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 November 26, 2021, Costa Rica has 566,560 cases of COVID-19 (104,464 of those are Por Nexo). Por Nexo is a case without a test if a person living in the same household of someone else who has tested positive starts experiencing symptoms.
- 131 new cases today, 28 of those are Por Nexo
- 7287 fatalities
- 4454 fatalities were men and 2833 were woman, ages 0 – 103
- 244 people hospitalized, 92 of those in ICU ages 21-98
- 15,398 active cases
- 543,875 recovered
- 65,534 foreigners and 501,026 Costa Ricans
- Population of roughly 5.09 million people
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. 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
If you are fully vaccinated COVID-19, you do NOT need to purchase the travel insurance. Minors under 18 years of age do not need to purchase the travel insurance either. *Taken into effect August 1, 2021*
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, the 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. But Trawick themselves does offer a policy for other countries besides the US.
Health Pass Survey
The government requires the health pass survey to be filled out by each person. It has to be filled out 72 hours before flight and you will be given a QR code which you will scan at immigration.
Costa Rica Coronavirus Restrictions
Nationwide Driving Restrictions
There are driving restrictions in Costa Rica.
For the month of November, the driving restriction will be from 11 PM to 5 AM. Inside the San Jose ring, they will keep the license plate restrictions Monday through Friday which you’ll find below (none on Saturday and Sunday). Outside the San Jose ring, there are no license plate restrictions.
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.
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.
December 1, 2021 – January 7, 2022 COVID Vaccine Mandate Transition Period
*As of November 15, 2021, there is now a temporary suspension on this order. A final decision was supposed to have been made on November 18th but nothing yet so far. We know of some businesses that are already sending out notices of their mode of operation starting December 1, 2021 and are preparing for this transition period*
Starting on December 1, 2021 through January 7, 2022, there will be a transition period for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. During this transition period, certain establishments in Costa Rica have two operation methods.
Option 1: Businesses can operate at 50% maximum capacity and allow everyone in regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status
Option 2: Business can operate at 100% maximum capacity and allow only fully COVID-19 vaccinated people in.
Businesses must have a sign in their window indicating which option they have chosen.
Proof of Vaccination QR Code
Proof of vaccination will be shown via a QR code. This QR code will be generated by filling out this website: https://usuarios.ministeriodesalud.go.cr (website available Nov 8, 2021). This specific QR code is for citizens and residents and for tourists, they will need to show their QR code that was generated from the Health Pass.
This mandate applies to citizens, residents and tourists. *Children 12-17 will not need to show the QR code of full vaccination proof until February 1, 2022.*
12 years of age and under and those who have a duly accredited medical condition which exempts them from COVID-19 vaccination according to the Costa Rican Ministry of Health are exempt.
The businesses and establishments included in this vaccine mandate period are as follows:
- Hotels, cabins and lodging establishments. (If a hotel decides to operate at 50% maximum capacity, they can still have full room inventory but 50% capacity in common areas)
- Art and dance academies
- Adventure Tourism
Places that will not be requiring the vaccination are supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals, medical centers, funeral homes, banks, farmer’s markets, veterinarian clinics, bakeries, butcheries, pulperias, delivery services, vegetable stores, and agricultural supple stores.
January 8, 202 COVID-19 Vaccine Required
Then on January 8, 2022, the establishments in the transition period must require the COVID-19 vaccination to allow only fully COVID-19 vaccinated people in (12 years of age and up).
Essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals, medical centers, funeral homes, banks, farmer’s markets, veterinarian clinics, bakeries, butcheries, pulperias, delivery services, vegetable stores, and agricultural supple stores will not be requiring the QR code for vaccine proof on January 8, 2022.
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.
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 regardless of vaccination status 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. Masks have to be worn inside public buses and taxis.
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.
What It’s Been Like Where We Live (Tamarindo area)
Tamarindo is pretty much like normal now. Lots of tourists (local and international), everything open, beach full, surf lessons all day.
As for us, we have begun traveling around Costa Rica a bit more lately. If you’d like to follow along our adventures, follow our Instagram to see photos and videos of our travels in Costa Rica!
For Those Who Plan to Visit…
If you plan to travel to Costa Rica, 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.
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.
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