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Travel to Costa Rica - COVID-19 Entry Requirements

Travel to Costa Rica
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Starting from August 1, Costa Rica gradually started reopening its borders for international travelers.

The Costa Rican air borders on March 16 were closed to foreigners for four and a half months, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. On August 1st, the country initially opened its air borders for tourists from the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Canada. And today, borders started to open for travelers from the United States, the main source of tourists for the country.

Costa Rica stands as the most visited nation in the Central American region, with 3.1 million foreign visitors in 2019. Of the 3,139,008 international visitors to Costa Rica in 2019, more than half (1,666,571) came from North America. 1,334,777 arrivals from the United States marked a 5.5% increase over 2018, according to government statistics.

Costa Rica, one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, features a stunning variety of landscapes and ecosystems (from tropical rainforest to mountains to offshore reefs),  1,100 miles of incredible coastline, and some of the friendliest — and happiest — people on the planet.

Air Travel

As of August 1, select international travelers are authorized to enter Costa Rica’s three international airports:

  • Juan Santamaría International Airport,
  • Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport,
  • Tobías Bolaños Airport.

The list of authorized regions and countries is being revised periodically.

As of September 1, private flights from the United States will be allowed to enter Costa Rica, given that their size and nature means they present a much lower epidemiological risk.

This is the list currently in effect (Oct. 6):

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wyoming California and Ohio
    • As of Oct. 15: Residents of Florida, Georgia and Texas
    • As of Nov. 1: All U.S. citizens and residents
  • CANADA: All citizens and residents
  • MEXICO: All citizens and residents
  • THE EUROPEAN UNION SCHENGEN ZONE: All citizens and residents
  • UNITED KINGDOM: All citizens and residents
  • SOUTH AMERICA: Citizens and residents of Uruguay
  • THE CARIBBEAN: Citizens and residents of Jamaica
  • ASIA: Citizens and residents of Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China
  • OCEANIA: Citizens and residents of Australia and New Zealand

 Entry Requirements

  • The electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS form must be filled.
  • You must have an RT-PCR diagnostic test with a negative result; the sample must have been taken within 72 hours of travel to Costa Rica.
  • Passengers coming from the U.S. must show through their driver’s license or state identification (State ID) that they live in one of the authorized states. This requirement excludes children traveling with their families. This requirement will be necessary until November 1.
  • Traveler’s Medical Insurance - international or purchased in Costa Rica through the National Insurance Institute (INS - Instituto Nacional de Seguros) or Sagicor

 

As of October 26, all local and foreign passengers who enter Costa Rica by air are not required to present a RT-PCR diagnostic test with a negative result.

As of November 1: Costa Rica re-enables its air border to all countries in the world as long as they meet the visa requirements when required, as well as the requirements established in the framework of the pandemic.

For international insurance policies, tourists must request a certification from their insurance company, issued in English or Spanish, verifying at least the following three conditions:

  • Effectiveness of the policy during the visit to Costa Rica
  • Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with the pandemic COVID-19 virus while in Costa Rica, for at least USD $50,000 (fifty thousand United States Dollars)
  • Includes minimum coverage of USD $2,000 for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic

If you will fly to Costa Rica with American Airlines, you can access to the airline’s preflight COVID-19 testing program. 

American will offer three options for preflight testing to customers with flights from DFW to Costa Rica:

  • At-home test from LetsGetChecked, observed by a medical professional via virtual visit, with results expected in 48 hours on average.
  • In-person testing at a CareNow urgent care location.
  • Onsite rapid testing, administered by CareNow, at DFW.

Customers traveling from MIA to Costa Rica will initially have one option for preflight testing, with more options becoming available after the program launches at the hub.

  • At-home test from LetsGetChecked, observed by a medical professional via virtual visit, with results expected in 48 hours on average.

Testing must be completed within 72 hours of the final leg of departure. Tourists and Costa Rican residents who test negative will be exempt from the country’s 14-day quarantine. Negative test results must be uploaded to the country’s Health Pass.

Private Flight Passengers Coming from Unauthorized Destination

In the event that travelers come from a state or country that is not authorized, they must receive the approval of the Ministry of Health and the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería). Interested parties should submit a request with the following items:

  • Full names of the passengers
  • Nationalities and ages
  • Legible copy of the biographical page of the passport of each one of the passengers
  • Date of arrival, arrival airport, and flight origin
  • The strategic reason for admission (investment review, property in Costa Rica, humanitarian reasons, etc.)

At Airport

Upon landing in Costa Rican territory, travelers must wear face protection and comply with the strict protocols of the air terminal with regard to physical distancing, disinfection of carpets, and taking temperature readings, and must follow any other sanitary instructions.

Tourists from authorized states may enter the country even if their route includes a stop at a destination that is not authorized, as long as they do not leave the transit airport.

Sea Travel

Passengers and crew members of yachts and sailboats must meet the same entry requirements as those issued to passengers entering by air on August 1.

Those who entered the country by sea from the list of permitted countries and who have not made a stopover elsewhere, should not be subjected to isolation if they have been sailing for more than 14 days.

If the passengers do not bring with them the negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to the trip to Costa Rica, or they set sail in an unauthorized city or country, they will receive a sanitary isolation order for 14 days from, from which will be deducted the number of days on the high seas, counting from the last port departure date recorded in the yacht or sailboat’s log.

In addition to the aforementioned requirements, tourists arriving from yachts or sailboats must hand over to the immigration authorities the “International Ship Sailing” document and dock in authorized marinas.

Where to Travel and Stay in Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers hundreds of lodging options from mountain lodges to all-inclusive hotels, mountain, and beach cozy cabins for a romantic outing or honeymoon.

If you are an adventure traveler, the towns of Monteverde and Santa Elena is a must destination for you. You can explore Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Located along with the Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range in central Costa Rica, this reserve is one of the country’s most coveted tourist destinations due to its astonishing natural beauty, extraordinary biodiversity and abundance of activities. You can thrill yourself at the birthplace of modern zipline tours here. See accommodation options in Monteverde and Santa Elena

Looking for a beach holiday? There are miles of these beaches touching two oceans, and the most incredible part is that the Caribbean and Pacific shores are just a few hours’ drive from each other. Playa Jaco, Playa BejucoPlaya CoclesPlaya Tamarindo, and Playa Flamingo.

Costa Rica’s capital and largest city, San Jose, is a modern city, complete with accommodation, shopping, dining, nightlife, and arts and culture. Easily explored by walking, taxis and buses, the vibrant city occupies a plateau in the country’s geographical center, making it a great base for exploring other destinations in Costa Rica. See hotels in San Jose

Costa Rica is home to a great number of volcanoes. Arenal still is one of the country’s best-known and most-visited volcanoes. The national park offers a number of excellent trails and the region is dotted with natural hot springs that definitely merit a visit. See hotels around Arenal Volcano National Park.

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