Where to Get a Covid-19 Test in Costa Rica

Last Updated: March 5, 2021

Many people have been asking where you can get a Covid-19 test in Costa Rica, for purposes of onward travel. In this post, we will let you know of some reputable private hospitals, clinics, and labs that can perform a test. Many of these are in and around San Jose, but there are options near popular tourist destinations as well. We also share our recent experience getting tested. *See the section below for an important update on rapid testing. Rapid testing is now available.

Post updated regularly.

IMPORTANT: This post is intended to help people who need a Covid-19 test for purposes of travel. As such, it covers private testing options. If you are experiencing symptoms of Covid or have been exposed to someone with Covid, call the government hotline at 1322 for help. They will help you find the nearest testing facility (likely a public hospital or clinic) and make sure you get tested for no charge. English-speaking operators are available.

CIMA Hospital Covid Testing Costa Rica

Background on Covid Testing in Costa Rica

RT-PCR Test

Covid testing is available at many private hospitals, clinics, and labs. The testing facilities listed below all perform the RT-PCR test (deep nasal swab) and can guarantee results in 24-72 hours. 

The RT-PCR test is accepted for entering the United States, Canada, and most European countries.

Antigen/Rapid Test

Costa Rica recently approved the use of antigen (rapid) tests. As of February 11, antigen testing is now available in Costa RicaThe antigen test is accepted for entering the United States.

Most facilities with antigen testing are located in the San Jose area. However, it is also available in some other places, including Jaco, Quepos/Manuel Antonio, Liberia, Tamarindo, the Samara area, Nosara, and Grecia. See below for all options.

The cost is $50-60 in the San Jose area and up to $100 in rural areas. Results are provided the same day (2 hours for Clinica Biblica and Lab San Jose). The type of test is a nasopharyngeal (nasal) swab. 

The government has authorized several more labs (with many offices) to acquire and use antigen tests. So more testing facilities will be available for rapid testing soon. We will update this post as new options are added.

To get a rapid test, you will need to present your ID and plane ticket within 72 hours of departure. This test is only available for purposes of onward travel so they require a plane ticket.

Network of Testing Facilities

In January, the government also established a network of private labs to offer both types of tests. These are located all throughout the country. (See the full list here.) They are supposed to guarantee results within 48 hours for the RT-PCR test and much faster for the antigen test. 

In this post, we include the authorized network of labs. We also include other labs and clinics that can do Covid testing. While not in the network, they are affiliated with authorized labs. This means they can take the samples, then they send them for testing to the authorized lab. Including these affiliated labs gives many more testing options, especially in rural areas. 

Getting Results on Time

Update: February 1 – We have heard of a few incidents recently of RT-PCR test results taking longer than they were supposed to and people being unable to board their flight.

Labs are currently ramping up due to the new CDC testing requirement for US travelers that took effect on January 26. Normally, labs provide results when promised in Costa Rica and we hope that they are working through the problems so that this will not be an issue. 

In light of this, we highly recommend getting tested as far in advance as possible. For US travelers, this is 3 calendar days (not 72 hours) before your flight. The CDC based it on calendar days to give travelers more flexibility. You can get tested at any time three days before your flight (e.g., if your flight is Thursday at 2:00 p.m., you could get tested on Monday at 9:00 a.m.).

For more information on the new CDC requirements for those flying to the United States, see our separate post on Preflight Testing.

Do You Need an Appointment? IMPORTANT

Most testing facilities require an appointment. In San Jose, some do not, but always check first.

Labs are very busy right now (early March) so if you don’t have an appointment, you may not be able to be seen in some of the smaller labs outside San Jose. We highly recommend making an appointment at least one week before you want to be tested, if you are outside the San Jose area.

Online Form – MiPruebaCovid

Prior to getting tested, you will have to fill out an online epidemiological form from the Costa Rica government. All testing facilites require you to do this. It asks for personal information related to your health and travels in Costa Rica and is for case-tracking purposes. After filing it out, you will get a confirmation number at the bottom of the form to give to the testing facility.

The form is available in English. You may want to fill it out before getting to the testing location. You will need to put in certain information about your location in Costa Rica (e.g., which province and canton).

Test Cost

Prices for the RT-PCR are around 59,000-80,000 colones or $100-$130, plus tax. Some facilities in rural areas charge more. Below we give specific pricing when available. 

Prices for the antigen (rapid) test are around $50-60.

Getting Results by Email 

All the labs will be able to email your results so you won’t need to go back.

Covid Testing Options in Costa Rica – Private Hospitals 

Hospital CIMA and Hospital Clinica Biblica – San Jose Area (Authorized Labs) – Rapid Test Option

Two private hospitals near San Jose that offer the RT-PCR and antigen test are Hospital CIMA in Escazu and Clinica Biblica in downtown San Jose and Santa Ana. CIMA and the Clinica Biblica in Santa Ana are about 30 minutes from the airport, with traffic.

For information on the costs and process, follow the links we just provided (for Clinica Biblica, look for “Prueba Diagnostica COVID-19”). Some of the websites allow you to change the language to English. For those that don’t, you can use Google translate.

We have had consultations and procedures at CIMA and Clinical Biblica, and found both hospitals to be very professional and modern. It is also fairly easy to find English-speaking people in these larger medical facilities, though not all staff speaks English.

RT-PCR Test: Results at CIMA are provided within 1-2 days and within about 36 hours at Clinica Biblica. Cost: Hospital CIMA – $89. Clinica Biblica – 53,000 colones (about $86). CIMA can also test children under 5. They charge $131.

Antigen/Rapid Test: Hospital Clinica Biblica – Testing is available 24 hours a day in both the San Jose and Santa Ana locations. Results are provided in 2 hours. Cost: 30,000 colones (about $50). Hospital CIMA: Results are provided in 4 hours. Cost: $49 with tax.

Making an Appointment: CIMA – Test is performed in the emergency department. Currently, no appointment is needed for either test type. For information, call the main number, (506) 2208-1000, or from the US, call 1 (855) 782-6253. English-speaking operators available. 

Clinica Biblica – Sample is taken at the hospital or from your car (see Drive-Through Testing section, below). Call main number to schedule an appointment: (506) 2522-1000, or contact via WhatsApp: (506) 8529-2100. For drive-through testing, they will send a link by email to make the payment online in advance. *We are awaiting confirmation of whether the rapid testing can be done through Drive-Through testing.

Drive-Through Testing at Hospital Clinica Biblica – Downtown San Jose & Santa Ana (Authorized Labs)

Clinica Biblica offers drive-through testing (Servicio de AutoCovid) for the RT-PCR test and antigen test at their main hospital in downtown San Jose (see location here) and in Santa Ana (see location here). The sample is taken right from your car so you don’t need to get out.

Drive-through testing is available every day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. You need to make an appointment and pay in advance. Results are provided within about 36 hours for the PCR test and within about 2 hours for the antigen test.

Here is a link to the hospital’s website with more information. Although the website says that this service is available in downtown San José only, we confirmed with Clinica Biblica that you can do it at either location.

Cost: RT-PCR – 53,000 colones (about $86). Antigen – 30,000 colones (about $50).

Hospital Metropolitano – San Jose, Quepos/Manuel Antonio, Liberia, and Huacas near Tamarindo (Authorized Labs)

Hospital Metropolitano is another good option. They have a few locations around the country (see here for the list). Their main offices are in the San Jose area, but they have satellite locations in (1) Quepos/Manuel Antonio, (2) Liberia (Guanacaste), and (3) Huacas (near Tamarindo/Flamingo/Conchal/Potrero).

All locations can do the RT-PCR test and antigen (rapid) test. We used the Quepos branch for a PCR test (see below), and they were very professional and helpful. The Quepos location is in Marina Pez Vela, which has several oceanfront restaurants as well.

RT-PCR Test: Results are provided within 24-48 hours. *Can take up to 72 hours in Liberia, Quepos, and Huacas. Cost: 53,000 colones (about $86) at their San Jose locations, or 68,000 (about $111) at their rural locations. They can also test children. The price is 89,000 colones (about $146).

Antigen Test: Results in 4-8 hours. Cost: 33,000 colones (about $54).

COVID Sample Times:
-San José and Lindora (Santa Ana): 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
-Lincoln (San Jose): Monday to Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
-Huacas (near Tamarindo): Monday to Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
-Liberia: Monday to Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
-Quepos: Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Sunday, 9:00 a.m.- 1:45 p.m. 

Making an Appointment: The RT-PCR test requires an appointment. For the antigen test, an appointment is needed at Huacas, Liberia, and Quepos only. No appointment required at other locations.

Call main number to schedule an appointment in San Jose: (506) 2521-9595. For Quepos location, call them directly at (506) 2519-9733, 2519-9754, or 2519-9734. For Liberia, call them directly at (506) 4000-6762 or (506) 7171-0103. For Huacas, call them directly at (506) 4000-3822 or (506) 8465-7484.

A Covid testing kiosk in Huacas Costa Rica
Hospital Metropolitano’s separate Covid testing building in Huacas near Tamarindo. Thanks to an anonymous reader for sending us the picture.

Hospital La Catolica (Authorized Lab) – Rapid Test Option

Hospital La Catolica is another good hospital testing option in San Jose for the RT-PCR or antigen test. They are located in the Guadalupe area of the city (see map location here). Covid testing at La Catolica is done in the emergency area in a tent.

RT-PCR: Results are provided in 48-72 hours. Cost: 72,800 colones (about $120). At-home testing is not available. 

Antigen/Rapid Test: Results are provided in 1-3 hours. Cost: 30,000 colones (about $50). 

An appointment is required. Call (506) 2246-3000. 

Hospital San Rafael Arcangel – Liberia (Affiliated Lab)

Hospital San Rafael Archangel is a private hospital in downtown Liberia, Guanacaste (see map with location here). They can do the RT-PCR test and provide results in 24-48 hours. Cost: 80,000 colones (about $130). Testing is available Monday to Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Call (506) 2660-5500 or WhatsApp (506) 8766-7881 to make an appointment. 

The other options for testing in Liberia is Hospital Metropolitano (see above) and Vidalab (see below).

Travel Insurance: Do you still need to buy the required insurance for your trip?

Trawick International is one of the most popular options due to its low price. US residents can use the Safe Travels Voyager plan. The Safe Travels International plan and Safe Travels International Cost Saver plan are available for travelers from other countries. For more information on insurance and Costa Rica’s entry requirements, read our post Traveling to Costa Rica During Covid-19.

By buying your insurance through our links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps us keep this information up to date. Thank you!

Labs and Clinics in San Jose Area – Including Drive-Through Testing 

Labin

A reputable lab offering the RT-PCR test is Labin (authorized lab). They have many locations all around San Jose. This may be an easier option because you would not have to navigate at a larger hospital and figure out where you need to go. Results are provided within 24-36 hours. *If you are tested before 9:00 a.m., results will be in 24 hours. After this time, it’s 36 hours. Cost, RT-PCR: 59,000 colones (about $96).

Labin Drive-Through Testing: Labin also offers a drive-through testing option (Covid-Car) at two locations: (1) Zapote Edifico Central (San Jose, in front of the National Archive – see map location here), and (2) Escazu Parking near Labin at Plaza Laureles, Escazu (see map location here). Monday – Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No appointment needed. Payment is made by cash or credit card when you arrive.

Labin Contact Information: Call (506) 2586-7000 or contact via WhatsApp (506) 8933-0707.  

Lab Echandi – Rapid Test Option

Another good lab option is Lab Echandi (authorized lab). They have locations all around San Jose. Click here to see a list. You can click on one location and it will show you where it is using WAZE.

RT-PCR Test: Results are provided within 24 hours. Cost: 59,000 colones (about $96).

Antigen Test: Results are provided within 3 hours. Cost: 33,000 colones (about $54). 

Autotest Covid – Lab Echandi has two locations with drive-through testing for the RT-PCR and antigen/rapid test. (1) Mediplaza in Escazú (see map link), and (2) Plaza Freses Curridabat (this is west of San Jose, see map link). Hours: Monday-Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For testing Monday-Friday, results provided next day for the PCR test. Saturdays and Sundays, results provided on Monday. Click here for more information.

Making an Appointment: Through their website, WhatsApp (506) 7161-6956, or call (506) 2258-4334.

Lab San Jose – Rapid Test Option

Another lab in San Jose with multiple locations is Lab San Jose (authorized lab). It can do both the RT-PCR and antigen test. 

Lab San Jose can provide results in 24 hours for the RT-PCR, with a cost of 55,000 colones (about $90).

For the antigen test, results are provided within 2 hours. The cost is 30,000 colones (about $50). It is available at all locations. 

Here’s a link to Lab San Jose’s locations with a handy map.

An appointment is required for both tests. Call or WhatsApp (506) 6063-6363.

Lab Paez – Rapid Test Option

Lab Paez (authorized lab) in the San Jose area provides results in 48-72 hours for the RT-PCR. Cost: 53,000 colones (about $86).

For the antigen test, results are provided in 4-8 hours and the cost is 33,000 colones (about $55). 

PCR testing can be done at any Lab Paez location. Currently, only four locations can do antigen testing (Paez Americana; Paez Tibas; Paez Calle Blancos; Paez Lindora).

Here is a link to their locations. The Lindora location in Santa Ana has an AutoCovid option, where you can get the PCR test from your car. *We are confirming with them that the antigen test is available there by AutoCovid. See map with exact location here.

No appointment required for antigen testing. For the PCR test, make an appointment by calling the main number (506) 6060-4573 or through WhatsApp at (506) 6048-1907. 

Labs and Clinics Outside San Jose

Jaco/Herradura

Currently, there are 4 labs in the Jaco area that can do the traditional RT-PCR test and one that can do the antigen (rapid test).

Lab MMI

In Jaco, a private clinic called MMI (affiliated lab) can do the RT-PCR test. This clinic has a couple of general practioners and also a lab on-site. They take the sample and send it off to San Jose for testing. They are located right in downtown Jaco (see map here). Results are provided within 36-48 hours, but expedited service is available for an additional fee. Cost: 78,000 colones (about $127).

Prior appointment required. Call (506) 2643-2300 or WhatsApp (506) 6282-9515. Testing available every day of the week.

Laboratorio Clinico Jaco

A lab testing option for the RT-PCR test is Laboratorio Clinico Jaco (affiliated lab). They are located in Jaco Walk. They take the sample and send it to San Jose for testing. However, they are in the process of getting their own equipment. This will allow for faster processing.

If you get tested in the morning, Monday through Friday, between 7:00-9:45 a.m. or Saturday between 8:00-9:45 a.m., your results will be ready in 36 hours. They offer testing in the morning only, on a limited basis. For more information and to make an appointment, visit their website.

Cost: 75,000 colones (about $123).

Rush Urgent Care

Another option for the RT-PCR in Jaco is Rush Urgent Care (affiliated lab). They charge 80,000 colones (about $130) and provide results in 48 hours. They can also do at-home/hotel testing for an additional 30,000 colones ($50). Here is a map link to their location in Il Galeone building in downtown Jaco.

Make an appointment online through their website. For more information, message them on Facebook or call/WhatsApp (506) 8454-8543. 

Clinica Herradura (Los Suenos)  – Rapid Test Option

For those staying at Los Suenos Resort or Los Suenos Marriott in Herradura, there is a testing option right next door. Clinica Herradura (affiliated lab) can do both the RT-PCR and antigen test.

For the RT-PCR, they provide results in about 48 hours. Cost: About $135. They recommend testing 3 days before your flight.

For the antigen test, they provide results in 24 hours. Cost: $85.

Call (506) 2637-8610 to make an appointment. 

Quepos/Manuel Antonio

Quepos Urgent Care

In addition to Hospital Metropolitano (see above), Quepos Urgent Care (affiliated lab) can also do the RT-PCR test in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area. This is a small private clinic in downtown Quepos (map location here) with a couple of English-speaking doctors. We have used them before and they have been great.

Results are provided within 72 hours. Testing is available Monday through Saturday. Cost: $160. To make an appointment, visit their website, call (506) 2777-1727, or message them on Facebook

Linea Vital de CR

Another testing option in downtown Quepos for the RT-PCR is Linea Vital de CR (affiliated lab). See map location here. They can provide results in 48-72 hours. Cost: $125. An appointment is required. Call (506) 2446-7440. 

Uvita/Dominical (Southern Pacific Coast)

In the Uvita/Dominical area, Vargas Consultorio Medico (affiliated lab) can perform the RT-PCR test. Here is a link to their location in Uvita. Results are provided within 72 hours. The price is $180 so more expensive than other testing options. Make an appointment through WhatsApp or by calling (506) 8750-9118. 

Other facilities in the Uvita area are Hospital Metropolitano in Quepos (see above) or Laboratorio Biotest in San Isidro de El General (see below). Lab Biotest does testing Monday-Saturday.

Puerto Jimenez (Osa Peninsula)

This is a testing option in Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula on the southern Pacific coast. Laboratorio Clínico Puerto Jimenez can do the RT-PCR test as an affiliated lab. They do not have a website. Results are available in 48 hours. Cost: $160. 

Make an appointment at least 5 days in advance by calling or WhatsApp – Clinica OSALUD Dr. Dorothy Skotak (506) 8755-0405. Note: This number is different than the one on the Tourism Board document. We contacted that number (8820-2457) and they told us to contact the one we provided above.

Rio Claro (Southern Zone)

In very southern Costa Rica, the only option we can currently find for testing is Laboratorio Clìnico Popular Rio Claro (affiliated lab). See map here. Rio Claro is a reasonable drive from Golfito (15 minutes), Pavones and Zancudo (1.5 hours), San Vito (1 hour), and Sierpe (1 hour). In addition, this lab has a mobile service and can do testing in locations within the Southern Zone.

Results for the RT-PCR are provided in 24-48 hours. The cost is about $140 (variable depending on how many people need the test).

To make an appointment, call (506) 2445-4141 or WhatsApp (506) 8940-2880. 

San Isidro de El General (Southern Zone, near Dominical)

Laboratorio Biotest (affiliated lab) is a lab in the city of San Isidro de El General that can do the RT-PCR test. Here is a link to their location. Results are provided within 48 hours. The cost is 80,000 colones (about $130). Testing is available Monday-Saturday. Make an appointment by calling (506) 2772-0909 or contact via WhatsApp at (506) 8912-0909. 

Another option in San Isidro de El General for the RT-PCR is Laboratorio Clínico Calderón González (affiliated lab). Results are provided in 48 hours. See map location here. Call (506) 2772-2244 to make an appointment.

Liberia

In addition to the hospital options in Liberia (see Hospital section, above), Vidalab (affiliated lab) offers RT-PCR testing in downtown Liberia. See map location here. They prefer to take the test 3 days before your flight to guarantee results in time. Cost: 70,000 colones (about $115). At home/hotel testing is available. 

Call (506) 4700-9131 to make an appointment.

Tamarindo/Flamingo/Conchal/Potrero Area (Guanacaste)

BeachSide Clinic – Rapid Test Option

In the Tamarindo area, the BeachSide Clinic (affiliated lab) in Huacas can do RT-PCR and antigen/rapid testing. This is a small private clinic. They offer many different services and have English-speaking staff.

RT-PCR Test: Results are provided within 72 hours. Cost: 68,000 colones (about $110).

Antigen Test: Results are provided within 8 hours. Cost: 33,000 colones (about $54).

Testing is available 7 days a week.

To make an appointment, first fill out the required government form at https://www.mipruebacovid.com/ 24 hours before making your appointment. Then, call the clinic at (506) 2653-6760 or email covidtest@beachsidecliniccr.com and give them the code at the bottom of the finished form.  

Hospital Metropolitano – Rapid Test Option

Another option near Tamarindo is Hospital Metropolitano in Huacas (see Hospital section, above). 

Centro Medico y Farmacia Huacas/Laboratorio Clínica Huacas

Centro Medico y Farmacia Huacas/Laboratorio Clínica Huacas (affiliated lab) also offers RT-PCR testing. Currently, testing is done at your home/hotel. Results are provided within 48 hours. Cost: 70,000 colones (about $115).

The clinic’s main number is (506) 2653-6866. Call the person in charge of the test, Dr. Marena García, for an appointment. Her phone is (506) 8998-1078, she speaks English and Spanish.

Playas del Coco/Ocotal (Guanacaste)

If you’re staying in Playas del Coco, Ocotal, Playa Hermosa, or Playa Panama, Coco Medical and Dental Center (affiliated lab) can do RT-PCR testing. They are located in Playas del Coco. Results are provided within 72 hours. Cost: 95,000 colones (about $155).

Call (506) 2670-1234 to make an appointment or visit their website.

Nosara

Paradise Medical Services

Update: February 16 – Paradise Medical is not currently doing Covid testing. They are supposed to resume with antigen testing in early March. We will update this post once they do.

Medklined BioAnalisis Laboratorio

A lab in Nosara that offers the RT-PCR test is Medklined BioAnalisis Laboratorio (affiliated lab). They are located in the Arenales area of Nosara (map with location here). Results are provided in 24-48 hours. Cost: About $120.

An appointment is required. Call (506) 4703-6007, WhatsApp (506) 8976-6458, or email infomedklined@gmail.com. 

The Guilded Iguana Hotel – Rapid Test Option

The Guilded Iguana in Playa Guiones is also offering Covid testing for guests and the general public. Cost: PCR – $180. Antigen – $100.

Contact them by email (reservations@thegildediguana.com) or WhatsApp (506-2106-5304) to make an appointment.

Nicoya/Samara 

If you are traveling to Samara, the city of Nicoya is the closest testing location. It is about 45 minutes away. There are two options in Nicoya. One has the antigen (rapid) test.

Clinica Monte de la Cruz – Rapid Test Option

Clinica Monte de la Cruz (affiliated lab) does RT-PCR testing for 80,000 colones (about $130) and can guarantee results in 24-48 hours.

Clinca Monte de la Cruz can now do the antigen test as well. The cost is $100 and results are provided within 24 hours.

Testing is available every day from 8:00-10:00 a.m. Here is a map link to their location in downtown Nicoya.

For an appointment, call (506) 2686-4747 or 2685-3371 or WhatsApp (506) 8359-5950. 

Laboratorio Dr. Ricardo Cerdas

The other option in Nicoya is Laboratorio Dr. Ricardo Cerdas (affiliated lab). This lab charges 80,000 colones (about $130) for the RT-PCR test and provides results in 72 hours or less.

A map with the exact location is not available. They are located 75 meters east of the Colonial Nicoya church (view map here). 

*Laboratorio Cerdas also offers hotel testing in Samara. Samples are taken Monday through Friday from 7:00-8:30 a.m. No additional cost.

You need to make an appointment. Call (506) 2685-5172 or WhatsApp (506) 8589-3682. 

Santa Teresa/Montezuma (Southern Nicoya Peninsula) 

In the Southern Nicoya Peninsula, there are two testing options that we know of.

*Note: We have heard mixed feedback about both testing options in Santa Teresa. Several weeks back, people were reporting problems with getting their results from Lifeguard on time. We have not heard any recent complaints. Someone recently reported a problem with SAAT not arriving on time for their test. Please see the comments below for more information. 

Lifeguard Costa Rica

Lifeguard Costa Rica (affiliated lab) is offering RT-PCR testing in Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is about 1 hour from Montezuma, so a testing option if you are staying in that town as well. 

Lifeguard Costa Rica has three clinics – two in Santa Teresa and one in Cobano. Currently, only the location in Playa Carmen (see map here) is doing testing. 

The test costs $175. Results are provided within 48 hours after the third-party lab in San Jose receives the sample for processing. The way it works is if you are tested before 1:00 p.m., the sample will be sent to San Jose the same day via air. Samples arrive around 3:00 p.m. in San Jose. That’s when the 48 hours begins. If you are not tested before 1:00 p.m., your sample will not be sent until the next day and your results will be delayed 24 hours. Here is a link with more information and to make an appointment through Lifeguard.

For questions, call or WhatsApp (506) 8512-9111 or email covid@lgcr.co. 

SAAT

Another testing option in Santa Teresa for the RT-PCR that people have said good things about is SAAT (Soporte Asistido Aereo y Terrestre – affiliated lab). They offer at home/hotel testing for $150. Some of the hotels in the area use SAAT for their guests. Results are available within 24-48 hours once they are sent to the lab in San Jose, so we recommend getting tested as far in advance as possible. 

Call or WhatsApp (506) 8630-1752 or 8817-6336 to make an appointment. 

La Fortuna/Arenal Area

A private clinic called Clinica Internacional La Fortuna (affiliated lab) now offers the RT-PCR test from their location in downtown La Fortuna (see map here). Results are available in 48-72 hours. Cost: $150. An appointment is required. Call (506) 2479-7679. 

Another private clinic is Unimed Urgent Care (affiliated lab). They are also located in downtown La Fortuna (see map location here). Cost of RT-PCR: $150 or $160 if they come to your hotel/vacation rental. Results are provided within 24-36 hours. Testing is available 7 days a week. Make an appointment by calling (506) 2479-1903 or email labcr@unimedhs.com 

A third option, about 50 minutes from downtown La Fortuna, is Lab Echandi (authorized lab) in Ciudad Quesada. This lab has other offices in San Jose and is well established. They charge about $115 for the RT-PCR. Results are provided in 24-48 hours, except on weekends. Here is a link to the exact location. Make an appointment through their website.

Monteverde/Santa Elena

In Monteverde, Dr. Hernandez’s office – Centro de Salud (affiliated lab) can do RT-PCR testing. They are located in Santa Elena in the Mega Super grocery store plaza (see map here). Results are provided in 24-36 hours. Cost: $160.

An appointment is required. Call (506) 2645-6065, WhatsApp (506) 8589-8227, or email centrosaludhernandez@gmail.com 

Grecia (Central Valley, west of San Jose) – Rapid Test Option

If you are visiting the Grecia or Atenas area, a testing option is Laboratorio Clinico Dr. Jimenez (affiliated lab). They can do both the RT-PCR test and antigen test. The lab is located right in downtown Grecia (see map here).

RT-PCR Test: Results are provided within 24 hours.

Antigen (rapid) Test: Results within 3 hours.

Hours: Monday – Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Make an appointment by calling (506) 2444-6503 or emailing labdrjimenez@hotmail.com. 

Guapiles (Limon Province, off Highway 32)

On the Caribbean slope, Kerygma Clínica y Laboratorio (affiliated lab) is an option for the RT-PCR test in the small city of Guapiles (see exact location here). Guapiles is in between Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui and Siquirres, so a good option if you are visiting those areas. It is also on the drive between La Pavona (boat docks to Tortuguero) and La Fortuna/Arenal.

Results are provided in 3 business days. Cost: 65,000 colones (about $107).

Make an appointment by calling (506) 2711-2020, emailing info@kerygmaclinica.com, or by WhatApp (506) 8319-9024. 

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca/Cahuita (Southern Caribbean Coast)

For those traveling to Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo, Limon, or Cahuita on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, there is now one testing option. Laboratorio Bioclinic Puerto Viejo (affiliated lab) is located right in downtown Puerto Viejo (see map here). The cost for the RT-PCR test is 80,000 colones (around $130). Results are provided within 48 hours. 

Use WhatsApp to make an appointment (506) 8950-9101 or email laboratoriobioclinic@yahoo.com. 

Lab Jaco Covid Testing
A private lab in Jaco offering Covid testing

Airport Testing

Currently, Covid testing is not available at either the San Jose International Airport (SJO) or Liberia International Airport (LIR). 

Testing in Remote Areas

In some areas of Costa Rica, you cannot get a Covid test done privately. Although there may be private medical clinics or labs there, they may not offer the type of Covid test you need. Some, for example, offer only the antibody test, which checks to see if you have had Covid in the past and doesn’t check for an active infection.

Below are the areas we know of that do not offer the RT-PCR or antigen test. If you know of a facility that can do a test in one of these areas or another area we haven’t covered yet, please let us know in the comments below.

San Vito (Southern Zone) – A medical clinic here confirmed there are no private testing options in the canton of Coto Brus. The nearest lab is in Rio Claro.

Tilaran – We confirmed with a lab here that private testing is not available.

Covid Testing Prerequisites

Medical facilities that administer Covid-19 tests do so under the authority of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Heath.

Under current Ministry of Health regulations, you no longer need to be showing symptoms or be a suspicious case due to contact with someone who tested positive in order to get a Covid test.

Our Experience Getting a Covid Test

In December 2020, we needed to get a Covid test done at Hospital Metropolitano in Quepos/Manuel Antonio and can report back on the experience.

We tried to make an appointment using their Facebook page as they suggested, which connected us to their main number. We found out that this works only for their San Jose locations. For the Quepos location, you need to call the Quepos office at (506) 2519-9733. Once we got through, making an appointment was easy. We were able to get one for the same day.

They will ask for your email over the phone, then email you an appointment confirmation. They’ll also send a link to a medical form you have to fill out online before you get there. It asks (in Spanish) for basic personal and health information. You will need your passport or cedula number.

For the test, we checked into the office first. Then they directed us to another office a few doors down for the actual test.

The lab technician was in full personal protective equipment. He swabbed both nostrils and the throat for the RT-PCR test. It took about five minutes total, including his short explanation of how the test would be performed. The experience was very professional.

They emailed us the results the next day, within about 24 hours. The results were in Spanish. Thankfully, it was negative and we think we just had food poisoning! 

Have a question about getting a Covid-19 test in Costa Rica? Ask us below. 

Looking for more information to plan your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these posts:

Traveling to Costa Rica During Covid-19: Entry Requirements, Protocols & What to Expect: Learn about Costa Rica’s entry requirements and options for international insurance.

Costa Rica’s Required Travel Insurance – Answers 15 frequently asked questions about the Covid travel insurance you need to enter Costa Rica.

Covid Travel: What It Is Like in Costa Rica Right Now – Wondering if restaurants, bars, activities, and attractions are open? Or what the scene is like/if people are actually traveling? Check out our post on what it’s like right now.

Packing for Costa Rica: The Essentials – Costa Rica has so many different microclimates, it can be hard to know just what to pack. Get key tips with our guide.

Rental Car Discount: If you still need to rent a car for your trip, check out our discount to save 10% and get extras like a free second driver and car seats for kids.

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