Open for Business!
Updated: Oct 13
***updated information about entry requirements on 08/08/20***
As of 2nd August, Costa Rica re-opened its borders to welcome international tourists from the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union*.
For now, only tourists from authorised countries, that have control over Covid-19, will be permitted to visit. The list of authorised countries will be reviewed and updated regularly by the government. Entry to Costa Rica is currently only possible by air as land borders with Panama and Nicaragua remain closed.
Like many countries, tourism is a vital part of Costa Rica’s GDP and the economy has been badly affected by the pandemic. Unemployment is at a record high of 24% and many people are struggling. The government is trying to find the difficult balance between safeguarding its citizens and revitalising the economy. This controlled reopening of its borders is a positive step forward in the return to international travel.
Latin America is the current hotspot for the pandemic and Costa Rica is undergoing a second wave of Coronavirus. However, due to strong regional prevention measures and a quick response from the start, Costa Rica has been relatively successful in managing the situation. In a country of 5 million, there are currently 22,081 cases and 218 deaths due to Coronavirus*.
Areas under ‘orange alert’ must operate under stringent control measures and many businesses, including hotels and restaurants, are required to close partially or completely. However, national parks are open and beaches are accessible from 5am to 9.30am. Bars, casinos, nightclubs and mass gatherings are still prohibited everywhere and there are nationwide driving restrictions and night-time curfews in place.
In areas under yellow alert, including Libélula Lounge, almost all businesses are able to operate as normal, national parks are open, beaches are accessible from 5am to 2.30pm every day and outdoor tours and activities are permitted. Orange and yellow zones are reviewed by the Government regularly and are subject to change.
In all areas of the country, it is mandatory to wear a mask in all public, indoor spaces. You are permitted to be outside without a mask as long as you observe social distancing and remain 6 feet away from other people. Workers who interact with the public must wear a mask at all times and hand-washing or sanitising is required before entry to most places.
To visit Costa Rica, you need to travel from an authorised country, fulfill the entry requirements and observe national and local protocols. If you don’t meet the entry requirements, you cannot board the plane and you cannot layover in unauthorised countries (including the US). The list of authorised countries will be reviewed and updated fortnightly by the Costa Rican Government.
Entry requirements -
You must have completed the online 'health pass', an official epidemiological survey from Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health.
You must have proof of a negative PCR-RT Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of your departure to Costa Rica for anyone over 12 years old.
You must purchase health insurance approved by the General Superintendent of Insurance in Costa Rica. This can be a pre-approved policy, from the National Insurance Institute or Sagicor in Costa Rica, or a foreign policy covering certain criteria. Until a digital system is developed, policies will be checked upon arrival by the Costa Rica Tourist Board. If a foreign insurance policy fails to meet the criteria, tourists will have to purchase a pre-approved plan at the airport. Policies must be:
Valid for the duration of the visit to Costa Rica,
Cover $50,000 in medical expenses in cases of Covid-19,
Include a minimum of $2,000 for expenses of extended lodging due to Covid-19.
National and local protocols -
You must wear a mask in all indoor, public spaces
You must observe social distancing (six feet between people)
You must wash or sanitise your hands before entering public spaces
Tourists must abide by local orange and yellow zone rules
Please note -
Tourists do not have to quarantine on arrival
Rental cars, tourist transport and taxis are exempt from the driving restrictions
Public transport is operating normally nationwide
This is a constantly changing situation and we recommend that you check the latest news from Costa Rica, the embassy of your home country, your insurance company and your airline before you travel. Here are some useful resources:
Ministerio de Salud - Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health website
Ministerio de Salud Facebook - Regularly updated Ministry of Health on Facebook
Costa Rica Contra El Covid - Government website detailing preventative actions
Visit Costa Rica - Official tourism site and insurance process officials
Embajada de Costa Rica - Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington DC
La Nacion - Costa Rica’s national newspaper
The Tico Times - English language news site for Costa Rica
Teletica - Costa Rica’s national television channel
My Tan Feet - Regularly updated Costa Rica travel blog written in English
Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaria - San Jose International Airport
Aeropuerto Internacional Daniel Oduber Quirós - Liberia International Airport
* Permitted EU countries - Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland.
** Figures correct on 7th August 2020