What Are the Current Requirements to Enter Costa Rica as a Tourist?
Click here to visit Costa Rica government website with the official, up-to-date information: https://www.visitcostarica.com/en/costa-rica/planning-your-trip/entry-requirements
—PCR-RT diagnostic test with a negative result obtained within 72 hours of travel to Costa Rica. (Read about how to obtain one)
—Mandatory travel insurance, with a minimum coverage of $2,000 for the expenses of extended lodging in the event of being quarantined, and coverage of medical expenses in cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000 USD. You can have an international health insurance policy that meets INS standards, or purchase one of the two local options offered by the INS. (Insurance options)
—Epidemiological digital form that you can obtain here: Health Pass.
—Tourists from the United States must demonstrate, via their driver’s license or State ID, that they live in one of the authorized states (requirement until Nov 1st)
Q: How does PCR-RT Diagnostic testing work and where to get one in the US?
Most major labs in the US (Labcorp, Quest, etc.) do PCR-RT tests. You can also check anylabtestnow.com or rapidtesttravel.com for a convenient location near you.
Testimonial from one of the recent US tourists that came to Costa Rica:
“Labcorp has an at-home test that is PCR. I did that and received results within 36 hrs. They FedEx you the kit, you swab yourself and FedEx it back. Results took about 12 hrs from when they received it to when it was reported. It creates a PDF that you can print and also upload into the CR health survey website.”
American Airlines travelers have it even easier, as AA introduced a Preflight Covid testing program that will help out passengers obtain the test in the required time frame.
What are testing option in UK?
Travelers entering Costa Rica from UK, can order a private testing kit, that will allow you to receive results in a timely manner, and are fit for a travel certificate.
The simple to administer test can be undertaken in the comfort of your own home and comes with clear instructions on how to properly administrate:
Q: Which insurance policy is valid?
Our partner insurance company, Travel Insured, currently offers plans that cover everything you will need to enter Costa Rica.
Canadians have another great option with Air Canada. In September, Air Canada started including free COVID travel protection for international travelers, including flights to Costa Rica. Thus, if your flight originates in Canada, there’s no need to purchase a 3rd party insurance to meet the entry requirements for Costa Rica.
When using any international insurance policies, tourists must request a certification from their insurance company, issued in English or Spanish, verifying at least the following three conditions:
— Effectiveness of the policy during the visit to Costa Rica
—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)
— Includes minimum coverage of USD $2,000 for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic
Steps before Getting on a Plane
- Purchase a valid travel insurance, with COVID-19 coverage. If your insurance is not one of the Costa Rica pre-approved options (INS Group, or Sagicor) get a confirmation email/page that states coverage of requirements detailed above
- Schedule a PCR-RT diagnostic test 72 hours (or less), prior to your flight departure time. Different labs can ship the test to your home, where you can do the test with online help from their medical personnel, and then you can ship it back to the lab, or get it done in person. Once results are emailed back to you, you can proceed to fill out the health pass.
- 48 hours or less prior to your departure time fill out the health pass. Upload your insurance details, diagnostic test results, and drivers license (US residents only). Once the info is uploaded, get a QR code and have it handy (print or scannable document on your phone) for immigration officers.
Q: I keep getting an error message. Can not complete the health pass form.
You can’t complete the form until you can upload your negative COVID test results and you must enter your health insurance policy number. Practically, it means you can complete the health pass form a day or two before your flight departure.
Flying to Costa Rica and the Immigration Procedure
Have your documents printed and /or in the PDF form on your cell phone, as you may be asked to show the PCR-RT test results and Health Pass QR code (1) at the flight check-in counter; (2) at the boarding gate (both on connecting flights as well as direct); and (3) at SJO’s or LIR’s immigration.
Mask wearing is obligatory on the air terminals, for the duration of the flight and during all immigration procedures.
Upon landing in Costa Rican territory, travelers must wear face protection and comply with the strict protocols of the air terminal with regard to physical distancing, disinfection of soles, and taking temperature readings, and must follow any other sanitary instructions.
While in Costa Rica
Q: What are requirements once in Costa Rica? Masks, distancing rules in restaurants, etc.
Masks are required if entering shops, restaurants, etc. (anything indoors). Most businesses have clearly defined social distancing spots and provide disinfectants and sanitary guidelines.
Q: Are the mask wearing rules being enforced?
To enter an establishment yes, you will be asked to have a mask on, and will not be permitted inside otherwise. If you’re visiting beach towns you can stick with open-air restaurants and stay at a private villa or beach bungalows where mask wearing is brought to a minimum.
Q: What is actually open?
Most common tourist attractions are allowed to operate normally.
This includes all open-air activities, such as hiking, zip lining, horseback riding, diving, sportfishing, snorkeling, etc.
Costa Rica’s beaches are open every day from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m on workdays and 8 p.m. on weekends.
Most national parks are open.
Restaurants and bars are open and allowed to operate with certain restrictions (e.g.: capacity).
Q: Once on vacation, and I get a cold or some sniffles, what is the protocol?
You’ll get the temperature taken at the hotels upon check-in, or when doing a tour at the tour operator’s office. The protocol might change slightly depending on the property, but most hotels would call a doctor first for a consultation, and if needed, the doctor would initiate the protocol.
Likewise, if you have symptoms upon arrival, the hotel would speed things up and take you to a separate room directly.
Upon return to Your Home Country
Q: What are requirements upon returning back to the USA or UK, regarding Covid?
No federal requirements are in place upon return to the USA at the moment.
Some USA states do have quarantine requirements and some employers will request a quarantine to get back to work, but those are internal policies.
State requirements as of Oct 13, 2020: https://www.aarp.org/travel/travel-tips/safety/info-2020/state-quarantine-guide.html
When traveling back to UK, UK residents or visitors need to fill out passenger locator form and possibly self-isolate, depending on the guidance requirements of each state, that are valid at the time of your return. Currently, it is required to spend 14 days in self-isolation if returning to or visiting UK from Costa Rica.
US Embassy: https://cr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
US Travel advisory for Costa Rica
Travel advice for UK citizens: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/costa-rica/entry-requirements
Who can enter Costa Rica right now?
What Airlines are flying to Costa Rica?