Should You Visit Costa Rica Now?

santa teresa sunset
about us

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

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica.

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I know I am anxious to return to traveling, and I’m sure you may be as well. This has been a crazy year for everyone and the freedom to just get on a plane and go somewhere seems like a distant memory. Things are starting to open up again, but it is of course a question of if it is too early to travel. So, should you visit Costa Rica now? Well, that is a question only you can answer. However, Costa Rica is now open for tourists from the EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some US states.

We wrote this post to provide suggestions for if you are thinking of traveling again.

The Current Coronavirus Situation in Costa Rica

isla tortuga close up

I won’t sugarcoat things. Case numbers in Costa Rica are high right now. It has proved to be a difficult balance to keep people safe and resume tourism.

See, Costa Rica is a country that really depends on tourism for survival. At the moment, many people are struggling to even put food on the table for their families.

The tourism board basically demanded that borders be reopened to international tourism and the government eventually agreed but with strict guidelines. They have tried hard to do things in the safest way possible. But, this has proven to be a very difficult balance.

To learn more about Coronavirus in Costa Rica including requirements for visitors, check out our complete guide to Coronavirus in Costa Rica. We update it on a weekly basis with current case numbers and new changes.

Places to Visit

prusia forest

All of the places we list on our destination guides have their charms, but if you would like to distance yourself from other tourists, you may want to visit places where it is easier to spread out. 

For example, Jaco, Manuel Antonio, and Tamarindo are all amazing beach towns but they are rather condensed and can be very full.

My personal choices to visit right now with plenty of things to do but a better possibility to social distance are:


snorkel tour in cahuita national park

Cahuita is a relaxed Rasta beach town on the Caribbean coast. The town is very small but has a few excellent restaurants and hotels. 

Things to Do While Socially Distanced

– Cahuita is home to our favorite national park, Cahuita National Park. This national park never gets super full, and it’s easy to spread or avoid people here. You can also see tons of wildlife and the walk is relatively flat. It’s the perfect place for the whole family. Check out our Cahuita National Park guide for more info on planning your visit.

– Playa Negra is a nice beach with black sand located in Cahuita. It is popular for swimming and sometimes you might even get lucky and see a sloth in the trees here.


zip line monteverde

Monteverde is a small town located within a woodsy cloud forest. It’s always a little cold and rainy here, but such a unique destination.

Things to Do While Socially Distanced

There are a few really good woodsy hikes here. Personally, we like Santa Elena cloud forest reserve.

If you would like more adventure, this area is popular for zip lining. Most zip lining companies also have hanging bridge walks and butterfly gardens.

La Fortuna

la fortuna waterfall

La Fortuna is one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica. However, I included it on this list because although the downtown can get congested with people, there are plenty of amazing hotels, restaurants, and things to do that are located out of this downtown area. Plus, this is adventure paradise and outdoor activities are abundant. 

Things to Do While Socially Distanced

Go kayaking – It is possible to kayak on Lake Arenal and it is great! You will get an amazing view of the volcano.

Visit the hanging bridges – Mistico hanging bridge park is a nice hike that isn’t too strenuous. However, the bridges and some of the paths are a bit narrow.

Rent an ATV – There are several companies in downtown La Fortuna which offer ATV rentals and tours. This is a great way to enjoy a fun activity while staying distanced.

Go tubing – Thomas and I took our whole family inner tubing in La Fortuna after our wedding and we had so much fun! Everyone is in their own tube, so it is super easy to space out.

My other favorite activities in La Fortuna are all outdoors, but it might be a bit more difficult to distance, so use your own judgment. I love to visit the hots springs, go to the La Fortuna waterfall (but it can get crowded and paths are narrow), and go zip lining.

San Gerardo de Dota

san gerardo de dota airbnb

San Gerardo is a sleepy little cloud forest town located about 1.5 hours south of San Jose. The town lives off of tourism, but I have never visited and seen crowds of people even in the high season. I absolutely love it here and think you will as well.

Things to Do While Socially Distanced

Go hiking/ bird watching- There really isn’t a whole lot to do in San Gerardo besides eat tasty food, sit by a fire, and hike. But, I’ve never been bored here. It’s the perfect cozy place! That being said, a lot of people come here to see if they can spot the famous quetzal.

There are several places to hike. My personal favorite is on the trails behind Hotel Savegre. You have to pay to use their trails, but ask ahead of time. We ate dinner at their restaurant and they let us use the trails for free.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

Dominical/ Uvita

palm trees on uvita beach

Domincal and Uvita are both small beach towns that abut the forest. I love this area because you can be on a beautiful beach and then deep in hilly jungle within 10 minutes.

Things to Do While Socially Distanced

Relax on the beach – There are a lot of beaches around here. My personal favorite is Playa Uvita because it is also home to the whales tale (you can see what I mean here). Also, its a long beach that is great for walking.

Visit Nauyaca Waterfall – The hike to Nauyaca waterfall in Dominical is definitely a challenge on a hot day, but it is worth it. This does get a bit crowded. However, the trails are very wide and it is possible to spread out at the falls.

Puerto Jimenez

sun puerto jimenez

Puerto Jimenez is located at the most southern tip of the country near the border to Panama on the Pacific coast. This is a great nature destination.

Things to Do While Socially Distanced

Relax on the beach- There are a few nice beaches here. Our personal favorite is Playa Platanares just south of town.

Hike Corcovado National Park – This hike needs to be done with a guide, but it is easy enough to distance yourself. You can take a one day, two day, or three day hike here.


montezuma beach

Montezuma is one of our favorite places in the country. The downtown area is very small and can get full, but you likely won’t spend much time there besides going to the grocery store or to a restaurant.

Things to Do While Socially Distanced

Walk the beach – You can walk the beach in Montezuma for hours and hours.

Visit the Montezuma waterfall – The trails around the waterfall are narrow, but even during high season it is never too crowded.

Hike at Cabo Blanco – This hike can be rough on a hot day, but it is nice and you will be rewarded with a beautiful beach.

To give you a better visual idea where all these destinations are located I made this little map for you!

What to Do if You Get Sick

rio celeste from above

First off, the Costa Rican government is requiring all travelers to purchase travel insurance ahead of their trip which will cover them for unexpected extended stays and COVID related treatment. You can find out more about that here and here.

You will also need to fill out this health form and have had a negative coronavirus test within 48 hours before traveling.

If you get sick while in Costa Rica you should call the number 1322. There are operators standing by who speak both English and Spanish. They will assess your situation and tell you how to move forward.

Note that any person who comes down with Coronavirus in Costa Rica is required to quarantine for 14 days. That means you will have to isolate and stay in Costa Rica for 14 days. This is the reason you need travel insurance that covers you for extended hotel stays.

The larger hospitals in Costa Rica are located in the San Jose area. However, almost all towns have some type of health care facility that can provide medical care.

Costa Rica has been taking Coronavirus very seriously from what we have seen. If you become very sick it is best to get to San Jose and try receive treatment at CIMA hospital. This is the big hospital in the country where you will likely receive the best care and find plenty of doctors who speak English.

Our Final Tips

– Right now could be a great opportunity for you to stay at that fancy resort you have always wanted to visit. Companies are desperate for business and that includes offering up some serious savings for accommodations. I’ve also seen Airbnb’s listed for half the price they usually cost. 

To find the best deals on hotels, I almost always book on because they offer good cancellation policies. However, lately I have noticed a lot of hotels have discount codes listed on their hotel website so, definitely, check that out as well. It may be cheaper to book directly with them. 

If you do opt to book a hotel directly through a hotel website, check their cancellation policy first. Most places have been pretty lenient considering the current world situation, but I don’t want you to book something and not be able to cancel it if necessary.

– We always recommend people rent a car for transportation, but now more than ever, we think this is the best travel option. This is the best way for you to socially distance while getting around the country.

We always use Adobe for our car rentals because they are honest, upfront with their costs, a local company, and just all-around genuinely great people. Because we love Adobe, we asked if they would be willing to give our readers a 10% discount with a bunch of other amazing perks. They said an enthusiastic yes! You can grab your discount here.

Oh, and also, Adobe fully cleans every car and disinfects them before every rental. All employees wear masks and all offices are frequently disinfected. 


– Dry season begins in December and runs through late April/ early May. This is typically considered the best time to visit Costa Rica, but I usually tell people to visit in May through July for lower prices and less crowds.

However, early 2021 might actually be the perfect time to visit and enjoy the dry season weather. Prices will be lower than usual and things likely won’t be booked out as they usually would.

For more info about the weather, check out our month by month guide to Costa Rica weather.

– We suggest bringing whatever face masks and hand sanitizers you need with you to Costa Rica. It is possible to buy them here, but there have been known shortages and they are likely cheaper in your home country.

So what do you think? Are you considering a visit to Costa Rica now or in the new year? I know it is a tough decision to make. Fee free to leave us any questions in the comment section below. We are happy to help you out if we can!


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