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Costa Rica coronavirus restrictions for May 2021 (updated)

May 11, 2021

The Costa Rican government has re-introduced weekend and weekday driving restrictions in response to an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

Below are Costa Rica’s coronavirus measures for May 2021 (as of May 11):

Travel and borders

Costa Rica is welcoming tourists who arrive via flights (commercial or private) or boats (yachts or sailboats). A negative coronavirus test is not required, but visitors are required to purchase insurance covering their stay in Costa Rica.

The land borders reopened to arriving tourists in April. Residents and citizens can also enter via land borders.

There are no quarantine requirements in place for anyone who enters the country who is not exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.

For more information, visit the Costa Rica Tourism Board’s official site.

Driving restrictions

Costa Rica has re-implemented its national coronavirus-related daytime driving restrictions:

  • Monday: Vehicles with plates ending in 1 and 2 cannot circulate.
  • Tuesday: Vehicles with plates ending in 3 and 4 cannot circulate.
  • Wednesday: Vehicles with plates ending in 5 and 6 cannot circulate.
  • Thursday: Vehicles with plates ending in 7 and 8 cannot circulate.
  • Friday: Vehicles with plates ending in 9 and 0 cannot circulate.
  • Saturday: Vehicles with plates ending in odd numbers cannot circulate.
  • Sunday: Vehicles with plates ending in even numbers (including 0) cannot circulate.

There also remain national nighttime restrictions banning most vehicles from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The standard list of exceptions to the driving restrictions will continue to apply. This includes those driving to/from the airport, to/from a hotel reservation, to/from work, and rental cars.

The official list of exceptions can be found here. To check what days your vehicle can circulate, click here.

Tourism activities

All outdoor tourism activities are permitted. All national parks can be open, and beaches can remain open daily from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Most national parks are limited to 50% capacity.

Guests are required to wear masks in some outdoors situations, so come prepared. (e.g. You need to wear a mask when purchasing your ticket to a national park, but you can remove the mask when you’re hiking.)

Businesses and activities

The vast majority of businesses can operate (with some capacity restrictions) from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. This includes restaurants and bars.

Activities that are not permitted include: concerts, fairs, nightclubs, large religious processions. The full list of establishments and activities that are not allowed is here.

The permitted capacity of some activities was reduced as of May 11:

  • Academic and work events from 300 to 150 people.
  • Social events from 75 to 30 people.
  • Religious events from 300 to 200 people.
  • Bars from 50% to 25% capacity.
  • Hotels that sleep more than 100 people to 75% capacity.
  • National parks to 50% capacity (except for Poas Volcano).
  • Public transport cannot take standing passengers.

Covid-19 testing requirements

Costa Rica does not require a negative coronavirus test to enter or exit the country. However, many foreign countries (e.g. the United States, Canada) do require a negative test if flying into or transiting through those nations.

More than 100 private labs across Costa Rica offer PCR and/or antigen coronavirus tests. Click here for a list. Note that antigen tests are accepted by the U.S. but are not valid for entry to many countries.

Mask wearing and other measures

Masks are required in all indoor settings except when eating, while alone, or in a private residence. You can be denied entry into an establishment if you are not wearing a mask.

Many businesses require hand washing and/or have implemented temperature checks.

In general, individuals should make every reasonable effort to maintain physical distancing of at least 2 meters from others when in public.

The official site for coronavirus measures in Costa Rica is: https://presidencia.go.cr/alertas.

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