The Covid19 pandemic has made travel extremely difficult for tourists thanks to new border restrictions and quarantine rules across the globe. When travelling to Costa Rica, however, it is a little easier to enter this country than others. That’s because, as of the 1st Novemeber 2020, restrictions on travel into Costa Rica were relaxed so that all countries are now allowed access into Costa Rica for the time being (this blog will be updated on further developments). With that said there are some basic requirements which international travellers must adhere to if you would like to visit this little slice of paradise, so we will discuss what the entry requirements for tourists visiting this country by air.
Travel Requirements For Costa Rica
As of the 15th February 2021, there are currently two steps in order to gain access into Costa Rica. Please note that this is for air travel only – as of the 15th February 2021, Costa Rica is not accepting international tourists from its land borders with Nicaragua and Panama.
The Costa Rica Tourism Board has made it mandatory for all visitors to purchase full travel insurance before their trip to Costa Rica. This is to cover yourself for either quarantine or medical expenses in case you have been exposed or contract the Covid19 virus. However, unless you purchase preapproved travel insurance from a provider in Costa Rica, then simply purchasing international travel insurance is not enough due to the fact that it must first be reviewed and approved by Costa Rican authorities. More so, and in the case of international insurance, you will need to provide a certificate from your insurance provider written in English or Spanish that notes three specific conditions required for entry into Costa Rica. These are as follows.
- Validity of the travel insurance policy during your stay in Costa Rica
- Guarantee medical expenses coverage due to illnesses contracted by the Covid19 virus for the sum of at least $50,000 USD or more (or equivalent in your currency)
- Guarantee minimum coverage of $2,000 USD (or equivalent in your currency) related to extended lodging due to Covid19 related illness or trip interruption/cancellation due to illness.
Basically, these rules for all tourists are used to ensure that you are fully covered in case you require medical assistance, hospitalization, isolation, or quarantine due to the Covid19 pandemic. For complete information and points of contact, be sure to visit Essential Costa Rica: https://www.visitcostarica.com/en/costa-rica/statement-costa-rica-tourism-board-covid-19 It is highly recommended that you organise your travel insurance well in advance of your travels. Tourist visas will not be granted without valid travel insurance and, in many cases, tourist visas can be amended from the usual 90 days to the total amount of time your insurance is valid for (one month of travel insurance equates to a one month tourist visa).
Health Pass Digital Form
The Health Pass digital form will only be made available to travellers 48 before boarding. Individual forms must be completed for every person, minors and elders included, and can be found at: https://salud.go.cr/. This short epidemiological form will ask for some personal information including names, age, nationality, passport number, flight details, and accommodation details during your stay in Costa Rica. It will also ask for your travel insurance details. You may be required to upload your policy details if using an international provider. Finally, you will declare that you do not have symptoms related to the Covid19 virus and that you will fully comply quarantine orders if you contract Covid-19 during your visit.
What Are The Travel Requirements When Leaving Costa Rica?
Costa Rica itself does not have any mandatory travel requirements before you leave the country, however your country of residence may have their own entry restrictions including negative Covid19 tests and self/mandatory isolation upon arrival. Please check with your official government websites for all travel guidelines. If your country requires a negative Covid19 test before departing from Costa Rica, then you will need to set this up. Fortunately, Costa Rica has many testing facilities across the county as most hospitals, clinics, and labs will conduct testing – particularly in the capital of San Jose. As the vast majority of countries, including the United States of America, require a test result at least 3 days before you travel, it is essential to organise this as early as possible. Costa Rica has approved antigen rapid (same day) testing, but on average results for the standard RT-PCR tests (deep nasal swabs) can take between 1 and 3 days for a result (but with total of up to 6 days in the case of delay). Costs will vary from a reported 30,000-40,000 colones ($50-$60 USD) for antigen rapid testing to 59,000-80,000 colones ($100-$130 USD) for RT-PCR testing. Please keep in mind that costs and availability do vary and that antigen rapid testing are only approved tests for entering some countries. Check your government website on what tests can be accepted before boarding your flight.
Though travelling to many countries can be restrictive or near impossible right now, it’s fortunate that Costa Rica has relatively simple requirements and a comparatively low level of Covid19 infections compared to other destinations in Latin America. This is due in part to its strong response to the pandemic which has resulted into a gradual return of tourists to the country. These additional requirements are put in place to keep you and others safe, so if you’re planning to travel to Costa Rica in the near future then be sure to follow the official guidelines here and listen to the health advice of the Costa Rican government. Pura Vida and safe travels!
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