Covid Travel: What It Is Like in Costa Rica Right Now

Last Updated: September 2, 2021

In 2020, the world was turned upside down and we were all affected. But with vaccinations currently underway in most countries, travel is slowly getting back to normal. Those planning to visit Costa Rica have been asking us what it is currently like here and what is open for them to enjoy. In this post, we’ll share what you can expect when traveling around Costa Rica, what is open, and how locals and other travelers are handling the situation.

Traveling to Costa Rica Covid-19 What's Open


Since Costa Rica reopened its borders in August 2020, tourism numbers have been much lower than normal. Some estimates say that international arrivals are down 80% from normal levels. However, with vaccination campaigns advancing in countries like the United States, we have seen month over month increases in travel to Costa Rica since March 2021. Additionally, many travelers are now planning longer stays in Costa Rica, working or studying remotely. 

Costa Rica does have many active cases of the virus (see stats and info here) and hospitalizations continue to be high as well. This is stressing the public healthcare system at times. The vaccination campaign in Costa Rica has been going well though. The government projects that more than 80% of the population will be vaccinated by the end of 2021. 

As far as we know from local news reports, very few tourists have been hospitalized. Additionally, the government is trying to limit any new restrictions on the tourism industry since the spread of the virus seems to be primarily within the local population, especially in high-density areas.   

Overview of What Is Open in Costa Rica

While some businesses did close during the pandemic, for most, it was temporary. As of September 2021, most hotels, restaurants, tours, and attractions are open again. The country’s beaches and national parks are open too.

We have done several small trips within the country ourselves during the pandemic. Based on that and our experience living on the central Pacific coast, we would say that about 7/10 things in tourist destinations (restaurants, hotels, shops, attractions, etc.) are back open.

With appreciative locals that have been through a lot, you’re likely to get an especially warm welcome when traveling these days.

Costa Rica Flag

Limited Capacity, Opening Hours, and Health Precautions

Though open, all businesses face new regulations to help protect both employees and visitors. 

Generally, most businesses are only allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Bars are currently at 25% (until October 1, when they will be open at 50%). That means that things like tour times, available tickets, or table space at restaurants are limited. We highly recommend reserving your spot in advance, especially for tours. 

The hours of operation for businesses are also regulated. Currently (as of September 2021), businesses only can be open between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Previously, when cases were lower, things were able to be open until 11:00 p.m.

As far as health precautions go, people entering most businesses or starting a tour are required to sanitize or wash their hands, wear a mask, and sometimes have their temperature taken. Of course these protocols are not always enforced or followed, especially in some of the smaller establishments. In general, larger companies, chain stores, banks, government agencies, etc. will be more strict with enforcement and following guidelines.  

You also might notice markings on the floor, reminding you to keep at least 1.8 meters (6 feet) apart from others.

Social Distancing During Covid Costa Rica

Use of Masks

Just like everywhere around the world, the use of masks is controversial. But in Costa Rica, it is the law to wear one when going inside any indoor space (shared vehicles like shuttles and buses included). The one exception is at bars and restaurants. They are not required, except for the staff. Luckily, many restaurants in Costa Rica are open to the outside and have plenty of natural airflow.

Masks are not required in the outdoors or while walking on the street, unless you are at a bus stop or some type of event like a farmers market, function, etc.  

While traveling around the country as well as in our own town, we have seen masks being used incorrectly or not at all. However, most people are following the rules and being respectful. Many businesses will enforce the use of masks, since they can be fined and shut down if they are non-compliant. Others are still lackadaisical, even with the threat of being fined.  

In areas where there have been more cases, like San Jose, wearing a mask is part of life. People are just used to it. In rural areas that may not have been impacted by the virus as much, there is generally more resistance to using masks.

Tropical masks Costa Rica Covid
At least the masks here are tropical feeling

Driving Restrictions

Most travelers won’t have to worry about this, but all of Costa Rica has driving restrictions in place. Currently you aren’t allowed to drive certain days of the week, based on your license plate number (see this post for the latest info). However, rental cars and tourism vehicles are exempt.

If you experience any problems, just show the officer the rental car contract. If you’re still looking for a rental car company, check out our discounts page for a really good option.

A driving curfew between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. is also in effect. We have heard that rental cars are exempt from this as well, if traveling to and from the airport. But just to be sure, we would not recommend driving during curfew hours unless necessary (e.g., to catch your flight).

Refer to this government website (Alertas section) for more information on the measures in place. It is in Spanish but can be translated using the Google Translate extension.

What to Expect When Traveling in Costa Rica 

Below we’ll give some specifics for what you should expect when traveling around Costa Rica and how different establishments are handling things.

Arriving at the Airport

We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people entering the country and done it a couple times ourselves in the last few months. Overall the process is smooth and sometimes quick (as fast as 30 minutes). This is assuming you meet the entry requirements, of course. We’d still plan on about one hour, just in case. 

The most important thing is that you will have to show your QR code from the Health Pass form to the airline officials before departing your home country. You’ll also have this code scanned at immigration when you enter.

Some people have reported that the lines through immigration and surrounding the baggage claim can get crowded. While there are markings on the floor indicating where you should stand, multiple people in the same group crowd up these designated areas and push everyone closer together. So, just be prepared that there may be some closer contact inside the airport if immigration is processing a lot of people at once.

Flying into SJO Covid


When arriving at your hotel, you’ll be required to wear a mask, wash your hands, and possibly, have your temperature checked. The staff should inform you of other safety protocols during check in.

Hotels are one of the few businesses that are allowed to operate at 100% capacity.  That means that all rooms can be booked. (An exception is large hotels with 100 rooms or more. These are at 75% capacity.) However, common areas like restaurants, pools, and gyms are limited to just 50% capacity.

As a result, you’ll notice some changes at hotels. For example, instead of a breakfast buffet, you may be asked for your order ahead of time. Or you may be given a specific time slot to visit the breakfast area. Or the breakfast area may have the tables spread apart with a la carte ordering only. Different hotels are handling it in different ways.

Pools at hotels are limited to 50% capacity too. We’ve seen some hotels remove half the lounge chairs around the pool to help with this. However, we’ve also seen some pretty full pools at other places, especially on busy holiday weekends.


Restaurants are allowed to operate at 50% capacity between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. 

When visiting a restaurant, expect to have to sanitize your hands before entering. Most have a handwashing station set up right near the entrance. Often these have a foot pedal so that you don’t have to touch the faucet.

Many restaurants require a mask when entering but you can take it off when sitting down at your table. We usually take ours off after ordering and getting our drinks. Other restaurants are, honestly, pretty lackadaisical. They allow people to enter with no mask and don’t really check that you wash your hands.

Waiters and other staff are supposed to wear a mask at all times. You may also notice that some restaurants have big chalk boards or QR codes that you scan for the menu, to avoid extra contact with objects. We’ve even eaten at a couple of restaurants where the entire inside area was closed off and only outdoor tables were available.

Chalkboard Menu During Covid Costa Rica


Currently beaches in Costa Rica are open from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

When visiting the beach, there isn’t much to know, except to keep your distance from others. You are not supposed to have large gatherings or play close-contact sports like soccer or volleyball, though some people still do.

The nice thing about Costa Rica’s beaches is that there is usually plenty of space to spread out. Beaches that are busy still aren’t that crowded, and in general, everyone can keep a distance of at least 20 feet or so, if they want to.

Uncrowded beach Costa Rica Covid

Along the beach, vendors selling things like ice cream, ceviche, and souvenirs, on foot should be wearing masks. However, we’d say that about half don’t in the areas we’ve been to lately. If you’re not comfortable having them come close, just wave and shake your head to indicate you aren’t interested. Most will be respectful.

National Parks

Almost all of Costa Rica’s national parks are open again at 100% capacity. Some have limited trail access to avoid crowding.

When hiking through national parks, we have noticed that some people keep their mask handy in case they pass others along the trail. At other times, we’ve had to ask people for more space, when waiting in a short line to see something like a waterfall.  

All national parks require handwashing, a temperature check, and a mask upon entering. They are only accepting credit cards to limit the use of cash. For most national parks, you can buy your tickets online in advance.

Visiting National Park Costa Rica Covid
Handwashing station and temperature check outside Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Tour Operators

Most tours are operating again so you can still do things like zip lining, whitewater rafting, nature hikes, boat trips, agricultural tours, and more.

Each tour is different, but all operators are following the basic protocols like hand sanitizing, requiring masks (especially at reception areas, in vans, etc.), and limiting the number of people. We know some tour operators that are only offering private tours, to prevent mixing different groups.

For watersports and adrenaline-type tours, the use of a mask is only required during portions of the tour. Especially since it would either get wet or fall off in some cases.

In booking tours for clients, we have seen that some operators that usually offer a tour several times per day have modified their schedule to reduce the number of time slots available. For this reason, we recommend booking ahead of time if possible so that you can get a reservation and they can schedule staff. Many tourism workers have been laid off or are only working part time because of the pandemic.

Compliance of Locals and Other Tourists

Generally speaking, most people in Costa Rica are taking the pandemic seriously. Everyone at grocery stores, banks, and most indoor businesses are all wearing their masks and sanitizing hands often.

On trips we have taken recently, we have seen many locals (especially from city areas like San Jose) respecting the protocols very carefully. On the other hand, in our small town on the central Pacific coast and in some other rural areas, we often see people mingling and very few wearing a mask. On a trip to La Fortuna, we were amazed that every single souvenir store in the downtown had employees with no masks on. Many expats living in the country also seem to be hesitant to wear a mask when getting together. Of course, with any population, there is a mix.

Those international visitors that we have seen seem to be going with the flow and learning what to do at each place they stop. They all seem very happy to be here and who can blame them!   

ZIp Lining Costa Rica Covid


Like everywhere, people in Costa Rica want to get back to some type of normalcy after having businesses closed for many months in 2020. Locals are excited to have international tourists back again and it gives them hope for the future. If you are thinking about planning a visit, we hope this post helps you decide one way or another. If you do come, Costa Rica will be waiting with open arms (and a mask).

Last Updated: September 2, 2021

Have a question about what’s open? Or are you in Costa Rica now? Leave us a comment below.

Need more info? Check out our other Covid-related posts before you travel:

Traveling to Costa Rica During Covid-19: Entry Requirements, Protocols & What to Expect 

Costa Rica and the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Latest Statistics

Preflight Testing For Departing Costa Rica: Logistics And Tips

Costa Rica’s Required Travel Insurance: 15 FAQs

Where to Get a Covid-19 Test in Costa Rica  

Covid-19 in Costa Rica: Living Here Through the Pandemic 

Just starting to plan your trip? Check out these helpful posts and pages:

Rental Car Discount – Save 10% or more and get free extras like surfboard racks, child seats, and more.

Weather in Costa Rica: What You Need to Know – Weather Apps hardly work in Costa Rica. Read this post to find out typical weather patterns for the month you are planning to come.

Packing for Costa Rica: The Essentials – Covid may have changed a lot, but you still need much of the same gear these days. Be prepared for your Costa Rica trip with our detailed packing list.


  1. Thank you very much for such a detailed piece of information. I, like a lot of other people I’m sure, am still worried about going to Costa Rica this winter and your information is most reassuring.

      1. Hi Jen & Matt,

        My husband and I will be on a self-funded leave program from July 2021 – August 2022 (we are both Highschool teachers). When we started paying into the program 5 years ago, we did not foresee COVID and we’re planning to do a trek around the world with our three kids (who will be 5, 8 and 10 this summer).

        Now, we are considering coming to Costa Rica and enrolling them in public education somewhere on the Pacific Coast. We all speak English and French well, and I can get by in Spanish, so we think it could be a good immersion opportunity.

        What are public schools doing to take safety measures, when is testing required for students, and what do schools do in response to cases and outbreaks?

        Any thoughts on ou le plans would be so helpful! (Suggested location(s), schools, housing, transportation…).

        Thanks and Merry Christmas. Or rather Feliz Navidad!

        Michelle & Chris

        1. Hi Michelle and Chris, Schools have been closed for in person since Covid started in March. Public schools are supposed to go back to in person when the school year begins in February – it will be part-time virtual and part-time in person. They have made some announcements recently about the protocols in place, and we have heard masks will be required. Our son is enrolled in private school so we are more familiar with the measures they have in place there. Our son’s school has fairly robust measures. But they do differ from what will happen in public schools since it is school-specific. The best place to find information is probably the Ministerio de Educacion’s website. Here’s a link to their Covid page, which looks very detailed.

          Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to take a look at our post on Moving to Costa Rica with Kids. That probably touches on many topics you’ll face when you’re here, including how to pick a spot to settle down. Best of luck with your family’s plans!

          1. Hello, I live in Costa Rica and I am amazed why our children are still forced to wear masks at school. Do you have any update info when that madness will be called off? Every other country in the world including Canada! allows children to breath freely… I hope it will become optional but I can not find any update info.. many thanks!

          2. Hi Monika, We haven’t heard about any changes to the mask mandate at schools. It probably won’t be until they stop requiring them in indoor settings.

  2. I am bringing my dog with me to CR. Has that been aproblem for anybody? I have traveled with my dog to CR before.

  3. Hi Matt and Jen! Do you know roughly how much the required insurance costs? We’re planning on roughly a 2 week trip (2 adults – 53, 54). Thanks!

      1. My husband and i are the same age as y’all. We went with Trawick and for about 9 days it was about 20$

  4. Second question. We will e in CR for 99 days. I have INS insurance for 90 days. I plan on getting a second policy for the additional 9 days. I plan on flying to Bocas for a week during our stay. Do you see any problems with this plan?

    1. Hi Randy, Would love to know how much you paid for the INS insurance. I am 69 and would like to purchase 89 days of insurance. Sagitor is too expensive, and Trawick quoted almost $700. What is your experience with INS?

  5. Hi Matt,

    Thank you for the informative updates! I’ve got one question please.

    Is there any discussion about re-opening the land borders for tourists this year?


  6. Hello. Thanks for this info! I am a solo traveller looking at CR for two weeks in January. I will go to Puerto Viejo and then the pacific coast. I am having a hard time deciding where to stay. I would like a nice beach town, with maybe a few cafes, nice vibe, water for swimming. Can you give me any tips as to where to stay?

    1. Hi Andreas, If you’re coming from Puerto Viejo, the central Pacific coast will be closest. You could look at the Jaco area (, but it may not be what you’re looking for since it’s more developed. If you are open to a longer drive, you could look at places in Guanacaste like Samara ( or Potrero ( Both are smaller towns with access to great swimming beaches. You would probably have to make a stop for an overnight between Puerto Viejo and either of those destinations because it’s a really long drive. Doable in two weeks, though. Hope that helps!

      1. Hey guys. Thanks so much. I think I will go to Manuel Antonio. Any tips on where to stay one night in between the two? SJ or Arenal? Other?

  7. Hey guys – We have booked our travel to Samara but we are in the process of getting our children’s passports renewed. The Costa Rican insurance is asking for passport numbers. Do you know if we have to purchase the insurance right away or can we purchase say two weeks before our trip when we should have the passports?

    1. Hi Sarah, You just have to have the insurance information to put on the Health Pass. This can’t be filled out until 48 hours before your trip so you can do it fairly last minute. Just be sure to leave enough time to get the policy information, but usually it comes fast anyway. So you should be all set. Hope you get the new passports back soon!

  8. We are planning a trip to Quepos Jan 8 – 16 any info on that area. We have been coming to costa rica for 20 plus years. Just mostly for fishing. The people I have been talking to have told me that its under control with very little cases of covid any thoughts.

    1. Hi Joseph, Quepos/Manuel Antonio doesn’t have too many cases. Right now, there are 113 active (you can find the current data here by canton/county: On average, from following the data since this began, we’d say that Quepos has between 5 and 15 new cases per day. Costa Rica has a high positivity rate and probably isn’t testing as much as it should, but the numbers aren’t bad overall, especially in the majority of the beach towns. One thing to note is that hospitalizations are creeping back up again, so we will have to keep an eye on that with the holidays coming. We hope that helps give you an idea of what it’s like.

  9. Thanks for your response. That’s what I have also found in my research as well. We are renting a house in Quepos as we have done for several years. We go to fish and I would have to believe that that should be pretty safe. Thanks again

  10. Thanks again If you could keep me posted if you get any new info I would appreciate it. I am going the second week of January so any info will help. Thanks again

  11. Hi Jenn and Matt,

    Have you heard or is there anything in the press related to new measures that could be put in place between christmas and new years?

    Traveling to CR from 26th till the 4th of January.


    1. Hi Filipe, We have not heard of any new measures being put in place. With the holidays, it is likely that nothing will change right now, and nothing may change anyway. It is hard to say. The government did say informally that they would not stop flights from the UK. One thing is that hospitalizations are up right now and pushing hospital capacity (public, not private, hospitals). We are watching the news but you should be safe for your visit later this week. Hope you have a great trip!

  12. Hi Jenn & Matt,

    I have just read that Costa Rica will be making new restrictions as of January, do you have any idea of how that will impact tourists? We would fly to CR on January 17

    Best Regards

    1. Hi Casper, Yes, some temporary restrictions were issued yesterday. We updated our Covid posts this morning with the information. Everything that affects tourists actually ends on January 17 so you will be all set for your trip. If you want to read about the specific changes, just look at the latest version of this post.

      1. And you dont think that these ristrictions will be extended? I know it’s difficult to say these days, but you might have an idea of which way things are going.. It would be sad to get to CR, and maybe see more closeures and restrictions 🙂

        1. We don’t think they will be extended. It seems they were mainly put in place to control vacations over the holidays. Many locals get two weeks off from work starting around Christmas and this is a big time for gatherings. Vacations for some continue until mid January, hence the January 17 end date.

  13. Hi Jenn&Matt, we are planning to arrive in CR on Sat this week from Europe and I just read about new restrictions. We plan to rent car and visit National Parks then stay few days on Caribbean coast. We see there are 50% capacity limitation implemented now till 17th Jan. Are national parks now crowded? Or there are not so many tourists. I am asking if we can have flexibility and buy tickets at the entrance or we should book on line all accesses/tickets now to all parks now to be sure we can visit them?
    Thank you so much for your advise and wishing you all the best!

    1. Hi Izabela, Now is the busiest time of year for travel in Costa Rica. This year it is somewhat slower, but popular places are still busy. We would recommend reserving your tickets at any parks you know you want to visit in advance if you can (not all parks have online ticketing). Not everywhere will be full but we have heard of some filling up – Rincón de la Vieja was full today. Hope you have a great trip!

  14. Hi! We are going to be traveling with our 3 and 5-year-old. Do you know what the mask rules are for young kids? I know they have to wear them on the plane and in the airport but what about while in Costa Rica? Do they have to wear one when we go into a shop or just the adults? Thanks!

    1. Hi Angie, Masks for kids are required starting at age 3. You need them in most indoor spaces and some outdoor ones too (e.g., to get into a national park, one is required at the entrance). Hope that helps!

  15. I am planning to come to costa rica on the 9th and stay until the 16th. We are going to stay at Quepos for some very needed fishing time. Just checking to see if you can update us about the situation in that area. We have been coming to that area for several years and feel very confident in moving around that town. If you have any in site in the area we would greatly appreciate it.

    1. Hi Joseph, No new news on Quepos. It has been pretty much the same since you last asked. The current number of active cases for the canton/county is only 139. Here’s a link to the government case reporting website, which is updated almost every day with current numbers by canton.

  16. Hi there – I’m thinking about coming to CR for a month from mid Jan to mid Feb. I will of course buy good health insurance and will stay in Puerto Viejas. I’m worried that if I do get sick the private hospitals will not have capacity…what’s your view on this and do you know the quality of the private hospitals in CR? Thanks alot. Julian

    1. Hi Julian, There aren’t any capacity concerns at private hospitals. The public hospitals have been filling up recently, but these are the public health system options through CCSS, not private options that you would use as a visitor.

      Costa Rica has excellent private hospitals. CIMA, Clinica Biblica, and Hospital Metropolitano are all very good, among others. We’ve had appointments and procedures at all three of these hospitals and were very pleased with the quality of care and modern facilities.

  17. Hi I just wanted to let you all know that the local airline, Skyway, yesterday announced that all local flights will be cancelled until the fall. We had booked a flight with Flightnetwork as we were planning to go to the Osa Peninsula for 2 weeks. Now, we are having to decide if we can do the long drive….Good thing we called Skyway on a tip from a facebook group because F.N did Not notify us!

  18. We traveled to CR between Christmas and New Years, and would offer two observations. First, enter your health pass information and get your QR code the night before you leave. I was thinking that they would want it on the CR side so I planned to fill it out while I waited for the plane. However, the airlines require it at check-in. The other issue I noted (we travel there frequently) that has never happened before was car rental issues. Many companies were taking reservations, but didn’t actually have cars. Many people found that out when they landed and then were scrambling for a car. We have friends that helped us out, but it was stressful. Make sure that there really will be a car there when you arrive!

    1. Hi Kristina, Jason can chime in, but we highly recommend a local company called Adobe Rent a Car. If you reserve through them, they will hold a car for you. We have been working with them for over 5 years and have never heard of someone showing up and them not having a car. Our readers get a 10% discount through Adobe and other extras like a free second driver. There’s more info on our Rental Car Discount page.

  19. Hi guys! I love your website, this is all such helpful information. We took our three kids to live in CR about 10 years ago and stayed three weeks. We are raising them bilingual and the goal was to get as much integration and practice speaking Spanish as possible. We’d like to come again this summer for two weeks with the same goal. We usually try to find a school that will let them enroll while we’re there, but that can be difficult to find. What is your recommendation? Last time we spent a week in Turrialba, one in Monteverde, and one in Malpais. We would love to return to Monteverde, but are open to other options. Would appreciate your thoughts!

    1. Hi Shauni, Glad you are finding our website helpful!

      We don’t know of any schools that will let you enroll for only two weeks. You can find camps in some places – these happen during school break, which is in late June/early July if you can time your trip for then. If you’re wanting them to get culture, lots of private schools are attended by both expat and local kids so that would be a good option. It has been a while since you’ve been here so revisiting those same destinations would be fine. You may just want to reconsider Mal Pais. Mal País itself is still fairly quiet but the whole area is really blowing up. We just got back from a visit to Santa Teresa and there is a lot of development happening and it has a big party scene now. Lots of traffic. Montezuma (, on the other side of the peninsula, be a better option. Hope that helps!

  20. Hi Jenn and Matt!

    I honestly loved this and many of your other articles as they’re the only up to date pieces of info that I could find.
    I was wondering if you had any further updates for February? I’m thinking of visiting Costa Rica around the end of Feb and I read that most restrictions were to be reviewed at the end of January… Do you think it’s worth visiting?


    1. Hi Valentina, It is definitely worth visiting. Almost everything is back open again. Beaches are still open until 6 pm. Restaurants are open until 10 pm now. Bars can be open at reduced capacity. National parks can be open at 100%. Driving restrictions have been eliminated during the week and don’t affect tourists/rental cars anyway. Rental cars are exempt. The feedback we have been hearing from people is to come. Since it’s less busy, many of the popular attractions aren’t crowded. But there is still stuff going on. We went to Manuel Antonio yesterday and the beach was lively. Hope that helps!

  21. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    Thanks for all the info you provide on your site, its all very helpful. We are planning a trip for end of July with our son and I was recently reading an article about the increased crime and wanted to get your thoughts/observations. It’s hard to tell if it’s just a normal type of increase or something to be looking out for. Any info you have on crime would be terrific. We are thinking of a 2 week trip, mainly on the Pacific Coast side (Manuel Antonio, Gunacaste, Arenal, Moteverde). Thanks!

    1. Hi Michelle, Petty theft may be up some due to economic hardship from the pandemic. But we haven’t heard of any increase in violent crimes. Violent crimes are fairly rare outside the city/San Jose. We follow many of the local Facebook groups for people who live here and haven’t noticed increased crime in any of those areas you’ll be visiting. Just be sure to follow the usual precautions. We have some advice in our Safety Tips post:

  22. Hi Jenn and Matt, your site is wonderful! We have looking for a beachfront all-inclusive, and have stayed at Los Suenos in the past and loved it. Are there any you’re particularly fond of?

    1. Hi Paula, We’ve stayed at Los Suenos Marriott and really liked it too!

      Another good beachfront all inclusive is Hotel Punta Islita, which is owned by the Hilton now. This is in a quiet location a little south of Samara. It’s a classy boutique hotel. Most of the other all inclusives are in Northern Guanacaste – many of these are set up on a hill so not right on the beach. If you’re okay with something more casual, there is a Margaritavilla right on the beach in Playa Flamingo, which is a nice location close to lots of things.

  23. Thanks for the information. I will be traveling to Jaco and La Fortuna next month. Do you know if the beaches in Jaco close at 6PM still? My lodging will be on the beach and I was hoping to be able to walk the beach at sunset.

  24. Thanks for all the helpful info! I’m planning a solo trip to Costa Rica in March. I was planning to visit some places that seem to be a little less travelled- like Tortuguero and the Caribbean coast. I’m worried with less tourists at the moment that things will be closed or tours not running. Would you recommend I stick to the more touristy places right now? Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura, Tortuguero and Puerto Viejo are pretty big destinations in terms of tourism so things should be running. A lot of packages go to Tortuguero and we know that Puerto Viejo is fairly busy right now. Cahuita could be a little slower. Hope that helps!

  25. Thankyou 😃 it’s wonderful to have these on the ground updates. Tickets from US west coast were 260 round trip so we jump on it and are coming at end of April 202! Your updates are just in time and very very clear. Keep it up and I plan to use your web links to make sure I’m supporting you.

  26. Hi,
    I am interested in doing a yoga training this summer and am thinking of bringing my husband and two teenagers, 15 and 18. I am concerned about my sons, since they have not been vaccinated.
    Can anyone recommend a place that would accommodate us? I would ideally like the 18 year old to also get some volunteer/work experience. We would like to be walking distance to a town and of course want to visit the rainforest. Any information would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Mary, You could probably do a yoga training in Samara (, Montezuma (, Santa Teresa (, or The Uvita/Dominical área ( You can follow our links for more information about those areas. The most walkable would be Samara, Montezuma or Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa may be more of a scene than you’re looking for, though, with two teenagers. Mask compliance also isn’t very good there based on our experience visiting recently. I hope that helps!

      1. Thanks! I will check those out. Do you know of any local places to volunteer with ocean or forest animals in Samara or Montezuma? My son is interested in volunteering at an animal sanctuary. Again, thanks for your help.

        1. So, I am looking at a yoga training in Uvitas and the new plan is that my husband and sons join me after the training. Is that a good jumping off point to explore the rainforest?
          I am really in the dark as to what the “best” places are to be immersed in the rainforest and this is what my youngest son really wants.
          Do you have links to small tours that you would recommend? Also, do you know if people are wearing masks on the tours?
          Ideally we would like an uncrowded experience. So, even if it’s not anywhere near Uvitas, I may look for a different training or just figure out transport.
          Thanks so much,

          1. Uvita sounds like exactly what you’re looking for. It has thick rainforest all around and lots of wildlife. Here is a link to our article about that area to give you a feel for it and what activities are available:

            I think I saw in another one of your comments about your son wanting to volunteer at a wildlife center. The Uvita area actually has a great one called Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary.

            People are generally wearing masks. You can read more about when masks are required and how compliance is here:

  27. Hi there,

    Thanks for the article! Heading to Tamarindo this weekend and I hear there are stronger restrictions now, bars/restaurants only open till 9pm at 25% capacity? Are you able to confirm? Any idea if/when that will be lifted, we will be staying for a month. Thanks!

    1. Hi Shamima, We have updated information on all restrictions in our article, Costa Rica and the Coronavirus ( You can always check there for the latest updates. We update it almost every day.

      To answer your question, yes, the government just put in place additional restrictions because we are experiencing record cases and hospitalizations. They are trying to limit the impacts on tourism as much as possible. The restrictions only apply until the end of May. National Parks are limited to 50% capacity and bars to 25% capacity. Restaurants were already at 50% capacity and have been that way during the whole pandemic. The occupancy limits aren’t a huge deal for most restaurants since it is less busy right now because of Covid. All businesses with a health permit (this is most of them including restaurants) have to close at 9 pm until the end of the month.

      They will most likely loosen the restrictions at the end of the month but how much will depend on how this current wave is going. In Tamarindo, you won’t feel the impacts too much, other than the business closures at 9 pm. We hope that gives you a better idea of what’s going on.

  28. Thank you so much for all the great info. My family (husband, a toddler and a small child) are coming next month. I have so many questions… This will be our first trip to the country, so your site has been incredibly helpful. I just booked our car through your link. I was wondering if you could offer a bit of advice. First, our flight arrives in San Jose around 5:30 PM. We will have to pick up our rental car from Adobe, and then were planning to drive to our AirBNB, 3 and a half hours away… 20 ish min south of Quepos. But I just read in one of the comments that sunset is usually before 6:00 pm? In your experience, would it be unwise for us as first time travelers to CR to drive this distance in the evening like this?
    Thanks so much for any advice!

    1. Hi Carly, Glad our site has been helpful! Thanks for booking your rental car through our link.

      Yes, it does get dark here around 5:45/6 pm. We don’t recommend driving long distances after dark, especially in rainy season, because visibility can be poor. We actually just came out with an article today about driving in rainy season, which will give you a better idea of what it’s like. Here’s the he link:

      You could either stay overnight near the airport, or another option is to take a shuttle to your Airbnb then pick up the rental car the next day in Quepos. If the shuttle option sounds good and you need help making the arrangements, feel free to reach out through our shuttle booking page:

      We hope your family has an amazing trip!

  29. Wow! No other website gives such thorough information about Costa Rica and the current COVID situation – thank you for all you do! Please keep this page updated as much as you can.

    We have a family trip planned for November. However, the CDC has marked CR as a Level 4 threat in regards to COVID (the US is only a Level 3). This makes us apprehensive, but I keep reminding myself that most of the activities we will be engaging in are outside or just within our family. Does the current situation in CR there seem dire enough to be at a Level 4 in your opinion?

    1. Hi Rose, I don’t think the situation here is any worse than in the US. Yes, we are having a spike due to the delta variant, but it is fairly easy to stay safe since most things are outdoors. By November, hopefully we will be in a better position, as vaccination rates increase. Currently, 60% of the population has had one shot. Costa Rica has been spacing out doses 12 weeks but just changed this to 8 weeks so a larger number of the population who received their first dose in late July will be fully vaccinated by October. This was the last group, when CR opened vaccinations to everyone, even those without risk factors. Vaccine hesitance is very low here so we expect that most will choose to vaccinate. I hope that helps give you a better idea!

  30. Hi this site is so great! Me and husband are planning a trip next March (last 9 days). After reading how tours and restaurants are now having to scale back again, wondering if we should move it to last week of April beginning of May. Our itinerary is San Jose to Monteverde (2nts) then down to Manuel Antonio for 5nts. We are not sure if end of March is a “peak” time. But also not sure if moving to last week in Apr into May we would get too much rain. Do you think that last 9 days in March would hinder us in going on ATV and Catamaran tour. I know it is a long ways off; I read how the surge of covid hit you this past April and am also a little worried about the crowds in March vs. late April into May or would the crowds still be there last of Apr into 1st week of May. If it doesn’t matter we would like to keep it planned for March, the hotels I picked are the same price so that’s good. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Cindy, We’d keep it at the end of March like you have planned. That’s a long ways off and who knows what it will be like then with COVID so we wouldn’t change your plans based on that. Hopefully we are mostly out of this by that point anyway. If we aren’t, March would be a much better time than late April, as late April/early May is when we would begin to see a spike because of Easter Week. The weather is more reliable in March too. I hope that helps!

  31. Sept12/2021 – Thanks for your Sept 2 Covid update. Its about what I expected, but I appreciate the validation. Its our second trip to CR, this time for a month, arriving Nov 4. Hopefully it won’t be too rainy. We have rented a car using your Adobe suggestion and plan to start in Liberia and head south, leaving Dec 2. We will purchase additional Covid insurance just to be sure and will be diligent with the usual precautions, as well we are fully vaccinated. I feel that if we are careful, we can manage the risk.

    1. Hi Bill, Yes, and hopefully we will be in better shape when you are here in November. Vaccinations are going strong right now. They just started a big campaign this week, with extended hours at all public clinics. Here’s a link to our post in vaccination rates in case you haven’t seen it. We just came out with it a few days ago.

      Thanks for renting your car through our site!

  32. What a great site! We have been coming to CR for many years. We stay in Santa Teresa Guanacaste for about 2 weeks each time. We are triple vaccinated. Do you think it is relatively safe to travel to CR and go to the outdoor restaurants in santa teresa? If we do get sick is there good medical care available? We will have travel insurance, but if we become covid positive, the US won’t let us back in and we will be dependent on medical care there. What do you think? Thank you very very much for your site.

    1. Hi Pamela, Santa Teresa is one destination that we don’t recommend if you are concerned about Covid. In most places in Costa Rica, people are following the protocols like wearing masks, distancing, etc., but that’s typically not the case in Santa Teresa. So you may not feel comfortable eating in restaurants and things like that. Of course, it all depends on your comfort level and being boostered is great. We are just starting to experience a fairly significant increase in cases because of omicron right now (you can find current data here). Not sure when you are planning to come again.

      Health care is very good, though, if you did end up needing it. COVID care through the public health care system is great and there is also an excellent network of private hospitals in San José. Hope that helps with your question.

  33. Thank you VERY much for that advice. When we looked at the numbers in the Nicoya area, they looked quite low compared to the rest of the country. Do you think Santa Teresa would be disproportionately higher because of the attitudes towards masking and distancing? When we go to Santa teresa we do 2 things – surf all day and then eat in restaurants at night, so not going to restaurants would be an issue for us.

    Thank you so much again – this is an amazing site! Even though we have been coming to costa rica for years, we have learned a lot from it!

    1. Hi Pamela, Santa Teresa is in the canton of Puntarenas. This is a big area, which includes the city of Puntarenas. We don’t have a breakdown by district (it’s part of Cobano), but there are 526 active cases in that canton right now. You can see the map here: I’m not sure if it is disproportionately higher right now, but I know they have been one of the higher areas in the past. Maybe another beach town would be better for this trip? You could go online and see what people are saying about what the feeling is like at restaurants there. Last time we checked, some people were concerned about restaurant employees not wearing masks, partying, etc.

  34. To clarify my question above, we are talking about the santa teresa that is out in puntarenas, north of montezuma.

    1. Thank you so much for your continued help with this. Where would I go online to see what the feeling is? Are you talking about trip advisor?

      May we arrange a conversation on the phone – we wouldn’t need an hour, but maybe 10 minutes?

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