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, where to get a COVID test in Costa Rica and what happens if you test positive in Costa Rica.
This post is updated often to reflect the most recent changes.
Current Costa Rica Coronavirus Situation
Please click on this link, Costa Rica coronavirus to read the latest updates and statistics.
Costa Rica COVID Travel Restrictions and Border Opening
On November 1, 2020, Costa Rica opened their borders to all countries in the world via air.
On April 5, 2021, Costa Rica opened the land borders between Nicaragua and Panama.
Costa Rica Entry Requirements (COVID-19)
Costa Rica entry requirements are that every unvaccinated and partially vaccinated COVID-19 tourist over the age of 18 must complete a health pass, get the QR code generated from the 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.
For those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the only requirement is to complete the health pass and get the QR code. Minors under the age of 18 do not need to purchase the travel insurance either. Their only requirement is to fill out the health pass and get the QR code.
Costa Rica does not requirement quarantine or a negative COVID-19 test to enter Costa Rica.
More details on this below.
Do I have to be vaccinated to go to Costa Rica?
No. You do not have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for Costa Rica. Costa Rica is not requiring tourists to be vaccinated against COVID. Fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated people can enterCosta Rica.
>> Get Exclusive Costa Rica Travel Tips and our Free Travel Guide Straight to You! <<
Do Fully Vaccinated People Need to Buy the Costa Rica Health Insurance?
No. As of August 1, 2021, fully vaccinated COVID-19 tourists over the age of 18 do NOT need to purchase any travel insurance. Minors under 18 years of age regardless of vaccination status do not need to purchase the travel insurance either.
For the fully vaccinated, vaccines accepted are AstraZeneca, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac, Sinopharm and Covaxin.
The last dose must have been administered at least 14 days before entering Costa Rica. This includes the one dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Mixed doses are accepted as long as both doses are one of the accepted vaccines. Booster shots are not required.
For vaccination proof, the tourist will enter the full name of the fully vaccinated person, date of each applied dose and which vaccine brand it is. You will attach a photo of your vaccination certificate to the health pass. For the United States, the COVID-19 vaccination card fulfills this requirement.
Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated COVID-19 tourists must purchase the travel insurance covering their entire time in Costa Rica.
Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated COVID-19 tourists that are transiting through Costa Rica must purchase insurance that covers a minimum of 5 days.
International and Costa Rican Insurance Policies for Unvaccinated and Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Tourists
Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated COVID-19 tourists can purchase their own international insurance or from these approved Costa Rican companies: Blue Cross Blue Shield CR, INS and Sagicor. The Costa Rican insurances are pre-approved policies that are guaranteed to fulfill requirements and are accepted with a minimum of $20,000 USD for medical. International policies require $50,000 USD minimum for medical.
If you already have your own medical insurance but need the accommodation portion, Sagicor sells insurance covering just the accommodation.
The Travel Insurance I Bought for Costa Rica
I purchased Trawick International back in December 2020. They offer travel insurance plans specifically for Costa Rica, cheaper than the Costa Rican policies. The one I got, Safe Travelers Voyager is available only to US citizens and residents but they do offer an international option.
After purchase, they emailed a visa letter, certificate and ID card. You upload the visa letter to the health pass. Can be in English.
Click here to check a Safe Travelers Voyager Quote with Trawick (Click on “Insurance Plans” and then “Trip Insurance.” Then select Safe Travels Voyager).
Health Pass and QR Code
Every passenger must fill out the health pass and get the QR code. This health pass will open 72 hours before your flight.
Once you complete it, you will be given a QR code. They will also email you a PDF with your QR code. This is a screenshot of my QR code.
You do not need to print it out, a screenshot on your phone works fine. Make sure it is clear and has the entire code.
Fill out the health pass BEFORE you get to the airport, especially if you are doing it for a multiple people as it has to be filled out per person.
Airlines will check your QR code BEFORE boarding the flight to Costa Rica. If you do not have the QR code and don’t verify it at the gate, the airline will not let you board the flight.
When you go through immigration in Costa Rica, you will be required to present your QR code.
For the fully vaccinated, you’ll enter the details of your vaccine (date of each dose and brand) and upload a photo of your vaccination card. If you are not fully vaccinated, they will have you upload your travel insurance.
Costa Rica COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Tourists Need to Know About
There is a driving restriction from 10 PM to 5 AM until January 23, 2022 inside the downtown San Jose ring according to license plates.
Rental cars are exempt from nation wide driving restrictions as well as those driving to/from airports and hotels with a paid and confirmed reservation and those driving to/from work.
Please check our post Costa Rica COVID to see details about restrictions.
December 1, 2021 – February 7, 2022 COVID-19 Requirement to Enter Establishments Transition Period
Starting on December 1, 2021 and ending on February 7, 2022, there will be a transition period for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. During this transition period, certain businesses have to operate under one of the following two methods:
Option 1: Operate at 100% maximum capacity and require the proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (allow only fully COVID-19 vaccinated people in)
Option 2: Operate at 50% maximum capacity and do not require proof (let everyone in regardless of vaccination status)
Businesses must have a clear sign outside their establishment indicating which option they are operating under.
Proof of vaccination will be shown via the QR code or the vaccination card if vaccinated outside Costa Rica.
This mandate is for everyone: citizen, tourist, resident, minors are exempt.
Businesses that are included in this transition period mandate are as follows:
Hotels (if hotel decides not to mandate the vaccination during the transition period, their common space capacity is reduced to 50% but not the maximum capacity of rooms), lodging establishments and cabins, bars, restaurants, stores, museums, casinos, art and dance academies, adventure tourism, spas and gyms.
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 supply stores. These places are exempt for the transition period.
Can Unvaccinated Tourists Enter Costa Rica After February 8, 2022?
Yes, they still can. Costa Rica does not require tourists to be vaccinated to enter the country, however that means they will not be allowed into the previously mentioned establishments. They can stay at a friend or family’s home (or their own home if they have their own house). Essential services will not require the QR code.
My Experience Flying into Liberia International Airport and San Jose International Airport
I flew into Liberia International Airport with Alaska Airlines. My flight was Seattle – LA – Liberia. Checking in at SeaTac was normal. The Alaska Airlines agent didn’t ask me about the Costa Rican insurance or QR code at SeaTac.
When I got to LAX, 1 hour before departure time, the Alaska Airlines’ agents had every passenger go up to the counter to check their QR code. After verifying our QR code, they stamped our boarding pass and made us show the boarding code and QR code when we boarded the plane.
Arriving at Liberia International Airport
When we landed, an Alaska Airlines agent announced on the loudspeaker that every single passenger needed to show proof of a flight out of Costa Rica within 90 days.
At immigration, they first scanned my QR code, asked for my occupation and where I live in Costa Rica. For tourists, they will ask to show them your flight out of Costa Rica within 90 days.
Afterwards, I went through customs. It took me about 35 minutes to get through immigration and customs at Liberia International Airport. I landed on a Saturday and there was one other flight arriving at the same time.
At 730 PM, the duty free store and money exchange was still open. No SIM card stand.
Flying into San Jose International Airport Immigration and Customs
We have also flown into San Jose International Airport and it was not as organized as Liberia in our experience. We arrived on Monday around 1 PM with several other flights.
Because there were several flights arriving at the same time, it took us around 1 hour to get through immigration and customs at San Jose International Airport.
The immigration officer scanned my QR code, asked my profession and place of my residency. Likewise, officers will ask all tourists for their flight out of Costa Rica within 90 days.
There is a Claro SIM card stand by baggage claim 5 that is open from 6 AM to 11 PM. Money exchange, car rentals and duty free were all open at 1 PM.
Where to Get a COVID test in Costa Rica
The Costa Rican Ministry of Tourism has put together a PDF of the approved labs to do COVID tests. It’s in Spanish but has phone numbers, location, Whatsapp and social media.
Please check your home country requirements to see what is required for your re-entry. **As of December 6, 2021, the USA will require a negative viral COVID test taken within 1 day of departure flight for everyone regardless vaccination and immigration status.**
COVID tests in Costa Rica are done via a nasal swab.
Cost and Turnaround Time
The cost of a COVID test in Costa Rica varies between $55-300 USD per test with a 24-72 hour turnaround. Antigen tests have an average of 1-8 hour turnaround time and are cheaper ~$60 USD. A PCR test is around $150 USD with a turnaround time of around 24-72 hours. Some labs may offer same day PCR tests for ~$300. Results will be emailed in English or Spanish.
What Happens If You Test Positive for COVID in Costa Rica?
If you need hospitalization, you will be taken to a hospital and placed under medical care. Costa Rica will not refuse anyone who requires COVID-19 hospital care regardless of their immigration and vaccination status. 911 works in Costa Rica and they have an English speaking option.
Then if you are taking the test to re-enter your home country, airlines will not let you board with a positive test result. Many airlines will require a 14 day quarantine prior to boarding for those who have tested positive.
The lab/hospital that 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 a minimum of 10 days, up to 14 days. You will have to quarantine and find a hotel or lodging that will let you quarantine. The duration of your quarantine will depend on the severity of the disease and the doctor who attends you will define this. You will have to comply with the entire duration of your stay at home order – even if you test negative during that period of time.
This quarantine period is an isolated quarantine period (exceptions for minors, seniors, persons with disabilities). The person will be responsible for finding their own lodging, whether it’s a hotel that accepts them for their quarantine or a rental. They are also responsible for the COVID test costs.
Tourists won’t be penalized if they overstay their tourist visa due to a stay at home quarantine order.
What happens if one person in my group tests positive?
That person will be issued the sanitary stay at home order and will not be allowed to board. They will need to comply with the stay at home sanitary order.
Those who produce a negative test result within the required time frame of their home country are allowed to board.
San Jose International Airport COVID Test
Laboratorio Echandi offers rapid COVID antigen testing at San Jose International Airport. Use your phone to scan this QR code of the photo below or go directly to their website covid.morphotr.com to make an appointment online.
Their testing space is 600 meters northeast of the international departures terminal. The antigen test is $65 USD plus tax.
You must arrive at the airport 4 hours before your flight and the results are given in maximum of one hour. They also offer PCR with test results within 3 hours for $240 USD.
They have a designated parking lot or for those without a car, they offer an airport shuttle. It is a 24 hour testing facility.
For changes, cancellations or questions,, contact them at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +506 6223-2290.
Liberia Airport COVID Test
Laboratorio Echandi also offers rapid antigen testing at the Liberia International Airport. You can go to the same website as above to schedule your Liberia Airport test. The testing site has a huge station with a tent in the parking lot.
San Jose COVID Test
COVID-19 testing is available at many hospitals, labs and clinics in San Jose. Below are the main ones.
- Hospital La Católica: Phone 506 2246 3129.
- Cima Hospital (506) 2208-1000.
- Hospital Metropolitano: phone 506 2521-9595.
- Hospital Clinica Biblica: Phone (506) 8529 2100 and 2522-1000. Has a drive through testing site in the main location.
- LABIN: 506 2586 7000. They have a drive through center in Barrio Pinto, Zapote and can provide same day results there.
- Laboratorio Páez: Phone 4000 0667.
- Lab Echandi: They have several locations and also offer a drive through testing center in Escazu. 30,000 CRC plus tax for antigen and they also offer PCR. We did the drive through antigen test in Escazu and got results in one hour.
- Laboratorios San José: 506 4055 4141.
Liberia COVID Test
- Hospital Metropolitano: Phone +506 2521 9595.
- Laboratorios Paez: 506 4000 0667
- Hospital San Rafael Arcangel:: 506 2690 550 or 2666 1717. email@example.com.
- Laboratorio Clinico Vidalab: Phone 4700 9131. WhatsApp 8733-3475
Tamarindo/Flamingo/Conchal/Grande/Brasilito/Langosta/Potrero COVID Test
- Beachside Clinic in Huacas. Phone 506 2653 9911 or 506 2653 5053. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lab Medical Huacas: in Villarreal. Phone 506 2653 3131
- Clinica Medical Dental Villarreal: Call 26534141 to make an appointment. They offer antigen testing for 37,000 CRC. Results in less than 8 hours.
- Hospital Metropolitano: PCR and antigen available. Whatsapp 506 8465 7484 to make your appointment.
For Tamarindo and Langosta, ReNu Vitamin IV Therapy offers house calls. Cost is $125 USD plus tax, turnaround time is 48 hours via email. Phone 8327-4188.
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.
Playas del Coco (Gulf of Papagayo, Ocotal, Hermosa, Panama) COVID Test
Coco Medical and Dental Center: Phone 506 2670 1234. $160 USD PCR. Also offer antigen for $90 USD.
Nicoya COVID Test
Laboratorio Clinico Ricardo Cerdas: WhatsApp number 506 8589 3682 or office phone 2685 5175. Can go to your hotel. They can go to Samara, Nicoya and nearby locations.
Samara COVID Test
Centro Medico Dr. Freddy Soto, 506 2656 0992. Heard his test is more expensive though.
Nosara COVID Test
Paradise Medical Services: (takes 72 business hours, not including Sundays) 506 2682 1212. PCR and antigen tests available.
Medklined Bioanálisis Laboratory: Whatsapp +506 8976-6458, phone 4703-6007 / 2100-4810, or email email@example.com. Offers PCR, antibodies and antigen.
Montezuma COVID Test
Montezuma doesn’t offer COVID testing but clinics in the nearby town of Cobano does. You can arrange for the local doctor to come to your place of lodging to administer your test. Costs around $150-180 USD per test and results are within 72 hours. Check Cobano Medical Center (Whatsapp 506 8940 0087)
Quepos COVID Test
- Hospital Metropolitano: Phone 506 2519 9733. PCR and antigen.
- Quepos Urgent Care 506 2777 1727
Jaco COVID Test
- Laboratorio Clinico Jaco: 506 2643 2118. In Jaco Walk Plaza. Can go to your hotel. Whatsapp +506 8531 3838. Offers antigen testing
- Private clinic MMI: +506 4020 2200
- Rush Urgent Care: 506 8454 8543
Uvita/Dominical/Ojochal COVID Test
Dra. Mariam Vargas at Consultario Medico Vargas. Must make appointment via Whatsapp + 506 8750 9118. Costs $180 USD for PCR and $110 USD for antigen (cash only). Results in 48 hours.
San Isidro del General COVID Test
- Laboratorio Biotest: (48 hours results) 506 2772 0909
- Lab. Calderon Gonzalez: Phone 506 2771 2030 and 2772 4897.
Puerto Jimenez COVID Test
Laboratorio Clinico Puerto Jimenez. Phone 506 8820 2457.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (Limon) COVID Test
- Laboratorio Bioclinic: Cost is 80,000 CRC + tax. 48 hour turnaround. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp 506 8950 9101
- Laboratorio Dr. Eric Casto: In Limon, phone 506 2785 3106.
La Fortuna COVID Test
- Unimed Urgent Care: Takes 48 hours, +506 2479 1903
- Lab Echandi in Ciudad Quesada (1 hour from La Fortuna).506 2250 1871. Offer antigen and PCR.
- Laboratorio DrSolis: Offers PCR and antigen, 7 days a week. Website to book appointment: https://live.vcita.com/site/h55xe7ye3rw7bodm/online-scheduling
Many hotels and resorts like Nayara, Los Lagos Tabacon, Royal Corin and the Volcano Lodge offer on-site testing with a local lab. Please consult with your hotel to set up your appointment.
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 email@example.com
Do I Need to Wear a Mask in Costa Rica?
Yes, masks are required in Costa Rica for citizens and tourists regardless of vaccination status.
Masks are required 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.
What Is Open in Costa Rica Right Now During COVID-19?
All establishments are open. They just need to abide by the 10 PM curfew and by the QR code mandate regulations.
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).
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. Public buses can have a maximum of 20 foot passengers.
Private shuttles with tourism licenses and taxis are allowed to operate. Uber and Didi can also operate. Masks must be worn by the driver and passengers inside rideshares, shuttles 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.
Be aware that some establishments may require reservations or pre-purchased tickets. For example, Poas Volcano National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park are 2 national parks that require tickets to be pre-purchased to enter, they don’t sell park tickets at the door.
Beaches, Lakes and National Parks
Beaches are open 5 AM to 8 PM everyday. All activities permitted.
All national parks can have 100% maximum capacity.
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 to locals. They are eager to receive tourists again and are trying their best to work with the restrictions, regulations and low volume. You may need to be a bit more patient as things are taking longer than usual.
- Always ask for the cancellation policy before booking.
- Don’t rely on only booking tours or getting around with shared shuttles due to low availability.
- Don’t expect cheap prices. In fact, some things have gotten more expensive. Read our Costa Rica cost of traveling post for more information.
Had to Reschedule Your Trip? Here Are Some Helpful Resources
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. There are also affiliate links in this post.