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Covid testing at Costa Rica’s airports

Both Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) near San José and Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, Guanacaste, offer on-site coronavirus testing for outgoing travelers.

This gives passengers the ability to get tested on the same day as their flight, and it removes the complication of having to find a nearby lab with availability.

At both airports, the tests are conducted by Laboratorios Echandi in a partnership with Morpho Travel Retail.

While walk-ins are accepted, the lab recommends making a reservation at:

Testing at Costa Rica airports: A quick guide

First, determine what type of test you need:

  • Antigen tests are accepted by the U.S., are the cheapest and offer results within an hour.
  • RT-PCR tests are accepted by all other countries that require a negative result. Canada is one example.
  • Some countries don’t require a test at all. Mexico is one example. As long as you’re asymptomatic, you can still book a test in Costa Rica if you choose.

Then, book your appointment at

  • For an antigen test, book the appointment for at least 4 hours prior to scheduled departure. This is due to passengers not being allowed to check in until the negative result is delivered.
  • For an RT-PCR, results are typically delivered the following day. For a premium price, the lab can guarantee results within three hours.
  • At LIR, appointments are available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The SJO site is open at all hours.

Next, pay for the test online:

  • Antigen tests are $65 with results guaranteed in an hour.
  • RT-PCR tests are $99 with results delivered the next day between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Results will take two days when the sample is taken on Sunday.
  • Expedited RT-PCR tests are $240 with results delivered in three hours .

After paying, you will receive an email with the instructions about the Covid-19 test as well as the exact location of the Echandi laboratory at the airport:

  • The testing space at SJO is located 600 meters northwest of the international flights terminal and includes a dedicated parking area. The lab provides a free shuttle to/from the site and the terminal.
  • The testing space at LIR is on the west side of the terminal building near the edge of the parking lot.

Finally, arrive at the scheduled time for your test!

  • Staff at the lab are bilingual (English and Spanish).
  • If you opted for the rapid antigen test, you may have to wait in the lab until the result arrives.
  • If you test negative, you can proceed into the terminal and check-in for your flight. If you test positive, you will receive an isolation order and should work with your insurance company to find appropriate housing.

Remember, more than 100 labs across Costa Rica offer PCR and/or antigen tests for tourists in case you opt for a lab other than those at the airport.

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