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What You Need to Know

Written by Tamarindo News

Costa Rica opened their borders back on August 2 so if you plan on visiting Costa Rica during COVID-19, here is what you need to know. Read all about Costa Rica COVID-19 travel, Costa Rica COVID entry requirements and where to get a COVID test in Costa Rica.

I had been in Costa Rica since January 2020 but flew out at the beginning of December 2020. Then I returned at the end of December 2020 as a tourist. Below I document my experience so you know what to expect. I also included information about where to get a COVID test in Costa Rica.

Please keep in mind that Costa Rica is not coronavirus free but they have implemented many safety protocols specifically for tourists and are happily welcoming tourists back.

Also, please be respectful of all laws, rules and regulations that Costa Rica has placed, regardless if you agree with them or not. As a guest in another country, it is necessary to follow regulations and be responsible travelers and tourists, especially during a pandemic.

This post has a ton of information and details the following below (click the section to skip to it).

Current Costa Rica Coronavirus Situation

Please click on this link, Costa Rica coronavirus to read the latest updates and statistics. Currently, the area with the most cases is the Greater Metropolitan Area, the GAM which includes Alajuela, Heredia, San José and Cartago.

Covid-19 Costa Rica Travel Restrictions and Border Opening

On November 1, Costa Rica opened their borders to all countries in the world via air.

Via sea, passengers fulfilling the entry requirements can enter Costa Rica at five marinas: Los Sueños, Papagayo, Bahia Golfito, Pez vela and Bahia Banana.

Costa Rica COVID-19 Entry Requirements

Costa Rica COVID entry requirements are that every tourist must complete a health pass and purchase a travel insurance that covers a minimum of $50,000 USD for medical expenses and a minimum of $2,000 USD for extended lodging expenses.

**As of October 26th, Costa Rica NO longer requires the 72 hour COVID-19 test result for tourists. This requirement has been removed. Tourists do not need to quarantine in Costa Rica. Currently, Costa Rica is not requiring tourists to get vaccinated to enter the country. Likewise, they are not planning to remove the insurance requirement for those who have been vaccinated.**

Please note face masks are required in and outside the airports at all times. Tourists must also comply with social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing and wearing the face masks as part of the requirements.

Health Pass

The health pass will be available for you to fill out 48 hours prior to your flight. When you fill out the health pass, it will present you an option to purchase health insurance through the Costa Rican companies if you haven’t already.

Once you finish filling the health pass, you will be given a QR code that Costa Rica will require at immigration. The Costa Rican immigration official will scan the QR code as it will have all your ID and insurance information.

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Travel Insurance

Tourists can purchase their own international insurance or from either of these two Costa Rican companies: INS and Sagicor. These are two pre-approved policies that are guaranteed to fulfill requirements and be accepted.

If you already have medial insurance but need the accommodation portion, Sagicor sells insurance covering just the accommodation. If you purchase international insurance, you must have a certification from the company issued in English or Spanish.

Please continue reading below as I go into this travel insurance in specific detail.

RT-PCR COVID-19 Test

**Costa Rica no longer requires a COVID test to enter the country as of October 26th.**



Steps to Fill Out Health Pass and Fulfill Insurance Requirement

This is how I fulfilled the Costa Rica COVID entry requirements. I do NOT recommend doing this last minute. When traveling during a pandemic, it is better to have everything ready to go beforehand. I filled out my health pass in the US.

  1. Purchase your travel insurance. I recommend to start researching at least 2 weeks before. If you’re American like me, you can read below for my personal experience, who I purchased insurance from and how much it cost me.
  2. 48 hours before your flight, the health pass will be available to you to fill out. They have it in English.
  3. Fill out the form (I recommend doing it on your phone). You will need to enter details like passport, flight, trip length, etc.
  4. Upload your travel insurance on the health pass in PDF form. They will check mark it to signify it has been accepted.
  5. Once your health pass is filled out and accepted, they will email you a PDF of your QR code. Download the PDF onto your phone and then take a screenshot of the QR code page (I have my example below so you can see what you need a screenshot of).
  6. You can print the QR code but it’s a waste of paper since the phone screenshot works perfectly. Taking a screenshot is super easy because the photo saves to your phone gallery, making it easy to pull up when you need to show it to the agent.
  7. Show the QR code whenever you are asked. I was asked at the Alaska Airlines gate and at Costa Rica immigration.

My Experience Flying into Liberia International Airport December 29, 2020

I flew into Liberia International Airport on December 29, 2020 with Alaska Airlines and here was my experience. As for other airlines, I don’t know how they work but this is how it was with Alaska Airlines. Also fyi, I’m American and used my US passport.

I flew from SEA – LAX – LIR. Checking in at SeaTac was super easy like pre-COVID times and the Alaska Airlines agent didn’t ask me about the Costa Rican insurance or QR code at SeaTac.

When I got to LAX, around 30 minutes before boarding time, the Alaska Airlines’ agents started doing the announcements over the loudspeaker about the QR code and insurance. I was very pleased with how knowledgeable Alaska Airlines was. They knew that all travelers needed to have the travel insurance, the amount the insurance had to cover and about the QR code.

They said that if you don’t have insurance, don’t have your QR code or don’t know what a QR code is, to please go up to the agent and ask for assistance. The agents repeated this announcement several times before boarding.

The next part kind of surprised me. I would say about half the people waiting at the gate got up to get help with the QR code. I overheard some people saying they didn’t know about the required insurance or that they had to fill out a health pass. So then one Alaska Airline agent began helping them fill out the pass and get the insurance.

My flight was Tuesday and the health pass opened 48 hours before my flight so I filled out my health pass on my phone and got my QR code on Sunday.  All I had to do was get my QR code verified by the Alaska Airlines agent at the gate and I was ready to go.

Health Pass and QR Code

Costa Rica health pass QR code

For the health pass, it is best to do it on your phone. It is very simple and straight forward. You will have to enter your passport number, your country, travel dates, flight departure details and other information

Then you will upload the PDF of your travel insurance to get certified. Once it’s all approved, they will email you the PDF confirmation of your QR code. I downloaded the PDF on my phone and saved it as a screenshot which worked perfectly.

You can also print it out but to save paper, I recommend to take a screenshot and have it on your phone. The QR code is required per person.

Again, I highly highly highly recommend to fill out the health pass BEFORE you get to the airport to save time and stress, especially if you are doing it for a family or groups as it has to be filled out per person.

Travel Insurance

I purchased Trawick International which actually offers a travel insurance specifically for Costa Rica. It was much cheaper than INS and Sagicor. For 66 days, I paid $40.95 USD total with Trawick (Safe Travels Voyager). With INS, they quoted me $9 USD a day!

So if I went with INS, I would have paid $594 USD compared to the $40.95 USD I paid to Trawick. (Please note that the cost of my quote will be different to yours as the cost of insurance depends on traveler’s age, length of trip, cost of trip, US state of residence, etc. )

This is why it’s SO important to do your research about the Costa Rica COVID-19 entry requirements because all those people who had to purchase INS/Sagicor the day of the flight paid way more money. I even saw people filling out the health pass and buying insurance while going through immigration at Liberia International Airport.

With Trawick, they will email you a visa letter, certificate and ID card once you purchase the insurance. You upload the certificate to the health pass. Trawick says the Safe Travels Voyager insurance is only available for US residents and US citizens but someone told me you can select the option for non-US (Safe Travels International) and it worked for them (they are Canadian and flew direct to Costa Rica).

I printed out all three of those documents but nobody asked me for it, only the QR code.

My Flight

There were only about 75 people on the plane and middle seats were blocked in December. I personally love Alaska Airlines and think they’re doing an excellent job. And all the passengers on the 4 Alaska Airlines flights I took the last month were super respectful of wearing face masks at all times and not crowding bathroom areas.

Nobody threw a fit about wearing a mask, nobody got mad when the flight attendants would politely remind them to pull the mask over their nose, nobody got kicked off. Even the kids were all super well behaved.

The Airport and Immigration

It took me about 30 minutes to get through immigration and customs. My flight was the only one.

Liberia International Airport is about the same. Upon arrival, they put some “please social distance” stickers in the jetway. At immigration, they put stickers on the floor for the social distancing. I saw one hand sanitizer station and there were a lot of officers in immigration.

We were greeted by like 5 officers and then all of the immigration stalls were open. Some officers helped tourists fill out the health pass, the others just stood around.

Liberia Airport COVID
Liberia Airport immigration

During immigration, the officer had me scan my QR code. Then he asked me where I was staying and how long I would be in Costa Rica for. It is important to note that even though Costa Rica tourist visas are for 90 days, officers are now giving you the exact number of days you purchased insurance. In my case, I am flying out on March 4 and purchased 66 days of insurance so he gave me exactly 66 days.

At 730 PM, the duty free store was still open. No SIM card stand.

Baggage claim is exactly the same as well as customs, nothing has changed there. After leaving customs, I met Yeison outside the airport. They only allow a few resort stands (Four Seasons and Westin I believe) right outside the exit area and I saw one taxi guy but everyone else (car rentals, shuttles, etc.) waited outside.

Departure

I flew out of Costa Rica in December. Liberia International Airport also set up social distancing markers and plexiglass for departures. Every other seat was blocked off in the terminal but I didn’t see too many hand sanitizing stations. The duty free store, all souvenir stores and cafes were open.

I flew out of Costa Rica to the US beginning of December, before the US negative test requirement was put in place.

How to Extend Your Costa Rican Tourist Visa

**Please note this is information we have gathered to share with you. We are not lawyers and we do not give out legal advice. If you have overstayed or need immigration help, we recommend to contact your home country’s embassy/consulate and an immigration lawyer in Costa Rica to help you ASAP. PLEASE do your research before your travel, remember we are still in a world wide pandemic and things change all the time when it comes to travel and COVID. Let’s ALL be responsible travelers.**

If you wish to extend your stay (limit 90 days), the government has announced the exact requirements on how to do so. Remember, you can only extend your visit to 90 days as that is the maximum number of a tourist visa. So for example, I was given 66 days and if I want to extend my visa until 90, I have to do the following BEFORE my visa runs out (within my 66 days).

  1. Make an appointment at immigration. Call 1311 using a Kolbi line.
  2. For your appointment, you must bring
    1. A letter stating why you need to extend, your address, phone number or way of contact
    2. Original valid passport. Copies of each page and two photocopies of a recent passport photo
    3. Proof of funds, at least $100 USD a month to show you can support yourself
    4. $100 USD fee to the Banco of Costa Rica
    5. $1 USD fee to the Banco of Costa Rica with the description timbre 125 fiscal y reintegro por ¢2,50 colones por cada uno de los folios
    6. Insurance. You will need to extend the original insurance you purchased to enter as it must be under the same policy number. I contacted Trawick and they said I could extend it by proving in writing that I haven’t experienced an accidental injury or sickness or have had medical treatment during my trip.

Outlier Legal has a very good blog post on these specific details.

For Those Already in Costa Rica and Need to Renew Your Tourist Visa

The Costa Rican government has just announced on March 1 that they will allow tourists who have been here since December 19, 2021 to stay legally until June 1, 2021. This is the last extension but you do need to purchase insurance and send it to their email (Seguro@ict.go.cr) for approval. This is not an automatic extension.

Likewise, the land borders are still closed meaning you cannot do a visa run across the land borders. You can leave Costa Rica and enter Nicaragua, but you cannot enter Costa Rica from Nicaragua by land, only by air. The Costa Rican government has decided to keep land borders closed until at least April 2021 so the only way to do a visa run is to fly.

*I will update this if anything changes since things are very up in the air right now regarding this topic.*

Where to Get a COVID test in Costa Rica

Many countries such as Canada and the US are now requiring a COVID test to enter so if you need to get a COVID test in Costa Rica, here is the information we found.

For the US: The US required a COVID test within 3 days of the flight and if you don’t present a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of recovery if you already had COVID, the airlines won’t let you board. Antibody tests are not accepted, paper or electronic copies are acceptable. It must be a viral test (PCR or antigen). For proof of recovery, it must be documentation of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your doctor or a public health official declaring you are clear to travel.

Remember, if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or been directly exposed in Costa Rica, call 1322 which is the government COVID-19 hotline (English available). They will direct you to a testing facility to get tested free of charge.

The Costa Rican Ministry of Tourism has put together a super handy PDF of the approved labs to do COVID tests. It’s in Spanish but has phone numbers, location, Whatsapp and social media.

Cost and Turnaround Time

The cost of a COVID test in Costa Rica is around $100 USD per test but it varies. COVID tests aren’t free to tourists unless they are experiencing symptoms. Some hospitals or clinics may give special rates for seniors over 60 years of age, around 37,000 CRC (~$60 USD).

Most private hospitals and clinics do a RT-PCR COVID-19 test (nasal swab) and they will provide results within 24-72 hours.  Some places are offering antigen tests and some places can give you a same day result.

Your results will be emailed to you in Spanish by default but you can ask your testing site to give you results in English.

Getting Your Test: Make an Appointment

The best way to get a COVID test in Costa Rica at the following places is to call or contact them via Whatsapp/Facebook and make an appointment. Some places like CIMA may allow walk ins but it is best to schedule an appointment due to COVID protocols.

We recommend to make your appointment earlier than later as there can be long waiting times. Costa Rica is working to get more tests available but number of tests are still limited. Some places will only let you make appointments 4-5 days before.

Most places will require you to fill out the form on this site: www.mipruebacovid.com to get a registration number in order to make an appointment.

Testing Locations

San Jose and Liberia International Airport do not offer COVID-19 tests.

Some resorts and hotels may provide on-site testing so you don’t need to go anywhere. Make sure to ask your hotel to schedule your test accordingly.

If you are staying somewhere close to one of the labs/hospitals, some labs can go to your hotel to take your sample. There are some drive through testing sites in San Jose.

If you test positive for COVID-19 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 health order where you cannot leave the country for minimum 10 days. You will have to quarantine and if you stay in a hotel, you cannot leave your room until the end of quarantine period.

San Jose COVID Testing

COVID-19 testing is available at the following hospitals, labs and clinics in San Jose.

  • Hospital La Católica 506 2246 3129. Costs 70,000 CRC plus tax. Turnaround time is 48-72 hours. Can accept walk ins.
  • Cima Hospital (506) 2208-1000. $89 USD plus tax. Accepts walk ins. Turnaround time is 48 hours.
  • Hospital Metropolitano 506 2521-9595. Costs 53,000 CRC plus tax. Turnaround is 24-48 hours. Better to make an appointment.
  • Hospital Clinica Biblica (506) 8529 2100 and 2522-1000. Has a drive through testing site in the main location. Costs 55,120 CRC plus tax. 38,584 CRC plus tax for seniors. Must make appointment. 24-48 hours turnaround.

These labs provide COVID-19 testing in San Jose:.

  • LABIN: 506 2586 7000. Costs 59,000 CRC with credit card, 66,670 in cash. If test taken in the morning, turnaround time is 24 hours. If test is taken in afternoon, turnaround time is 36 hours. They have a drive through center in Barrio Pinto, Zapote and can provide same day results there.
  • Echandi: 506 2258 4334. Costs 53,100 CRC plus tax. Turnaround time is 24-48 hours. They have a drive through testing site in the Escazu site.
  • Laboratorio Páez: Phone 4000 0667. Costs 53,000 CRC plus tax. Turnaround is 24-48 hour time, better to make an appointment.
  • Laboratorios San José: 506 4055 4141. Costs 70,000 CRC plus tax. Turnaround time is 24 hours Monday through Friday, if test taken on weekend it is 36 hours.

Liberia COVID Testing

  • Hospital Metropolitano +506 2521 9595. 48-72 hour turnaround time. 68,000 CRC plus tax.
  • Laboratorios Paez 506 4000 0667
  • Hospital San Rafael Arcangel: 506 2690 550 or 2666 1717. mercadeo@hcsanrafael.com. Costs 110,000 CRC plus tax, can make appointments the same day but recommend to call a few days before. Turnaround time is 48-62 hours.
  • Laboratorio Clinico Vidalab: Phone 4700 9131. WhatsApp 8733-3475

COVID Testing Tamarindo/Flamingo/Conchal/Grande/Brasilito/Langosta/Potrero

  • Beachside Clinic in Huacas. Results within 36 hours. Phone 506 2653 9911 or 506 2653 5053. Email covidtest@beachsidecliniccr.com your name, passport number, phone, email and travel date to make an appointment.
  • Lab Medical Huacas: Next to the dental clinic in the Gollo Centro Comercial in Villarreal. Phone 506 2653 3131
  • Hospital Metropolitano Turnaround time is 36 – 48 hours. Phone 506 4000 3822 Whatsapp: 506 8465-7484. Can make appointment 4-5 days in advance via Whatsapp or email mycovidtest@metropolitanocr.com. Test costs 70,720 CRC in cash, 68,000 CRC with credit card. Offers antigen testing.
  • Diria Medical Clinic: Costs $200 USD. Offers 24/7 testing with results in ~ 30 hours.
  • Laboratorio Clinica Huacas: In Huacas, phone 2653 6866.
  • For those who are guests at the Westin Conchal, they offer on-site testing for $150 USD + tax for a PCR and $85 USD + tax for an antigen test.

For Tamarindo and Langosta, ReNu Vitamin IV Therapy offers house calls (their registered nurses will go to your place of accommodation to take your sample). Cost is $125 USD plus tax, turnaround time is 48 hours via email. Phone  8327-4188

Playas del Coco (Gulf of Papagayo, Ocotal, Hermosa, Panama) COVID Testing

Nicoya COVID Testing

  • Laboratorio Clinico Ricardo Cerdas. WhatsApp number 506 8589 3682 or office phone 2685 5175. Can go to your hotel or you can go to the clinic. Results in less than 72 hours. Testing available Mon – Friday, 7-830 AM. They can go to Samara, Nicoya and nearby locations.

Samara COVID Testing

  • Centro Medico Dr. Freddy Soto, 506 2656 0992. But he charges $300 USD a test so I don’t recommend him.
    • Instead, reach out to Laboratorio Dr. Ricardo Cerdas from Nicoya (information above) to arrange your test in Samara

Nosara COVID Testing

Quepos COVID Testing

Jaco COVID Testing

  • Laboratorio Clinico Jaco: 506 2643 2118. In Jaco Walk Plaza. Can go to your hotel or you can go to the clinic. Whatsapp +506 8531 3838. Offers antigen testing
  • Private clinic MMI offers testing. +506 4020 2200
  • Rush Urgent Care: 506 8454 8543, they can go to your hotel.

San Isidro del General COVID Testing

  • Laboratorio Biotest (48 hours results) 506 2772 0909
  • Lab. Calderon Gonzalez: Phone 506 2771 2030 and 2772 4897.

Puerto Jimenez COVID Testing

  • Laboratorio Clinico Puerto Jimenez. Phone 506 8820 2457.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (Limon) COVID Testing

  • Laboratorio Bioclinic: Cost is 80,000 CRC + tax. 48 hour turnaround. Email: laboratoriobioclinic@yahoo.com or Whatsapp 506 8950 9101
  • Laboratorio Dr. Eric Casto: In Limon, phone 506 2785 3106.

La Fortuna COVID Testing

  • Unimed Urgent Care. Takes 48 hours, +506 2479 1903
  • Lab Echanid in Ciudad Quesada (1 hour from La Fortuna).506 2250 1871. Test costs 59,000 CRC + taxes

Monteverde COVID Test

  • Centro de Salud – Dr. Hernandez: Located downtown Santa Elena in the Mega Super grocery store. Whatsapp 506 8589 8227, office 506 2645 6065 or email centrosaludhernandez@gmail.com



Do I Need to Wear a Mask in Costa Rica?

Yes, masks are required in Costa Rica for citizens and tourists. You must wear a mask when indoors (except at home or hotel room), at the supermarket, convenience store, malls, pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, stores, airports, theaters, movie theaters, churches, banks, offices and for all public and commercial workers. You also need to wear a mask in trains, shuttles, public buses and taxis and at the bus stop. Persons with certain disabilities and infants do not need to wear a mask.

Establishments may prohibit anyone from entering if not wearing a mask. You don’t have to wear a mask when walking outside on the street as long as you are 1.8 meters (6 feet) apart from other people. Face shields are no longer accepted as the only form of indoor protection and if a face shield is used, a mask must also be used.

Traveling to Costa Rica during panedemic what you need to know wearing mask

They allow surgical masks and homemade cloth masks. The masks with filters and valves should not be used.

Other Costa Rica COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Tourists Need to Know About

There are very little restrictions for tourists in Costa Rica but here are some things to know.

  • As of March 1, there are no more nationwide driving restrictions. The only driving restrictions are now in downtown San Jose via last digit of license plate number but it does not apply to rental cars. These San Jose driving restrictions were put in place long before COVID so we are now back to the “normal” driving. **See below for more details**
  • All tourists must follow sanitary measures and regulations including but not limited to mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, etc.
  • Masks are required as mentioned above and establishments may prohibit anyone from entering if not wearing a mask. Some establishments may also do a temperature check and/or require hand washing or use of hand sanitizer before entering.
  • Tourists must stay in their “social bubble” and stay at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart from others social bubbles.

Driving Restriction

Driving is allowed during the hours of 5 AM to 11 PM every day of the week.

Now, license plate driving restrictions only apply to the San Jose area. These are the same driving restrictions that San Jose used to have for years before the pandemic so we are now back to “normal” when it comes to license plate restrictions.

These are the weekday license plate restrictions in San Jose:

  • Monday – Vehicles with last license plate digit ending in 1 and 2 can’t drive.
  • Tuesday: Vehicles with last license plate digit ending in 3 and 4 can’t drive.
  • Wednesday: Vehicles with last license plate digit ending in 5 and 6 can’t drive.
  • Thursday: Vehicles with last license plate digit ending in 7 and 8 can’t drive.
  • Friday: Vehicles with last license plate digit ending in 9 and 0 can’t drive.

Remember that rental cars are exempt from driving restrictions.

What Is Open in Costa Rica Right Now During COVID-19?

Pretty much everything is open in Costa Rica right now with few restrictions.

Businesses

Due to the driving restrictions, most businesses close at 10 PM on weekdays and 9-10 PM on the weekends. Banks are open and ATM’s are available. Stores like clothing, souvenirs and shoes are open with maximum 50% capacity and mandatory masks.

Accommodation and Lodging

All hotels can operate at 100% with a 50% maximum capacity in common areas like restaurants and swimming pool.

Restaurants and Bars

Restaurants are all allowed to operate at a 50% maximum capacity seven days a week. Some places may still only offer take out or delivery, it varies from establishment to establishment but majority are open for dining in.

Bars and casinos are now allowed to open with strict protocols, regulations and a maximum capacity of 50%. Only casinos located inside hotels may re-open and guests have to pass a temperature check. Alcoholic beverages won’t be allowed.

For bars, they won’t be allowed to play music above a certain decimal level and dancing is not permitted. They must close at 10 PM on weekdays and 9 PM on weekends in accordance to the driving restrictions.

Supermarkets, Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores

All supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores (called pulperia in Costa Rica) and pharmacies are open as normal hours. Some supermarket parking lots may only allow every other space and some supermarkets may allow just 1 person per household to enter (minors can go with a parent).

Renting a Car

As mentioned earlier, rental cars are exempt from driving restrictions. Most car rental agencies are operating. Our partner, Adobe Rent a Car is operating (get our car rental discount and reader benefits in the link). Some agencies may only be operating select office locations.

Public Transportation

Public buses are running throughout the country and masks are required at all times when inside the bus and when waiting at a bus stop. All long routes are operating like normal. Buses are not allowed to have passengers on foot, they only allow seated passengers.

Private shuttles with tourism licenses and taxis are allowed to operate. Uber and Didi can also operate. Masks must be worn by driver and passengers inside Ubers and taxis at all times.

Tours and Activities

All open air activities are allowed to operate including activities like ziplining, hiking and horseback riding. However, not all private reserves or parks may have opened all their trails or activities. Some places are only opening one trail or certain parts of the property. Additionally, places must follow maximum capacity rules.

Be aware that some establishments may require previous reservations or pre-purchased tickets. Some tours may only operate on certain days so it is important to contact tour companies for the latest information to plan your trip.

Since most tour companies in Costa Rica rely on international tourism which is quite low, they may not be operating all tours yet, or only certain tours on some days with a minimum amount of people. You should inquire with the tour company regarding availability before coming, never assume there will be tours available.

Beaches, Lakes and National Parks

Beaches are open 5 AM to 6 PM everyday.

As for national parks, all parks may open regardless of location and open to a maximum capacity of 100%. However, not all national parks are fully open. Some national parks have only opened one sector or a select number of trails or beaches for visitors.

visiting costa rica during pandemic - beaches
Tamarindo beach in August

At the beach, visitors must stick to their social bubble and be at least 1.8 meters (6 feet) apart from other bubbles. You can surf, walk, run, play volleyball, walk dogs, swim, sunbathe and stay on the beach.

What is Closed in Costa Rica Right Now During COVID-19?

Mass gathering events like concerts, sports with an audience, night clubs and Parque Diversion Theme Park are not open yet in Costa Rica during COVID-19. Here is the full list on the government site.

What Happens If I Get Coronavirus in Costa Rica as a Tourist?

First, isolate yourself and call 1322 (English options available and available 24 hours) if you believe you have coronavirus or exhibit any symptoms. You will be placed under a minimum 10 day quarantine if you test positive or are suspected of having it. This quarantine period is an isolated quarantine period (exceptions for minors, seniors, persons with disabilities). If you need hospitalization, you will be taken to a hospital and placed under medical care. Costa Rica has not yet had to deny any COVID-19 patient a hospital or ICU bed.

Remember, all tourists must purchase a travel health insurance to cover medical costs and accommodation due to COVID-19 to enter Costa Rica.

Our Personal Tips for Visiting Costa Rica During COVID-19

  • Avoid hand shaking and cheek kisses (cheek kisses are the normal form of greeting in Costa Rica).
  • Please be kind and tread lightly to locals. They are eager to receive tourists again and are trying their best to work with the restrictions, regulations and low volume.
  • We do not recommend “winging it” and assuming everything is open. Check requirements for every place you want to visit before you arrive. Many, if not most places are not allowing walk-ins.
  • Right now is a difficult time to be a solo traveler. Many tour companies require a minimum of 2 people to operate and due to low volume, there aren’t many tours available. If you can, rent a car and DIY. Don’t rely on only booking tours or getting around with shared shuttles. Things are still changing in a blink of an eye.
    • Another tip for solo travelers is to stay at a popular hostel. Don’t stay at an Airbnb or hotel far away from the town center as there will be less people. Many hostels offer tour services and if there are more other guests, you have more chances to joining a tour.
  • For everything you prepay, ask for the cancellation policy.
  • Don’t expect super crazy discounted prices. Prices have not really changed for international tourists.
  • Bring as much of your own gear you can like face masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, water bottles, reusable shopping bags, rash guards and beach towels. To go even further as a sustainable traveler, bring your own cutlery and reusable straws.

Had to Reschedule Your Trip? Here Are Some Helpful Resources

Best time to visit Costa Rica

Costa Rica destinations guide (Best places to visit)

Costa Rica weather

Mytanfeet Costa Rica destination map

How to avoid crowds in Costa Rica

Disclaimer: Costa Rica border openings, travel restrictions and entry requirements are ever changing. We do our best to update this post with the latest information as much as possible. Please remember that the decision to travel is up to you and it is your responsibility to stay safe. Make sure to check the recommendations of your country when it comes to international travel.


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