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

Last Updated: September 24, 2020

With borders beginning to reopen around the world, travel as we know it has certainly changed. But what is traveling to Costa Rica like during Covid-19? With some key changes and extra precautions, we think that visitors can still experience what makes this country special. Beautiful beaches, verdant green mountains, diverse wildlife, and warmhearted locals. In this post, we’ll share what you need to know when traveling to Costa Rica during Covid-19. We’ll cover entry requirements (Covid testing, insurance, etc.), airport protocols, and let you know what to expect at hotels, restaurants, and on tours.

Traveling Costa Rica During Reopening Covid

Who Can Enter Costa Rica?

Costa Rica reopened its airport borders to certain countries and US states beginning on August 1. See the sections below for the full list.

Approved Countries 

Tourists from the following countries can travel to Costa Rica as of today, or as indicated in the date provided: 

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Cypriot Republic
  • Czech Republic
  • Federal Republic of Germany
  • French Republic
  • Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  • Hellenic Republic (Greece)
  • Ireland
  • Italian Republic
  • Jamaica (October 1)
  • Japan
  • Kingdom of Belgium
  • Kingdom of Denmark
  • Kingdom of Norway
  • Kingdom of Spain
  • Kingdom of Sweden
  • Kingdom of Thailand
  • Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Mexico (October 1)
  • New Zealand
  • Portuguese Republic
  • Principality of Liechtenstein
  • Principality of Monaco
  • Republic of Austria
  • Republic of Bulgaria
  • Republic of China
  • Republic of Croatia
  • Republic of Estonia
  • Republic of Finland
  • Republic of Hungary
  • Republic of Iceland
  • Republic of Korea
  • Republic of Latvia
  • Republic of Lithuania
  • Republic of Malta
  • Republic of Poland
  • Republic of San Marino
  • Republic of Singapore
  • Republic of Slovenia
  • Republic of Uruguay
  • Romania
  • Slovak Republic
  • Swiss Confederation
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • United States (certain states only; see list below)
  • Vatican State

The government has clarified that tourists without a passport from one of these countries can enter Costa Rica through a flight from a permitted country under certain circumstances. Specifically, they must quarantine in the permitted country for at least 14 days, without showing symptoms, before departing for Costa Rica. Upon arriving in Costa Rica, the immigration official will ensure that the passenger did not make only a stopover in the permitted country.

Approved US States

The government announced on August 19 and 27, and September 10 and 24, that tourists from certain states in the United States can enter Costa Rica. Tourists from the following states can enter starting on the dates indicated below:

  • Arizona (September 15)
  • California (October 1)
  • Colorado (September 15)
  • Connecticut (September 1)
  • Maine (September 1)
  • Maryland (September 1)
  • Massachusetts (September 15)
  • Michigan (September 15)
  • New Hampshire (September 1)
  • New Jersey (September 1)
  • New Mexico (September 15)
  • New York (September 1)
  • Ohio (October 1)
  • Oregon (September 15)
  • Pennsylvania (September 15)
  • Rhode Island (September 15)
  • Vermont (September 1)
  • Virginia (September 1)
  • Washington, DC (September 1)
  • Washington (September 15)
  • Wyoming (September 15)

Visitors from the US will be subject to an additional requirement to verify that they are residents of an approved state. See the Entry Requirements section, below, for more information.

Connecting Flights/Layovers

Tourists from authorized states may enter Costa Rica even if their flight route includes a stop at a destination that is not authorized. This is stated on the Tourism Institute’s (ICT) website.

A recent video from ICT clarifies this. According to the video, the flight must originate in an approved state/country. A traveler can have a layover in an unapproved state or country as long as the duration of the stop does not exceed 18 hours AND the traveler does not leave the airport. 

Upon arrival at the airport in Costa Rica, the traveler must demonstrate that their flight originated in an approved state/country. This can be easily done using their boarding pass.

Adding New Countries/States

Costa Rican officials have said that they will continue to analyze which countries/states can be added to the list based on the Covid situation in Costa Rica and around the world. We are updating this post as new locations are added.

For information on Costa Rica’s current Covid numbers, read our separate post Costa Rica and the Coronavirus 

Available Flights

The government wants to begin reintroducing tourism in a very slow and controlled way to limit the virus’ spread. So they are limiting flights into the country.

Only up to five flights per week (total, not per country) have been scheduled to start from Europe. 

Travel originating in the United States began in September with flights from Newark, New Jersey (EWR). Flights from other US cities have been available, but these were repatriation flights that tourists cannot book. More commercial flights are being added slowly, though.

According to the ICT, starting on September 13, United Airlines will fly every day from Houston, Texas (IAH) to San Jose Airport (SJO), and three times per week to Liberia Airport (LIR). In October, United expects to offer more flights from Newark, New Jersey as well. 

For service from Denver, Colorado (DEN), United is aiming to have a flight to Costa Rica by the end of October. 

American Airlines also resumed flights to Costa Rica on September 9. American is planning to now have daily flights from both Dallas/Forth Worth (DFW) to SJO and Miami (MIA) to SJO. Starting on October 8, they plan to have a daily flight from Miami to Liberia.

Texas and Florida aren’t on the approved list yet, but travelers from approved states can have a layover in these states. As we explained above, connecting flights are fine as long as you don’t leave the airport and the layover is 18 hours or less.

Click here to see flights from the US to Costa Rica that have been approved by the Ministry of Health for September.

Here is a link to the SJO Airport website where they list when each airline expects to begin offering flights again.

Airports reopen in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Entry Requirements for Tourists

To enter Costa Rica, visitors will need to do the following. For the requirements for Costa Rican citizens and residents, see the section below.

1) Present a Negative COVID-19 Test 

This test must be done within 72 hours of your scheduled flight to Costa Rica (previously the requirement was 48 hours). The specific type of test required is a PCR-RT test. Other tests like the rapid test will not be accepted.

2) Complete an Online Epidemiological Form (Health Pass) 

This short form called the Health Pass (found here) asks for personal information like your name, age, nationality, passport number, and flight details. You will also need to provide your hotel/accomodations in Costa Rica. 

The form asks if you have been tested for COVID-19, on what date, and the results. You will need to upload the results. 

For the mandatory insurance (see below), you will need to indicate if you are using one of the Costa Rican companies or an international provider. If an international provider, you also will need to upload your policy so that the Tourism Institute can verify it in advance of your arrival.

*If you are from the United States, you will be asked to upload a photo of your driver’s license or state ID card to show you are from an approved state.

The form can only be filled out within 48 hours of your flight, not sooner.

The Health Pass ends with making you agree to declarations. One is that you do not have symptoms of Covid-19 now and that you will comply with a quarantine order if you get Covid-19 during your visit.

A QR code then will be generated, which you can show on your mobile phone at the airport or using a printed document.

English Language Option: The Health Pass defaults to Spanish, but there is an option at the top right to change to English.

3) Get a Travel Insurance Policy 


Visitors must purchase travel insurance to cover their expenses in case they get Covid-19 during their trip. The insurance must cover medical expenses and accommodation expenses for 14 days of quarantine. Specific coverage amounts are provided below.

You have two options for the insurance. One is to purchase it directly through a provider in Costa Rica. These have been preapproved by the Costa Rican government (Superintendencia General de Seguros (SUGESE)) to offer Covid-19 insurance, so these policies will be automatically accepted when you arrive in country. 

Alternatively, you can buy insurance that meets the requirements through an international insurer of your choice. Then you will need to go through a verification process before you will be allowed to enter the country. See below for more details. 

For coverage amounts, $20,000 in Covid-19 medical coverage is required if you use a Costa Rican insurance company. If you use an international insurance company instead, the minimum amount is $50,000. Accommodation coverage in case of quarantine is the same no matter which coverage you choose ($2,000).

Costa Rica Insurance Options

Currently, there are two companies in Costa Rica that are approved to sell Covid insurance, INS (the government insurer) and Sagicor (a private company). You can buy the INS insurance in conjunction with the Health Pass by following the link provided in the form or by following this link. You can buy a policy from Sagicor directly through their website

Sagicor’s rates are around $10-13/day for travelers under age 70. Here is a link to their rates chart.

International Insurance Options

International insurance policies are also acceptable, provided they meet the minimum requirements. Specifically, the insurance must cover at least $50,000 for medical expenses associated with Covid-19 and $2,000 in accommodation expenses to cover at least 14 days of quarantine. You can find these requirements on the Tourism Institute (ICT)’s website.

We are not aware of any travel insurance policy that covers accommodation expenses for quarantine, but will update this post if we hear of any options. If you know of one, please let us know in the comments below.

Verifying Your International Policy

The country’s Tourism Institute is in charge of verifying that international policies comply with the requirements. The process is now digital. You will give your insurance information as part of the online Health Pass (see above). 

After you complete the Health Pass, it will generate a colored code that you can show immigration when you arrive. If you meet all entry requirements, it will make a green code. If ICT needs to manually validate your documents, a purple code will be generated. If certain requirements are not met, then it will generate a red code. 

ICT will still be at the airport to assist people. 

Previously, tourists needed to show compliance by requesting from the international insurer a certification (issued in English or Spanish) stating the following. It would still be a good idea to bring this document with you.

  • The validity of the effective policy during the visit in Costa Rica.
  • That it guarantees coverage for medical expenses associated with the pandemic disease COVID-19 in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000 (US dollars).
  • That it includes a minimum coverage of $2,000 for extended lodging expenses due to pandemic illness.

4)  Abide by the Regulations Put in Place by Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health During Your Visit 

You must abide by all government regulations regarding Covid-19 during your visit. We cover below the requirements at the airport and throughout your trip.

5) Proof of Residence – Applies to Travelers from the US Only

Visitors from the United States will need to show their driver’s license or state identification card to prove they are from one of the approved states. The announcement that states IDs are also acceptable was made during the press conference on August 27.

This requirement does not apply to minors traveling with their parents.

Other Entry Requirement Information – Quarantine 

These are the only requirements for tourists entering Costa Rica. Notably, Costa Rica does not require tourists to quarantine. The 14-day quarantine requirement only applies to Costa Rican citizens and legal residents reentering the country (see below for additional detail). Tourists do not need to quarantine.

Costa Rica Entry Requirements for Citizens and Residents, and Tourists with a Direct Relationship

On August 14, the government made significant changes to the entry requirements for legal residents. They also clarified when tourists with a direct relationship to a Costa Rican citizen can enter.

Another major change is that citizens, legal residents, and those with a direct relationship to a Costa Rican can avoid the 14-day quarantine under certain circumstances. We cover this below.

Tourists with a Direct Relationship

Those traveling on a tourist visa who have a first-degree familial relationship to a Costa Rican citizen or resident can now enter the country on their own. Examples are parents of minors, minor children, spouses, and minor siblings.

The tourist must prove the direct relationship with the applicable formal document (e.g., birth or marriage certificate). They also need to present: (1) their passport, and (2) proof that they will be leaving Costa Rica within 90 days (e.g., plane ticket back to their home country). 

In addition, they will need to purchase the required travel insurance and complete the Health Pass (see above for requirements).

They will be required to do a 14-day quarantine unless they are traveling from an approved country, have been there for at least 14 days, and have a negative Covid test that meets the requirements above.

For additional details on the requirements for those entering via a direct relationship, visit this website.

Costa Rican Citizens and Residents


Previously, if a resident left Costa Rica after borders closed in March, they would not be permitted to reenter the country. That has now changed. Permanent residents and temporary residents with legal status (cedulas) can enter from any country. They will need to present their passport, cedula/DIMEX card, and complete the Health Pass.

In addition, they will need to either (1) prove that their Caja payment is up to date; or (2) if their Caja is not current, purchase insurance with a minimum coverage of 22 days. During those 22 days, the resident is expected to settle up their Caja to ensure they are paid in full. Previously, residents could enter only with proof of their Caja being paid; however, after a few people were denied entry recently, the government modified this requirement.

Residents will be required to do a 14-day quarantine unless they are traveling from an approved country, have been there for at least 14 days, and have a negative Covid test that meets the requirements above.

For additional details on the requirements for residents, visit this website.

People with Residency Applications in Process

Those who have filed their residency application but have not yet been approved are considered tourists for purposes of entering Costa Rica.


Nationals only need to complete the Health Pass. They can avoid the 14-day quarantine if they are coming from an authorized country, have been there for at least 14 days, and present a negative Covid test.

What is Open for Tourists?


Costa Rica has been working hard to reopen its economy for tourism. In most places, hotels and restaurants are open. The country’s beaches are also open for most of the day and tourism companies are beginning to reopen slowly.

Hopefully in the coming months, more and more hotels, restaurants, and tour operators will reopen as more visitors are allowed into the country.

Because Costa Rica does have ongoing Covid-19 cases, some areas do have restrictions. We will cover them below. 

Orange and Yellow Alert Zones

Costa Rica has an alert system for sanitary restrictions. Areas under an orange alert, which are experiencing the most Covid cases, have greater limitations than yellow alert areas. In general, orange alert zones are in the greater San Jose area. The list of areas under orange alert is subject to change based on how the pandemic progresses. To find information on the current breakdown, visit this site and click Alerta.

Previously, most businesses were closed in orange alert zones except for those that sell essentials (e.g., grocery stores, pharmacies). However, beginning in August, more businesses were opened. Starting on September 9, most businesses were allowed to open even in orange alert zones.

For tourists, this means that restaurants, bars, supermarkets, shops, etc. are open at 50% capacity. Everything that is open is subject to strict sanitary measures, which we will discuss separately below.

Hotels now can be open at full capacity in both orange and yellow alert zones. Common areas like pools and hotel restaurants need to be at 50% capacity. Beaches can be open from 5:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. countrywide. Surfing and other non-contact sports are permitted. Visitors must stay within their social bubble (see below).

National parks that have been listed as reopened can operate at 50%, as well as thermal hot springs resorts, wildlife centers, and botanical gardens.

This government website has more specific information on what is open (in Spanish).

Costa Rica Beach During Covid-19
A nearly empty beach along the central Pacific coast during reopening

Driving Restrictions

Costa Rica has driving restrictions that limit travel based on license plate number. Since rental cars are exempt, most tourists will not be affected by this. If you are pulled over by transit police during your stay, you will just need to show them your rental car contract.

Keep in mind, though, that there are nighttime curfews. Countrywide, driving is permitted Monday through Friday from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekends. Rental cars are still exempt from these requirements, but if you want to avoid getting pulled over, we’d recommend avoiding driving during the curfews.

Safety and Sanitary Measures That Travelers Need to Follow in Costa Rica 

Since tourism is a huge part of the local economy in Costa Rica, the government is ready to welcome visitors once again. They have emphasized, however, that visitors need to follow all sanitary requirements to slow the spread of Covid-19. Costa Rica has a socialized health care system and a limited number of hospital beds that are filling up quickly. Making sure that the hospitals do not become overwhelmed is essential to further reopening tourism, and keeping both visitors and local residents safe.

Below are the main protocols that visitors to Costa Rica will need to abide by.

Follow Airport Protocols 

Upon landing on Costa Rican soil, travelers must wear face protection (cloth mask that covers the nose and mouth) and comply with all airport protocols. This includes following the physical distance requirements, allowing for their temperatures to be taken, hand sanitizing at designated stations, and following any other sanitary measures.

Stay in Your Social Bubble 

Costa Rica uses the social bubble philosophy for social distancing. People are encouraged to stay within their personal social bubble. Your social bubble is the people who you live with, most commonly, your family. For travelers, this will be easy. Your social bubble will be whoever you are traveling with.

You’ll notice when you get here that some common areas will be partitioned off or marked for social bubbling. At a few of the more popular beaches, they have put up bamboo markers to space people 1.8 meters (6 feet) apart. At other public spaces, similar measures have been put in place.

Social Bubble Costa Rica
Social bubbles at an outdoor shopping/dining area

Wear a Mask 

Masks covering the nose and mouth are required in most indoor spaces in Costa Rica. One is needed at grocery stores, all other stores and shops, banks, on buses and at bus stops, and in taxis. Some tours and attractions may require masks as well, so it’s always a good idea to carry one with you.

Masks are not required for customers at restaurants. However, the staff needs to wear them.

The government has stated that if you do not wear a mask, you may be denied entry. Businesses can temporarily lose their operating permit if customers are found in violation, so most establishments take the rules very seriously.

Masks During Covid in Costa Rica
Shoppers using a handwashing station and wearing masks to enter a big-box store

Preventative Measures to Protect Travelers (and Locals)


Sanitary Protocols

The Ministry of Health and President’s Office have established various sanitary guidelines that all tourism businesses must follow to protect both travelers and workers. Costa Rica’s tourism institute, the Instituto de Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), has specific guidelines that implement these protocols.

We have combed through these guidelines at length. They are extremely detailed and cover many different situations. They address the measures that tour guides and the staff at restaurants, hotels, rental car companies, etc. need to follow. They are aimed at providing training for the people who you will be interacting with during your trip.

Below are some notable measures that tourism businesses need to follow. They include measures on cleaning, sanitation, social distancing, personal protective equipment, food preparation, and lots more. This list is by no means exhaustive. We just included some of the more essential and interesting points.

Handwashing and Masks Requirements Costa Rica
Handwashing station and mask reminders in Jaco

Safe Travels Stamp 

In addition, it is worth noting that Costa Rica has received the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council. It has implemented 16 global health and hygiene protocols to promote safety in tourism.


Preventative measures at SJO Airport include signage with physical distance guidance throughout the airport, sanitizing carpets, handwashing and sanitizing stations, temperature checks, continuous cleaning and disinfection, and luggage arrangement service at baggage claim.

For departing flights, a guard will screen at the entrance to make sure only passengers will be allowed in the terminal. Ticketing agents will be behind glass barriers. There will be social distancing in seating areas, and boarding passes will be self-scanned.

Here is a great video showing the airport protocols at SJO.


Hotels have many measures in place, including the following.

At check in, the receptionist should wear a mask and maintain social distance with fellow employees and guests. The reception area should be cleaned at least every 30 minutes.

Marks should be put on the floor to ensure guests are at least 1.8 meters apart.

Guests should handwash/sanitize before check in.

The phone numbers of hospitals and medical centers should be posted in the reception area.

Pre-check-in should be used whenever possible to limit time at the reception desk.

UV technology should be used to disinfect room keys.

Bellhops should disinfect the guest’s luggage as well as the baggage cart afterwards.

Cleaning staff needs to wear personal protective equipment (a uniform, mask, and gloves). They follow strict cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing procedures using approved chemicals. They should clean all bedding without shaking it and deep clean high-touch items like remote controls, doorknobs, light switches, lamps, coffee makers, etc. They need to keep a cleaning record.

Whether a room should be cleaned daily should be decided by the guest.

Guests should be informed of the sanitary practices being carried out at the time a reservation is made and on the hotel website.


At restaurants, employees must wear a mask and follow handwashing and cough and sneeze protocols. The restaurant must maintain and refill soap and hand sanitizing stations (automatic if possible) and in the bathroom. They must constantly clean and disinfect, with records to keep track.

Restaurants can be at 50% occupancy. Tables should be rearranged so that the backs of chairs are at least 1.8 meters apart.

Digital menus should be used when possible.

Markings should be added to the floor to maintain social distancing at waiting areas (bathrooms, cashier areas, etc.).

Food at buffets and salad bars should be handled by workers only.

Social distancing at restaurant in Costa Rica
Sanitizing station and social distancing at a restaurant


Tours can operate at 50% capacity within social bubbles.

Tour guides must inform clients of the sanitary protocols and rules that they will be following during the activity.

Tour guides must have personal protective equipment, including masks. They must maintain distance between themselves and clients and have hand sanitizer available. They need to regularly disinfect frequently touched items like binoculars, scopes, lifejackets, flashlights, etc.

Social distancing between people of different social bubbles must be maintained. There should be at least 15 meters (50 feet) between different groups.

For hiking activities, they will limit groups to no more than 6 people. Groups should be people from the same social bubble. *You will see that many tour operators are offering only private tours for this reason.

Handwashing is required before entering a tourist site and when leaving.

Electronic payment is encouraged.

If a tour guide suspects a Covid-19 case, they will communicate this with the Ministry of Health using the official methods.

Hanging Bridge in Monteverde

Rental Cars and Shuttles


Shuttle van companies need to clean and disinfect all vehicles before and after use. They need to give special attention to high-touch areas like handles, railings, seatbelts, seats, dashboards, and mirrors. They should keep daily cleaning records and wear personal protective equipment.

Drivers and personnel should wear a mask or face shield. They need to ensure that passengers comply with the mask requirement and not allow anyone in the van who appears sick.

They need to provide visitors with hand sanitizer before they enter the vehicle and disinfect their bags. Cleaning products and hand sanitizer should be available in the vehicle at all times.

Companies must display the sanitary protocols of the Ministry of Health in vehicles. They will provide information to passengers about ways to minimize health risk.

Rental Cars

Rental car companies must follow similar requirements.

They need to intensify cleaning and hygiene measures in their offices, focusing on surfaces where there is greater contact (e.g., handles, reception furniture, doorknobs, computers, railings).

Cars must be cleaned and disinfected before and after each rental using approved products. They should keep daily cleaning records. Employees must wear personal protective equipment.

Masks and gloves must be provided to employees who work with customers directly.

Hand sanitizer should be available to customers.

Companies should mark the floor to maintain social distance among customers who are waiting.

The temperature of both customers and employees should be taken upon entering a rental car office.

For car pickups and deliveries not at the company’s office (e.g., at hotels or vacation rentals), the employee must inform the customer in advance of the preventative and cleaning measures being taken. The employee will use preventative measures when interacting with the customer to maintain social distance. Examples include asking the customer to put the keys on the hood rather than exchanging them directly for returns and disinfecting high-touch areas like the steering wheel, gear lever, and door handle when dropping off a car for a customer.

Companies should email vehicle inspection reports to customers.

They should implement electronic payment methods or contactless credit/debit cards when possible.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Costa Rica has many measures in place to keep travelers safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. The government has gone to great lengths to implement procedures for each sector of the economy so that tourism and other businesses can reopen and the economy can get started again. With these measures in place, hopefully, Costa Rica’s reopening will be successful. We hope that visitors from more countries will be allowed to enter soon so that people can get back to enjoying everything that Costa Rica has to offer.

Last Updated: September 24, 2020

Have a question about traveling to Costa Rica during Covid-19? Leave us a comment below.

Looking for more information? Check out these posts:

Costa Rica and the Coronavirus: We are updating this post almost every day with the latest data and restrictions in place.

Living in Costa Rica During Covid-19: Our more personal account on what it has been like to live in Costa Rica during this time.

Destinations Summary Guide: If you’re at the beginning of your planning, this guide can give you a head start. It summarizes every destination we cover on our website to help you narrow your itinerary.

Rental Car Discount: If you plan to rent a car during your upcoming trip, check out this discount to save 10-20% with one of the most reliable companies in Costa Rica. Safety protocols are a top priority.

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  1. We are a 64 yr old Canadian couple that were planning a 6 month trip to Costa Rica but sadly we had to cancel it is almost impossible to go for a test in Canada and get the results within 48 hrs and that insurance is very costly you can’t buy it here and buying in CR will be over 1200 for 3 months.The 90 day stamp visa holds us back also in other yrs we could do the border run not now it’s sad because we would have helped all the businesses probably would have spent 20 to 25 thousand dollars

    1. Hi Gerald, The government announced the other day that they are going to reconsider the insurance so hopefully the rate through INS will go down significantly or they will start accepting international insurance. Yes, border runs will be tough for quite a while as it is unlikely that they will open the land borders since Panama and Nicaragua have such high numbers. Thanks for commenting and we are hopeful that things will turn around soon.

  2. Great information – thank you! We miss Costa Rica and were thinking about returning in March. Hopefully by then, the U.S. sees improvement and we will be permitted. Fingers crossed!

  3. Great summary Matt, hopefully some of the restrictions will ease up in the future because the insurance thing is really an expensive add on for tourists.

  4. I feel that Costa Rica is arbitrarily discriminating against U. S. citizens. Allegedly based on COVID regulations of WHO, an entity that discriminates against the U. S. for calling out its CCP bias and our defunding, it still makes no sense. Of course, Germans are known for their lock-step obedience to government regs and thus a low death per Million count, Spain has a death per M that is 125% of the U. S.
    I have been here for a year assessing whether I want to stay permanently. I doubt I will stay.

    1. Hi Giovanni, The INS insurance is based on your age and trip duration. You can buy it using this link. We expect the government to make an announcement about insurance soon, hopefully allowing for more choices, as the INS insurance is quite expensive.

  5. Thank you for providing excellent information for international tourists. I am Canadian and have a six month trip booked arriving November 1 so really hope I don’t have to cancel. The insurance is a big problem and very costly. Not sure as to the time required to obtain a COVID-19 negative test. These are challenging times for sure!!

    1. Hi Charlene, Challenging times, for sure. Hopefully by November 1, things will have settled down some and maybe some requirements will be less strict. They are definitely still working out the kinks. We expect the government to annouce changes to the insurance requirement today (hopefully allowing international policies), after there were a lot of concerns over the price of the INS policy. We’ll keep you updated!

  6. First, thank you for all this informative information! But just to make sure…US citizens are not yet allowed to enter into CR, right?? I’m dying to go! I daydream about working for a week or two there in a remote hut in the jungle…please let me know if I cannot enter 100%, being a US citizen 🙁

  7. Hi Jenn and Matt,
    Great info thank you! We are planning to travel from Canada this winter. Can you confirm LIR airport is still closed and any info on re-opening.

    Thank you

    1. Hi AC, LIR Airport has all the protocols/approvals in place to have flights but there aren’t any flights scheduled yet as far as we know. They are starting with flights into San José for now. Private charters have started coming into LIR, though. Flights from Canada are supposed to be scheduled in the coming months (we’ve heard Sept.), but so far, we’ve only heard into San José. But that could change. Hope that helps!

  8. Hello Jenn and Matt,
    I’m an American citizen who arrived in early March before the Covid concerns hit critical mass, and my two month stay got extended to five and counting. After sheltering in place, I’m leaving tomorrow to do some traveling around the country prior to my departure in 10 days. I followed your link for insurance to, but wondered if you could offer clarification. I believe I’ve read in two of your articles the need for 20K/4k, and 50k/4k medical coverage and accommodation coverage respectively. Their website quote seems to support 20K/4K from what I can see. Also, I had used World Nomads insurance previously in my trip, which after some earlier confusion in whether they covered Covid, seems to offer the coverage as well. Is the link to the provider you list the only one we should be working with as far as CR’s government is concerned? Or do you know if other companies can offer similar coverage? Thank you!

    1. Hi Brian, There are currently 2 insurance companies in Costa Rica that are approved to offer the Covid insurance: INS, which you already found, and another company called Sagicor. The government (head of insurance in CR) has preapproved these companies, so if you purchase through them, you are ensured that your policy will meet minimmum requirements. We updated our article tonight to make that more clear. Maybe give it a quick reread to see if it helps clear things up.

      As for the $20K vs. $50K, the correct amount you need for medical if you use an international insurance company is $50K. This comes directly from the ICT’s website. You can find the link here. We’ve read the Ministry of Health’s latest official decree from Aug. 5 in La Gaceta where all this originally came from, and it doesn’t say anything specific about the exact amount required for medical and accommodation expenses, only that it has to cover minimum medical expenses for hospitalization for Covid and 14 days of lodging – you can see the full text below if you’re interested. The $50K language seems to have come from a letter from the new Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, that was recently circulated (see this article for more). The $20K amount was relevant before but we can’t locate an official document with it right now. Maybe it applies to the amount that the Costa Rican insurance companies are required to cover, as you said? Not sure why there would be a difference in coverage amount but we would assume that the ICT is correct on the amount since they are the ones verifying policies.

      Hope that helps. As for the World Nomads coverage, does it also cover lodging expenses for quaratine? That seems to be the tricky point.

      Translation of Decree 42517-MGP-S, as revised on August 5
      “Have travel insurance that covers at least accommodation expenses and medical expenses generated by the disease COVID-19, offered by one of the insurers authorized by the General Superintendence of Insurance in Costa Rica and duly registered with said authority; or have current insurance with international coverage to cover medical expenses generated by the COVID-19 disease, minimum medical expenses equivalent to the costs of confinement to a hospital for the time required by said hospitalization and minimum coverage of 14 days for lodging expenses, […]. In case that the insurance with international coverage does not comply with any of these requirements, the foreign national must purchase travel insurance offered by any of the insurers authorized by the General Superintendence of Insurance in Costa Rica and duly registered by said authority.”

  9. Hi, and thanks, so much, for all your hard work in keeping this site up to date!

    I don’t understand the the meaning of the “(except for a temporary closure from August 10-21)” statement. …Why the temporary closure, and what will be closed?

    “Previously, most businesses were closed in orange alert zones except for those that sell essentials (e.g., grocery stores, pharmacies). However, starting on August 1, more businesses opened in these zones (except for a temporary closure from August 10-21).”

  10. Hi,
    I just posted the question regarding a temporary closure of businesses from August 10=21.

    After returning to the main page, I discovered, through further reading, the following explanation: “The purpose is to allow the economy to reactivate but provide a pause that allows the healthcare system to rebound.”

    I guess that would be the answer to my question, even though it still seems slightly confusing.

    In any case, thanks again & Stay Healthy!!!

    1. Hi Glen, Yes, that was the rationale behind the temporary closure from August 10-21. They have since relaxed some of that and allowed some businesses to open in orange alert areas during that period because a lot of people were upset. The strict driving restrictions are still in place, though, so even though the businesses are open, people can only drive two days a week. But this doesn’t apply to most tourists, since rental cars are exempt from the driving restrictions. It’s all very confusing, for sure!

      1. Hi Jenn & Matt!
        Thanks, so much, for your considerate reply!

        As a wildlife videographer, for obvious reasons, Costa Rica has been my
        #1 destination! My first visit was in 1993, and after many years had passed,
        I’ve visited nine times since 2017 ..sometimes for extended stays of more
        than two months. I’m sure you know that a lot has changed since 1993,
        when there was no proper road into Puerto Viejo, and one had to cross a
        stream by very carefully driving over two wooden planks!

        Well, in spite of development, most fortunately, if one chooses a propitious
        location, it is still quite possible to enjoy the marvelous, and diverse Wildlife
        without even having to leave the house! : )

        If you ever have a little “free” time, and a good internet connection, you
        might enjoy checking out a couple of my videos, which clearly illustrate the
        reason I keep returning to Costa Rica to film wildlife! ..who knows may
        even see someone you know!  : )
        primarily featuring the southernmost Pacific cost (Cabo Matapalo
        and Punta Banco):
        primarily featuring the southernmost Caribbean side, near Punta Uva:

        Meanwhile, Thanks again for all your hard work with keeping your site up
        to date! Stay Healthy!!!
        All very best wishes to you all!!!
        Glen Smith

        ps. I’m going to wait to return until it’s “fun” to travel again
        ..the sooner, the better!!!

      2. Hi Jenn & Matt!
        Thanks, so much, for your considerate reply!
        The logistics of travel are often challenging, even under far better circumstances, so, considering the restrictions (understandably) imposed during this bizarre episode, I
        will wait until everything is much closer to “normal” before returning to Costa Rica
        for the eleventh time.
        ps. I have to assume that a comment, and previous reply I posted were rejected because
        they contained a couple url’s for my (nonprofit) Costa Rica Wildlife videos. Is that correct?
        If so, it might be helpful to add some guidelines for comments/posts.
        In any event, thanks again for all your hard work! Stay Healthy!!!
        All very best wishes!!! g.smith

        1. Hi Glen, Sorry, we did not reject your previous comment. We just did not have the time yet to get around to approving it. We go through them to make sure there is no spam getting through. Thank you for sharing your videos. We will check them out. A couple of months ago, we spent some time in Pavones and Punta Banco and loved it. Very beautiful and full of wildlife, we can see why you’d be inspired to do videos there.

          1. Hi Jenn & Matt, Thanks for your reply!
            I apologize for failing to consider the fact that you have so much work to do sitewide!
            Your work here is much appreciated!
            Thanks again & Stay Healthy!!!
            All very best wishes!!!

  11. I am a CR resident now in the US who left CR before 24 March. I plan to return next month on one of United’s repatriation flights from Houston. I understand that under current protocols, I must agree to self-quarantine at my home for 14 days upon arrival at SJO. I live in Brasilito, Guanacaste, approximately a 4.5 hour (non-stop) drive from SJO. Are you aware of any requirements imposed by the quarantine order on travel from the SJO airport to one’s place of CR residence? Because of my uncertainty over how many hours it will take to clear Health and Migracion checks at SJO (I’ve heard stories of up to 3 hours), I would like to overnight at an airport hotel and either travel to Brasilito the following day by rental car (with Brasilito area dropoff) or take a tourist transit van. Thanks.

    PS – I’ve found highly informative your many posts on CR life as I navigated details for living in Costa Rica. Muchas gracias!

    1. Hi John, We have not yet seen the exact text of a quarantine order but would assume that they want you to go straight to your house, even if it is hard with your flight arrival time. You could ask a lawyer in CR for their opinion since they would know more. We can give you the contact of a reputable firm that does immigration law if you’d like. Just reply to this thread and we can send the info by email. Glad that our posts on living here have been helpful to you. Welcome home soon! 🙂

      1. I am in the same situation as John, a Permanent Resident who left before March 24. I am currently working in the USA waiting to return to CR. Is there anything that I can do to avoid the 14-day quarantine? Would you please provide contact information to an immigration lawyer?

        1. Hi Steve, You can avoid the 14 day quarantine if you come with a negative Covid test and are traveling from an approved state where you have been for at least 14 days. We will send you the lawyer contact information now. Look for it in your email. Thanks!

  12. Hi Jenn and Matt – Thanks for your very prompt reply. Yes, please send me the contact info for the firm you referenced.


  13. I just wanted to say thank you for having such an amazingly thorough site! I’m in the US and know it will be a while before I’ll be able to come down (insert very sad face), but your site provides a ton of useful information and helps me stay on top of the latest developments. Sending healthy vibes to CR from CA!

  14. Hey! :

    Thanks for providing all this info! Short question: is it easy to travel around Costa Rica these days? I’ll be going in early september, and will hopefully spend some time at the caribbean coast due to drier weather.


    1. Hi Fred, Rental cars and tourist transfer companies are exempt from the driving restrictions so it’s not too hard to get around. Many things are opening up. You should just be aware of if you are traveling to any orange alert zones where there are more restrictions (beaches close at 9:30 am instead of 2:30 pm, etc.). Currently, nowhere on the Caribbean coast is under an orange alert. You can use this link to check for alerts – they have a nice interactive map.

      It should be great weather-wise for your trip to the Caribbean. Hope you enjoy it and everything goes smoothly!

  15. We have a trip planned for early November but I am concerned about the COVID testing. 48 hours is way too short of a turnaround time and I hope they will expand the window up to 7 days. It’s too big of a risk for us to proceed with our trip with the 48 hour testing because our free cancellation for our hotels expires 48 hours before our day of arrival!

    1. Hi Jon, Yes, the 48 hours is very difficult for people. We have been hearing it a lot from Canadians who are trying to get here. Hopefully the government will expand the window as you suggest. We will update this post if we hear about any changes. We are also announcing any big updates on our Facebook page as they happen if you’d like to follow along there.

  16. Thanks for your updates! Costa is now allowing a limited opening to the US, however obtaining a 48hr PCR test and results in the US at this time is close to impossible!! It seems this “opening” will be very, very limited unless the approved states have faster test result capabilities.
    Unless the 48hr requirement is relaxed to 96 hrs or something less stringent, I am curious who will actually be eligible to make the trip? At this time, the turnaround time for a PCR test can be 3-7 days for results.

    1. Hi David, Yes, the 48 hours will be really tough to meet from what we’ve been hearing. Hopefully the government realizes this and allows for a little more flexibility. People in Canada have been struggling to get their results in time but they are making it happen. The first flights have arrived from Canada (private) and it seems that everyone got in, although there were some problems for people who didn’t get their results in time. They had to wait it out at the airport from what we understand. Others had their results already. It sounds like people in Canada are paying extra to process their results faster. We’ll update this post if we hear about any changes to the requirement.

  17. Thanks for all the great information on entry into Costa Rica. Very helpful and informative!! My wife and I are building a home in Hacienda Pinilla and are expected to at least hear the country to starting to open up the boarders. Even if they make you jump through a bunch of hoops to make it happen. We live in Colorado so keeping our fingers crossed our stated is added to the list of approved states soon. We are hoping to make a trip or two down in October/November if/when CO gets added. The trouble I’m having right now is finding any international travel insurance companies that will include the $2K accommodation insurance in their policy, if you find anything in your research please let me know. I’ll continue to check for updates on this page and your FB page as well. Thanks again!!

    1. Hi Erik, We’ll be sure to update this post if we hear of any international insurers that cover the accommodation piece. So far, we haven’t heard of anything. Hope you and your wife can get back to Guanacaste soon! It seems optimistic for Colorado after what the Minister of Tourism said during the recent press conference.

      1. Tilley! – Fancy seeing you here! We’ll be in Tamarindo at Capitan Suizo on 11/15 for 10 days. Would be great if we ran into each other!

        Did you find insurance yet or testing?

  18. Thanks for the response, Matt and Jenn. I went with INS, which actually defaults to the 20K coverage, so that is what I have, and frankly, was the easier of the two companies (plus the ICT link here) to navigate, though it seemingly requires you to name a Costa Rican citizen or resident as a beneficiary, or at least there were no straightforward ID options for American beneficiaries (e.g., via passport, or gov’t ID). I was lucky to have someone I knew to get through that part of the process. And another sticking point was trying to enter what the purpose of my travels were, which required a 4 digit code I didn’t know, vs. a fill in the blank answer. I eventually managed to get through it somehow.

    Anyway, thanks again and cheers.


  19. As a Canadian I booked my flight through New Jersey as an overnight stay as I could not get a direct flight from Canada in August or September. Have not seen my wife who is a Costa Rica resident (not citizen) since the winter. I did get a reasonable rate on insurance through INS for my 90 day stay at my home in CR. I am now worried about two things. 1) Ontario says it takes 2-5 days to get results and therefore not enough time to get result and download. I am also worried about the 14 day stay requirement from one country. I have been in Canada for many months and since I am travelling though the US even though its a state they are allowing in will I be denied entry.

    1. Hi Greg, The government announced today during the press conference that test results within 72 hours are fine now, so that should help some. Still doesn’t get you to 5 days, but maybe you can get a private lab to guarantee results within that time frame? If it is helpful, we heard second hand from someone who recently arrived in CR that their test results were slightly over (not by a full 24 hours but a good chunk of time) and they were still let in.

      As for whether you need to stay in NJ for 14 days before, we’re not totally sure but it seems that since NJ is on the approved list, you shouldn’t have any problems. In addition, since your wife is a Costa Rican resident, that should help as well. The language of the official decree seems to say that you can enter as a tourist because your wife is a CR resident. You would need a copy of your marriage certificate to prove the link, just like you would if she were a CR citizen. Check out this link. They are a reputable law firm who has been following this issue closely. You may want to reach out to them to see if this is true because it would be an easier way in. Best of luck and hope everything works out!

      1. Thanks for your note back. That is good news. In Ontario testing can only be done at public health facilities but I will go to one that is close to the lab where they process the samples. My understanding is I need to download the results before I arrive with the Health questionairre. Is this the procedure? In regards to New Jersey with an early morning flight to CR I will stay in the airport overnight when I fly in from Toronto the night before instead of a hotel just to make sure there is no issue. Thanks for a great webinar and your quick and through answers. I am going to apply for residency and will contact the lawyer about this.

  20. Hi guys, thank you so much for this super informal post. It’s been so helpful, I have scoured it several times! I just heard the news that CR will extend the PCR test turnaround time to 72 hours from 1st Sept ( It has not been updated on the gov website, tourism website or health declaration yet. But if you could shed any light on it at all that would be amazing. Thank you.

    1. Hi Sophie, Glad our post has been helpful to you!

      Yes, during the press conference today, we heard the Minister of Tourism announce that test results within 72 hours are fine now. They also expanded the list of US states that can enter. Starting on September 1, it’s Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC (along with the other 6 states previously named – NY, NJ, CT, ME, NH, and VT). On September 15, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Colorado will be allowed too. The formal legal resolution is not out yet. But once it is, we will update this post with more details. Should be official, though, since it came directly from the Minister of Tourism.

      1. Hi Jenn & Matt, thank you so much for your prompt response and all your help putting together this informative page. I think I can speak for all your readers when I say we really appreciate the work you put in! I’ll keep checking back here and on the gov website. Hopefully we should have final confirmation and be able to book our flights. (YAY)

  21. Hi Jenn and Matt. Thank you so much for your advises.
    I just came back to Costa Rica as a resident, from Europe, and I have negative test for covid. But I have to be in quarantena.
    I have read this:
    Residents will be required to do a 14-day quarantine unless they are traveling from an approved country, have been there for at least 14 days, and have a negative Covid test that meets the requirements above.
    My question is what is an official note from Ministerio de Salud?
    Because of course, I would do anything fot not to be in quarantena:)

    Where I could call?

    Many thanks.

    1. Hi Petra, If you came from an authorized country and were there for 14 days prior to traveling and also have a negative Covid test, you should not have to quarantine. Circular AJ-146708-2020 says this. Go to section 2, Personas con permanencia legal autorizada, part 5, Orden Sanitaria. It says:

      “A toda persona con permanencia legal autorizada bajo una de las categorías migratorias supra citadas, se le deberá aplicar una orden sanitaria de aislamiento por 14 días, con fundamento en los decretos 42238-MGP-S y 42513-MGP-S.

      Consideraciones importantes sobre orden sanitaria para residentes
      -Si la persona proviene de un país autorizado y al momento de realizar el control migratorio logra demostrar que permaneció en dicho país al menos los 14 días previos a su abordaje en el vuelo, así como haberse realizado dentro de las 48 horas anteriores a su salida hacia Costa Rica, una prueba denominada PCR-RT de COVID-19 con resultado negativo, podrá obviarse la orden sanitaria de aislamiento antes referida.

      It talks about test results taken within 48 hours but this has been changed to 72 in another place. Hope that helps. I’m not sure how you would get the isolation order reversed at this point in a timely manner but you could ask a lawyer.

  22. Hello Jenn & Matt,
    Thank you so much for this very detailed and accurate information!
    I am from Colorado and my boyfriend is from Costa Rica, we have been hoping to see each other since the borders closed in March.

    I was very excited to see Colorado on the list of states that can enter the country, but I am having trouble figuring out what flights I can buy, and I am curious if you have any input.

    I was hoping to travel to Costa Rica as soon as possible (maybe September 17th) But, based on the calendar that is posted by “Embajada de Costa Rica en los EE.UU.”, it seems that the only available flights are on United from New Jersey. Is it correct that these are the only options for commercial travel? I ask because United is listing flights from Houston to SJO that are only ~$250, whereas the flights from New Jersey are ~$1850!

    I am also curious if there is any information about return flights in October that you know of.

    Finally, do you have a recommendation for somebody that I can contact to get more information about this? My first thought was to try to call the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica, but I haven’t tried yet, and am not sure how easy it is to get ahold of someone.

    Thank you again for providing this wonderful opportunity for information!

    1. Hi Sarah, Glad our site has been helpful to you!
      Yes, everything is very confusing now. Hopefully we can shed some light on the flight options for you. The flights out of Houston are reptriation flights. Technically, by law, tourists cannot fly on these unless they fall within an exception, like having a first degree familial relationship to a Costa Rican. So I don’t think you could take one of those flights, but I could be wrong.

      We have only seen those same flights you’ve seen out of New Jersey so far, for regular commercial flights. Not sure why they are so expensive. They should be adding flights from Colorado soon, we would think. Maybe closer to the 15th, you will see more options (doesn’t allow for much planning, we realize). The government doesn’t want to let in too many flights to start – everything is to be very gradual. They did mention having some out of LaGuardia and JFK too, though.

      The US Embassy in Costa Rica coordinates repatriation flights, but we don’t think they would help with commercial flights. The Embajada de Costa Rica en los EE.UU. Facebook page has the best source for flight info/schedules we’ve found so far, but they don’t update it much. Maybe a travel agent who books international flights would be able to help. Best of luck!

  23. Thanks for this! We have a place in Ojochal and are excited about the possibility of visiting soon since our state is on the approved list.

  24. Hello, I’m reaching to see if anyone has an update regarding an accepted international travel insurance policy? My wife, three children, and I are planning to temporarily relocate to Santa Teresa this coming October. The domestic policies are prohibitively expensive! Any guidance would be much appreciated:]

      1. Hey, it’s Christopher again, I’ve been in touch with Heymondo about adding the 2k quarantine coverage. They told me that it’s already in the works, but for those seeking insurance it would be great to reach out to them to add a little extra pressure as the domestic policy is insane!

        1. Hey there, Christopher. I’ve been doing some research on travel insurance companies and found Heymondo. I went to their website and saw that when you click in Heymondo Premium, under “Emergency medical & dental expenses overseas” capsule it says something about “Unforeseen hospital expenses Up to $4,000 USD ($100 USD every 24 hours )”, doesn’t that mean that it covers extended lodging expenses?

    1. I usually use Seven Corners travel insurance when I go to Costa Rica. 60 years old. $ 500,000
      policy called Choice. They said for special covid insurance $50,000 the insurance I normally pay $35 for 10 days would be around $91. For my friend 44 years old it was $49. I could pay an extra $25 for trip protection. They said this would cover hotel in case of sickness but did not specifically say for covid. I emailed them and this is what they said: “ Please see 3.2 – G for below wording. Although it does not specifically say ‘quarantine’ it does indicate the cost of the hotel room would be covered if ordered by a physician and the person remains under their care. “A” outlines room/board expenses, which would still apply – the hotel room expense would be in place of the hospital room expense. [They] would need to stay within the standard daily expense of a hotel room/board to be considered eligible and determination would be made at the time of claim”

      (g) Hotel room when the Insured Person, otherwise necessarily confined in a Hospital, is under the care of a duly qualified Physician in a hotel room due to unavailability of a Hospital room due to capacity or distance or to any other circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the Insured Person;…” I hope to be able to take a trip in Dec to Costa Rica. I could buy this and submit it for approval and if they deny it, probably I’d get the one that isn’t INS listed above. for me it would be $11.30 per day. INS wanted more around $17.18 per day.

      1. Hilary and Mary, thanks so much for your responses! I have opted to go with the INS policy as there was still too much uncertainty and would rather not chance it.

  25. Hello Jen and Matt

    I will flying to LIR from EWR this Saturday 09/12. I had my PCR test taken today but they gave me a window of 24hr to 5 days depending on the processing of the lab due to the demand. Will I have any issues at arrival if I don’t get my results back on time ?

  26. Jenn and Matt- I’ve followed your blog and think it’s a huge help for those of us struggling to get things done in Tiquicia.

    I’m a little in limbo here at the moment. I’ve been married to a Costa Rican lady for over 35 years now and coming here each year as a tourist while building a retirement home in Santo Domingo all that time. Primarily though we both lived and worked in the US. We are ready now to retire here and I will seek citizenship by virtue of our marriage and the fact that I’ve been here for over two years. (It doesn’t have to be all at one stretch – you can add up the time) This qualifies me for citizenship assuming a clean FBI report which is no problem. It becomes one however as I need to return to the US to make that happen as well as securing an apostilled Birth Certificate. Also my current tourist visa now expires 18 November. I tried to enroll in the caja but since I have no status other than “Tourist” I was unable to do so. So now you can see the problem. When my wife and I arrive in January she will have to purchase 22 days insurance (not a huge problem as she is in her 50’s.) I, however, am 76 with health issues and having to buy an insurance policy thru the time I can become a citizen and register with the Caja would be prohibitive I’m afraid. I was hoping that applying for citizenship even though all documents would have to be updated at a later date might change my status allowing me to sign up with the Caja. When I read your words to the effect the anyone who has applied for but not received residency will be treated as a tourist I became aware that I might be dreaming….. So – do
    you see any way around this dilemma? Any and all suggestions or referrals would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all you’ve done for so many. Tim

    1. Hi Tim, We’ve been giving this some thought, and it seems you’re in a tough place. It’s true that if you file for citizenship, you will be treated as a tourist for entry purposes right now until you get approved. So that you would need to purchase the required insurance, since you won’t be eligible for the Caja yet. Your wife being Tica can get you into the country no matter what, but that doesn’t exempt you from the insurance requirement.

      Such a hard time right now. We don’t have any creative solutions but you could see if a lawyer would have any ideas. Sorry we can’t be of more help. Hope you can figure it out. Pura vida!

  27. Hello,

    We have our flights arriving on Oct 2nd, it will be myself and young child 3.5 years……I Have been following updates on your site and from other friends who live there. Is this correct that under 12 years does not need the testing ( which is very invasive and Im not looking forward to this myself ) ….thou I called the embassy to asked if the saliva testing was approved, which they said no….

    My main question would be that no testing is required for children under 12?


    1. Hi Piule, A COVID test is not required for children under 12 so your 3.5 year old won’t need one. Yes, the saliva test is not allowed. It has to be a RT-PCR test. Hope your travels go smoothly!

      1. Hi again Piule, We are very sorry for the confusion, but someone else just asked this same question so we began to question the information. We are not sure if a test is required for minors under 12. We think it is not required but are not finding definitive information to verify. Please see our detailed response to Lucy from today, Sept. 14. We will be updating this post as soon as we find out the right information!

        1. Hello Jenn & Matt,

          This is an interesting and important topic. Thank you for providing as much on this as possible, this is helpful.
          I spoke with the embassy and it seems that things are changing day to day. To see what is required its good to double check with the embassy and on their website each day.

  28. Hello Jenn and Matt,
    Thank you so much for your very comprehensive website. Ever since visiting Costa Rica with my husband in 2001, I have been dying to return with our children. It seems this Thanksgiving might be an affordable time for us to come. Starting Sept.15th, it seems that residents of Colorado will be admitted to the country, even if we travel through Florida. What remains to be seen is whether Spirit Airlines will be operating flights into San Jose (end of Novmeber), whether we will be able to receive test results within 36 hours of our departure (both tests we have taken before/after traveling in Colorado have taken 5-6 days for results), and whether our medical insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield covers COVID-19 medical expenses. Sounds like I need to make a few phone calls before booking flights and accommodation. Any suggestions/tips are welcome:)

    1. Hi Tanya, We haven’t heard anything yet about Spirit offering flights from Denver, but yes, calling the airline may get you some information.

      The COVID test time requirement is 72 hours, not 36, so that gives you a little more time.

      We don’t think BCBS covers the accommodation piece of the insurance requirement (you need $2,000 in coverage for accommodation expenses in case you contract Covid during your visit and need to quarantine). But it would be worth a phone call. Hope you can make the trip with the kids happen! Thanksgiving is a great time to visit.

  29. Matt, Thank you for the updated information. I was booked on a repatriation flight, but decided to cancel that flight and wait for reopening for California after October 1st. I really don{t want to have to spend 14 days in quarantine.
    Do you have any information about when the Nicaraguan border will reopen or when there will be flights from San Jose to Managua?
    Jay Redden

    1. Hey Jay, the borders seem to be open for crossing in Peñas Blancas and Avianca is already preparing to start their commercial flights to Nicaragua.

      1. Hi Jana, Where did you hear this about the Penas Blancas border being open? We have been following Costa Rica’s coronavirus news closely for months and would be very surprised if either land border opens (Nicaragua or Panama) anytime soon. There was a big problem with people getting across the Nicaragua border early on when it was closed and bringing Covid. Nicaragua also isn’t on the list of countries permitted entry by air.

  30. Hi Jenn and Matt – I was hoping to head to Jaco for a long weekend in October (from Virginia). However, do you know if bars opened yet, or is it just restaurants ? One other thing – the 72 hr test result – is that 72 hrs from when you took the test or from when you got the result ?

    Thanks !

    1. Hi Kevin, Yes, bars are open now. They have the same rules as restaurants so have to be at 50% capacity and have the same hours.

      The 72 hours is from when the sample is taken. Hope that helps!

      1. Hello! Thanks so much for providing such clear and helpful information. Your site has been super helpful over the years as we’ve planned trips to Costa Rica.

        My question: do we bring paper documents of Covid test results and insurance coverage with us and show them to immigration officials? Or do we upload them somewhere before we leave?

        Thanks so much for your help.

        1. Hi Jayne, Glad our information has been helpful!

          Yes, you will need to upload your Covid results to the online health pass, which you will fill out 48 hours before your flight. Here is the link:

          You will get a QR code to show the airline in order to board the plane. We explain this in more detail above under Health Pass in the Entry Requirements section.

          1. Thanks for responding so quickly! Follow up question: Will I need to fill out the forms 48 hours before we leave or can it be less than that? I’m anticipating our covid results will come back sometime between 24 – 2 hours before we leave. Also, do we upload the insurance documents as well? And is there a lag time while they’re being processed and approved? And do I need that QR code before I get on the plane to head down there?
            Thank you so much for helping unravel and understand all these details!

          2. Hi Jayne, It can be filled out less than 48 hours in advance. We think the idea is that this gives the Tourism Institute time to review your information. But people have entered Costa Rica and filled out the form later than 48 hours before. Yes, if you are using international insurance, you will need to upload the policy. If you’re using one of the CR options, you won’t need to. We have heard that the airlines have been checking for the QR code prior to boarding. So have your test results ready if you didn’t get a green on your QR code in advance – see the section above on Verifying Your International Policy. We aren’t sure how long it has been taking to get the QR code. But as far as we know, people haven’t been having problems entering as long as they have their test results in time and meet all other requirements. If you are on Facebook, a good group to join to hear people’s first hand experiences about entering Costa Rica right now is Costa Rica Bound. Here is the link:

  31. Great information – thanks! You mentioned that kids under 12 do not need a COVID test to enter Costa Rica as a tourist. I can’t seem to find that info anywhere. Please let me know where I can verify that. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lucy, We found this information in a document released by the Costa Rica Consulate in Miami back in July when the requirements were first being discussed. You can find an excerpt of it here – see question 7. It was also covered by local news sources here, like The Tico Times. The information is also currently on the Costa Rica Embassy in Italy’s information on entry requirements and on the Costa Rica Embassy in the UK’s website.

      But we just went through the official Costa Rican government resolutions and circulars on entry again and couldn’t find it anywhere. This document issued by Migration (CIRCULAR AJ-1467-08-2020) makes it sound like a test is required, even for minors. This is in Section 3.c.4. on Tourists, the requirements section. At the top of the section it talks about the requirements applying to minors as well.

      So honestly, we aren’t sure. The test probably isn’t required for minors under 12, but you would want to confirm this before trying to get on the plane obviously. You could reach out to the ICT to find out. We are going to do so as well and will update our article with the verified information once we know. For now, we are going to take that part out of our article. Sorry for the confusion. You would think that things like this would have clear answers, but they don’t always make it easy here! 🙂

  32. Hey Jen & Matt,

    Thanks so much for your informative post.

    I wonder if you could help me with a travel insurance related question please?

    In the UK I have found an Insurer that will cover up to £5m for medical expenses relating to covid so way above the $50k that is required.

    For the lodging expenses if you have contracted covid then they will pay up to £5m to cover accommodation costs until you recover, test negative and can fly back to the UK.

    I am not sure if this meets the requirements or not? The guidelines say ” $2k for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic” but it isn’t specific as to whether this means that you have contracted covid leading to extra expenses or because say for example a local lockdown that extends your trip?

    If it is the latter then that’s a shame because I would have enough savings to cover accommodation costs myself in excess of the $2k they require.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts

    1. Hi Justine, That sounds like adequate coverage for the accommodation expenses requirement. The idea behind that requirement is that you would have insurance to cover accommodations if you were issued a quarantine order by the Costa Rican government because you contracted Covid during your visit. That’s why it’s connected to 14 days…the $2k USD is supposed to be enough to cover the 14 days of quarantine. So you should be all set. Hope that helps!

  33. I am a student looking to come to Costa Rica to study Spanish for three months in mid-January of 2021. Are the requirements that the government has enacted the same for all (including students) who wish to come to Costa Rica?

      1. Thanks for that information. Would it also be correct to assume that the requirements are the same for anyone (businessman, tourists, missions workers, etc.)? I’m in the process of seeing if the travel insurance that my organization requires when traveling abroad will meet the standards required by the country of Costa Rica. I really appreciate your up to date information. It is extremely helpful.

        1. Yes, same requirements as far as entering the country. The general breakdown of categories is tourists, citizens, and legal residents. There may be a different type of visa for missionaries (possibly, we aren’t sure), but they would still need to meet the special Covid entry requirements.

  34. Hello Jenn and Matt, I have been devouring all the comments in this blog and I must say, it is wonderful! I have a question, my sister needs to fly in on Friday and we are going nuts trying to find insurance. INS is way to expensive for a 16 day trip! Are there any companies that you recommend? And two, my sister will be staying with me at my home and not at a hotel. She has dual citizenship, cédula and US passport, does she have to have coverage for the accomodations even though she will be staying at a house? Do you know? Thanks in advance for the advice!!

    1. Hi Lizzy, Glad our site has been helpful to you! We’re just wondering, if your sister is Costa Rican, why does she need to get insurance at all? Citizens only need to fill out the health pass online as far as we know. If she is entering on a tourist visa and does need insurance, people have been talking in the last couple of days about the company Travelex having an insurance product that meets the insurance requirement for the $50k in medical coverage and $2k in accommodations. She will still need the insurance for accommodation even if she is staying with you. If she is entering as a citizen, she will get a quarantine order for 14 days unless she’s coming from an approved state/country and has a negative Covid test. Hope that helps!

      1. Hi Jenn and Matt! All info helps, thanks! She is a CR citizen, but she lives in NY therefore she travels with the cédula and the US passport. She does need the insurance, thanks for the tip, becasue eventhough she is Costarican she does not pay into the CCSS. As she is coming from NY, approved State and negative Covid test, she does not have to quarantine. Thanks and Pura Vida!

        1. That makes perfect sense! Good luck with the insurance. I didn’t mention it before but Heymondo is another company that is working on having insurance that will work in CR. You could check their site to see if it’s ready. As of a couple of days ago, they were still working on it.

  35. Hi – Any information for entering Costa Rica by boat? We’ve been hanging out in Mexico while waiting for the end of hurricane season and plan to sail toward Costa Rica at the end of October. If we test in Chiapas during check-out from Mexico will that test be valid if we do not check into another port on our way south?

    1. Hi Kyle, Mexico is now an approved country as of October 1 so that will help you out. Here is the applicable text re: arriving by sea from the Tourism Institute’s website. It sounds like if you will have been sailing for 14 days and have a negative test, you will be all set. If less than 14 days, they will give you a quaratine order for the difference in days.

      “Those who entered the country by sea from the list of permitted countries and who have not made a stopover elsewhere, should not be subjected to isolation if they have been sailing for more than 14 days.

      If the passengers do not bring with them the negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to the trip to Costa Rica, or they set sail in an unauthorized city or country, they will receive a sanitary isolation order for 14 days from, from which will be deducted the number of days on the high seas, counting from the last port departure date recorded in the yacht or sailboat’s log.”

  36. Hi Jenn and Matt. My husband and I will be traveling to CR in April. We are a resident of California and we have a 15 hour layover in Miami before continuing on to Liberia. The rules state that you may not leave the airport. We had intended to walk across the street to the airport hotel for a good night’s sleep and catch the morning flight to Liberia. I would assume that this is allowed. Can you check with someone? Thanks Beth

    1. Hi Beth, Officially (according to ICT, the Tourism Board), you are not supposed to leave the airport during the layover. This is the guidance that has been given by a well known law firm in Costa Rica that does immigration law. See this article on their website. Practically speaking, we have heard that people have been staying at airport hotels and entering Costa Rica without a problem as long as they stay under the 18 hour requirement. Hope that helps.

  37. Insurance is overpriced just like Costa Rica. There are websites with links to companies with cheaper insurance. Costa Rica isn’t what it use to be. They are all about money but more than tourist money.

  38. Hello Everyone! Does anyone know if the LAND border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica is open (Penas Blancas) as of September 25? Many thanks for this wonderful site

    1. Hi Matthew, All land borders between Costa Rica and Nicaragua are still closed. We don’t expect them to open for some time. To give you an idea, the government recently extended tourist visas automatically until March 2 as long as you enter CR before the end of October. This is to help those who live here on tourist visas who normally renew their visa by going to the Nicaragua or Panama border. The Panama land borders are closed still too.

  39. I was booked and set to go – then travel clinic cancelled my booking due to the high number of tests they have to do and are backed up. I have already purchased my insurance, and all other entry requirements. Do you know if CR government will allow 14 day quarantine if you cannot present the negative result upon arrival?

    1. Hi Summer, Unfortunately, you cannot enter as a tourist without a negative Covid test under current regulations. The only tourists who can enter without a test are those who have a direct relationship to a Costa Rican (e.g. the mother, father, or sibling of a Costa Rican citizen). If you read Spanish, it’s at the very end of this document. Vinculo refers to having a direct relationship/link to a CR citizen. Sorry!

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