Coronavirus – COVID-19. The virus that was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization has 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 June 18, 2021, Costa Rica has 350,630 cases of COVID-19 (64,611 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.
- 1604 new cases today, 346 of those are Por Nexo
- 4473 fatalities
- 2762 fatalities were men and 1711 were woman, ages 1 – 103
- 1162 people hospitalized, 472 of those in ICU ages 0-92
- 74,029 active cases
- 272,128 recovered
- 39,282 foreigners and 311,348 Costa Ricans
- The first fatality was on March 18, 2020
- Costa Rica has a population of roughly 5.09 million people
Costa Rica Vaccinations
On December 15th, Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. Seniors that live in nursing homes and first responders were first in line for vaccinations.
At the end of February, Costa Rica received another shipment of the Pfizer vaccine. They have also received shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine in mid April and have begun inoculating citizens with that one.
By May 10, they have given around 1 million doses. Please check the Costa Rican Seguro Social to see their vaccination statistics.
Costa Rica Travel Restrictions
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 the border to all countries in the world via air.
On April 5, 2021, Costa Rica opened the land borders to Nicaragua and Panama.
Costa Rica Coronavirus Requirements to Enter the Country for Tourists
Costa Rica requires every visitor to complete an epidemiological survey and purchase a travel insurance that will cover medical care for acute illness and accommodation in case of quarantine. This applies to tourists via air and land.
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 is not requiring tourists to get vaccinated. Likewise, the Costa Rican travel insurance requirement has not been removed for those who have been fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people need to purchase the travel insurance to enter Costa Rica.*
Please read our Costa Rica COVID-19 Travel to read Samantha’s personal experience flying into Costa Rica as a tourist. You can also find out what’s open, what’s closed, restrictions, etc.
Health Pass Survey
The health pass survey is required for all tourists. It has to be filled out 48 hours before flight and you will be given a QR code which you will scan at immigration.
Negative COVID-19 test
This requirement has been removed as of October 26th. Costa Rica does not require a negative COVID test to enter.
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 due to the pandemic.
Tourists have two options for international travel insurance.
- They may purchase a 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.
- They may use their own international travel insurance as long as it fulfills the requirements.
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. It is a privilege to travel during the pandemic, not a right and you have to be a responsible traveler to protect yourself and others.
Rescheduling Your Trip
If you had to reschedule your trip but not sure for when, the following posts will help you decide.
Orange Alert areas
Costa Rica is classifying areas as Orange or Yellow Alert areas according to the number of confirmed cases. Orange Alert are areas with an increase number of confirmed cases.
As of May 18, the entire country is under Orange Alert.
Costa Rica Coronavirus Restrictions
Costa Rica has nationwide restrictions for the month of May.
Driving Restrictions for June
These are the nationwide driving restrictions. Rental cars are exempt from these driving restrictions as well as those driving to/from airports and hotels with reservations and to/from work. Driving permitted from 5 AM to 9 PM every day.
- Monday June 7: Last digit ending in even numbers may drive (0, 2, 4, 6, 8)
- Tuesday June 8: Last digit ending in odd numbers may drive (1, 3, 5, 7, 9)
- Wednesday June 9: Last digit ending in even numbers may drive (0, 2, 4, 6, 8)
- Thursday June 10: Last digit ending in odd numbers may drive (1, 3, 5, 7, 9)
- Friday June 11: Last digit ending in even numbers may drive (0, 2, 4, 6, 8)
- Saturday June 12: Last digit ending in odd numbers may drive (1, 3, 5, 7, 9)
- Sunday June 13: Last digit ending in even numbers may drive (0, 2, 4, 6, 8)
Then from Monday June 14 through Sunday June 27, the restrictions change a little bit.
- Monday: Last digit e ending in 1 and 2 can not drive
- Tuesday: Plates ending in 3 and 4 can not drive
- Wednesday: Plates ending in 5 and 6 can not drive
- Thursday: Plates ending in 7 and 8 can not drive
- Friday: Plates ending in 9 and 0 can not drive
- Saturday June 19: Even plates can not drive
- Sunday June 20: Odd plates can not drive
- Saturday June 26: Odd plates can not drive
- Sunday June 27: Even plates can not drive
Then from June 27 to July 11, the driving restrictions will be according to the odd and even last digit of the license plate.
Costa Rica Restrictions
Due to the increase of confirmed cases and hospitalizations, these are the current restrictions.
- Public buses cannot have foot passengers
- Academic and work settings must reduce capacity from 300-150.
- Social events have been reduced from 75 to 30 maximum capacity.
- Religious events have been reduced from 300 to 200 maximum capacity.
- Bars are now at 25% capacity.
- Hotels with more than 100 rooms must reduce capacity down to 75%
- All national parks EXCEPT Poas Volcano National Park are now at a 50% maximum capacity
- All businesses can open 5 AM to 9 PM
Costa Rica Coronavirus Cases Locations
There are confirmed coronavirus cases in all seven provinces in Costa Rica.
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. Only citizens and residents were allowed to enter.
- On 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.
Is There a Lockdown or Mandatory Quarantine in Costa Rica?
No. Since the beginning, there has never been a country wide lock down in Costa Rica. Costa Rica can’t put something like that in place so the government implements driving restrictions, closures and sanitary measures instead.
Police will give tickets for breaking any sanitary restriction.
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.
This applies to everyone in Costa Rica, tourist or local. The face mask mandate also applies to fully vaccinated people.
Face shields are not accepted as the only form for indoor protection. If a face shield is worn, a mask must also be worn.
What It’s Been Like Where We Live (Tamarindo area)
Tamarindo is pretty much like normal now and has been since around September or so since restrictions were lifted. Since the border became completely open in November, we’ve definitely noticed a great increase of tourists, both local and foreign.
Nowadays, it’s packed in Tamarindo on the weekends. A lot of tourists go to Tamarindo since it’s a popular beach town and to be honest, it’s quite COVID lax.
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 have started doing our own camping and doggie trips instead, finding more local, off the beaten path places to visit.
So we’ve outfitted our truck for overlanding and are exploring more off unknown destinations. 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 every Friday!
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.