unfortunately, that does not mean that travel plans will always go perfectly smoothly.

Throughout our years of living in Costa Rica, we have dealt with a few different incidents in which we were super thankful that we had health insurance to cover us for unexpected illness, injury, and even last-minute changes to travel plans.

We believe Costa Rica travel insurance is a necessity in order to keep you safe and protected in unexpected events.

Insurance for Travel Days

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A lot of people wrongly assume that travel insurance only covers injuries or illnesses while you are traveling. Although it is true that health-related things are covered, did you know that anything that happens while you are actually traveling to your destination is covered as well?

Maybe you have a health insurance plan that covers you internationally, but I suggest still getting travel insurance specifically for travel days.

If your flight or trip is canceled or delayed, bags lost, something stolen, etc travel insurance will cover it! Yeay!

Staying Protected While in Costa Rica

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We want to make sure you always feel safe and stay protected while in Costa Rica. Throughout the years of running this website we have gotten several emails from people visiting who have had to use their travel insurance in Costa Rica and have needed some advice. Here are our best tips!

Common Reasons to Use Travel Insurance in Costa Rica

Injury– Keep in mind that Costa Rica is a foreign country and things aren’t always regulated the way you might be used to. For example, at a waterfall, you may see a sign that says “Slippery When Wet” rather than an area actually being blocked off. Just use your best judgment in these situations.

Also, Costa Rica is a country made for adventure. You may find yourself taking on activities which you’ve never participated in before. This obviously makes you more susceptible to injury.

One of the most common emails we get from injured people is actually about severe sunburns. Keep in mind that Costa Rica is close to the Equator. The UV index is super high. Even when it might not be extremely hot out and you are not sitting in the sun you can still get badly sunburned.

If you need tips for protecting yourself from the sun we have a fill guide to the sun in Costa Rica.

Illness– You never know when you will come down with an illness. The most common illnesses we hear about from visitors are stomach problems and common colds or flus.

Keep in mind that you may not be used to the food here. When possible, always eat at reputable restaurants and drink bottled water. In general, the tap water is perfectly fine to drink throughout the country, but if you would like to be cautious just drink bottled water.

Note: Currently Coronavirus is obviously a concern while traveling. We will get into more details about our favorite travel insurance further down in this article. This company does cover COVID-19 related illnesses. For current info on travel insurance requirements to enter Costa Rica and restrictions, please check out our Coronavirus in Costa Rica guide.

Animal Related Injury– I have to admit, there are plenty of poisonous animals or animals that can injure you in Costa Rica. The odds of something happening to you are low, but you never know.

The most common animal-related problem tends to be from mosquito bites. It is possible to get Dengue or Zika. Learn all about how to protect yourself in our Costa Rica mosquito guide.

When hiking please wear shoes instead of sandals and if going off main trails always wear clothes that cover you.

If you do get bit by a snake, spider etc. call 9-1-1 immediately to receive quick treatment.

Stolen or Lost Property– Besides health-related problems, some travel insurance plans also cover lost or stolen items. Costa Rica is pretty safe, but petty crime does occasionally happen. It is nice to know that if something does happen to your gear, travel insurance will cover it.

We have a guide to staying safe in Costa Rica if you would like more info about protecting yourself from crimes,

Where to Go if Ill in Costa Rica

Pharmacies– In Costa Rica it is possible to get treated for minor illnesses and injuries at pharmacies. Pharmacies can provide minor medical care for things such as sunburns, colds, stomach problems etc. They can also provide you with prescription medicines that you would usually need to go to the doctor to get a prescription for in other countries.

You will have no problem finding a pharmacy in almost every town in Costa Rica.

Doctors Offices– Most towns have at least one doctor’s office. We suggest going here if the pharmacist can not help you or your illness/ injury is a bit more severe. A doctor can better access the situation and help decide if it is necessary for you to go to a hospital.

Hospitals– There are hospitals located in some of the main cities throughout the country but the major ones are in San Jose. For life-threatening injuries you will likely be airlifted to San Jose. If you do need to seek medical treatment in a Costa Rica hospital, you can expect very professional, well-trained doctors. In fact, we’ve found that many even speak English.

The Best Travel Insurance Company for Costa Rica

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Every travel insurance company and plan is a little different. We usually opt for World Nomads because they cover a lot of adventure sports that other companies don’t cover. Also, I just really like them as a company.

However, with the current COVID situation, you will need insurance that will provide COVID coverage in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, World Nomads is not providing that coverage.

Instead, your best option at the moment is to purchase the Costa Rica government-recommended insurance.

  • This insurance needs to be effective during your entire visit to Costa Rica.
  • Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with COVID-19 while in Costa Rica. This coverage needs to be for at least USD $50,000.
  • Includes a minimum coverage of USD $2,000 for lodging expenses in the case of COVID-19 related issues.

You can purchase travel insurance that meets these requirements here and here.

Our Travel Insurance Tips

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  • Most travel insurance plans will not cover you for your car rental insurance. However, we have partnered with our favorite Costa Rican rental car company, Adobe, to bring you a 10% discount on your rental. They offer great car insurance options and will even not charge you for Car Protection insurance if you bring proof from your credit card company that you are covered for car protection in Costa Rica.
  • Keep in mind that travel insurance does not typically cover pre-existing conditions. It is not possible to use travel insurance to deal with previous health issues.
  • Costa Rica is a popular medical tourism destination. Although travel insurance is not likely to cover you for these procedures, if you would like to get any plastic surgery or dental work done that is not covered by your insurance at home, it may be a lot cheaper in Costa Rica.
  • There are private and public hospitals in Costa Rica. For serious issues we suggest going to CIMA in the Escazu area of San Jose. This hospital is also the most popular medical tourism facility.
  • If you have trouble communicating in Spanish with a medical professional ask if they have anybody around who can speak English. If not, the Google Translate app is always a lifesaver. There is a “Conversation” feature that allows you to speak and have your words translated into Spanish.

If you have any questions about travel insurance in Costa Rica during your international travel, just leave them in the comment section and we will help you out as much as possible. Also, if you have had an experience with travel insurance in Costa Rica that may help fellow travelers, we would love to hear about it.

You May Also Like:

Stay Safe in Costa Rica – Ultimate Tips for all Travelers

What to Do During a Natural Disaster in Costa Rica


Book Your Trip: Our Go-to Travel Companies

Flights: Skyscanner is always our choice for finding flights. They search flights that are listed around the world so you know that you will find a great deal.

Transportation: We suggest a local company called Adobe for your rental car needs. Book through us for a 10% discount plus other great perks. For private shuttles, we always use Adobe’s transfer company for dependable service and great prices. For taxis from the Liberia airport and Guanacaste area, contact our favorite family of local registered taxi drivers for a $10 discount.

Hotels: We always use because they almost always have the lowest rate and offer great cancellation policies. 

Activities: It is always nice to book activities directly through local activity companies. However, sometimes that is not possible and it is easier to book through a third-party site. For that, we suggest Viator for the largest selection of amazing day activities in Costa Rica.

About Us

We’re Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica. It was a spontaneous decision to move here, but it was the best decision!

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2 Responses

  1. Hello,
    I looked up the Nomad travel insurance and it states at the Link you give in the last paragraph (Link: that Covid-19 related incidents are actually not covered.
    “Unfortunately there’s no cover for any travel impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) under this policy as it is not designed to cover expenses which are directly or indirectly caused by such an event. ”

    Maybe that only applies to european travellers, but for me your information was quite misleading, no bad intents on your behalf expected. Still, you might want to double check this article.

    Kind Regards

    1. Thank you Ferdinand!
      World Nomads hadn’t covered for COVID, and then they did, and now apparently they don’t again.
      So, thank you for letting me know so I can update this.
      Sorry for the confusion!
      Best Regards,

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