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Costa Rica labs begin offering antigen tests for tourists

February 10, 2021

Starting Thursday, Laboratorios Echandi will offer rapid antigen tests for travelers who need a negative result in order to return to their home country.

In doing so, they become the first private lab in Costa Rica to offer that test for tourists, per La Nación. More labs and hospitals are expected to sell antigen tests in the near future.

The antigen test at Laboratorios Echandi will cost $60, and the lab is promising same-day results.

Because Costa Rican health authorities recommend PCR tests for local diagnostic use, the only people permitted to purchase the antigen test at Laboratorios Echandi are those with a flight within the next 72 hours.

Here is further information about the antigen test, per Laboratorios Echandi:

  • Results will be delivered the same day.
  • It is available by appointment at any of the lab’s 21 branches.
  • Requirements: Present identification and a flight ticket/itinerary for an international flight within 72 hours. The test will only be carried out on people who present an air ticket for travel outside of Costa Rica.
  • The sample for the test is a nasopharyngeal swab.

Antigen tests meet the United States’s entry requirements. Per the CDC:

Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), such as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), and transcription-mediated amplification (TMA). 

Antigen tests do not meet Canada’s entry requirements. They are accepted by the UK and Panama.

According to the U.S. FDA, antigen tests detect specific proteins from the coronavirus. They are “more likely to miss an active Covid-19 infection compared to molecular tests” such as PCR.

To contact Laboratorios Echandi, call 2258-4334 or click here. For a list of 130-plus locations that offer PCR tests for tourists, click here.

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