Last Updated: September 2, 2021
Traveling to Costa Rica has gotten a lot easier. With no negative Covid test required anymore, there are only two things to show. One is proof of travel insurance that covers Covid medical and possible quarantine costs, if you have not been vaccinated. The other is to fill out an online epidemiological form called the Health Pass. In this post, we’ll give you the specific requirements for Covid travel insurance in Costa Rica, let you know your options, and answer some frequently asked questions.
For more information on the Health Pass, read our post, Traveling to Costa Rica During Covid-19: Entry Requirements, Protocols, and What to Expect.
Costa Rica Travel Insurance Requirements
Since health care in Costa Rica is socialized, the government wants to make sure that all visitors are financially covered if they contract Covid-19 during their trip. To that end, you must show a travel insurance policy to enter that meets certain criteria. UPDATE (July 9): If you have been fully vaccinated, the insurance requirement does not apply to you. As of August 1, fully vaccinated travelers and all minors (under 18) do not need to show Covid travel insurance. The specific requirements are detailed below in Question 1.
If you do need travel insurance, you can go through an approved Costa Rican insurance company. Or you can choose any international insurance policy that meets the requirements.
For the Costa Rican options, the policy must provide $20,000 USD per person to cover Covid-19 medical expenses. If you use an international insurance company instead, the policy must cover $50,000 USD per person.
You also need $2,000 USD per person in accommodation coverage in case of quarantine. The amount is the same no matter if you choose a Costa Rican or international insurer. This $2,000 coverage is what many international travel insurance policies are missing. There are some good options, though. We will cover them below.
FAQs About Covid Travel Insurance
I’m fully vaccinated. What do I need to show to avoid purchasing Covid travel insurance?
Starting on August 1, you do not need to show Covid travel insurance to enter Costa Rica, provided you meet certain requirements.
You need to show proof of full vaccination (a record or vaccination card) with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, or Johnson and Johnson. These are the only approved vaccines.
The document/vaccination card must include:
- Your full name
- Date you received each dose. *The last dose must have been administered at least 14 days prior to travel.
- Formula (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, or Johnson and Johnson)
You will still need to fill out the online health pass.
You will upload your vaccination card or vaccination certificate to the health pass in advance. A hard copy is not required. This is according to the Costa Rica Tourism Institute’s (ICT) website.
Note: If you are vaccinated and the Health Pass is still asking for proof of insurance, select International Policy and upload your vaccination card. You should be able to get a QR code. A reader asked the Costa Rica Tourism Board about this glitch and this is what they suggested.
What about minors?
As of August 1, all children under 18 do not need to show Covid travel insurance to enter. This is regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.
I am not vaccinated. How much insurance should I purchase? This is important.
Your insurance will need to cover you for your entire trip duration. It should match the dates of your plane tickets in and out of Costa Rica.
An Immigration official at the airport will stamp your passport for the exact number of days you have insurance. So be sure to buy as many days as you would like to remain in the country. For example, if you are flying in on March 1 and flying out on March 28, you will need to purchase insurance for 27 days. They will give you a visa stamp for exactly 27 days.
Although it is possible to extend your visa up to a total of 90 days once you are here, this is not an easy task. You can read more about the process here.
If you think you may extend your stay, we highly recommend purchasing a plane ticket upfront for that amount of time and purchasing travel insurance to match. This will get you as much time on your visa as you will possibly need. The maximum amount is 90 days. Many people have been scrambling to try to get their visas extended after deciding last minute to add time to their stay.
What are the Costa Rican insurance options? What are their rates?
Three companies are approved to offer Covid travel insurance in Costa Rica, INS, Sagicor, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Costa Rica. INS is the government insurance company. Sagicor and Blue Cross Blue Shield Costa Rica are private companies.
Sagicor covers the $20,000 in Covid medical expenses, but $4,000 in accommodation expenses, so double what is required.
Sagicor charges a flat rate of $11.30 per person per day or $22.60 for people over age 70. They also have family rates that range from $10.60-$11.10 per person per day.
To give you an idea, that’s about $80 for 7 days. If you’re over 70, it’s about $160.
INS’ rates vary based on age, trip length, etc. Usually it is cheaper for longer visits than Sagicor. INS covers $20,000 in medical expenses. For accommodation expenses, there are two policy options. One covers $2,000 and the other $4,000.
To give you an idea of cost, for a 45-year old traveling 7 days, the premium is $132 for the less expensive INS plan with limited coverage. For a 65-year old, the premium is $180. If you extend the trip out to 60 days, it becomes more affordable ($192 total for the 45-year old and $263 for the 65-year old).
Blue Cross Blue Shield covers $20,000 in medical expenses and $2,500 in accommodation expenses. It charges based on trip duration only. To give you an idea, a 7-day trip costs $71.46, a 14-day trip costs $142.93, and a 30-day trip costs $295.45. Here is a link to a chart with the exact rates (scroll down).
How can I buy a policy from one of the Costa Rican companies?
You can go directly through their websites (see above for links).
Alternatively, you can go through a local broker for no additional cost. These brokers resell insurance. A good one will be knowledgeable about the product they are selling and be able to assist you if you need to file a claim. Brokers can be very helpful for understanding policy coverage and exclusions. They also can get you a quote so that you won’t have to navigate the insurance company’s website. The INS website is very difficult to use.
What is the benefit of using a Costa Rican insurance company?
The Costa Rican companies have been preapproved by the government to offer travel insurance. When you fill out your online Health Pass prior to your flight, all you will have to do is enter your INS, Sagicor, or BCBS policy number. These policies will be automatically accepted for entry into Costa Rica.
What is the verification process for international insurance?
If you go with an international insurance company, you will need a certificate (in English or Spanish), stating that your policy:
- is valid for your visit to Costa Rica.
- guarantees coverage for medical expenses associated with Covid-19 in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000 (US dollars).
- includes at least $2,000 for extended lodging expenses due to Covid-19.
These requirements can be found on the Costa Rica Tourism Board’s website.
Some international insurance companies will automatically provide this certificate for you. They already have insurance products that are specifically made for Costa Rica. For others, you will need to ask for the certificate.
You will then upload the certificate to your online Health Pass, and a QR code will be generated automatically.
If you choose an international insurance company that has been readily used in the past, you can rest assured that your insurance will be accepted for entry. See below for options on international insurers that travelers have frequently used.
I am nervous about my international policy? How can I verify it in advance?
You can email the Tourism Board to make sure your policy will meet Costa Rica’s requirements. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org
What are some international insurance options that people have successfully used?
Costa Rica’s borders have been open to the world since November 1, 2020, so we have a very good idea now of what international insurance options are accepted for entry. Below is a list.
We have not used these companies ourselves so please be sure to do your own due diligence to ensure that the specific policy you’re buying meets the requirements and you are comfortable. Make sure they cover at least $50,000 in medical expenses for Covid-19 and $2,000 in accommodations due to quarantine.
Trawick International is the most popular because of their affordable rates. It seems to be the option that most people are using. For US residents, Trawick offers the Safe Travels Voyager plan. This plan is available for residents of all US states, except New Hampshire. For travelers from other countries (not the US), Trawick has the Safe Travels International plan and Safe Travels International Cost Saver plan. Trawick covers the mandatory $2,000 accommodation coverage under Trip Delay.
Other international insurance companies that people have used include Insubuy, Travel Guard Preferred, and Seven Corners. Seven Corners offers coverage for residents of almost every country, with some exclusions.
*Note: If you purchase a Trawick insurance policy through the links above, we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support our site and allows us to keep this information up to date. Thank you!
Canadian Residents: For Canadians, we have heard of people entering with TuGo, Manulife, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. For BCBS, people have requested a confirmation letter from them saying that it covers Covid and the $2,000 USD accommodation expense. The Trawick Safe Travels International and Safe Travels International Cost Saver plans (mentioned above) also work for Canadians.
If you know of another insurance option, please let us know in the comments below.
Should I go with a Costa Rican insurance company or an international company?
The international insurance policies tend to cover more for less money.
Some of the Costa Rican insurance policies are only available in Spanish, which can be difficult to understand in the event you need to file a claim.
If you do have to file a claim, medical facilities accept Costa Rican insurance more easily. While for international insurance, most likely, you will have to pay upfront and be reimbursed later on.
How far in advance should I purchase my travel insurance?
You should receive your certificate of insurance within hours after purchasing the policy online. Most companies will send it by email within 24 hours.
Still, we would recommend getting the insurance at least four days or so before your trip. You can fill out the online Health Pass starting 72 hours before your flight. That will give you an additional two days in case you encounter any problems.
Is my QR code enough or should I bring the paper insurance documents?
Once you enter all the information into the online Health Pass, you will receive the QR code. During check in at the airport, the airline will want to scan your QR code. You will have received this by email so you can easily download it to your phone to show. The code also will be scanned in Costa Rica by officials when you arrive.
While this is most likely all you will need, it is still a good idea to have a paper copy of your insurance certificate if you’re using international insurance, just in case.
What if my insurance is not accepted when I arrive in Costa Rica?
You will be given the option of purchasing a policy from one of the Costa Rican insurance companies. The Tourism Board will be at the airport to assist you.
If I decide to extend my trip, can I purchase additional insurance?
Yes, but some companies will not let you extend an existing policy or purchase a new policy once you are in Costa Rica. Sagicor will let you purchase additional days with certain conditions.
Will my travel insurance cover the cost of a Covid test? My home country requires it to get back.
Most policies will not cover Covid testing for travel purposes. They should cover it, though, if you think you have contracted Covid.
For an up-to-date list of testing facilities, read our post, Where to Get a Covid-19 Test in Costa Rica.
I own a home in Costa Rica. Do I need the $2,000 accommodation coverage?
Immigration has not issued anything official about this, but many non-residents have entered Costa Rica with proof of home ownership to avoid the $2,000 accommodation coverage. We have heard that they have shown their deed or a letter from a lawyer. Here is a link to a useful article with more information.
You will still need to show proof of coverage for Covid medical expenses.
We hope this article has answered your questions about Costa Rica’s travel insurance requirement. While it adds one step to your trip preparation, once you get here, you’ll be able to rest easy and enjoy your vacation. It will be well worth the effort!
Do you have a question about the required travel insurance? Ask it below.
Looking for more information to plan your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these posts:
Covid Travel: What It Is Like in Costa Rica Right Now – Wondering if you’ll get the full experience traveling right now? Check out our post on what it is like.
Packing for Costa Rica: The Essentials – This detailed guide will help make sure you don’t forget anything important.
Costa Rica Rental Car Discount: Rental car prices are really good right now. Check out our discount to save an additional 10% and get free extras like a second driver, car seats for kids, and a discounted GPS.