As the world continues to maneuver its way through a global pandemic, safety and preventative measures continue to evolve at an ever-changing rate. Costa Rica is no different than any other country developing restrictions, mandates, and protocols.
In order to navigate the country to a new sense of normalcy Costa Rica’s QR code and proof of vaccination have been established by the government. With announcements in October 2021, the government stated that they were implementing a vaccine QR code in order for people to enter many of Costa Rica’s businesses and establishments throughout the country.
What is the QR Code
The QR code is a way to show your vaccination status, that you are fully vaccinated, meaning you have received the required number of doses according to the approved vaccine.
In addition, to be considered fully vaccinated, it is required that you have received your final dose 14 days before entering Costa Rica. The list of approved vaccines for Costa Rica are Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, or Covaxin.
December 2021 was the declared rollout date with hopes to bring life back into the economy while still enforcing safety measures and precautions to limit the spread of the virus aiming to still keep the people safe.
Many people started downloading the health access apps to receive their QR code in preparation for the new regulations that was to roll out in December 2021. On December 2, 2021, more than 25,000 downloads had already been reported and as of today it has now reached well over 50,000 downloads.
However, the announcement was not accepted wholeheartedly by all, some stating it was discriminatory and unacceptable and, many in the tourism industry were not supportive of this decision.
Proof of Vaccination
The QR code for vaccination proof is scheduled to be obligatory whether you are a national or a foreign visitor. February 2022 became the new official timeline, but as a result of a stance from the tourism industry and litigation March 7, 2022, became the updated deadline for now.
Until then businesses have the option to choose between two methods of operation requiring them to have this clearly displayed for those wanting to enter. Provide proof of your vaccination status for entry which means the establishment is operating at full capacity or running at limited capacity and not requesting validation from patrons.
At this time, you do not need to be fully vaccinated to be granted entry into Costa Rica. However, if you are not a fully vaccinated adult you do need to have the required travel insurance as declared by the Costa Rica Government
One thing to note is that although you can be granted entry into Costa Rica in the absence of being fully vaccinated, without a QR code illustrating your proof of vaccination you are limited to where you can enter and what you can do in the country. Your list of activities can come to a standstill, taking you to the supermarket and grocery store, pharmacies, and the hospital. Probably not the Costa Rican dream vacation you were anticipating.
The list of establishments that will require you to show your QR is the majority of places, the non-essential venues in Costa Rica. This includes going out for meals at restaurants, food courts, and your local soda. Working out at the gym, shopping at commercial centers and stores, visiting museums, or want to enjoy a movie out at the cinema.
Bars, casinos, sporting events, or hall events, almost all outings will require you to scan your QR code. Even finding a place to stay if it isn’t friends or family members will have you showing your code to stay at a hotel.
It is across the board including adventure tourism if you were thinking of going ziplining, rafting, jet skiing, even on horseback riding tours. For the time being National Parks and SINAC’s protected areas are not requiring the QR code.
There are exemptions to the rules, that are applied to minors under the age of 12 not requiring them to present a QR code as well as those that have an accredited medical condition that prevents one from being vaccinated making them exempt. If this does pertain to you, ensure your documents are in English or Spanish.
However, if all goes according to their timeline this will change on March 8, 2022, so it is best to prepare yourself if you haven’t already as they transition towards its mandatory use in all non-essential establishments.
Traveling to Costa Rica
If you do not have a QR code and were vaccinated in Costa Rica as a tourist and foreign resident then you can follow the link at to complete the Ministry of Health’s form. After at least 10 working days then you should be able to follow up on your information here to receive your QR code. A brief youtube video, which you can watch below, was created in Spanish to help guide you in obtaining your QR code.
Tourists entering Costa Rica are required to complete a Health Pass prior to access into the country. After completion of the Health Pass and its approval, you will be given your designated QR code.
When completing your Health Pass, you are also required to upload a copy of your vaccination card which illustrates you are fully vaccinated. Your QR code is specific to Costa Rica and generated here solely, codes from other countries aren’t accepted or used throughout the country’s establishments.
For further details on how to get your Costa Rica vaccine QR code, you can read through it here
In addition, you can reach the Health Access App through the following sites:
Not all may agree with the mandate and the decisions of the Costa Rican government. However, if you are wanting to truly enjoy all that Costa Rica has to offer getting out and experiencing this amazing country, then you will want to make yourself aware, following through with Costa Rica’s QR code for proof of vaccination status.