Costa Rica Entry Requirements for Tourists―FAQ

What Are the Current Requirements to Enter Costa Rica as a Tourist?

– Current Requirements—Fully-Vaccinated Travelers
– Current Requirements—Other Travelers

– Insurance Policy

Steps before Getting on a Plane
Flying to Costa Rica and Immigration Procedure
While in Costa Rica

– What are requirements once in Costa Rica?
– What’s actually open?
– Once on vacation, and I get a cold or some sniffles, what is the protocol?

Upon return to Your Home Country

– What are requirements upon returning back to the USA, regarding covid?

Other Important Notices for Travelers to Costa Rica

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:

Current Requirements—Fully Vaccinated Travelers

—Epidemiological digital form that you can obtain here: Health Pass.

—Travelers that have proof of a full vaccination (a record or vaccination card) with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, or Johnson and Johnson (these are the only approved vaccines), should attach their vaccination certificate to the Health Pass. The last dose of the vaccine must have been applied at least 14 days before arrival in Costa Rica.

As proof, vaccination certificates and vaccination cards that contain at least the following information will be accepted:

  1. Name of the person who received the vaccine
  2. Date of each dose
  3. Pharmaceutical house

In the case of U.S. travelers, the “COVID-19 vaccination record card” will be accepted.

Current Requirements—Other Travelers

Is a negative test required to enter?

No COVID Test Required to
Enter Costa Rica. U.S. citizen tourists wishing to enter Costa Rica are not required to present the results of a negative PCR test for CV-19.

—Epidemiological digital form that you can obtain here: Health Pass.

—Tourists not vaccinated, with incomplete vaccination, or vaccinated with a serum other than those admitted by the Costa Rican authorities, must purchase mandatory travel insurance that covers lodging in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19 disease as detailed below.

You can choose any international insurance company that meets the following requirements:

  1. Valid during the entire stay in Costa Rica (coverage dates).
  2. $50,000 for medical expenses, including COVID-19 disease.
  3. $2,000 for lodging expenses in case of COVID-19 quarantine.

Ask your insurance company for a certificate/letter in English or Spanish stating the following:

  1. Name of the person traveling.
  2. Validity of the effective policy during the Costa Rica visit (travel dates).
  3. Guarantee of coverage for medical expenses in case of COVID 19 in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000
  4. Minimum coverage of $2,000 for lodging expenses for quarantine or trip interruption for this same amount.

This certificate must specify that the policy covers COVID-19 and must be uploaded to the HEALTH PASS to be reviewed and approved by the Costa Rican authorities. Insurance cards are not accepted, it must be a document that allows the verification of the coverage mentioned.

Starting on August 1, all children under 18 do not need to show Covid travel insurance to enter. This is regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

Where do I get a test to return?

The U.S. requires all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people to provide a negative COVID-19 test result within 3 days of the flight or proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months.  If you are unable to  present a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of recovery, the airlines will not let you board your plane.  Antibody tests are not accepted.  Only viral tests (PCR or antigen) are accepted.  To prove you have recovered,  your paperwork must include documentation of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your doctor or a public health official declaring you are clear to travel.
  For a complete list of properly licensed testing locations, please follow this link.

Can you travel to Costa Rica if your passport expires within three months? How long before my passport expires can I travel to Costa Rica?

To be on the safe side, renew your passports
at least three months before they are scheduled to expire.  Your passport has to be valid for at least 3 months after the arrival date to Costa Rica.  If your passport expires while you are abroad, you will need to apply for an emergency renewal at your embassy or consulate.

Do I need a passport?

U.S. nationals must have a current valid passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica within 90 days. (Either to return to your country or to go to another country).  U.S. passports must be valid for a minimum of one day from the day you enter Costa Rica. As a tourist, U.S. nationals cannot stay more than 90 days.  If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, a residence permit must be established.  U.S. nationals do not require an entry visa to Costa Rica. 

How long does it take to get my passport?

Currently in the United States routine service can take up to 24 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received.  The 24-week timeframe includes up to 12 weeks for processing and up to 12 weeks for mailing times.  If you need to speed up the process for any reason, we recommend contacting your Congressional representative for assistance.

What happens if I test positive while in Costa Rica? 

The lab/hospital who took your test will send the official report to the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica and you will be issued a mandatory quarantine for 14 days in your hotel room or vacation home until the end of the quarantine period.
  We advise you to make sure to contact your travel insurance as well.  Your COVID travel insurance will go into effect and cover you for any possible medical expenses and extended lodging expenses at your hotel or vacation home.  Tourists complying with a valid sanitary order will not be penalized for overstaying their visa.

How does the insurance work if I test positive?

First, know that you are covered. 
The travel medical insurance to Costa Rica must cover accommodation of $2,000 for quarantine and expenses due to COVID-19 and must be valid for the entire duration of travel in Costa Rica.  The travel insurance plan also must offer medical coverage expenses for at least USD $50,000.

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.

You can also opt-in for Costa Rica pre-approved options (INS Group, or Sagicor).

BlueCross BlueShield: 

Sagicor covers the $20,000 in Covid medical expenses, but $4,000 in accommodation expenses, so double what is required. Sagicor charges a flat rate of $11.30 per person per day or $22.60 for people over age 70. They also have family rates that range from $10.60-$11.10 per person per day. INS covers $20,000 in medical expenses. For accommodation expenses, there are two policy options. One covers $2,000 and the other $4,000. Blue Cross Blue Shield covers $20,000 in medical expenses and $2,500 in accommodation expenses. It charges based on trip duration only. 

Foreigners with temporary or permanent residence, or temporary category who return to Costa Rica, and who are not up to date with the corresponding payments with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, must acquire a temporary local insurance for 22 days or an international insurance that complies with the same requirements that are applied to a foreign tourist. 

In the case of foreigners with the immigration category of permanent or temporary resident, or special category in the latter case (with the exception of the Student Subcategory), they must demonstrate the assurance by the Costa Rican social security, which is in force and can be verified in the link:

Steps before Getting on a Plane

  1. 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
  2. 48 hours or less prior to your departure time fill out the health pass. Upload your insurance details. Once the info is uploaded, get a QR code and have it handy (print or scannable document on your phone) for immigration officers.

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 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 to open-air restaurants and stay at a private villa or a beach bungalow 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.

National Parks are open from 5 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Restaurants and bars are open and allowed to operate.

Public transportation is operating.The Government of Costa Rica has mandated the use of facial coverings while waiting at bus stops and on public transportation.

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?

Before you travel to the US you must provide results of a negative COVID test.

Before you travel to England you must:

On arrival in England you must:

What types of SARS-CoV-2 test are acceptable under the Order?

Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), such as RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, and TMA. The test used must be authorized by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered.

What is considered three days?

The three-day period is the three days before the flight’s departure. The Order uses a three-day timeframe instead of 72 hours to provide more flexibility to the traveler. By using a three-day window, test validity does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day that the test was administered.
For example, if a passenger’s flight is at 1pm on a Friday, the passenger could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Tuesday or after.

What types of SARS-CoV-2 test are acceptable under the Order?

Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), such as RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, and TMA. The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered.

Can I get a rapid test?

Rapid tests are acceptable for traveling to US and can be administered at the SJO airport with results turnaround in 4 hours.

Can I get tested in my hotel room?

Most clinics offer an in room test.

Helpful Links

US Embassy in Costa Rica
US Travel advisory for Costa Rica
Canada Travel Advisory for Costa Rica
Travel advice for UK citizens
What Airlines are Flying to Costa Rica Right Now?