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Hospital Metropolitano adds coronavirus antigen tests for tourists

February 17, 2021

Hospital Metropolitano is now offering rapid antigen tests for U.S. citizens who need a negative result in order to return to their home country.

In doing so, they join Laboratorios Echandi, Hospital Clinica Biblica, Laboratorios Páez, Laboratorios Clínicos San José and a growing number of private labs across Costa Rica that provide the faster and cheaper coronavirus tests.

The antigen test at Hospital Metropolitano costs 33,000 colones (about $55), and the hospital is promising results within 12 hours. Results are guaranteed within eight hours for tests conducted in the San José area.

An appointment is not necessary. For more information, contact them here.

The antigen test detects proteins related to the virus. The sample is collected using a nasal swab, similar to PCR tests.

Antigen tests are not authorized for widespread use in Costa Rica, as they can be less accurate than PCR tests. However, they are approved in Costa Rica for international travelers; proof of a flight within 72 hours is necessary for the test.

Hospital Metropolitano also offers PCR tests with results promised within 48 hours. These cost ¢59,000 (about $97) but are available to anyone, including non-travelers. Many countries require a PCR test for entry but will not accept antigen tests.

Antigen tests do 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. Policies change frequently, so we recommend checking with your country or state’s health department before testing.

Where to get a Covid test in Costa Rica

Click here for a list of 130-plus labs that offer PCR testing for tourists across Costa Rica. Labs highlighted in orange in that document also offer antigen tests.

The following labs across Costa Rica have been authorized to conduct antigen tests, per the Health Ministry. We have bolded those that we know already offer antigen tests; the others may offer them soon:

Lab Antigen test type Date authorized
 

Hospital Clínica Bíblica

Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Test
Hospital la Católica Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
 

Hospital Metropolitano

STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Hospital Universal Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Laboratorio Cartín Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Laboratorio Cenahce Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Laboratorio Labin Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Laboratorio Páez STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Laboratorio San José Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Laboratorios Echandi STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 28/1/2021
Laboratorio Clínico San Rafael Arcángel

Centro Médico San Rafael Arcángel S.A

Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 8/2/2021
Laboratorio Clínico Hospital CIMA Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 8/2/2021
STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Test 8/2/2021
Laboratorio Méndez de Occidente S.A Panbio COVID-19 Ag Test 8/2/2021

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