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Costa Rica coronavirus driving, business restrictions for July 2021 (updated)

July 22, 2021

The Costa Rican government will maintain driving restrictions in response to continued highs in coronavirus cases.

Below are Costa Rica’s coronavirus measures for July 2021 (as of July 22).

Travel and borders

Costa Rica is welcoming tourists who arrive via flights (commercial or private) or boats (yachts or sailboats). Cruises carrying vaccinated passengers and crew can make ports of call in Costa Rica as of September.

A negative coronavirus test is not required for entry to Costa Rica, but visitors are required to purchase insurance covering their stay in Costa Rica. Minors and vaccinated tourists will be able to enter Costa Rica without insurance starting August 1.

The land borders are also open to tourists, residents and citizens.

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

As of July 12 through July 25:

  • 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.
  • Weekend:
    • Even plates cannot circulate on Sunday the 25th.
    • Odd plates cannot circulate on Saturday the 24th.

The same restrictions will continue as of July 26. (Previously, Costa Rica had planned to switch to alternating odd/even restrictions on the 26th):

The nighttime driving ban (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) continues unchanged.

The typical list of exceptions — which includes rental vehicles, people driving to/from a hotel reservation, people driving to/from the airport and people driving to/from work — continues to apply. The official list of exceptions can be found here.

One new exception is for people driving to/from an educational center, with the appropriate proof.

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.

In-person schools resumed July 12.

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.

Both Costa Rica airports now offer Covid-19 tests. Click here for more info.

Anyone in Costa Rica who is asymptomatic can purchase an antigen test at a private lab. Prices vary but typically start at about $50.

Samples for PCR and antigen tests in Costa Rica are collected via nasal swabs.

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.

How to get a vaccine

Costa Rica is vaccinating citizens and residents. The vaccine priority is as follows:

  • First group: Staff and residents at retirement or nursing homes. First responders, including health personnel.
  • Second group: Costa Rica’s older population, defined here as those ages 58 and up. According to the Presidency, this group is required to demonstrate residency with a cédula or DIMEX.
  • Third group: People from 12-58 with risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory illness, kidney disease and obesity, among others.
  • Fourth group: Teachers and other staff within the Education Ministry (MEP) or private schools. Imprisoned people and judicial staff. Workers for the 911 service.
  • Fifth group: People ages 40-57 without any of the aforementioned risk factors. Then, all remaining adults and children ages 12 and older.

Vaccines are administered at EBAIS, which are the public-health clinics that comprise part of Costa Rica’s national healthcare system. Each EBAIS manages a list of people who live in their jurisdiction. This list is used to identify priority individuals and to schedule their vaccine appointments.

If you are in one of the priority groups, contact your local EBAIS, make sure they have your information, and confirm you’re on their list.

For EBAIS contact information, and to see what populations your EBAIS is vaccinating, click here.

As of July 16, citizens and residents ages 40 and older can receive a shot — no appointment needed — at mass vaccination sites across Costa Rica. Click here for the official schedule from the CCSS.

Covid-19 situation in Costa Rica

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