Costa Rica and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last Updated: November 26, 2020

The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a hot topic these days for travelers. We’ve had many readers and clients inquire about how Costa Rica is dealing with the Coronavirus, if there are any travel restrictions, and whether they should modify their plans. In this post, we will give you as much information as possible about the situation in Costa Rica along with links to official government websites so that you can ensure you have the most accurate and up-to-date news. 

Current Situation

Is Travel Allowed?

Yes, on August 1, Costa Rica’s international airports reopened to tourists from some countries. As of November 1, there is no longer any travel ban. Residents from all countries and all U.S. states can now enter Costa Rica by air.  

To enter, visitors must buy special travel insurance and fill out an online health form. A COVID test is no longer required. To see the complete entry requirements and what to expect once you arrive, read our post, Traveling to Costa Rica During Covid-19: Entry Requirements, Protocols & What to Expect

Newest COVID Stats

As of November 26, there have been 135,742 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica, 83,273 people recovered, and 1,679 deceased, leaving 50,790 active cases. We typically update this post daily, except weekends when no new data is released.

Recent Developments

  • Costa Rica saw its highest daily increase of new COVID-19 cases on September 18. There were 1,556 new cases over 24 hours. The second highest increase was on October 14, with 1,542 new cases. On November 26, there were 1,222 new cases reported. 
  • Currently most businesses are able to operate, with some exceptions (see sections below).        

Costa Rica and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

About Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that typically cause respiratory infections. COVID-19 is the most recent addition to this group of viruses. We won’t go into detail about what COVID-19 is, but here are the major symptoms:

• High fever
• Cough
• Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing
• Severe cases can lead to additional complications, and in rare cases be fatal.

For more general information on the virus, visit the World Health Organization’s website.

If you are in Costa Rica and think you may have symptoms, call the Coronavirus Hotline at 1322 or use 911 in case of an emergency.  

Costa Rica Cases of Coronavirus

Current Data

Currently (as of November 26) there have been 135,742 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica, 83,273 recovered, and 1,679 deceased. The first fatality was recorded on March 18.

Of the deceased, 637 have been female and 1,042 have been male. The age range for those who have passed away spans from 9 to 101-years old. 

Geographically there are reported cases in every Costa Rican province. Active cases are spread throughout all of the country’s 82 cantons. The cantons of Alajuela, Desamparados, and San Jose have the most active cases. For the complete breakdown by canton, see the daily info-graphic shared on the Ministerio de Salud’s website here. This daily breakdown is updated each evening and also includes the number of recovered in each canton. 

All confirmed individuals are being isolated either in their homes, hotels, specialized housing, or hospitals and are under medical supervision. The government is doing contact tracing whenever possible for infected individuals and requiring a 14-day quarantine for those with possible exposure. 

First Cases in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s first cases were two individuals (a couple) who traveled from New York to Costa Rica on March 1 (both age 49). The man was in contact with someone who had the virus in the US before he traveled. He did not show any symptoms, but his wife began showing symptoms during their trip and then tested positive. Both fully recovered in March, finished their 14-day quarantine, and were able to return home

Shortly after the couple was diagnosed, a doctor from Alajuela (male, age 54) who returned from Panama on February 22, started showing symptoms. More than 25 of the first Costa Rican citizens who tested positive are directly linked with that man.  

Where to Get Updates

Official announcements are published on the Ministry of Health News website. They also share information to their Facebook Page.

Additionally, the President’s office has set up a COVID-19 Alert Page, with the most recent restrictions and protocols. We will also summarize them in the sections below.

Travel Restrictions/Travel Ban


Costa Rica closed its borders (land, air, and sea) to all foreign travelers between March 18 and July 31. A partial reopening for visitors from some countries began on August 1. More countries and many U.S. States have since been added to the list. As of November 1, residents from all countries and all U.S. States are allowed to enter by air or sea (land borders remain closed to tourists). 

To enter, visitors will need to complete an online epidemiological form and carry specified travel insurance. A quarantine period is not required for tourists when entering. COVID-19 tests are also NO LONGER required (since October 26). 

Read our post, Traveling to Costa Rica During Covid-19: Entry Requirements, Protocols & What to Expect for up-to-date information on the latest entry requirements and what it will be like to travel within the country.

Citizens, Residents, and Relatives

As of August 14, all Costa Rican citizens and legal residents (those with permanant or temporary residency) are allowed to enter by air from any country. Relatives with a direct relationship to a Costa Rican citizen will also be able to enter. Read our article for the entry requirements for each category.  

How is Costa Rica Dealing with Coronavirus?


Costa Rican authorities have been very proactive in helping to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within the country. Social distancing and new sanitary practices are the biggest measures taking place countrywide.

Health officials are issuing bi-weekly press briefings. Visit the Ministry of Health News Page for the latest official updates. At the top right of the page, you can select your language. For those who speak Spanish, you can watch the Ministry of Health’s bi-weekly briefing on Facebook Live, Tuesdays and Fridays around 1:00 p.m. CST.

Below are some of the specific actions that Costa Rica has taken during the pandemic. For a more personal look at what it has been like during this time, you can read our post: Covid-19 in Costa Rica: Living Here Through the Pandemic.

Specific Actions

Here are some notable actions taken:

• Since February, Costa Rica has had the proper laboratory test for diagnosing COVID-19. All government testing has been through INCIENSA, the country’s Center of Disease Investigation. 

• Hospitals as well as emergency services (like 911) have protocols in place to deal with patients showing or describing symptoms. Additionally, a dedicated COVID-19 hospital has been set up in the San Jose area. The public health system has also expanded its intensive care (ICU) bed capacity and continues to do so. 

• Campaigns by the government-run healthcare system (CCSS) are continuously informing the public of preventative techniques. They are delivering the information through television, radio, and social media.

A new telephone hotline (1322) was put in place that is dedicated to Coronavirus consultations. 911 remains available for serious health situations and other emergencies.

• Since March 15, the health department has ordered closure of all bars, nightclubs, casinos, and amusement parks. 

The Ministry of Health issued new guidelines for commercial chains, supermarkets, and smaller convenience stores. These specify cleaning and sanitary procedures as well as offering specific hours for elderly customers.

• The Ministry of Health has been using contact tracing techniques to identify individuals that were potentially exposed to an active case whenever possible. The people identified are required to quarantine for 14-days and their health is monitored during that time.  

• Starting in June, the Costa Rican Government began issuing emergency alerts (see below sections) in several cantons and specific districts where the virus is spreading. These alerts come with increased restrictions.

On July 20, the Ministry of Health modified the regulation for masks or face shields. Now they are required in all indoor spaces, except for private homes and restaurants (customers are exempt but not staff). Beginning September 9, a mask specifically must be worn in all those spaces. A face shield can be worn as well, but only in addition to a mask.   

Costa Rica Ministry of Health Guidance Coronavirus
Guidance from the Ministry of Health on what to do now that COVID-19 is in Costa Rica

Reopening Measures

Like many countries, Costa Rica closed many businesses and public areas/services at the start of the pandemic. In late April, Costa Rican officials announced that countrywide restrictions would begin to be loosened gradually and on a trial basis.

This began as a four-phase plan. Each phase opened more businesses and services, while at the same time implementing strict sanitary guidelines. For example, restaurants were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity.
Three phases of the reopening plan were implemented but the fourth phase (originally scheduled for July 2020) was postponed due to an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases.

Instead of going forward with the fourth phase, the government has made individual adjustments to the measures at various times. For example, in June and July, local tourism was encouraged with the reopening of hotels, beaches (for limited hours), and national parks. Officials have always stressed that restrictions may be put back into place if they see a rise in the number of cases. 

For dates between August 31 to November 30, officials have announced that most businesses with a health permit (e.g. restaurants, shops, many services) will be allowed to open at 50% capacity and hotels will be allowed to operate at 100% (with common areas at 50%). 

You can read details of the health measures on the Ministry of Health Announcement page or in more detail on the Presidential Alert Page. . Additionally, Starting October 9, bars and casinos were able to reopen, with strict health measures in place.

Begining October 15, beaches became open for more hours, from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on weekdays and 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekends (unless otherwise specified by local municipalities). 

The original reopening measures announced by the Ministry of Health.


Mass gathering events like concerts, sporting events, festivals, and fairs will remain closed for the forseable future, even with reopening measures.

Emergency Alerts

Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (Comisión Nacional de Emergencias) has issued a Yellow Alert for most of the country. This alert reinforces the measures laid out by the Ministry of Health in the reopening plan above.

Alert #71 from the Emergency Commission. Issued November 17

Ongoing since June, some cantons and districts have been issued an Orange Alert, with greater restrictions. These zones very generally show where cases are spiking, or where authorities feel there is a high risk of an increase. 

Originally, nonessental businesses in Orange Zones may have been temporarily closed or only allowed limited operating hours. However, since September 9 and through November, most businesses have been allowed to remain open, even if they are in an Orange Alert (see reopening section above). The local governments in these zones must have an approved action plan in place in order to qualify.

In some cases the local government will implement restricted hours of operation for businesses like restaurants and shops (for example, they might need to close at 8:00 p.m. instead of 10:00 p.m.). Some communities under Orange Alert also have limited beach hours, though this is not that common. 

The list of cantons and districts under Orange Alert is constantly changing so for the latest information, visit the CNE homepage and click on Alerts.

Vehicle Restrictions 

To restrict the movement of people, driving restrictions have been put in place. 

Note: To help promote local tourism. If you have a hotel reservation, you can drive on a restricted day (to/from the accomodations) while holding proof of that reservation. See general details about the exemption here. Additionally, rental cars are exempt from vehicle restrictions so local or foreign tourists driving a rented vehicle can drive at any time. 

Driving Restrictions (Countrywide – Yellow and Orange Alert Zones)

From August 31 through November, vehicles may circulate between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m on weekends, except if your license plate corresponds with a restriction that day. The license plate restrictions are below.

License Plate Restrictions (Countrywide) 

Monday – vehicles with plates ending with 1 or 2 cannot drive. 

Tuesday – vehicles with plates ending with 3 or 4 cannot drive. 

Wednesday – vehicles with plates ending with 5 or 6 cannot drive. 

Thursday – vehicles with plates ending with 7 or 8 cannot drive. 

Friday – vehicles with plates ending with 9 or 0 cannot drive.

Saturday – no license plate restrictions, everyone can drive. 

Sunday – no license plate restrictions, everyone can drive. 

Should I Cancel or Delay My Trip?

Before cancelling your plans, here are some practical things to consider.

• First, things are developing quickly around the world. With the situation changing daily, many travelers we have heard from are in a wait-and-see holding pattern. They are waiting to see how the situation evolves before making their final decision to go ahead with, delay, or cancel their vacation. The CDC has a page set up to answer travel questions and evaluate the risk of traveling to certain countries. 

• If your trip needs to be canceled and the deadlines for cancellation have passed, it is worth reaching out to individual service providers to see if you can postpone the reservations for a later date or at least get a partial refund. We have found in helping our clients with refunds and changes that most tourism businesses are being lenient on their policies because of the situation. Keep in mind that some fees are unavoidable (credit card processors, PayPal, etc., usually do not reimburse their fees on a refund, so the operator takes the hit and sometimes must pass these on to the client).   

• If your trip is several months away, it may be beneficial to look at the individual cancellation policies for your airfare, hotels, transportation, and tours now. Cancellation policies usually have a deadline to cancel or modify (typically 15-30 days for hotels and 7 days to 24 hours for tours, shuttle transfers, and rental cars). These policies usually also lay out any associated fees that come when cancelling (e.g., 100% refund with 30 days’ notice, first night charged with 15 days’ notice). Consider these cancellation policies when picking a date to make your final decision about whether to cancel.

• If you can travel, still consider official warnings from health officials on travel and self-care. If you fit into the category of a high-risk individual, determine if travel to Costa Rica is necessary or could be postponed. According to the CDC’s website, people of high risk may be:

o Older adults
o People who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease

Protecting Yourself

While the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is scary, worldwide health officials urge that protecting yourself and others can go a long way in preventing its spread. Here’s what we should all be practicing:

  • Regular and thorough hand washing (at least 20 seconds)
  • Disinfecting surfaces
  • Always covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
  • Wearing a mask if you must go out.
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing
  • Staying home at the first sign of symptoms

What If You Get Sick During Your Trip?

If someone comes down with the Coronavirus during their trip to Costa Rica, the protocol here is to call 1322. English-speaking operators are available. For emergency situations use 911. 

In addition, private urgent care facilities are available to help. We received information from a local doctor who we trust about the process of what would happen. He said that Costa Rica has implemented international protocols for urgent care providers. If someone presents with symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection (sore throat, fever, coughing, sneezing, headaches), the doctor will evaluate them, and if necessary, report a suspicious case to INCIENSA (Costa Rica’s Center of Disease Investigation).

The person will be told to remain in isolation at his or her current location (hotel or vacation rental) so as not to potentially spread the virus. After this, the doctor will work with the Ministry of Health on how to proceed with the patient. They will only transport a patient to a higher grade care center like a hospital if they have acute respiratory distress and their vital signs are not stable.

These type of private urgent care facilities are located all around the country and basically all have English-speaking doctors. You can find them in Quepos/Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Tamarindo, Monteverde, La Fortuna, Samara, and many more towns that are popular for visitors.

If you need a COVID-19 test while you are in Costa Rica, they are available through the public healthcare system or private hospitals and facilities. For information on private testing locations see our post, Where to Get a Covid-19 Test in Costa Rica


We hope this post will help you understand the current Coronavirus situation in Costa Rica. While not a fun topic, it is important to share all the details as they develop. Viewing this all from Costa Rica, we have been impressed so far with the government’s response.  You can read more about our experience living through the pandemic in Costa Rica here.  

We plan to update this post as often as needed until Coronavirus is under control worldwide. We hope everyone stays safe and doesn’t have to change their travel plans. If you do have to postpone, we hope that you’ll be able to visit soon!

In the meantime, we recommend checking out our Virtual Field Trip posts, which have some interesting information and activities to help you connect with Costa Rica from home.

Additional Resources

World Health Organization’s (WHO) – Latest Updates on COVID-19
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – Latest Updates on COVID-19
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Information for Travel
Johns Hopkins – Map of confirmed cases worldwide
The Tico Times – English-language online newspaper in Costa Rica

Disclaimer: We are not experts in disease prevention or doctors and are not intending to give medical or other professional advice. If you’re unsure if you should travel to Costa Rica, consult the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) websites for more information or seek the advice of a medical professional.

Last Updated: November 26, 2020

Are you hoping to visit Costa Rica soon? Here are some resources to help you plan:

Traveling to Costa Rica During Covid-19: Entry Requirements, Protocols & What to Expect – This post has all of the information you will need to know ahead of time. Includes what to expect for safety protocols at the airport, hotels, attractions, and more. 

Best Time to Visit Costa Rica – Need to reschedule your trip? Check out this post for details on when might be a good time of year to visit. Includes information on busiest and slowest times for tourism.

Rental Car Discount – Looking for a rental car for your upcoming trip. Use our discount to save 10-20% and receive free extras like a second driver, cell phone, and more. 

Packing for Costa Rica – Wondering what you need to pack for Costa Rica’s mountains vs. the beach? We’ve got it all covered in this post. Includes recommendations for rainy season travel as well.

Weather in Costa Rica – Learn about the different seasons and why you can’t rely on your phone’s weather App. for accurate info. Includes charts of past weather data to help you plan.

Related Posts

CIMA Hospital Covid Testing Costa Rica
Where to Get a Covid-19 Test in Costa Rica
Car Seats Costa Rica Travel
Car Seats in Costa Rica
Southern Pacific Coast Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific Coast: Regional Snapshot
Planning a Family Vacation to Costa Rica
Planning a Family Vacation to Costa Rica: Essential Tips and Info


  1. Thanks for the updates guys. Missing you all! I was supposed to come back to CR this week (have been spending a few months back in the states) and now it looks like I may be canceling for now. Not happy about it, but trying to be safe.

  2. Thanks for the update. We are coming for our first trip to CR in about a month. No way we’re missing out on coming! Thanks for all your great info….

  3. Great update, thanks. We are retiring to Costa Rica in mid September and hope that the situation by then has relaxed. At the moment our plans stay as they are. The car is already on it’s way by boat. Pura Vida

  4. Thanks SO much for sharing such comprehensive information! My family and I will be heading to Costa Rica on the 18th, so I will definitely be keeping an eye on this for updates.

  5. Thanks for the useful info; I’m looking forward to my visit in a few weeks. I will feel safer in Costa Rica than in the U.S., given the ease of outdoor living and less crowded spaces!

  6. Thank you for this. It is helping us with making our choice to travel to our bucket list location of Costa Rica.

    I do have a question. We have excursions booked for our trip coming up on the 1st of April until the 8th. Have they cancelled these excursions in any way or are they still up and running? We are zip lining, visiting Arenal and the hot springs and also doing the river cruise. As we are not really concerned with travelling to Costa Rica itself, we do not want to lose out on our cancellation credit if we cannot take part in these excursions.

    Thanks again, we will be paying attention to your updates as they are layed out quite well.


    Ontario, Canada

    1. Hi Tony, Yes, all tours are running like normal. There are still tourists arriving in Costa Rica. We were out to dinner last night and there were several larger groups who had just gotten into town. So while travel is way down overall, some people are still coming. If you end up having to cancel your trip, you should contact the individual operators to see if there is flexibility regarding rescheduling for a later date. We have been doing this for a lot of clients, and tour operators have been modifying without any cancellation penalty. This is all a big hit to the local economy so most businesses are just trying to get people here, even if it is later on. We hope this helps.

      1. Hi Jenn and Matt,

        First, I topok the time to read up on your story after asking my question to you. Quite fascinating and very jealous I might add! Congrats to you both for making such a successful and life changing decision.

        Your information was so very helpful. We have made the difficult decision to postpone our trip. Sunwing cancelled all flights recently anyway so it was inevitable . Our borders are also no closed but our biggest decision not to travel was not wanting to be responsible to get others sick and put people at risk. I think that is the biggest thing we all need to understand right now. it is everyone else we need to take into consideration. As most of us would recover, its our aging population that will suffer the worst.

        Sunwing granted us a full value travel voucher that we WILL use to visit Costa Rica! It has been on both of our bucket lists for a long time. Maybe you can share a time of year not to travel to Costa Rica from a weather standpoint? Being from Canada we would want to travel between November and March because of wanting warmth.

        Thanks again. Maybe we should take a drive and meet for dinner at a place you’d recommend?!

  7. thanks your posts has made it easier to relax – we are from the UK and things are changing every hour… we have been on hold for month wondering if we will be going my son is 11 he has medical insurance to cover him and we have insurance the travel agent said its still ok for us to fly at the moment but on other pages it says things are changing and they are stopping people coming in because they are worried about CR healthcare system and cancelled many hotel with tour operaters , and people are stuck at airports and have to come back after waiting hours is this not true…want the best for our family like everyone else

  8. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    I’m supposed to do a border run by this Friday, my 90th day in Costa Rica. I’d much rather not, as I already have pre-existing respiratory issues related to a heart condition. I’m thinking of filing for the 60-day visa extension, and I know that time is running short. Are you familiar with the process at all? Most importantly, would I be legal here after having submitted my application, even if I haven’t heard back by Friday? Thank you.

    1. Hi J,
      Sorry for the delay, you’ve probably already read the updates but the borders are closed until April 12 at midnight. According to recent Outlier Legal Services news post, Tourists (non-Residents) who entered the country after December 17, 2019, can legally remain in Costa Rica until May 17, 2020 with their current stamp. You can read the whole article here.

  9. Hey, I’m currently in Costa Rica. We’ve been here for 4 days and are meant to stay for another 10. Has there been any information for tourists who are already in Costa Rica? We are considering if we need to go home early. We really don’t wan to but we’re worried how quickly everything will start to close. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lizzy, We’d rescommend rescheduling your flight if you haven’t already so that you leave soon. Now that Costa Rica has closed its borders, airlines are cancelling a lot of flights. Safe travels and sorry that your trip was cut short! 🙁

  10. We are US citizens in CR now… we’ve been here three weeks and had planned another week but are returning to the US early while we can. The Auto Mercado in Herradura is fully stocked. People seem calm but today the beaches were all closed so we are hunkered down in our rental until we fly out on Tuesday.

  11. We have a trip scheduled to Costa Rica from the US April 25 – May 1. Do you think we need to go ahead and reschedule? We have excursions and flights already booked

    1. Hi Dawn, We’d go ahead and reschedule everything for later this year. It’s very unlikely that they will reopen the border and that flights will be running as usual by April 25th. If you could reschedule starting in July or later, that would be the safest option in terms of when to expect things to be getting back to normal. Of course, you never know, but that’s our best guess right now.

  12. Hi Guys, your website is very helpful and the comprehensive info and links too. Please could I ask your advice regarding our daughter who is currently working at a cloud forest in Costa Rica and having a fantastic time. We are from the Uk and have booked her onto the last flight leaving to London on Saturday. However, her preference is to stay but we are concerned about her well being if she falls ill. It’s probably an impossible question to answer but do you have any advice that you could pass on? Many thanks

    1. Hi Mike, Yes, we would recommend that she leave to go back home so that she doesn’t get stuck here. Medical care in Costa Rica is fairly good, but they have closed the borders and there is no way to know how long that will last. We’d get her on a flight now while you still can.

  13. Hello,
    This is absolutely off subject nothing to do with covid 19. My fiancé is from and living in Costa Rica and we plan on getting married this May. Can you help me with what I need and who I can contact to make this a more easy process. I know I need a few things to be able to marry in Costa Rica but Im not sure what they are exactly. Your guidance would be greatly appreciated.

  14. Any updates on airlines flying after April 13th CR border lock from Canada? Air Canada shows flights leaving Toronto – San Jose May 2nd. Curious to know if there’s any airline flying in earlier. Thank you!

    1. Hi Marcus, You may have heard, but yesterday, Costa Rica extended the travel ban until April 30th. It may extend beyond that as well. Hopefully we are out of this in a few months and you can travel here again soon.

      1. Hi there. We cannot find any official statement where the border closure has been extended from the 12th to the 30th. Can you help me find it? None of the official sites are listing 4/30. They only list 4/12. Thank you!

          1. Thank you so, so much. I appreciate this. Your site has been a huge help to my boyfriend and me during this time.

  15. Thanks for this sharing your information!!! Since I have family living there this is extremely welcomed information.

  16. Hi, I was originally scheduled to fly to Nicaragua and Costa Rica on March 23, but my flights were cancelled and it would have been impossible to enter Costa Rica legally at that point due to Costa Rica closing its borders. I’ve been thinking about rebooking my flights for June, but it would appear that under current regulations I would have to self-quarantine for two weeks. Are you aware when that regulation is do to be relaxed?
    I am in California working from home by phone and internet and I expect that to last until at least August. With a fast internet connection and cell phone reception, I really could work from just about anywhere in the world at this point and I am applying for Costa Rican citizenship and need about 6 more months of “residency” in Costa Rica to complete the requirement to obtain CR citizenship, so this could be an opportunity to obtain about 2 to 3 months toward that goal.
    Also, theres not much information coming out of Nicaragua as it appears dozens may be dying, but the government is listing them as deaths due to pneumonia. Is there any talk of keeping the border to Nicaragua closed even after travel opens to other countries? I know that it may be officially difficult to answer these questions, but I was hoping you may have some inside information that is not available elsewhere. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jay, You may have heard but they just extended the border closure for non-resident/citizen foreigners until May 15th. We think everything else remains the same, including the 14 day quarantine requirements for residents and citizens reentering. Regarding Nicaragua, yes, the situation seems a bit out of control with the government not doing anything. We haven’t heard anything about them keeping that border closed longer, but you never know. Even though the current general closure is only through May 15, we expect that to be extended given the extensive spread throughout the rest of the world and the fact that the vast majority of people in CR haven’t had the virus yet. Hope that flights start running again so that you can get here soon.

  17. Good information and so glad I found this website. It’s almost comforting to know others are in the same boat as us. We were supposed to be in Costa Rica this weekend celebrating our daughter’s wedding. After a year of careful planning, we are beyond heartbroken that we had to postpone it, but we’re going to try again in July. Hopefully, by then travel restrictions will have lifted and we can resume our plans, but if not, we decided not to cancel. We will just postpone again until it’s safe to go. PerseVida!

    1. Hi Paige, The government today just extended the border closure until May 15th. We’ll see if it extendeds farther beyond that. That’s terrible that you had to postpone the wedding. We hope it works out for July! We have some clients who are hoping to come then too. Take care!

  18. Hi from Texas ! Just a note to thank you for all you do to promote CR. I have been there several times since 2012 and plan to purchase a vacation home in San Isidro next trip. It was scheduled for April, then May, then June…. now I arrive in CR July 9th… looking forward as always. Question: I was told by the University of San Pedro that if I taught (I have graduate science degrees) a semester that they would get my residency in a couple weeks! Have you heard of this “fast track” for professors??? Thanks in advance,


    1. Hi Tevis, We aren’t sure but do think that it is easier to get residency if you are teaching. Our son’s school has some teachers this year from North America and they got visas fairly easily we heard. I’m not sure of the specific type of residency it is or how long it is good for. Best to talk to a laywer in CR. Hope the borders are open for you to come in July!

    2. Trevis – You need to reschedule. They just extended the border restrictions again – to August 1, and then only to travelers coming from countries that have COVID under control. They haven’t defined what that means, but the US won’t qualify unless some corrupt deal comes into play. I’d be surprised if they don’t push that August 1 date back anyway,

      I have never heard of abnyone getting residency in two weeks, and, from what I hear, nobody is getting answers from Migracion during the restrictions. Someone’s probably blowing smoke.

      Residency is not a big perk. I know a lot of expats who are “perpetual tourists” and just crossed into Panama or Nicaragua to renew their every three months before the lock-down. I am a permanent resident, which still wouldn’t get me back into the country if I left during the border closure (citizens only).

      If I had my way, we would be on lock-down until a proven vaccine has been distributed to everyone here. We are seeing a rise in positive tests, but are holding at under 3000 cases, about half “cured”, and only 12 dead. Panama, to the south has more than 40X the number of COVID fatalities, despite a population only 80% the size of CR; and Nicaragua is suppressing reporting, but is in absolute chaos from what my family there tells me (they all had COVID and survived, but that defies the odds).

      Keep checking the US embassy web site for the latest. Also tha organization Association of Residents of Costa Rica (ARCR) has much info posted on various residency requirements. It is good to get your documents before you come if you plan to apply right away (documents are good only for a short time – mine were lost in the mail twice). Also, ARCR has lawyers, but you really don’t need to pay someone if you can follow instructions. I hired one of their l;awyers when I originally filed, but have done my renewals and change from “Temoporary” to “Permanent” by myself.

      Good luck, but I don’t think that you should count on coming before 2021.

      1. Thanks Scott and Matt for the good info! am afraid that I’m just going to have to be patient. I do appreciate your help and advice. I agree that strict enforcement is best but just wish I had been “stuck” in CR back first of the year!!! 🙂 Thanks again!

  19. I woke up one day and found that I was 60 years old and hadn’t really traveled much. Looking to get the ball rolling, I had scheduled 3 weeks in Costa Rica supposed to depart May 1. I’ve been diligently studying Spanish on Duolingo for months, and was going to spend part of that 3 weeks at a language school.
    At any rate thanks you guys for keeping us all up to date on the sate of travel to CR. The other blogs aren’t as diligent.
    I re-booked for mid-September, though I heard the weather isn’t as nice??

    1. Hi Steve, That’s great that you have been working on your Spanish. We used to use Duolingo too. Hope that this is all over soon and you can get down here. Yeah, the weather in September can be pretty rainy, but not always and some places have better weather than others. The Caribbean side is actually fairly nice that time of year. Here’s the link to our Weather post with more info.

  20. Hi, we still have a trip planned for mid-July hopeful the border will open. If it does do you think a 14 day quarantine will be required for any international tourists?

    1. Hi Mike, Yes, we do think a test and 14 day quarantine will be required if they open the borders, which we really aren’t sure they will do anytime soon. They are requiring both now for citizens and residents returning.

      1. Hi Jenn and Matt, I can’t seem to find any information about ” mandatory” or ” required ” quarantine if we arrive in Costa R as tourist, vacation purposes. You say that it will most likely be required. I am scheduled for last week of July there. So if they stick to the restrictions they have in May and June (I know it’s closed till June 15 so far), then we will be tested (how, temperature ? blood ? and where ? ) .. and then we are mandated to quarantine ? So if I arrive at my resort, I am required to stay there for 14 days ? Am I tracked ? How can I do that when I’m only there for 6 nights ? This would be a total mute point in coming to CR for vacation. can you forward me the link or info where you got the quarantine info? Maybe by late July, we may not need to quarantine or have a test ? I know you won’t know till closer to the date but it’s frustrating not knowing. I will have to avert to plan B soon if I can’t come to CR. Thanks.

        1. Hi Christine, It’s hard to say at this point what kind of testing and quarantine they would require, or if they would even require those when the border is eventually opened to tourists. If it’s not opened for a while, then they may not require a quarantine since they obviously realize that it would not make it possible for most people to come on vacation.

          So we aren’t sure, but based on what they are doing now, it’s a self quarantine but we’ve heard that the government calls you daily to check compliance. I wouldn’t think they’d let tourists wait it out from any random hotel. For the foreigners who tested positive in March, they were quarantined at hotels in San José. For testing, they have been doing nasal swabs of truck drivers in order to allow them to cross the border from Nicaragua, so maybe it would be that, but who knows.

          Based on how cautious the government has been so far and because their latest plan to reopen the economy aims to focus on promoting local tourism before international tourism (and that plan goes until August), we don’t think it’s likely that they’ll open the border in June or July. We have had a noticeable increase in new cases over the past few days with the gradual reopening so they will be keeping a close eye on how this progresses. We will update this post if we hear anything more. Sorry it is so indefinite but that is all the information we have right now.

  21. Thanks. Our trip is planned to be 17 days long, so in reality even if the border opened we would be required to quarantine at a hotel/rental for the first 14 days of the trip? No beachgoing or leaving the grounds of the rental? I know you can’t tell us what to do, but would your recommendation be to reschedule a July 14th trip at this point? We have until June 25th before our cancellation period start expiring.

    1. Thanks so much for the info ! Wow , that’s a new observation that I received – that you don’t foresee the border opening in June or July . That does make sense if they are slowly first trying to have locals travel Before foreigners. We shall wait and see. Thanks again !

  22. Do you know anything about renewing car registration? My car expired in April. Not sure if I can renew now or can I wait?

    1. Hi Tina, The registration (Marchamo) is due by the end of the year in Costa Rica and you can pay that at the bank or INS. Maybe you are talking about the inspection (Riteve) – the due date for that varies. For this, you go to a Riteve station. These are open right now, but we think only one person is allowed to go due to COVID-19. A lot of times, people have their mechanic take the car for them. You can read our post Riteve: Costa Rica’s Annual Vehicle Inspection for more information.

      1. Thanks…
        Yes RTV …hard to get an appointment…but I think in San Jose they are enforcing plate driving restrictions more that RTV…mine expired in April.
        I tried to ask Nissan…got a quote for a new car. 😂

  23. Hi, thanks for all the valuable info. However, not clear from the opening guidelines, whether the border will open for tourist (int’l flights) on June 16th. Is there a site where we can follow and find out?

    1. Hi Michael, The border is closed until at least June 30th now to tourists. They announced it the other day. The government has typically been dealing with the international border closure separate from the reopening guidelines. They do talk about it at their daily news conference (available on the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page) and include it in reports on their website (both Spanish only). We also cover the border closure immediately after they make announcements so you can check this post (see the Important section at the very beginning of post) or follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.

  24. Hola! Thank you sooo much for this amazing post and for all the info. I am very turned about what to do… We are supposed to go to Arenal and Manuel Antonio about 7 days the last week of June and the beginning of July… From what we have read, the country will be close until June 16 so, hopefully, it would be ok to enter Costa Rica by the end of June. However, based on the different faces, it seems like things like beaches are close for parts of the day.. and National Parks will only operate at 50 % capacity and by appointments. Do you foresee the situation being about the same by the end of June and beginning of July… with only 7 days there, I am afraid we will not be able to do everything we had plan due to the time restrictions and new rules. Also, still deciding if it is safe to take a flight by the end of June… but that is a whole different thing 🙂 Any guidance will be highly appreciated. Thank you for your amazing work!

    1. Hi Rose, We’re not sure if you heard, the government announced on May 29th that borders would be closed until at least the end of June. We think it is likely that they will extend it beyond that as well. So we’d probably recommend rescheduling your trip. Beaches aren’t supposed to be open for more hours under the current reopening plan until July 11th. They are still proceeding with the second phase of reopening, which started today June 1. This phase includes more national parks and hotels opening.

  25. Thank you so much for this article, it really helps a lot of us that are trying to find good reliable up to date information. Keep up the great job.

  26. Hi Jenn and Matt! Your article was the most helpful one I was able to find. Do you know how CR is enforcing a 14 day quarantine for tourists? My boyfriend and I are scheduled to visit July 14. This is during phase 4 of reopening and I’m hoping things will be lax enough for us to still come, but would hate to get there and have to stay locked up.


    1. Hi Taylor, We don’t know anything yet about how the government will open international borders and allows tourists into the country. Currently, they are testing and requiring a 14 day quarantee for citizens and residents who are entering. That’s all we know right now. If we hear anything else, we will update this post. As it stands now, borders are closed until at least June 30th and cases (and the curve) are increasing (we had 28 new cases today).

  27. This information is so hopeful~ thank you very much!
    We are planning to visit Costa Rica for the first time mid July. We want to get the FULL experience by visiting restaurants, the hot springs and the rainforest. But, if there are restrictions (even the wearing of masks), we are considering cancelling. Our hotel wants us to decide by the end of the week~ tough decision with the travel ban still occurring. We appreciate any thoughts on this dilemma.

    1. Hi Barbara-Jo, Cases have been rising steadily over the past week. Today we had 86 new cases. So we think it is unlikely that things will be back to normal for your trip in mid-July. In our opinion, it seems unlikely that the border will be open then, and even if it is, there may be other restrictions that would make your trip less enjoyable. We would recommend rescheduling for late this year or next year.

      1. Thank you for your honest opinion. We were leaning towards the postponement but feel much more confident in that decision after receiving your response. Thank you again and hopefully we will get to visit next year when we can truly enjoy what is sure to be an amazing vacation. Be well!

  28. Oi, that sucks. I was really excited to get my tonsils removed. I hope things get better for CR and everywhere soon.

  29. Everything was going on well as noted when you were using Hydroxychloroquine:.

    Then “WHO” using fake a Lancent published article that used faked data, tells Costa Rica to stop using a drug that was clearly saving lives, Costa Rica foolishly agrees!

    The outcome is as clear as daylight. Take a look at COVID-19 demographics!

    Why on Earth did Costa Rica stop using a drug that was working? Ok, you followed “WHO”, but now that “WHO”has admitted that it was misled, and the Lancet has removed the fake article on which “WHO” used to advise you stop Hydroxychloroquine, are you going to start using it to treat the citizens like before?

  30. I am thinking of vacationing for the months of July, August and September in San Jose. Do you know anyone that is doing this and also working online? I am sure that a CR lawyer would have the answer but I’m curious if you know if it can be done. Thanks for the great information on this site.

      1. Thank you very much for responding so quickly.

        Actually there is a better than 50% chance that I will move to CR. I hope to hire locally as well. Obviously I have a lot to learn!

  31. I am a us citizen . I know Costa Rica borders are close till June 30th. Is there any way you can go to Costa Rica for family emergency ??

    1. Hi Vik, You can file a special petition through a lawyer but we have heard that they have not been lenient thus far with granting exceptions for entry. Let us know if you’d like a recommendation for a lawyer in Costa Rica to use. Happy to send you the contact info.

    1. Hi Jason, You may have heard, but the border closure is going to be extended past June 30. Costa Rica may start allowing some countries in at some point in the near future, but they haven’t made any specific announcements yet. We expect more info soon and will update the post once we do. A self-quarantine is required for citizens and residents currently entering, but we don’t know if tourists will have to do this as well yet.

  32. I’m hoping you can clarify a driving question. I need to rent a car to drive an incapacitated friend to SJ airport from Puerto Viejo on Saturday, 4-July and return to PV on Sunday, 5-July. Will proof of her airline ticket and a hotel reservation for Saturday night be sufficient to avoid getting a fine if stopped with a restricted plate number. Weekends are determined by even/odd numbers, so I would be driving on one of those days restricted. I am a CR permanent resident with a CR driver’s license. Thank you for any assistance.

    1. Hi Blondie, That should be fine, we would think, since your friend is unable to drive. Of course you never know with Transito, but all they have been requiring is a hotel reservation for driving on weekends.

  33. I have a Lufthansa reservation for a flight from Frankfurt to San José on July 28th but I’ve read that international flights won’t be accepted until August 1st. (I’m an American resident in France, going to CR to visit my daughter.) I’m anticipating some kind of communication from the airline either canceling or rescheduling my flight but I’m getting anxious because all my plans hinge on when I arrive. Do you have any sense of how likely they are to hold to the reopening date? We were going to pick a national park or nature destination, find a rental and just stay put. She has to leave her rented room in Heredia at the end of this month and will (fingers crossed) start a message therapy course at a school in Samara on August 17th. So we would have to go SOMEWHERE but it’s hard to figure out where with all the uncertainty.

    1. Hi Kim, Yeah, it is hard to make plans right now with all the uncertaintly. Certain areas could even be on lockdown when you get here. You have probably heard, but the San Jose metro area and some other regions are under an orange alert right now with most everything closed and driving restricted. We’re also not sure how they will handle entry since not all countries will be allowed in. We don’t think that the US will be on the list of permitted countries given the number of active Covid cases there. You will be coming from Frankfurt but will need to make sure Americans traveling from outside the US will be allowed in. We’re really not sure about them keeping the August 1 date given the significant increase in cases recently. Sorry we can’t be of more help, but there is a lot of uncertainty right now, as you know.

  34. Thank you for your comprehensive site. I’ve lived here for many years and have found your site very helpful!

  35. Hey, great site. I’ve been watching it everyday for updates as my bf and I have plane tickets and an air bnb booked sept1-sept 30th in Puerto Viejo. Fingers crossed we will be able to take the trip! I love it there. We are from Canada. Thanks again for the updates!!

  36. Hi Jen and Matt,

    Thank you for this blog. What a comprehensive and incredibly detailed take on Costa Rica over the last 5 months this is! I am planning on a 3 week trip in August and will fly in to San Jose on the 5th from London via Dallas. It’s hard to tell from research on the internet but are hotels, hostels, beaches, bars and hikes likely to be open in Costa Rica in August? I am keen to visit Costa Rica even if half of the things that draw visitors to the country are closed. Any advice for a visit in August would be much appreciated. Stay safe. Rob

    1. Hi Rob, The government is supposed to make announcements in the next couple of days about the airports reopening on August 1. No details have really been announced so far. As far as things being open, it varies depending on if a town is under an orange or yellow alert. Right now, most of the San Jose metro area and some other regions like around Jaco are under an orange alert, which means that most business, including hotels and restaurants, are closed. In yellow alert areas, we are still reopening under Phase 3 so most everything is still open and driving is not restricted. So those would be good places to visit. We link above where to go to find the current orange/yellow alert information. The current orange alert shutdown restrictions are set to expire after this weekend so we are expecting updates on that as well. Hope that helps! It’s hard to plan anything right now, but it sounds like you are flexible so that is good. Hope it’s still a good trip for you.

      1. Thank you so much for your advice Jenn and Matt,

        My revised plan was to fly to Costa Rica (San Jose) then get a bus or hire a car and drive to Playa Tamarindo or Corcovado for a few weeks. Do you think this will be possible to do this when I arrive or will I need to quarantine as soon as I land? What do the new restrictions mean for bars, beaches and restaurants? Do you think there will be much open in rural areas of Costa Rica.

        Once again, thank you for this blog!


        1. Hi Rob, The government made several important announcements last week. We have summarized them here along with entry requirements, etc. Tourists from countries that are allowed in do not need to quarantine. Yes, you can take the bus or rent a car (probably a better idea to get a car) and drive to Tamarindo or the Osa. Tamarindo will be less rainy. Bars are still closed everywhere. Beaches are open until 2:30 pm in yellow alert zones (currently most of the country) and 9:30 am in orange alert zones. Restaurants are open at 50%. Check out the link we give above for lots more additional detail. If you decide to rent a car, we get a discount for 10% off. You can find more info on our rental car discount page. Hope you have a great visit! Lots is open so it is definitely possible!

  37. Hi Rob,

    I am an American trying to get to Nicaragua. My fiancé’ lives in Managua. I have tickets for both Liberia and Managua for the first week of August.

    Will you be updating on the requirements to enter the Costa Rica?

    I know Costa Rica is considering not allowing Americans to enter or only from areas where the US has the virus under control. I will be coming from Denver.

    I look forward to any information you can provide on the requirements to enter Costa Rica so I can complete those processes before arriving.

    Thank you for your blog

    1. Hi Sean, We expect an update today from the government about the airports reopening. We will update this post once we have news. You can also watch the Ministry of Health press conference live on Facebook at 1 pm. And yes, we will be updating this post on entry requirements (once they are announced. Hope you can get to Nicaragua to see your girlfriend soon.

  38. This is a lot of great information and thank you for the continued updates. We hace booked our stay since last December for our wedding this December 2020 and much like many people, we are sitting in a holding pattern. With the U.S. still being banned from many countries, aside from being disheartened by how thibgs are here and how people are acting, we are trying to figure out our best options. We aren’t looking to cancel and are hoping that, worst case scenario, we can just move our date since everything is paid for already. We are wondering how/when they’re(Costa Rica) is going to evaluate U.S. traveler restrictions so we can make our best judgment.

    1. Hi James, We’re sorry to hear that you had to postpone your trip. The government has said that they will reassess the list of countries every two weeks based on current epidemiological data. I think that the first month or so will be a test to see how it goes at the airports and within the country with having tourists here. You should definitely be able to move your dates if the US is not allowed in by December, which we hope it will be.

  39. Hi! This is also off topic. I have been considering relocating to Costa Rica from the US. I’d like to get in contact with others that hVe moved there from the states. I’m looking for info such as the best places to live, the downside (if any) of living in CR, things I should know, etc.,

    Do you think you could steer me in the right direction for something like that or a blog or forum?

    Thanks so much!

  40. Hi,

    Thank you so much for sharing such updated, accurate information on your site. It’s incredibly helpful and generous. I’m wondering your thoughts on our situation: my husband is Costa Rican, born and raised in Parrita. I’m a US citizen, as are our two girls (we live in MA). We’d like to live in Parrita next year (this has been our plan for a very long time), and have United flights out of NYC on September 6. I’m so confused about whether we will be able to go. I think we can (with marriage and birth certificates in hand), but why would there even be a flight scheduled from NYC? I don’t see how we could actually get to Costa Rica? Any thoughts appreciated…trying to figure out if we need to cancel or can continue to plan.

    Kind regards,


    1. Hi Katie, We´re not sure why but have heard from many people about flights being scheduled out of the US when there is little chance of them happening. Often they don´t get cancelled until the last minute either, which is really frustrating for people. According to the SJO flight operations page, United is doing repatriation flights so maybe that is why there is a flight scheduled? The US Embassy has information on repatriation flights so check there if you haven´t already. Hope you can figure out a way to get here soon!

  41. Hi. I would like to know if Costa Ricans are prevented to travel abroad, specifically Mexico since its not on the approved list of countries. Not sure if that list only apply to inbound foreigners. I do know about the 14-day self quarantine upon return. I was able to purchase a round trip ticket for my partner for early September but wondering will there be any problem boarding the flights. Aeromexico didn’t prevent the purchase of the roundtrip tickets and I’m assuming that’s OK. Thanks in advance for answering my question.

    1. Hi Jon, Yes, that list that Costa Rica came up with only applies to inbound countries. She should be able to get back into CR no problem as a Tica, you’ll just want to be sure that the flight through Aeromexico will actually happen.

  42. Hi there — do you know how a tourist can go about getting a COVID test when in Costa Rica. We are thinking of travelling on to another destination that is open but requires a negative test result (much as Costa Rica does itself). Is there a way they can be booked in at all?

    1. Hi Ed, Many private hospitals and some clinics can do the test. They did the PCR test and can guarantee results in 24 hours. Take a look at Hospital CIMA and Clinica Biblica in San Jose. Hospital Metropolitano (has a few locations around the country) can do them too, among others. In Costa Rica, to get a test, you are supposed to be showing symptoms or be a suspicious case due to contact with someone who tested positive, etc. This link has more info:

      We’re not sure how strict that is but you could call Cima to ask. The operator and many others speak English. Hope that helps!

  43. Hi Jenn & Matt,

    Do you know if any Air Canada flights have arrived as yet at SJO? I have a flight booked from Toronto on November 1 and I can’t find anywhere if AC has flown to CR in September. Can you help?

    Many thanks,

      1. Hi I’m loving your blog! I’m from Costa Rica and I live in Florida. It’s so weird the fact that I’m trying to get the epidemical form done and Florida is not on the list, probably because is not an authorized state but why is there flights from FL then? I already did the Covid test and I’m waiting for the results cause I fly this sep 21st. Makes me nervous that I won’t be admitted if I can’t fix this.

        1. Hi Jacqueline, No, we’re sorry but Florida is not on the list yet so we don’t think you will be allowed on the plane 🙁 There are flights from Florida because connecting flights are allowed through non-approved states, so for example, a passenger from New York could change planes in Florida and be let in (as long as their layover is less than 18 hrs and they don’t leave the airport). Hope you can reschedule without too much trouble and come soon!

  44. No, AC is not prohibiting travel, but they are not recommending unless essential travel. So, I don’t know how that affects AC’s decisions. Thank you for the FC group…..very helpful indeed. Thank you for all you do to support us!!

  45. We are moving to CR and flying down from CA on Oct 2nd. One of us is needing to fly back about a week later for business. Do you know if there are requirements, quarantine, coming back into the U.S.? I havent found anything in my searches. Thank you, Steve

    1. Hi Steve, In the US, it seems that quarantine requirements are done state-by-state. From what we can tell, in California, there is no requirement for returning travelers. Here’s a link to a NY Times article with more.

  46. I live in British Columbia, Canada and currently there is only one lab who provides COVID-19 tests for private purposes such as vacation and business use. It’s 400km over a mountain pass from where I live so travelling there in the Winter is really out of the question plus they won’t guarantee getting the results to you within 48 hours which also creates issues. Taking a test 72 hrs prior to arriving in CR seems pointless as you will come in contact with dozens / hundreds of people after taking this test. I hope this requirement is eliminated or it could become a sow stopper for many travellers.

  47. Thank you for this very informative website. My fiancée and I are scheduled to be married in Costa Rica on October 11th. However, I just noticed travelers from Texas will not be omitted to Costa Rica until October 15th. Do you know if there are any expectations granted? What is the process to quickly apply for an exception? We are arriving on October 9th.

    1. Hi John, Unfortunately, from what we have heard from a reputable law firm here that does immigration law, it is extremely difficult to get an exception to the entry requirements. In your case, it is very unlikely that they would grant it. Hope you can push back your wedding for a couple of weeks.

      1. Jenn and Matt. Thanks for getting back to us. This is disappointing. I hope the airline and resort will accommodate a change without too many penalties.

  48. Hey,

    My partner and I are coming out in December and your blog has been super helpful! We’ve booked in for our vaccine test and will wait until we know we can definitely fly before we pay for the insurance as it is quite a lot and things change day to day.

    We plan on heading to Nicaragua after and they also require a PCR test before entering. Do you know where we can get one of these in San Jose? We’ve researched but I just want to make sure we can before looking into flights ect (something we need before we come to Costa Rica as we require a flight out I guess when our insurance ends).


    Laura x

    1. Hi Laura, Glad our site has been helpful! That is a good idea to wait to get the insurance until you know for sure you are coming. 

      Yes, there are several options for getting a PCR Covid test in San Jose. Two good ones are Hospital CIMA in Escazu and Hospital Metropolitano. You would just need to confirm with them beforehand that you would be eligible for the test without having symptoms or being in close contact with someone with Covid. Hope that helps!

  49. I was hoping you could shed some light on the 72 hour requirement for the negative Covid test. I am scheduled to leave Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada on November 14, but with the reduced flight options I have to overnight in Toronto and won’t be arriving into San Jose until the afternoon of November 15. Does the negative test have to be within 72 hours of my flight out of Saskatoon or within 72 hours of my arrival into San Jose?

    1. Hi L. Crone, First, we just want to make sure you have seen our post on Entry Requirements for Costa Rica During Covid, which is the post on our site that directly deals with this and related issues. We’re happy to answer on here as well, though.

      As far as we know, the 72 hours is from your first flight to Costa Rica, so Saskatchewan in your case. Someone in a Facebook group all about travel to Costa Rica during Covid said that she confirmed this with ICT (the CR Tourism Institute) and had it in writing. Her flights were San Francisco to Houston to SJO. She lives in California. Here is what she said ICT said: “The PCR test must be taken before your departure time of your first flight to Costa Rica. In your case, before SFO.”

      So that is how the 72 hours should be counted. We hope you don’t run into any problems. Since you have some time, you could reach out to ICT to try to get that in writing so you have it in case anyone gives you a hard time at the airport.

  50. Hey there! We’ll be near Uvita this winter and want to get a COVID test after arriving (as well as of course before coming to CR). Do you know if there are ways to access a test nearby Uvita, or if we would have to return to San Jose? I see the list on the embassy website of labs and hospitals that offer testing, all only in San Jose. Do you know if the test results can be emailed, or if we have to wait around for a few days to pick them up?

      1. Hi,
        Have you heard any update to the ICT letter about accepting proof of home ownership or long term rental contract in lieu of the 2000 dollar lodging requirement. Any recent confirmation from people who permitted to satisfy that requirement by showing they owned a home in Costa Rica would be nice to hear about.

        1. Hi Kirk, We have heard of people getting in without accommodation insurance with proof of owning a home. Someone just said this the other day in one of the Facebook groups for expats. I think she had the deed as proof. Haven’t heard much other than that but that doesn’t mean it isn’t working for people.

          You could always email ICT in advance with your international insurance information and proof of home ownership/long term rental to get confirmation, then print the email and bring it with you in case you have any problems. Their email is

  51. I have found health / quarantine insurance that I believe meets the government requirement. Does anyone know if there is a contact in CR that can validate that the policy meets the requirements.

  52. Dave Pack, Would you please share the name of the company and any identifying info about the particular policy? On a more general note, I have sent Mr. Torres at the ICT the URL of the policy offered by INSUBUY that covers the entry requirements for Costa Rica: asking for confirmation that the ICT accepts the policy. If and when I get an answer, I’ll post it here.

  53. Thanks for all the info. We were suppose to go in October. Pushed it back to January. Anyone know what types of things there is to do at night? Not necessarily looking for club type things or anything, just any type of night entertainment. I know beaches close at a certain time and there is a general curfew. Were staying at the Westin Reserva Conchal.

  54. Dear Jenn and Matt,
    Thank you for the informative blog. We are thinking about visiting Costa Rica for the winter season. Could you please let me know how the mask situation is there? Most specifically if masks are mandated outdoors.
    Many thanks in advance,
    Paul and Deborah

    1. Hi Paul and Deborah, Masks are required indoors but not outdoors in most settings. Some tours require them outdoors, though. For adventure tours in a group setting like zip lining, you need to wear them. Other activities and attractions may require them for the duration of the tour too. Although they aren’t required outside, you will still see a lot of people wearing them on the street.

      Here is a link to our Entering Costa Rica During Covid post, which has some more information on the measures Costa Rica has in place (go to the bottom of the post):

  55. Thanks for your informative blog! We are considering a multiple-month visit this winter and we understand the restrictions as well as the fluid nature of the situation. For us the most important question is whether Ticos really want foreign visitors right now? Based on our previous trips to CR I have no doubt that everyone will be kind and helpful. I just want to make sure that we are not causing offense or anxiety for locals if we show up. Any thoughts or insights on that?

    1. Hi Mike, The general consensus among Ticos is that they are ready for the country to reopen and welcome visitors again. We think you will be welcomed with open arms. Most locals recognize the importance of foreigners for their economy. So we wouldn’t be too concerned.

  56. Hi! Thinking of visiting a friend of mine who is staying in Tamarindo at the end of the month. Am a little nervous about getting trapped etc because of Covid situation. Am I overthinking this? I’m based in New York.

    1. Hi Scott, Costa Rica would never prevent you from leaving the country. The only time this would happen is if you contracted Covid during your trip and received a 14 day quarantine order. Even if they closed borders, which is unlikely, there would still be flights available back to the US. Even at the very beginning of all this earlier this year, repatriation flights were available to get people back home. Hope that helps! Of course, New York could impose entry restrictions but it would most likely be to show a negative Covid test, which are easy to get before you leave Costa Rica.

  57. Thank you so much for this very helpful blog. We are planning to travel to Costa Rica at the end of November for about a month. We do own a place and are in the process of getting the appropriate documentation for proof of our ownership. Can anyone provide any feedback on an International health insurance policy without the lodging expense coverage that has been successfully accepted?

    Thank you so much for the help!

    1. Hi Clayton, Most travel insurance companies are covering medical expenses due to Covid so there are many options that would work. Check Travelex (, World Nomads, and Heymondo to start. Others may be able to give more options. You just have to make sure they cover at least $50k, but from what we have seen, that shouldn’t be a problem. Hope your travels back to CR go smoothly!

  58. Hello,

    This is Tom Ghormley a long time realtor in Playa Jaco. I love your content and presentation and would like to send a link of this article to my clients as a recommendation to your blog and the services you offer.

  59. Hey, all of the information in this post / the rest of your blog is really useful, so thanks! I’m planning to travel to CR at the end of Dec/Jan. My main concern is if restaurants and bars etc are open or if a lot of them have closed as visitor numbers are down. Are you able to give any info on what the situation is here? Thanks again

    1. Hi Jonathan, Most restaurants and bars have been hanging in there with local tourism. Some shut down for certain months in rainy season when it is less busy in general but things are starting to pick up again. Travel typically picks up around now (end of November) for high season, and we have found this to be true this year as well. We’ve been seeing tourists recently in the beach town where we live. Not as many as usual, but some. As more people come, more restaurants will be reopening. A lot of hotels, restaurants, and tour operators have actually reopened in the last couple of weeks.

      By the time you get here, it should be looking a lot more normal. End of December is usually the busiest time of year here. Businesses are ready for visitors to come back.

  60. Hello!
    Great post -thank you!
    We are family from POLAND and thinking to come for 2 weeks early Jan. We plan to rent a car and visit few NP and spend 1 week Caribbean Coast. What’s the situation now? Also with Hospitals? Is it safe if we drive and stay in hotels? Or better to delay?
    Thank you and take care!

    1. Hi Izabela, If you are comfortable traveling during Covid, Costa Rica is a really good option. It’s easy to avoid the crowds here and just about everything is outdoors/ open air. Costa Rica’s numbers have remained reasonable and fairly constant for a couple of months now. There is plenty of space in hospitals. You can check out this article ( for current numbers. One thing to note is that the country probably doesn’t test enough so the numbers could be artificially low.

      Driving would be the best/safest way to get around. Hotels are supposed to be following strict Covid protocols – our Entry Requirements post ( gives an idea of the measures in place.

      We have taken several trips during Covid and have felt comfortable.

      I hope that helps! If you decide to rent a car, feel free to check out our rental car discount ( to get 10% off. Our readers also get free car seats if you need them for your kids.

  61. Hi guys, thanks for the great info.

    I am coming to CR in late December for about 20 days. Air Canada covers the Covid health insurance for flights upto 21 days. Their accomodation coverage however is CAD $2100, which is slightly short of the USD $2000 required by Costa Rica.

    I am wondering if anyone has had AC Covid insurance accepted. Anyone with direct experience on this, please respond. Thanks

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