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Reminder: Costa Rica’s entry requirements during the coronavirus pandemic

February 24, 2021

Since November 1, tourists from anywhere in the world can visit Costa Rica.

Visitors can arrive to Costa Rica via a flight, sailboat or yacht. The land borders remain closed for incoming tourists until at least April. Costa Rica does not require a negative coronavirus test, but travel medical insurance is necessary.

Tourists must purchase insurance even if they have received a vaccine.

Here are are the requirements to enter Costa Rica on a commercial flight as a tourist since November 1, 2020:

  • Fill out the electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS form, available at https://salud.go.cr. This should be completed in the 48 hours before boarding for Costa Rica. It generates a QR code that you must show upon arrival; most airlines ask for it at check-in.
  • Purchase Traveler’s Medical Insurance: This can be either from an international company, or purchased through the National Insurance Institute (INS) or Sagicor of Costa Rica, covering the duration of your stay in Costa Rica.

INS and Sagicor policies are pre-approved and guaranteed to be accepted by Costa Rican authorities. However, many visitors choose international policies, because they are often cheaper.

Tourists who opt to purchase an international policy must bring a letter demonstrating:

  • Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with COVID-19 while in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000 USD.
  • Minimum coverage of $2,000 USD for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic.
  • Validity of the policy throughout the planned stay in Costa Rica.

We’ve heard Trawick International offers affordable policies for U.S. citizens that meet Costa Rica’s requirements. However, Costa Rica will accept any insurance policy that meets the requirements listed above.

Tourists who own a home in Costa Rica can use proof of ownership to be exempted from the lodging expenses portion of the insurance. However, they still need a policy that covers medical expenses.

In addition to the coronavirus-related measures, tourists must also meet Costa Rica’s general visa requirements; visitors must have a valid passport and proof of intent to exit the country (an outbound ticket) within 90 days.

The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) lists all the current entry requirements for tourists on its website. Click here for the official page.

Requirements for returning Costa Rica residents

Foreigners with temporary or permanent residence do not need to purchase an insurance plan if they are current on Social Security (CCSS, or Caja) payments.

Residents should have proof they’re up-to-date on Caja payments. This can be verified at: https://sfa.ccss.sa.cr/servMedicos/validarDerechos.do

If a resident is not current on her Caja payments, she must purchase an insurance policy covering at least 22 days in Costa Rica. The requirements for this policy are the same as if she were a tourist. Residents must also complete the Health Pass.

Residents (and citizens) can enter via land borders but will be issued a quarantine order when doing so.

Requirements for returning Costa Rican citizens

Costa Rican citizens must complete the Health Pass. There are no additional insurance requirements.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to quarantine after arriving in Costa Rica?

No.

How can I confirm if my foreign policy will be accepted?

The policy will be accepted if you bring a letter (in English or Spanish) demonstrating it meets the requirements. However, you can email seguros@ict.go.cr before your trip to confirm.

If I own property in Costa Rica, do I still need insurance?

You still need health insurance. However, proof of property ownership can waive the lodging expenses requirement for your insurance policy. Email seguros@ict.go.cr, and they can confirm if you qualify.

What if I test positive for COVID-19 in Costa Rica?

If you test positive for the coronavirus or are deemed a close contact to someone who has, you may be issued a self-isolation order. You will be required to remain at your residence until that sanitary order is lifted. If you are caught violating a stay-at-home order, you may be detained. You cannot leave the country until the order is lifted.

Call 1322 or 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency. 1322 is Costa Rica’s coronavirus hotline. Both services are staffed by English and Spanish speakers.

How long is a tourist visa?

Tourist visas are typically issued for 90 days. However, during the pandemic, you may be stamped for only the duration of your insurance policy. It is difficult to extend a tourist visa, so we recommend arriving in Costa Rica with an insurance plan that covers the maximum length of time you’d possibly remain in the country (up to 90 days).

I’m a perpetual tourist. Can I do a ‘border run’?

Not in the traditional sense, as the land borders are currently closed to arriving tourists. If you would like a new tourist visa, you must leave Costa Rica (via land, air or sea) and re-enter via air or sea.

Where can I get a coronavirus test?

130-plus labs offer PCR and/or antigen tests for tourists. Click here for a full list. Again, Costa Rica does not mandate a negative test, but many countries (e.g. the United States, Canada) require one before returning.

What are the current coronavirus restrictions?

Most commercial activities are allowed. This includes hotels, restaurants, beaches, national parks, and open-air tourism activities. Masks are required indoors; you can be denied entry into an establishment if you don’t wear a mask. Beaches are open until 6 p.m. daily; businesses can remain open until 10 p.m. (and 11 p.m. starting in March).

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