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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Costa Rica vaccine mandate for tourists: FAQ

Starting January 8, 2022, most businesses across Costa Rica will require proof of Covid-19 vaccination for those ages 12 and older. Those who are not vaccinated will not be allowed into the establishment.

This mandate applies to tourists as well as to citizens and residents.

From the Tourism Board (ICT), here’s an FAQ detailing what tourists should know about Costa Rica’s new vaccine policies:

What will happen on Jan. 8, 2022?

All commercial establishments operating with a safety permit must only admit fully vaccinated individuals, verifiable by a QR code or a printed vaccination certificate. Specifically, this applies to:

  1. Restaurants, sodas, cafeterias and food courts, food trucks
  2. Bars and casinos
  3. General stores, department stores and shopping malls
  4. Museums
  5. Fitness centers
  6. Hotels, cabins or lodging establishments
  7. Spas
  8. Activities, organizations or congregations in places of worship,
    with more than 500 people.
  9. Event rooms for business, academic or social activities 10.Adventure tourism
    Theaters, cinemas, art and dance academies, and
    establishments for artistic activities
  10. Sports facilities

Essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, grocery stores and hospitals are exempt from this requirement are the only exceptions.

These requirements apply to Costa Rican citizens and foreigners aged 12 and older. The following groups are exempt from the requirement to present proof of vaccination:

  1. Minors under 12 years of age
  2. People who have a medical condition, duly accredited, which exempts them from vaccination following the policies of the
    Costa Rica Ministry of Health

What does ‘fully vaccinated’ mean in Costa Rica?

The indicated doses for each vaccine are:

  • AstraZeneca/Oxford: 2-dose series
  • Pfizer-BioNTech: 2-dose series
  • Moderna: 2-dose series
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): single dose


Fully vaccinated is recognized as the total number of doses for each 2 vaccine indicated by the pharmaceutical company, with the final dose
having been applied at least 14 days prior to entry.

COVID vaccines will be accepted so long as they have been authorized by a Strict Regulatory Authority (e.g. WHO). Cases in which the traveler receives a single dose after having been diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus will be considered fully vaccinated. In these instances, the vaccination documentation must indicate that it is a 1/1 dose (dose one of one).

Documentation verifying vaccination status in the Health Pass must contain the following information:

  • Full name (consistent with passport)
  • Name of administered vaccine
  • Date of each administered dose

Approved vaccines in Costa Rica are: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen.

How will international tourists obtain the QR code?

Tourists entering the country will receive a specific QR code promptly after their Health Pass (digital epidemiological form) application has been reviewed and approved.

They will be able to use their designated QR code to enter commercial establishments.

Will unvaccinated tourists be able to enter Costa Rica?

Yes. Tourists who are not fully vaccinated, or who have vaccines that have not been recognized by the World Health Organization, will be able to enter the country and stay with family, friends or in their own homes.

They must complete the Health Pass and purchase a travel policy that covers COVID-19 care and quarantine, if they are over 18 years of age. However, they will not be able to enter commercial establishments that require full vaccination, except for the established exceptions (essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, grocery stores and hospitals are exempt from this requirement).

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