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Costa Rica is a paradise vacation destination, but unfortunately, that does not mean that travel plans will always go perfectly smoothly.
Costa Rica does not require travel insurance for entry into the country. However, it is still always a good idea to purchase a travel insurance plan.
Throughout our years of living here, we have dealt with a few different incidents in which we were super thankful that we had Costa Rica travel insurance to cover us for unexpected illnesses, injuries, and even last-minute changes to travel plans.
Just looking for our Costa Rica travel insurance recommendation?
We suggest Heymondo. They offer comprehensive plans that ensure your peace of mind throughout your journey.
Their plans extend coverage to various aspects such as medical expenses, personal liability, baggage, and travel disruption.
Moreover, they provide the flexibility to customize your plan according to your specific needs, with optional add-ons available for electronic equipment or adventure sports.
Why Travel Insurance Matters
I used to be that person that would just risk traveling without travel insurance, but in recent years I have learned my lesson.
See, I think I just assumed that travel insurance was really only useful for medical treatments.
I have since realized that it covers so much more than that.
From delayed flights to stolen items, travel insurance has saved me so many times!
Common Medical Issues for Costa Rica Travelers
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 that 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 full guide to the sun in Costa Rica.
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 flu.
You may not be used to the food here. When possible, always eat at reputable restaurants and drink bottled water.
In general, tap water is perfectly fine to drink throughout the country, but if you would like to be cautious just drink bottled water.
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.
Where to Get Treated for Medical Issues in Costa Rica
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.
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.
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 transferred to San Jose.
If you 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.
Costa Rica Travel Medical Insurance Coverage
Medical coverage is essential when traveling in Costa Rica. Keep in mind that you will either have to pay out of pocket for your treatment or you will receive a bill to pay.
You will then submit any expenses to your travel insurance company to be reimbursed for costs accrued.
Trip Cancellation Insurance/Interruption Coverage in Costa Rica
One of the many perks of having Costa Rica travel insurance is the coverage for the days you are traveling to and from your destination.
Travel insurance often covers things such as delayed or lost luggage as well as flight delays and your accommodations if you need to spend the night somewhere.
Lost or Delayed Baggage Coverage from Travel Insurance
Besides health-related problems, some Costa Rica travel insurance plans also cover lost or stolen items. The country 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.
Car Rental Insurance
In Costa Rica, you can not use most travel insurance plans for car rental coverage. There are two mandatory types of mandatory rental car insurance here.
One (Liability Protection) needs to be purchased by every person driving in Costa Rica. The other mandatory insurance (Car Protection) also needs to be purchased by law.
However, if your credit card company covers you for Car Protection in Costa Rica you can void the car protection, depending on which car company you rent with.
We highly suggest renting your car with Adobe. They are our go-to car rental company because they are completely upfront with their costs and are just an all-around amazing company.
Adobe does not bundle the Liability and Car Protection together. So, if your credit card will cover you for car protection you will not need to pay for it.
Comparing Costa Rica Travel Insurance Plans
Here is a comparison of the different types of coverage that Heymondo offers for Costa Rica travelers.
Single Trip vs. Year Coverage
Heymondo offers the option to purchase single-trip travel insurance or year-long coverage.
The single trip plan will cover you only for the dates specified for your travels.
A year-long plan will cover you for all trips taken outside of your home country within a year-long period. Just note that each individual trip can not exceed 60 days.
If you plan on taking a lot of international trips within the next year, this plan likely will offer you better value.
Heymondo Top vs. Heymondo Premium vs. Heymondo Medical
Heymondo Top Plan is the middle-range plan offered by Heymondo. It covers up to a certain rate; emergency medical and dental expenses, medical transport, baggage, travel disruption, cancellation & interruption, personal liability, and accidental death.
Hermondo Premium also covers everything that is covered in Heymondo Top, but at a higher payout rate.
Heymondo Medical only covers up to a certain rate; emergency medical, dental expenses, and medical transport.
When you go to book your travel insurance you will be able to compare what each plan offers in a chart. This will help you determine which plan is best for you based on your exact trip to Costa Rica needs.
Travel Insurance Add-Ons
Heymondo also has three add-on options. These are:
The coverage provided applies to your electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, cameras, and similar items, along with their accessories. In the event of theft, it offers up to 50% of the baggage coverage.
It also covers total or partial loss caused by the carrier, as well as damage resulting from fire or assault.
Moreover, you have the option to increase this limit to 100% of the baggage coverage.
Heymondo travel insurance plans already offer coverage for a wide range of activities, including:
- Athletics, gym activities, activities involving undomesticated animals (e.g., bullfighting)
- Basketball, motorboats (with driver), bicycle riding, canoeing, curling
- Shooting/small game hunting, organized hot-air balloon rides, general hiking, jogging
- Football, golf, pedal boats, ball games, beach games, camping activities
- Karting, kayaking, jet skis, snowmobiles, swimming, sailing, orienteering
- Paddle surf, paddle tennis, paintballing, helicopter rides, skating, fishing
- Canoeing, rope bridges, snowshoeing, climbing walls, offroading, segways
- Hiking, snorkeling, surfing, windsurfing, tennis, zip lines
- Trekking at altitudes below 3,000 meters, sledging in ski resorts, mushing
- Equestrian tourism and similar activities
By adding the Adventure sports add-on, the coverage extends to the following activities:
- White-water rafting, airsofting, canyoning
- Diving and underwater activities up to 20 meters deep
- Bouldering up to a height of 8 meters, horse riding, climbing, fencing
- Caving at depths less than 150 meters, water skiing, fly surfing, hydrobob, hydrospeed
- Kitesurfing, bicycle touring, mountain bike rides
- Deep-water soloing up to a height of 8 meters, quad biking, rafting, abseiling, bungee jumping
- Survival, trekking at altitudes up to 5,000 meters, and similar activities
With the Adventure sports add-on, you can enjoy coverage for these additional activities beyond the standard coverage provided by Heymondo travel insurance plans.
If you are visiting Costa Rica as part of a cruise, this will cover your medical treatment received on board.
How to Use Your Costa Rica Travel Insurance Plan
Once you buy travel insurance for your travel dates from Heymondo, I suggest downloading their app.
The Heymondo app makes it easy to access their 24/7 support which includes the option to chat with a doctor, have an online free assistance call, file claims, and access the exact wording of your plan so you know what is covered.
If you have any issues during your trip, make sure to keep all receipts and documentation. You will need these to submit your claim to be reimbursed for any claims.
Real-Life Scenarios: Our Experience with Costa Rica Travel Insurance
As frequent travelers, we have had some travel interruptions and injuries that required us to use our travel insurance. Two experiences stand out in my mind.
1. When we first arrived in Costa Rica I developed a very terrifying rash all over my face. It was to the point that my eye completely swelled shut. I went to one doctor who wasn’t very helpful, so I started doing my own research. Eventually, I figured it out.
Mango trees apparently contain the same oil as poison ivy. Who knew? I definitely had no idea since I grew up far away from mango trees in cold New England.
A few days before this rash developed I had been picking mangos off the tree at a friend’s house. So, this was definitely the cause.
I have always been very sensitive to poison ivy and have had this issue in the past. So, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I went to the doctor and they prescribed me steroids to take to speed up the healing process. After a few days I was back to normal.
I then gathered all my receipts from the two doctors I saw and the prescription meds I received and submitted them in a travel insurance claim.
It was no stress, easy, and I quickly received a refund for my expenses.
2. The second time I had to file a claim was when I had a flight scheduled that was canceled at the last minute. The airline refused to help me and refunded me for the ticket cost, but to book a new flight I lost out on several hundred dollars.
I submitted my new flight info, cancellation info, and all relevant documents. I quickly got a response and was refunded the flight price difference
FAQ: Costa Rica Travel Insurance
Do I need travel insurance for Costa Rica?
No, travel insurance is not required for entry into Costa Rica. However, it is always a good idea to purchase travel insurance when traveling internationally.
Do I need a COVID test before entering Costa Rica?
No, you do not need a COVId test to enter Costa Rica at this time. All COVID-related entry requirements are no longer active.
What does travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance coverage varies by plan. Often travel insurance covers medical treatments, lost luggage, travel delays, and cancelled trips.
- 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.
- Don’t forget that travel insurance is for international travel. For example, if you are from the United States you can not use travel insurance as your regular in country health insurance.
- 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.
- You do not need to bring a printed out copy of your travel insurance with you to Costa Rica, but if you have a printer it never hurts to have a hard copy just in case.
- If you use your travel insurance, don’t forget to submit your claim to get your money back!
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Costa Rica Travel Details: What You Need to Know
🚗 Should I rent a car in Costa Rica?
Having a rental car will give you the most flexibility when traveling in Costa Rica. This will allow you to visit more off-the-beaten-path destinations and will allow you to take fun day trips on your own.
☀️ Should I buy travel insurance for Costa Rica?
Yes, travel insurance is always a good idea. It is not just for illness or injury, but also lost luggage, delayed trips, and more!
We like Heymondo for Costa Rica travel insurance.
✈️ What is the best way to book a flight?
Usually, we have the best luck finding great prices with Skyscanner. Check for flights to both San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport (LIR).
🛏️ What is the best way to book my Costa Rica hotels?
🗣️What is the main language in Costa Rica?
The main language in Costa Rica is Spanish. Most people working in tourism speak at least some English.
💰 What is the currency in Costa Rica?
The currency used in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colón (CRC). However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist areas
🌴 Is Costa Rica safe?
Generally, Costa Rica is considered safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s best to use caution and be aware of your surroundings.
🛂 Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?
Yes, Costa Rica is its own country. You will need a passport to visit.