Where to Get a Covid-19 Test in Costa Rica

Last Updated: November 26, 2020

Many people have been asking where you can get a Covid-19 test in Costa Rica, for purposes of onward travel. In this short post, we will let you know of some reputable private hospitals and labs that can perform the test. Most of these are in and around San Jose, but there are some options outside the city. 

CIMA Hospital Covid Testing Costa Rica

Covid Testing Options in Costa Rica

Private Hospitals

Some private hospitals and labs can do the test. They all perform the RT-PCR test (nasal swab) and can guarantee results in 24-48 hours.

Two private hospitals near San Jose that offer the 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.

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 Quepos near Manuel Antonio and Liberia and Huacas (close to Tamarindo) in Guanacaste. We have used the Quepos location for important lab work in the past, and they were very professional and helpful. 

Labs

San Jose Area

A reputable lab offering the test is Labin. They have many locations all around San Jose. Their Vindi Alajuela location (see map here) is near the airport in Alajuela. 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. *Someone recently reported that Labin is offering drive-through testing (see comment from Daniel on November 11, below).

Another good lab option is Lab Echandi. 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.

Lab Echandi’s Coyol Alajuela location is very close to the airport (see map here).

Liberia

As we noted above, Hospital Metropolitano has a location in Liberia. They can do the test. 

If you would prefer going to a lab, Laboratorios Paez has an office in Liberia. See the exact location on WAZE here

Airport Testing

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

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.

Making an Appointment and Getting Results

Here is how to make an appointment at each hospital/lab. They should all be able to email your results so that you won’t need to go back.

Hospital CIMA (Escazu, near San Jose) – Test is performed at the hospital. Call the main number, 2208-1000 to make an appointment (English-speaking operators available). Results are provided within 24 hours.

Clinica Biblica (Santa Ana or downtown San Jose) – Sample is taken at the hospital. Call main number to schedule at appointment: (506) 2522-1000, or contact via WhatsApp: (506) 8529-2100. Results available within 2 days.

Hospital Metropolitano (San Jose Area, Quepos/Manuel Antonio, Liberia, and Huacas near Tamarindo) – Test can be performed at any location. They have said that easiest way to schedule an appointment is to send them a private message on Facebook. Otherwise, their general phone number is (506) 2521-9595. Results are provided in 24-48 hours.

Labin (lab; locations all around San Jose) – Test can be performed at any branch. Call (506) 2586-7000 or contact via WhatsApp (506) 8933-0707. Results are provided in 24-48 hours.

Lab Echandi (San Jose Area) – Test can be performed at any branch. Make an appointment via WhatsApp at (506) 8513-1862 or by calling the location you want to be tested at (phone numbers can be found here). Results available in 24-48 hours.

Laboratorios Paez (San Jose Area & Liberia)Test can be performed at any branch. Make an appointment by calling (506) 6060-4573 or through WhatsApp at (506) 6049-5458 . Results are available within 24-36 hours.

Test Cost

Prices for the test (the RT-PCR) are around 59,000 colones or $100, with tax. 

We are not aware of any facilities in Costa Rica doing the rapid or any Covid-19 test other than the RT-PCR. If we hear of any, we will update this post.

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

More information:

Wondering about Costa Rica’s entry requirements, or international insurance options? Check out our detailed post Traveling to Costa Rica During Covid-19: Entry Requirements, Protocols & What to Expect.

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29 Comments

    1. Hi Glenn, We’re not sure. Regular health insurance for use in the United States probably wouldn’t cover you abroad. If you have travel insurance that covers Costa Rica as well, then it seems it should cover you abroad. But we would ask your insurance company to find out for sure.

      1. hi, we are arriving LIR early December and heading to Nica. They require (at the moment) a RT-PCR test which we would like to get in Liberia (or close by). Do you know if that is possible and do we need a doctor’s referral? thank you George

        1. Hi George, Yes, you could get tested at Hospital Metropolitano in Liberia (see map point here). I think they are the only option for places in Liberia that have been approved to do the test. There doesn’t seem to be a lab there that can do it.

          You are technically supposed to have a doctor’s referral, but the hospitals and labs we have seen all say they can take care of that for you as part of the visit. We would contact Hospital Metropolitano in advance to make sure you fully understand the process and to double check that they can do the test at their Liberia location. The link we gave to their Facebook page earlier says to send them a message through Facebook messenger. It should be fairly easy to figure out. Good luck!

    2. Hey Glenn

      Let me know what you find out. My NYC daughter is have the same issue. We pick up the Costa Rica travel insurance but have not receive an answer if they will cover.

  1. We are arriving in San Jose for an 11 day visit to Costa Rica which includes (we hope) a border crossing by land/foot into Panama to Bocas area for a few days, then back into Costa Rica at the same crossing for our return to San Jose airport and home to California. I cannot find specific info about this itinerary during Covid. Any help whether we can even go into Panama and if they require a Covid test, etc. thank you so much.

    1. Hi Kathleen, Unfortunately, the land borders on the Costa Rica side are currently closed to tourists. So you could exit into Panama for your visit to the Bocas, but wouldn’t be able to reenter Costa Rica that way. One good option, though, is that you could fly on a small plane since the Bocas has an airport. Flights should be available right from Bocas Town into San Jose. We did that trip before Covid and it was a really nice flight with great views.

      The other consideration is that Costa Rica could reopen the land borders between now and your trip. If they do, we will announce it in our post, Traveling to Costa Rica During Covid-19.

      Yes, Panama requires a negative Covid test (PCR or antigen) within 48 hours of travel. Here is a link to the US Embassy website with more information on their entry requirements.

  2. Hi, thanks for a great post. It helped me a lot when I travelled back and forth to Costa Rica now in Nov. I did my test with Labin, they have a drive through testing center in

    Central Zapote Building, Barrio Pinto, in front of the National Archive.

    Arrived in the morning at 06.30, they opened the test center @ 07.00 and I was done @ 08.00 and my results arrived in my email 15.30 the same day. They told me to to it before 12.00 to be able to get the results within 24h otherwise they could only promise within 36h. The results were only written in Spanish. Thanks for a great website, keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Daniel, Thank you for the very helpful information! That’s great to know that Labin is doing drive-through testing.

      We’re glad that our site has been helpful to you. Thanks again for commenting.

  3. I will be arriving in Costa Rica/San Jose on Nov 21 for 8 days. I know have to have a covid test 48 hours prior to returning to the state of Pennsylvania. Any ideas on where I can get the test a few days prior and what will be required? I will have travelers insurance to cover the cost.

    1. Hi Lisa, Your questions should covered by this post so maybe give it another good read. We just updated it to add more details on how to make an appointment, and a little more on the different location options. Which option is best for you really depends on if you want to go to a larger hospital or just a lab, and where you are traveling from. For example, the labs west of San Jose like in Santa Ana and Escazu would work well if you are traveling from Guanacaste or the Central or Southern Pacific Coast. But if you’re coming from east of San Jose like the Caribbean coast, Turrialba, San Gerardo de Dota, etc. you may want something on the other side of San Jose. Feel free to ask a follow up if you still need help.

  4. Is testing available on a holiday or a weekend? For example, if I wanted to get tested on Dec 25th or even the 26th of December would that be possible? Would I get the results by the 29th?

    1. Hi Esmi, We aren’t sure about the hospitals, but Labin (a lab) has locations that are open on Saturdays and Sundays (see list of locations with hours here), so that even if they were closed on December 25th, you could do the test on the 26th and get the results by the 27th or 28th at the latest. They should be open these dates around the holiday but we would double check with them to confirm. WhatsApp would be an easy way to connect with them; it is commonly used here and easier if you don’t speak Spanish because you can use Google Translate – (506) 8933-0707.

  5. Can tourists exit the Costa Rican land borders to enter Nicaragua? I know the Costa Rican borders are closed to tourists entering but I can’t find anything about exiting.

      1. May I ask where it is published that tourists can still exit Costa Rican land borders? or, how is it that you know for certain? I am travelling with an infant so I need to be 100% sure we can exit at the land border. Also… do you have to bring a car seat with me for my baby to ride in a taxi or a shuttle to the border? It would be very cumbersome to have to carry a car seat as well.

        1. Hi Tara, The only official information we can find about the land borders is this page on the Migration site: https://www.migracion.go.cr/Paginas/Cierre-de-Fronteras.aspx. But it only covers entry and not exit.

          We’ve heard several people say that the land borders are open for tourists exiting, though. Someone said on Oct. 30 that they walked from CR to Nicaragua and everything went fine. It was in the Facebook group Costa Rica Resources for Expats and Tourists (https://www.facebook.com/groups/CRLiving/). You could join it and search old threads to find it.

          Taxis will not have a car seat for you. Shuttles will so we would recommend that.

          1. Hi again Tara, We just accidentally found this page on Migration’s website. It talks about the requirements for Costa Rican and foreign people exiting Costa Rica towards Nicaragua, so seems to be what you’re looking for.

  6. Hi Jenn and Matt, Laboratorios San Jose does the PCR test guaranteed in 48 hours for 55000 Colones or about $92. They have 14 locations in the greater San Jose metropolitan area. I went into their location in Rohmoser two weeks ago and asked them to verify the information. I had friends that were flying to Nicaragua and they had to get a Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours before arriving in Nicaragua. My sources have told me that Costa Rica is opening the border to tourists who have a flight out of San Jose or Liberia. I heard a date of December 1, but last week they seemed to have changed that to December 15.

  7. Hi Jenn and Matt, I’m thinking on travelling to Costa Rica and book a rental car, but i have seen that there are plate number restrictions in all Costa Rica. Do you know if this also affects rental cars? Many thanks!!!

  8. Do you know by any chance where on the Nicola Peninsula near Santa Teresa Mal Pais there might be a Covid test site? Our kiddo was throwing up last night. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Tania, There is probably a private clinic in Santa Teresa or Montezuma that could help. Even if they can’t perform a Covid test, they can help diagnose the problem and guide you of the nearest place that could do a test if needed. Your hotel/vacation rental host should be able to tell you where the nearest clinic is. Most tourist destinations have a clinic or English-speaking doctor available. Hope your son/daughter feels better soon!

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