Coronavirus – COVID-19. The virus that was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization rapidly reached all corners of the world, including Costa Rica.
On March 6, 2020, Costa Rica confirmed their first case of COVID-19. Here is what you need to know about the Costa Rica coronavirus situation.
Costa Rica COVID-19 Confirmed Cases
As of September 23, 2021, Costa Rica has 518,632 cases of COVID-19 (95,471 of those are Por Nexo). Por Nexo is cases without a test if a person living in the same household of someone else who has tested positive starts experiencing symptoms.
- 2701 new cases today, 504 of those are Por Nexo
- 6168 fatalities
- 3777 fatalities were men and 2391 were woman, ages 0 – 103
- 1372 people hospitalized, 454 of those in ICU ages 0-92
- 94,119 active cases
- 418,345 recovered
- 60,103 foreigners and 458,529 Costa Ricans
- Costa Rica has a population of roughly 5.09 million people
- The first fatality was on March 18, 2020
Costa Rica Vaccinations
Costa Rica is currently vaccinating their citizens and residents with Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca. Please check the Costa Rican Seguro Social to see their vaccination statistics.
Border Opening and Closing
Costa Rica closed their borders on March 18, 2020. The Costa Rican border opened on August 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM via air only. On November 1, 2020, Costa Rica opened to all countries in the world via air.
On April 5, 2021, Costa Rica opened the land borders to Nicaragua and Panama.
Please read our Costa Rica COVID-19 Travel to read Samantha’s personal experience flying into Costa Rica and other important information.
Costa Rica Coronavirus Requirements to Enter the Country for Tourists
Costa Rica requires every unvaccinated and partially vaccinated COVID-19 tourist over the age of 18 to complete a health survey and purchase a travel insurance for the duration of their trip that covers a minimum of $50,000 USD for medical expenses in cases of COVID-19 and a minimum of $2,000 USD for extended lodging expenses for COVID-19.
Fully COVID-19 vaccinated tourists over the age of 18 and minors under the age of 18 only have to complete the health survey. They do NOT need to purchase the travel insurance.
Additionally, all tourists must follow all sanitary measures for the airport and in the country including mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing. Tourists do not need to quarantine after arriving in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica DOES NOT require a negative COVID-19 test.
If You Are Fully COVID-19 Vaccinated
As of August 1, 2021, fully vaccinated COVID-19 people do NOT need to purchase the travel insurance. Minors under 18 years of age do not need to purchase the travel insurance either.
For the fully vaccinated, vaccines accepted are Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. The last dose must have been administered at least 14 days before entering Costa Rica (including Johnson and Johnson). Mixed doses are accepted as long as both doses are one of the four accepted vaccines
For United States, the COVID-19 vaccination card fulfills this requirement. For other types of documentation proof, full name, date of each dose and vaccine type is required.
Insurance for Partially and Unvaccinated COVID-19 Tourists
Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated COVID-19 tourists over the age of 18 have to purchase the travel insurance.
Travel Insurance Requirements: The travel insurance must cover a minimum of $50,000 USD for medical expenses in cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica and a minimum of $2,000 USD for extended lodging expenses for COVID-19.
There are two options for insurance.
1. Purchase a Costa Rican travel insurance policy from Blue Cross Blue Shield Costa Rica, INS or Sagicor. These are pre-approved insurance guaranteed to be accepted and will cover hospitalizations in a hospital for required time and a minimum of 14 days of lodging. The minimum for medical via Costa Rican policies is $20,000 USD.
2. Purchase an international travel insurance policy that fulfills the requirements for medical and lodging. Minimum for medical via international policies is $50,000 USD.
International Travel Insurance Recommendations
The Costa Rican policies are quite expensive so for a cheaper international policy option, I personally used Trawick when I flew into Costa Rica in December 2020. They provide a policy called “Safe Travels Voyager” that specifically covers the Costa Rican entry requirements.
Click here to get a Safe Voyagers Plan quote. (Click on “Insurance Plans” and then “Trip Insurance.” Then select Safe Travels Voyager). For US citizens and residents only.
Health Pass Survey
The health pass survey is required for all tourists. It has to be filled out 72 hours before flight and you will be given a QR code which you will scan at immigration.
For Those Who Plan to Visit…
If you plan to travel to Costa Rica when the border is open again, please check the recommendations for international travel of your home country. Be respectful of all laws, regulations and rules Costa Rica has put in place whether you agree with it or not as you are a guest in the country.
If you had to reschedule your trip but not sure for when, the following posts will help you decide.
Costa Rica Coronavirus Restrictions
Nationwide Driving Restrictions
In September, we only have nationwide driving restrictions Monday through Friday. From September 18 – 310, driving is permitted from 5 AM to 9 PM everyday.
Monday: Vehicles with license plates ending in 1 and 2 cannot drive.
Tuesday: Vehicles with license plates ending in 3 and 4 cannot drive.
Wednesday: Vehicles with license plates ending in 5 and 6 cannot drive.
Thursday: Vehicles with license plates ending in 7 and 8 cannot drive.
Friday: Vehicles with license plates ending in 9 and 0 cannot drive.
On September 18 and 26, license plates ending in an odd number cannot drive.
On September 19 and 25, license plates ending in an even number cannot drive.
Rental cars are exempt from these driving restrictions as well as those driving to/from airports and hotels with reservations and to/from work. There are some other exemptions for locals who own a car.
Bars at 25% maximum capacity
No foot passengers on public buses
Hotels with more than 100 rooms can only operate to a maximum of 75%
Trains can have a maximum of 26 foot passengers
Businesses may open until 9 PM.
Delivery is allowed 24 hours.
Costa Rica Coronavirus Timeline
- The first confirmed COVID-19 case in Costa Rica was on March 6, 2020.
- Costa Rica declared a state of emergency on March 16, 2020.
- The first COVID-19 fatality was on March 18th, 2020.
- On March 18, 2020, Costa Rica closed their borders to all foreigners, applying to land, sea and air.
- August 2, 2020: Costa Rica opened their international borders via air to certain authorized countries.
- On November 1, 2020, Costa Rica opened their international borders via to all countries in the world.
Where to Get Information About Coronavirus in Costa Rica
Please check the Ministerio de Salud’s (ministry of health) website for the latest up to date information about coronavirus in Costa Rica. They have also created a website specifically for COVID-19 in Costa Rica (covid19.go.cr). For news updates and reports in English, check Tico TImes.
We also update this post frequently to reflect new major changes and statistics.
Do You Need to Wear a Mask in Costa Rica?
Yes. Costa Rica requires masks for the general public when inside closed spaces (except at home or in hotel room), in supermarkets, convenience stores, stores, airports, public buses, shuttles, trains, theaters, movie theaters, churches, banks, offices and for all public and commercial workers. You also need to wear a mask inside public buses, taxis and at the bus stop.
Likewise, establishments may prohibit anyone from entering if not wearing a masks. 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 but if you are waiting at a bus stop, you do need to wear a mask.
Face masks are required for everyone in Costa Rica, regardless of vaccination status.
What It’s Been Like Where We Live (Tamarindo area)
Tamarindo is pretty much like normal now. Lots of tourists, everything open, beach full, surf lessons all day. Weekends are particularly crowded as lots of locals come to this area.
As for us, we surf at Tamarindo and sometimes walk our dogs on the beach but that’s about it. That’s pretty much what we did before the pandemic anyways.
We also have started doing more camping and doggie trips since we have two pups. It’s been a lot of fun taking them around Costa Rica!
If you’d like to follow along our adventures, follow our Facebook and Instagram to see photos and videos of our travels in Costa Rica! We also started publishing weekly Youtube videos so subscribe to our channel to get new videos.
Let’s All Do Our Part to Stay Safe and Healthy
Wherever you are in the world, let’s all do our part to stay safe and healthy. We hope to see you in Costa Rica soon though and we greatly appreciate everyone who has rescheduled their trip.
There are affiliate links in this post.