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Costa Rica eases entry requirements as high season approaches

October 23, 2020

With a view to boost the economy as the high season approaches, Costa Rica eliminated the requirement of a negative Covid-19 test for arriving tourists, the government announced.

The Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, indicated that the measure will take effect on October 26, shortly before Costa Rica opens its air borders for all countries in the world on November 1.

The country began a gradual opening of air borders in August after the total closure of borders in March, when the first cases of the coronavirus were detected.

“As of Monday, October 26, Costa Rica eliminates the requirement of a negative PCR test for both foreign tourists and Costa Ricans,” Segura said at a press conference.

The minister called on tourism companies to be “very careful” in the application of the protocols to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“The sustainability of this measure depends a lot on the evolution of the pandemic,” Segura said.

The Central American country will maintain its requirement that visitors purchase health insurance to cover medical care and unexpected lodging expenses due to the pandemic.

“These measures help to recover jobs, which is so important throughout the country, but especially on the coasts,” Segura said. The coastal regions have been hard-hit by unemployment, which nationally has surpassed 23%.

Segura cited an October 9 publication from the World Health Organization (WHO) that deemed unnecessary the requiring of Covid-19 testing for international travel.

Costa Rica, which has received more than 3 million tourists annually in recent years, expects at least half a million visitors in the high season that runs from mid-November to March.

Tourism is one of the engines of the Costa Rican economy, which contributes around 10% of GDP and generated 600,000 direct and indirect jobs before the pandemic.

Requirements to enter Costa Rica

As of November 1, Costa Rica will re-open its air border to all countries in the world as long as travelers meet visa requirements (if applicable) as well as the requirements established in the framework of the pandemic.

Until November 1, only visitors from authorized countries and states are permitted. Visitors from the U.S. must show — via a driver’s license or State ID — that they live in an authorized state. Click here for a list of authorized states and countries.

Here are the other requirements:

  • Fill out the electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS form, available at https://salud.go.cr.
  • Until Oct. 26: RT-PCR diagnostic test with a negative result; the sample must have been taken within 72 hours of travel to Costa Rica.
  • Traveler’s Medical Insurance: An international policy or one purchased in Costa Rica through the National Insurance Institute (INS) https://www.grupoins.com/seguroparaviajeros, or Sagicor https://tiendasagicor.com/en. These policies are pre-approved and guaranteed to be accepted.

For international insurance policies, tourists must request a certificate from their insurance company, issued in English or Spanish, verifying the following three conditions:

  • Effectiveness of the policy during the visit to Costa Rica.
  • Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with COVID-19 while in Costa Rica for at least $50,000 (U.S. dollars).
  • Includes minimum coverage of $2,000 for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic.

Passengers who fail to comply with these requirements may not enter the country.

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